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.

When Dinosaurs Surfed Texas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   

Please watch this short commercial from our non-sponsor, Columbia Sportswear:

Notice anything odd there? Well Nat Heffernan did, and he brought it to our attention. The narration begins "Man didn't outlive dinosaurs or rotary phones by sitting still.  We adapt." And then later, in a stern voice, "Texas isn't surf country." Ok, two things. We didn't outlive dinosaurs at all. Not even close. While we're still learning about mammalian evolution during the "dinosaur age," it's likely beyond all reasonable debate that there were no humans around to run from a T-Rex. (This article gives evidence that mammals weren't the mouse-like pipsqueaks we had earlier believed though. Wow.)

Who's Making Money Now? Psychics. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   

According to Wired News, things are good for those with "gifts." The author, Ryan Singel, apparently interviewed a few "psychics" and asked them to report. Troubled investors have been turning in droves to so-called online "psychics" to advise them on what to do during these difficult economic times. I'm not terribly surprised by this "news," but the article itself has a few interesting points for dicsussion.  

An Unneeded Apology From Obama? PDF Print E-mail
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
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
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.

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