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.

Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.

The return of the revenge of high dose vitamin C for cancer (David Gorski)
Numerous news stories have recently covered studies showing that high-dose intravenous vitamin C is effective in cancer treatment. The evidence is poor quality and the doses required are extremely high. Those who advocate vitamin C also advocate orthomolecular medicine, integrative medicine, “functional” medicine, and other dubious approaches.

How to Think (Harriet Hall)
 A new book, The Critical Thinker’s Dictionary by Robert Carroll, covers the biases, logical fallacies, and illusions that interfere with critical thinking. Each topic is illustrated by memorable examples, many taken from the world of medicine. Accessible, entertaining, and useful for all, even those who think they already know about the subject. Highly recommended.

 
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Chelsea Hotel PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Karen Stollznow   

Built in 1884, the Hotel Chelsea resides at 222 West 23rd street and is anHotel Chelsea official New York landmark. In the days before the Empire State Building, the twelve-story Chelsea Hotel was the tallest structure in the city until 1899.

Former owner and manager Stanley Bard collected a colony of fascinating tenants and guests, including actors, writers, artists and musicians. “The Chelsea” is hardly five-star, but the bohemian hotel has been home to Mark Twain, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, and Sarah Bernhardt, to name just a few. The walls are decorated with artworks by well-known artists; often taken as payment when they were starving artists.

The hotel is so beloved that Leonard Cohen wrote the songs “Chelsea Hotel” and “Chelsea Hotel #2” in honor of the place, and Andy Warhol filmed “Chelsea Girl” there, a movie about residents of the hotel. Most other claims to fame are exaggerated, or untrue. It is untrue that Arthur C. Clarke penned part of 2001: A Space Odyssey here, although Stanley Kubrick did write the screenplay for the movie there. It is told that William Burroughs wrote “Naked Lunch” in a room in the hotel; however, it is well known that he wrote the book during his time in Tangier, Morocco.

 
Nanobots, Chemtrails, and Snow – Oh, my! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   

When I first starting seeing items online and in social media about plastic snow, I didn’t pay much attention. I love The Onion as much as the next guy but I rarely find the time to read much more than a lead story or three in any given week.

But then last week I was speaking with a friend who lives in the frozen North of the U.S., and she mentioned the stories about plastic snow in the Southeast. And I do confess that it was a revelation to me that claims that Georgia was being hit by fake plastic snowfall were not being written by comedy writers, but rather were being made and taken seriously by modern individuals known to be of the species Homo sapiens.

 

 
A Sasquatch angel kidnapped Nessie: This week in Doubtful News for February 11, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Sharon Hill   

 It was a wild week for weird news. Here is a rundown courtesy of Doubtful News.

Let's start with two photos that made people hit the "share" button and pass along though I don't know why. This one apparently shows a female figure behind the man. While the church thinks it's an angel, skeptics figure a ghost phone app or photoshop is at play.  

This one was called a "skin walker", local New Mexico news exploited the Native American legend but it was easily debunked as being from a movie.

 
Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Harriet Hall   

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.

Animal rights activism: Petitions aren’t science (David Gorski)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/animal-rights-activism-petitions-arent-science/ British Parliamentary EDM 263 calls for properly moderated public scientific debates about the human cost of misleading results from animal experiments. Dr. Gorski was puzzled to find his name included on the list of targeted UK scientists. The organization responsible, For Life on Earth, claims that animal research provides no knowledge or benefit. Their arguments are easily refuted, but a public debate is not the place to do that.

Food for Thought (Harriet Hall)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/food-for-thought/ An outstanding free online course is being offered by 3 professors from McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. It covers facts and myths about food and nutrition and educates students about the scientific method and how to evaluate the published research with a critical eye. Over 20,000 people in 150 countries have already registered. Highly recommended.

 
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