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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.

WOO IN REVIEW: Crystal Head Vodka PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
WOO IN REVIEW: Crystal Head Vodka

Available in bars and liquor stores for $12/shot or between $50 and $250/bottle

 crystalhead

A few months ago, when the promotional video for Crystal Head Vodka was first released, there was some doubt about whether or not it was a real product and whether or not Dan Aykroyd had totally flipped his cheeseburger.

 

All I can say is: Aykroyd's cheeseburger was flipped long ago – he is a lifetime member of and consultant for MUFON. He also hosted the television show Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal which, though it was a scripted drama, earned him the Snuffed Candle Award from CSI.

So the vodka he helped create is, of course, also insanely woo. And I mean insanely.

 

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Skeptical of Business Services... PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brian Dunning   

corporationIt's year end again, and about now I always get an extra annual load of junk mail. This particular batch is from companies who attempt to deceive small business owners into paying for unnecessary services that appear to be a legal requirement.

I received a typical solicitation today. Corporations are required to keep certain records, including the recorded minutes of shareholder meetings. In my case, once a quarter I type a sentence or two detailing any important decisions I made regarding my podcast, and I stick it in a file. This is a legal requirement, and it takes me ten minutes to comply.

Today's solicitation was from a company offering to store it for me, for $175, if I mail it to them. Nothing wrong with that. Probably not worth it, but certainly there's nothing wrong with offering such a service.

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The Wall Street Journal Debunks the Myth of Alternative Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

We frequently criticize the media for gullible reporting of pseudoscience and inaccurate reporting of real science. But sometimes they exceed our fondest hopes and get it spectacularly right. On December 25, 2008, the Wall Street Journal gave us all a Christmas present: they printed an article by Steve Salerno that was a refreshing blast of skepticism and critical thinking about alternative medicine.

Salerno points out that 38% of Americans use "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) and it is being increasingly accepted in hospitals and medical schools. He says this should be a laughing matter but isn't because of the huge amounts of money being spent on ineffective treatments. Not to speak of the huge amounts of money being wasted on implausible research at the NCCAM.

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A Correction PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

gvThis strange man George Vithoulkas, in Greece, is still flailing about on the subject of a comprehensive, definitive, homeopathy test, which convinces me that he's honestly self-deluded - as so many naifs are - that homeopathy actually works. Certainly, any reasonable person looking at the many tests that have been conducted to test the weird claims made ever since Samuel Hahnemann came up with this idea back in 1792, would immediately see that the "art" is simply imaginary. The tests that I approved to be done by the Royal Society and broadcast on BBC-TV, offering the JREF million-dollar prize, demonstrated that fact very strongly, so it takes a totally delusional mind to still think that there's anything there to be found.

Vithoulkas is currently celebrating the fact that I blamed the Greek homeopaths for aborting the arrangements for a test, when I should have said that it was the Hungarians who were responsible; since they're all deluded, I can't manage to keep them sorted out...  I also had a notice entered a week earlier than I'd said it would appear, and that provided Vithoulkas with a further source of glee.

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I Don't Get the Joke: My Year-End Tirade PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

rwOn Xmas Day, "pastor" Rick Warren, the currently-celebrated evangelist who is on every TV screen and front page as the hand-picked preacher to deliver the invocation of divine magic at the Obama inauguration ceremony, gave an effusive, rambling account on the NBC Today Show that demonstrated his incredible naivety about rational thinking and how disconnected his brand of religion - at least - is from reality. He was gushing over a miracle that he said had "blessed" his family.

The facts: Warren said that his daughter-in-law Jaime gave birth to her first child six weeks prematurely, though he can't seem to remember whether it was five, six, or seven weeks, since he gave all three figures... The hospital, he said, performed a C-section to save the baby's life - and the mother's. In that procedure, Warren said, they discovered that it was a "breech baby," that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and it was not receiving oxygen.

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