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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.

Is Solar Always Green? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

solarbusArguably, there can be no cleaner source of energy than the sun. If you place a black container filled with water in the sun, you'll heat water at no cost and with no appreciable environmental impact. That's well and good, but impractical if you want to take a shower at 3AM, or need to boil water for cooking.

Ultimately, what we need is electricity, as our culture is based on electrical devices. So how does one turn solar power into electricity? While you could create a solar furnace that boiled water to produce steam that powered a generator, the cost and size are prohibitive. It's far more reasonable to use solar panels. But are they "green"?

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Ghost Hunter Tells All in Exclusive Interview PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

mrxRecently, I was granted an interview with “X,” a paranormal investigator from a television show. X could only speak if given total anonymity, as the contract X signed for the show states that giving an interview of this nature would result in litigation. 

Because most of the individuals who read Swift are skeptics, it’s understandable to additionally be skeptical of the existence of X. I can only promise that X does exist, and was able, during this interview, to give a unique point-of-view of television paranormal investigation. 

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Forget Parties.. Vote by Sign! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Reader Steve has pointed us to an interesting thing in the Washington Post. Unsurprisingly, they report on congressional votes. Their online report has some nice sort options:

By party | By state/territory | By region | By boomer status | By gender | By astrological sign

Yes, that last item is noteworthy.

Yes No Not Voting
Aquarius 26 7
Aries 22 7 1
Cancer 40 12 3
Capricorn 20 9
Gemini 33 15 2
Leo 25 6
Libra 32 9 4
Pisces 23 3 1
Sagittarius 23 6
Scorpio 22 7 3
Taurus 24 5
Virgo 33 9
Yes No Not Voting
Female 52 5 3
Male 271 90 11
Yes No Not Voting
Midwest 75 21 3
Northeast 79 2 1
South 96 53 5
West 73 19 5
Yes No Not Voting
None 48 14 4
2008 275 81 10
Yes No Not Voting
Baby boomer 196 67 10
Post-boomer 35 10 2
Pre-boomer 92 18 2
Yes No Not Voting
Democratic 247 2 5
Republican 76 93 9

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Science Vs. Faith Healing PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

If you watch late night TV, you might see the likes of Peter Popoff or Benny Hinn "healing" people on the stage. They'll throw away their crutches, pill bottles, and glasses, and praise Jesus for healing them. You'll never see an amputee on the stage though, because apparently God hates amputees.

I doubt you'll ever see someone with a debilitating neurological disease such as the devastating Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." You see, you simply can't fake a cure for that.

But with science, you might be able to have an actual cure.

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A Response to Laura's Comments PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

A few days ago, I published this article, which was as much rant as commentary. I was upset at the seemingly endless stream of psychics offering their "gifts" to the world, while actually just getting in the way.

A Swift reader by the name of Laura took issue with my article. I shall address her comments after each paragraph break.

She said:

Where do I start.....oh yeah, looks like YOUR site "James" takes donations. Trying to make money off of bullying people and their beliefs? I guess so. Well, anyhow, the way you seemed to "cut and paste" certain excerpts from their site to read the way YOU want it to sound is so "media like"...good job, heh. Here is a great idea...IF YOU DON'T LIKE or BELIEVE IN WHAT SOMEONE HAS ON THE INTERNET, THEN DON'T READ IT! Or, if you just happen to read it and don't like it.....SHUT UP! (those were your words right? Hope I don't get in trouble for plagiarism).

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