The Amazing Meeting 2014

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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.

An Open Letter to Open Minds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Saunders   

Some time ago I had an idea. Well, I have many ideas but most just come and go. This time, however, the idea sort of stuck in my head.

The idea was to somehow alert the general public here in Australia about some of our concerns as skeptics. The normal press release is all very good but with hundreds of companies and organizations issuing press releases everyday, ours can get lost in the wash. So, what to do?

Why not write a letter to the very people and/or institutions with which we have a concern? Again, would that mean anything really, would they care? Okay, one more step. Aim the message not so much at them, but at the general public. An open letter was the answer.

A U. N. Victory For Reason PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Proposals that would have banned "defamation of religion" were formally rejected by United Nations international bodies this week. The  contentious "blasphemy" resolution presented by Pakistan, introduced at the UN and supported by some of the Middle East regimes, called upon all governments to forbid critical, insulting or defamatory statements about religion, especially the Islamic faith. The proposal failed to earn sufficient votes in the UN General Assembly to become a binding resolution, and it will not be on the agenda at the next conference, slated for Geneva in April. Doubtless, it will be again proposed in the future, as zealots seek to promote their discriminatory agendas.

Winners! PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

hungaryfGyula Staar, editor of Természet Világa, the Hungarian science journal that has served the academic community of that country for 140 years, has written to inform me of the last two winners of the annual Randi Prize which is given to students who show appropriately skeptical approaches to claims and statements that they encounter in the news. The prize was first awarded back in 1992, when I visited Hungary, and has continued since, though with a few gaps because the journal did not find applicants of sufficient talent to justify the award. That principle - granting an award only when it's justified - is the way such matters should be handled. The journal holds a student essay competition on the first Saturday of March every year at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the awards are presented by my friend Professor Gyula Bencze.

Seeing Red PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Today, the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that a new study confirmed previous studies that showed a correlation between consuming a large amount of red meat and a shorter life. I counted 332 news reports on this in Google, and they mostly said this, but one was a little different.

It was from The Center for Consumer Freedom, a “nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.”

And basically they said: eh, no big deal.

A Final Word From Supa Boondee PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Alas, when I wrote to Supa Boondee (creator of the killer wave ghost repeller), they replied. Here it is:

thank you for your reply,
unfortunately our Boondee Laboratory has decided to terminate trisaksri ghost repellent out of product ranges. Now no more .. just history.


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