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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.

Prize Awarded PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

My excellent scientist friend Gyula Bencze informs me that this year's Student Essay Competiton sponsored by Természet Világa – the major Hungarian science journal – held its award ceremony on Saturday, March 7, at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The annual James Randi Prize was awarded to a junior highschool girl, Andrea Palfi of Krudy Gyula Gymnasium in Nyíregyháza, Hungary. The title of her essay was: "Radiesthesia: Harmful environmental effect or fake?"

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Smoking is GOOD For You PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

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.

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Ghost Repeller Now Available PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

ghostrepellerWhile 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).

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The Shy Minister PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

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.

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What Do You Believe, and Why? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

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.

 
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