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.

An Unneeded Apology From Obama? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
reagantimeDuring a recent interview on the current economic crisis, President-Elect Obama was asked by a reporter if he had spoken with former presidents about the matter. Obama replied "I have spoken to all of them... um... that are living." A tense pause follows and then, as a joking aside, he explains "Hey, I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances..." The room full of reporters laughs, and he moves on to more pressing issues. Later, according to CNN, Obama's staff said that Obama had apologized to Ms. Reagan "for the careless and offhanded remark."
 
In Response To a Request PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
done.jpgFew projects in my life have brought me as much satisfaction as PLAN USA, the one under which I personally help – at present – to support six children in five countries: Guinea, India, Senegal, Sudan, and Tanzania. Over the years, many of my kids have matured to “graduate” from the PLAN USA support as they’ve passed the age limit – see the link ahead – and a couple of them still stay in touch, because I chose to share my address with them. I just don’t know how many kids have been supported through my donations, since they all get to be eventually replaced by others who show up in the list, and I only know of six at this moment. My standing instruction to PLAN, when a child is replaced, is just to select the neediest. It’s tempting to look at a set of photos and choose an attractive candidate, but I want those who might have been passed up, and who are just as much in need as the “cuter” ones, to learn to smile again.
 
Woo in Review: THE MENTALIST and CRIMINAL MINDS PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

mentalistThe pilot of The Mentalist (CBS) opens with a smarmy-looking man who resembles a Ken doll approaching a press conference outside a residence where parents are thanking police and volunteers for searching for their missing teenage daughter and utterly failing (as she has just been found dead). My first thought was "Who thanks police for their help while their dead daughter is being gurneyed off to the morgue like three feet away?" But that is neither here nor there for a review – I just accepted that the show wasn't going to be about realistic displays of emotion, and that they were trying to jam about a dozen plot elements into ten seconds.

 
Nitrogen Filled Tires? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brian Dunning   
There is always someone out there looking for a way to squeeze a few extra dollars out of gullible consumers. Tire shops offering nitrogen filled tires are no exception.

Some racing cars use nitrogen in their tires, as do some aircraft and freight trucks. If the big boys are doing it, maybe it's a good idea, right? Well, it may be a good idea for them, but that doesn't mean that these benefits will transfer to your street car.
 
Death from the Skies - New Book by Phil Plait PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

deathfromskies.jpgYou’ve gotta love an astronomer who can reduce the history of the universe to 10 words, who tells us what he would weigh at the surface of the Sun and then feels obligated to add a footnote saying he would weigh more if his wife had just baked cookies.

Phil Plait has done it again. He has filled our plate (pun intended) with education and entertainment in the same inimitable style he perfected in his first book Bad Astronomy.

 
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