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.

Maybe "Alternating" Rather than "Alternate"? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

This comment has been circulating about among the woo-woos:

I don't know who suggested using the Benveniste experiment as something which would invalidate or disprove homeopathy, but whoever promoted that concept failed to appreciate or understand what homeopathy is about or what it can do. If it was Mr. Randi himself, I am afraid that he has done a disservice to humanity by sowing confusion in the minds of people whose sufferings could have been alleviated had they not been discouraged from considering homeopathy as a viable and valid alternative when the modality they are presently relying upon is not? [sic] producing the desired results.

 
Tune In! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

massimoOur most excellent friend in Italy Massimo Polidoro now has a YouTube channel with some of his TV appearances in English at: http://www.youtube.com/MassimoPolidoro. I think you can realize just how effectively I influenced this remarkable skeptic by inviting him to learn at my knee for a couple of years, well before the JREF was brought into existence. Ah, if only I had another dozen like Massimo...!

 
More Cannon Fodder PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

cannonJohn Atkinson, our resident correspondent on the Isle of Man, regales us with news about Dr. Alexander Cannon, who we met in this article. I had asked John to look into the reference I'd found about an amateur magician on the Isle who'd come up with some documentary material about Cannon, who - it turns out - "retired" in 1936 after his woo-woo involvement with King Edward VIII became known to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. He moved to the Isle of Man in 1939. This change of location was - let's say - not voluntary... The MI5 investigation of Cannon came to the conclusion that he was not a spy, though he had several Nazi sympathizers as patients, but only "a quack and compulsive liar." That does not seem sufficient cause to thus isolate him, but it perhaps spared the rest of England from being further bored...

 
CONVICTION: Theft Under a False Pretense PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

The San Jose Mercury News reports the following:

A 27-year-old woman who allegedly is from a family of fraudulent psychics has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for tricking a brokenhearted woman out of $108,000 and a Corvette, after she promised to rid her of evil spirits.

The conviction was for "Theft Under a False Pretense," which I think is a fine charge to make against those who claim psychic abilities and ask for money to demonstrate them.

But wait! There's more to this story...

 
GIngko Isn't Smart PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

gingkoMillions of people take Gingko biloba because they think it keeps them smart. A recent study suggests they might be smarter to save their money ($107 million was spent on gingko in 2007 in the US alone).

Gingko has been touted for everything from altitude sickness to tinnitus, but the main claims have been for dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and improving memory. The evidence wasn't clear, so the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) funded a large trial to find out whether gingko could really delay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's. They studied 3000 people over the age of 75 who were either normal or had mild cognitive impairment. It was a well-designed double blind placebo controlled trial lasting over 6 years. They found no difference in the incidence of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

 
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