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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.

Suffer the Little Children PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Margaret Downey sends us to this link to learn of a disaster brought about by superstition and stupidity – in other words, religion. How many generations will it take for us to outgrow this infection?

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UK Fuss PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

My friend Mike Hutchinson, in the UK, sent me to this site to see that the UK Advertising Standards Authority [ASA] have announced a decision against an advertisement shown on TV that touted the miraculous powers of gems, and offered expensive rings and pendants that would grant these boons to the buyer. Said the announcer in these ads:

With their mysterious and amazing powers, gems have a great influence on the mind, body and soul of a human who wears them. They can help in controlling your anger, reducing your stress, increasing your confidence and it also enhances your decision making abilities. To grow further in life and to achieve what you have always wished for, it is extremely essential that your fate favors you. For good fortune, and for a favorable effect of all the planets on your fate, Global Sky Shop presents a special product, Global Zodiac Rings and Pendents [sic].

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Being a Friendly Heretic PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Richard Saunders   

richard on set 002aIn 1980 I sat in front of the TV to watch a popular talk show of the time, 'The Don Lane Show'. On this particular night one of Don's guests was a visiting skeptic from America, one James Randi. I had never heard of James Randi and to me he was just another guest. I'm sure most of you will now know of this famous interview, it's repeated every year here in Australia and has become a great moment in Australian television history. Don Lane become so angry at James Randi (as Randi dared to suggest that people like Doris Stokes and Uri Geller may not be really using 'psychic' powers) that he swept Randi's props off the table and said, "… and you can piss off!" and stormed off the set. I, like most viewers, sided with Don Lane. How could this little magician come on national TV and say those terrible things? I really thought at the time that ghosts, psychics, monsters, UFOs and such like were all real.

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Woo on the Wing PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

skymall1I fly often, and unlike so-called yogic flyers, I prefer to use commercial aircraft. Ok, I don't really prefer it but it seems to be the only option available. During that uncomfortable time when I'm forcibly separated from my electronics, I take a look in the SkyMall magazine, and have a few chuckles.

SkyMall has a literally captive audience. In the bygone days of phones in the seats of aircraft, they offered a discount if you ordered while in the air. I suspect this was to prevent you from having time to actually think about what you were purchasing. Bashing SkyMall is a popular Internet pastime, and now it's my turn.

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Those "Ghosthunters" PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Reader Tristan Noel asks:

I was curious, of course – as I'm sure you get a lot of this – about the skeptic's view of the show Ghosthunters. Are they, like Criss Angel, one of us, knowingly using camera tricks and such? Are they just misinterpreting real life random data (emf tone frequency waves, etc.)? Or are they simply sensationalists on TV who push the "Normal Guy" image (Roto-Rooter plumbers) to gain compatriotism with the average viewer, and use equipment tricks to make people think they see ghosts?

Well, we’ve referred often to the show on SWIFT, and you could have done a search to find references, but my opinion is that these naifs just aren’t capable of using the over-tuned and over-sensitive equipment they so cherish.

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