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.

Did Voodoo Kill Michael Jackson? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

There is a fascinating article in the Phoenix New Times at  I recommend reading all 6 pages of it to get the full flavor of all the varieties of woo-ness it contains. Sedona healer Reinalda de Souza is claiming that she killed Michael Jackson - with voodoo!

She claims to be trained in just about every kind of alternative medical woo-woo (rhymes with voodoo), including acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, dowsing, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, divination, massage, and lithotherapy. She treated Jackson with lithotherapy, having him bathe in tubs filled with agate, garnet, and aventurine.

 
“Orphan”: A Movie That Reinforces Myths About Adoption PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jean Mercer   

Later in July, Warner Brothers will release a movie that is already eliciting serious concern among adoption groups and other child advocates. “Orphan” presents the story of an adopted child who is “damaged goods” and is dangerous to her adoptive family while appearing sweet and innocent to others. Superficially charming and friendly, she secretly menaces those who love her.

This movie is a regrettable homage to the myth that adopted children are emotionally disturbed.

 
Live Swifting TAM: A Fiendish Pace, The Perils of Success, Vegas U-Turns, Love and Marriage, Shermer/Savage/Lancaster, a Panel, Randi’s Crazy Stamina, and Penn’s Terrifying Ethics PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

 

It’s shortly after 4:00 p.m. Phil Plait is either speaking in the conference room or just finishing up, and I’m missing it to type this. I feel bad, but that’s the way it goes here—you can’t take a bathroom break without missing something.

 

TAM is a pretty remarkable thing. We were ready for record-breaking numbers we were perfectly prepared accommodate 1,000 TAMmers this year but we passed that once-unimaginable benchmark a long time ago. The registration desk ran out of badges yesterday and I got lost in Vegas trying to find more. (Random educational aside: it is possible to traverse the entire Las Vegas strip, south to north, without once finding an opportunity to take a legal U-turn.)
 
Thoughts From a Rare Break PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

After four hours of much needed sleep, I find myself at the bar of the Cornado Café at South Point in Las Vegas. It is 6:00am, and I am eating alone. I find this experience odd, not because I'm up this early, but because this is likely the only time today that I will be left alone with my thoughts.

We've had a tremendous couple of days at TAM. Despite the expense in this challenging economy, we've managed to bring over 1000 people from all over the world into the desert to talk about science and skepticism. It's nearly impossible to express how important this is.

 
Randi's TAM 7 Welcome Address PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Today marks the official start of The Amaz!ng Meeting 7! The ceremonies were opened by Randi himself, and below is a transcript of his talk.

Greetings, all! First, welcome to The Amaz!ng Meeting 7. The JREF staff and I have been repeatedly astonished – if not “amazed” – at the steady growth of this annual event, and we are appropriately grateful and humble for your presence here.  But, I must explain my somewhat subdued appearance…

This is what I call a major bummer.  During a routine medical examination more than a month ago, it was discovered that I had a nasty visitor inside me – yet another stunning example of Intelligent Design at work, friends.  My doctors went in and removed it, and things are looking up again.  I’ll be pretty weak for a couple of months, but I assure you all that I’m fighting this thing with the very best technical help – I’m not at all shy about embracing technology! – and I’ll be able to keep up with my regular duties as the treatment proceeds.

This is the reason you’ve not seen any recent videos from me.  Of course, I’m very fortunate to have good folks like Phil Plait, that Bad Astronomer, along with the ever-present, ever-diligent, and very fierce Linda Shallenberger, to back me up.  They stepped in to manage and resuscitate TAM 7, and I think the results speak for themselves…!

 
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