“The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board” is an interesting article available at Smithsonian.com. Posted on October 28 no doubt intended to coincide with Hallowe’en, the piece provides interesting history of the spiritualistic device, which first appeared in spiritualistic camps during the heyday of American spiritualism in the late 19th century. The “talking board” was eventually patented in 1891, albeit that the patent does not explain how the device worked.
If you're the kind of baseball fan I am, now that the baseball season is over you're counting the days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, and hungry for a little baseball news or information. So in this installment of the Honest Liar, I turn my attention away from traditional skeptic subjects and take a look at the critically important but concealed role that deception plays in the American pastime.
After you've watched the video, you might be interested in this incident that occurred in the post season, in September, in a game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles, and a confrontation that arose over the issue of stealing signs:
It was another big week in "doubtful" news with several important stories. Here is a rundown of the random surprises and non-surprises that occurred this past week courtesy of Doubtful News.
The major story of the week is the death of self-proclaimed psychic Sylvia Browne I had to close the comments on this thread because people expressed their "relief" at her passing. I felt that was inappropriate as well as the comments by her defenders who thought she was so gifted. There was really not much for comment - It is what it is.
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 Burzynski Empire strikes back (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-burzynski-empire-strikes-back/ Eric Merola has responded to Liz Szabo’s devastating USA TODAY critique of Burzynski with an ignorant rant full of his usual tropes, misinformation, and pseudoscience. He denies the known toxicity of antineoplastons and even invokes Nazi Germany, slavery, and gay bashers! Burzynski’s own response to the FDA investigation consists of unacceptable, even laughable excuses.
Faith Healing: Religious Freedom vs. Child Protection (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/faith-healing-religious-freedom-vs-child-protection/ Religious beliefs have led to horrendous cases of medical neglect, child abuse, and murder that can't be prosecuted in most states because of religious shield laws. Those laws should be abolished, as should all non-medical exemptions to vaccination. The parents' right to religious freedom doesn't mean they can endanger their children with their beliefs. It is trumped by the duty of society to protect children.
I refer my readers to http://www.uri-geller.com/courts.htm. On this site, you’ll find very carefully selected and edited excerpts from a 1998 book – “Uri Geller – Magician or Mystic?” by Jonathan Margolis. The author fell completely for Geller’s charm and freely accepted the most ridiculous stories and claims made to him, despite having interviewed me and other skeptics. The point is made again: the public vastly prefers woo-woo over reality. What you see below is 1,252 words taken directly from Geller’s own site, in a most interesting style. It’s a continuous series of words without breaks for paragraphs, selected from all over the Margolis book, purposely discontinuous to confuse the reader, and under the general heading “A Letter from Uri Geller’s Lawyer to James Randi”. Actually, it consists of bits from over a dozen lawyers, and is largely a listing of lawyers Geller has used, again and again, over the years. His litigious nature is quite evident here. its punctuation is ridiculous, and it’s mostly disconnected phrases and hyperbole that make no sense. The errors you’ll see here are not mine, they’re Geller’s…