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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.

The Power of the Pig PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Richard Saunders   

pigasusInventing Origami Pigasus for Mr. Randi was a real pleasure. I promised him I would at least try to create the flying pig as we cruised around Alaska in 2007 on the Amaz!ng Adventure. I could never have known, (what am I a ‘psychic'?) that the little piggy would become so popular.

I am thrilled when other people fold Pigasus and well remember having my socks knocked off at TAM 6 upon seeing a table full of them as a result of the efforts of JREF Forum member ‘Kochanski'.

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I Have to Say This PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

As a 501(c)3 organization, the JREF is limited in what it may properly say in regard to political matters. However, the just-announced decision by President-Elect Obama that he will have fire-breathing “pastor” Rick Warren – of the huge evangelical Saddleback Church in Orange County – deliver his inaugural invocation, is alarming.

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Battlefield Acupuncture PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Superstition and nonsense have infiltrated military medicine. The military was never known for critical thinking; in fact, it is often said that "military intelligence" is an oxymoron. When I was in the Air Force we used to say that the difference between the Air Force and the Boy Scouts was that the Boy Scouts had adult leadership. But now they have outdone themselves: the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Instead of getting narcotics for pain relief, wounded soldiers are being stuck in the ear with little needles.
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Gnome Hunters PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
GNOME HUNTERS: A Demonstration

 

I was recently asked to write an article for a group of paranormal investigators about how skeptics view believers. I pointed out that, not being psychic, I cannot possibly know what all skeptics think of all believers. But I did come up with the following example, which I think helps demonstrate the skeptical position. Skeptics, you might find this example eerily familiar. I hope that you enjoy it, and that if you come across any Gnome Hunters in the future, you might be able to use it to illustrate why certain claims are difficult to believe.

One day, you are hanging out in a book store. You bump into a man who is buying some books, and wind up talking to him for a while. You find out that the man has a hobby – every time he visits a new place, he scans the area with a special Gnome Finder that he has designed himself. In reality, the Gnome Finder is a calculator. When the man finds out about a place that is rumored to be full of gnomes (which are, of course, invisible), the man takes his calculator/Gnome Finder to the location and puts in a simple math problem; like 2+2. Every time the man gets a wrong answer, he knows that gnomes are around because gnomes hate math and they block all right answers to illustrate that fact.

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Polterheist PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   
What's dumber? Robbing a house, or getting caught because a ghost wouldn't let you leave?

I'm guessing it's that second part. Even dumber, when the family returned to their home, they found the would-be robber suffering dehydration (more on that on The Star Online). Or maybe he was already on the brink of it when he robbed the house, which is why he thought it was haunted. Beats me.

Of course, we hear ghost stories all the time. As I (and lots of others, of course) have long been saying, there is no credible evidence of ghosts. None. Zip. Like with UFOs, if you want to convince me of this, I want real evidence. Not a blurry photo, or video of a spider crawling on a surveillance camera. Evidence.
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