A gentleman dropped by the JREF a couple of weeks ago, and left this flyer (PDF) for us. As skeptics, we're committed to considering new data, and this flier with its title "Are You Smoking Enough to Stay Healthy?" made us wonder what we were missing. Please read this "enlightening" piece of literature before continuing.
According to the flier, smoking can do amazing things, like prevent alzheimers and some forms of cancer. It can also improve memory and mental acuity. And while this goes against everything we've ever been told, there is some truth to it.
While some may be "hunting" ghosts, or merely trying to decide whether they exist or not, one ambitious Thai company, Boondee Laboratories, has created a device that will force them away. They claim it works on devils too.
First, I have to comment on the language on the site. The authors are clearly not native English speakers, and as easy as it would be to poke fun at their phrasing and word choice, I'm going to refrain from doing so for one simple reason: I can't speak a word of Thai that isn't on a restaurant menu (I'm a big fan of Tom Kha Gai).
Gary Goodyear, the Canadian Minister of State for Science and Technology, who is at the centre of a current fuss over federal funding cuts to research in that country, has been pressed by the media and by interested citizens to state - yes or no - whether or not he believes in one of the most basic findings of modern science, a constantly reconfirmed triumph of reason and research: evolution of species. He just flat-out won't say. There's a suspicion that Mr. Goodyear is suspicious of this aspect of science, perhaps because he's a creationist. Asked about those rumours, Mr. Goodyear said that "such conversations are not worth having." I think we'd strongly disagree on that ...
(I must say that I'm happy to see that President Obama's suggestion of making Sanjay Gupta the US Science & Technology boss, was not realized. The charismatic Gupta had the looks and smile for the job, and far better qualifications than Mr. Goodyear, but he withdrew his name after a heavy negative reaction resulted to his name being introduced. See this link for a few details...)
You should know that Mr. Goodyear, 51, is a chiropractor from Cambridge, Ontario, who studied chemistry and physics courses as an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo, welding and automotive mechanics, statistics and kinesiology. Those are his total qualifications for the position which he now occupies.
Garrett Kennedy, a Counseling Psychologist-in-training at the University of Wolverhampton (UK) informs us that he's carrying out research in religious, spiritual and personal beliefs. Participation is through an online text-based survey and he would very much appreciate JREF visitors and Swift readers taking part. The survey is about how personal beliefs operate in times of stress and difficulty, and he's seeking as wide a range of participants as possible. You may be interested, and if so, more information can be found at http://www.psychologyandbelief.com. Please direct inquiries to Mr. Kennedy at that site.
The JREF is quite an amazing organization in many ways - including, of course, that the organization's founder is, in fact, Amazing. One of the ways you may not have experienced, though, is the sense of close-knit fellowship found onboard the JREF hosted cruises, called The Amaz!ng Adventures. The Amaz!ng Adventures are different from The Amaz!ng Meeting in that the group is so much smaller, so much closer, and you never have an incident where you didn't actually say anything beyond "Hello" to someone you swore you'd hang out with (Sorry again, Loon).
Chasing El Chupacabra was the fourth cruise of the skeptical variety, and featured talks on the psychic industry, Mexican UFOs, and El Chupacabra (the Mexican goatsucker, who we were apparently chasing - though why anyone would actively follow a coyote with mange is a tad beyond me).