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JREF Swift Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

My First Time PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

tam3It was fall of 2003. I had just moved to Vermont, and didn't quite feel at home yet. Not that I've ever really felt at home anywhere. Did you ever have the feeling that you were just a little bit different? That you saw things that others didn't see (and perhaps missed things they did see)? Well, that's how I've felt much of the time.

It was my good fortune to come across Skeptic magazine in the bookstore at Georgetown University, and a new issue arrived in my shiny new mailbox about a month after I moved to Vermont. I read it eagerly, and saw an ad therein for a convention in Las Vegas featuring James Randi and Penn & Teller.

It was called The Amaz!ng Meeting 2, and I decided to go. And nothing's been the same since.

Read more...
 
So, you wanna be a skeptic? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

If you read Swift, chances are you're skeptical about something. Maybe you think all psychics are frauds, or Jenny McCarthy is a massive health threat, or homeopathy is killing people who should be taking real medicine, or the 911 Truthers are full of it. I'm sure there's some form of bad thinking out there that sticks in your craw. And maybe, like me and many, many other folks, you've had enough.

Knowing that stuff, reading about it, is a whole lot different than getting off your keister and doing something about it. If you've got the itch, the need, the desire, the passion to get up and do something about all the nonsense facing the world, what can you do? What's the next step?

Read more...
 
Healthy Cooking PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brian Dunning   

Everyone seems to think that their particular community is the world headquarters of woo, since we all seem to be bombarded by it all day every day. Well, I'll put my own community, Orange County, California, up against any other to vie for such honors.

One of these little faux magazines - really just advertising rags - that we get is called the OC Gazette. Nearly every article is a self-promotion from some purveyor of woo. One that caught my eye was unique in that virtually every sentence is an untrue, yet popularly believed, claim. It's the "Healthy Cooking" column, written by a self-described "Master Health Chef", whose name I will omit. Just the slug alone was worth the price of admission:

Did you know? Most cooking methods rob food of more than half its nutrients, add unhealthy fats, and taint it with harmful metals and chemicals.

Read more...
 
Monkey Business PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

Oh no! My favorite mischievous monkey, Curious George, has been co-opted to brainwash children with pseudoscience. Is nothing sacred? See

http://everydayskeptics.com/pseudoscience-in-childrens-cartoons/ On the DVD, an innocent CG cartoon segment is followed by a “real life” segment where children visit a naturopath. He tells them oregano seems to be helpful for fighting germs, he shows them acupressure points and indicates the meridians where the “energy” flows, and offers the kids bandages with embedded magnets. He then talks about maintaining health with exercise and good diet – as if it were something naturopaths recommend that regular doctors don’t.

Naturopathy sounds so good – it’s “natural.” It claims to address the cause of illness rather than just treating the symptoms. But in reality it’s a mixture of real medicine and quackery.

Read more...
 
TAM 7 Talent Show PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

Got talent?

At the JREF, we know we have one of the cleverest, funniest, artistic, and simply most talented audiences in the world.

But we are, after all, skeptics, and we decided it's time to prove it. So at The Amaz!ng Meeting 7 this year we're holding a Talent Show. Are you coming to TAM 7, and can you sing, dance, juggle, contort, do a light-sabre routine, tumble, prestidigitate, or bend spoons with the power of your mind alone? Then sign up!

And even if you don't want to get on stage and potentially embarrass yourself in front of hundreds of revelers, you can still be a reveler! Come to TAM 7 -- our speaker lineup is great, the extracurricular activities are stellar, and find out why TAMs are the premier skeptical conferences on the planet.

And yeah, we can prove that, too.

 
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