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NECSS PDF Print E-mail
Written by The JREF   
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 23:02


Just a quick note. At this moment — 11:12 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, April 6th, 2010 — you have less than two weeks to nab tickets to the North Eastern Conference on Science and Skepticism. (That’s NECSS, by the way — pronounced “Nexus.”) James Randi will be there, and our own D.J. Grothe will deliver the keynote address. Other notables scheduled to appear include George Hrab, Rebecca Waston, Steve Mirsky, David Gorski, Val Jones, Kimball Atwood, Julia Galef, and the whole cast of Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe. The incomparable Jamy Ian Swiss will emcee. The whole dealio goes down in Manhattan on April 17th, and you can find more info at

Skeptic Podcasting Turns Five PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Donnelly   
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 12:16

skepticalusitunesLast week marked a milestone for those of us engaged in online skeptical outreach. Skepticality, the show that started all of our skeptical podcasting fun, turned five. In a world before Facebook, Twitter, and the big network of local Skeptics in the Pub, for many of us Derek and Swoopy were the only skeptics' community we had, in our ear week after week. Thank you for the steady stream of critical thinking, you two!

When I proposed that D.J. and I begin a podcast back in the fall of 2005, it was because I was inspired by Derek and Swoopy and how great Skepticality was. We were employed at the Center for Inquiry at the time, and not everyone there at first understood the promise of podcasting for skeptical outreach, even if they eventually came around because of our success with Point of Inquiry (D.J. and I ended up doing over 200 episodes of that show with over 6 million downloads during our tenure. Since then I've left CFI to pursue my legal education, and D.J. moved on to head up the JREF).

I first met Derek and Swoopy back in January of 2006 at a podcasting conference I attended with D.J., and have enjoyed their warmth and friendship since. This was right after Derek's stroke, but I was still impressed with how they brought podcasting to the skeptical world and skepticism to the podcasting world.

Last Week At Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall, MD (The SkepDoc)   
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 00:59

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 in medicine.

Quackery at Temple...? PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Monday, 05 April 2010 09:26

On Thursday, March 25, 2010, Temple University announced — in Temple Today, their daily e-mail posting to keep staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends of the University abreast of Temple news — the official advent of Medical Acupuncture as an accepted therapy now to be offered at Temple University’s hospital. Sanford M. Sorkin, Faculty Chair of the Advisory Board of Temple University, wrote to Temple president Dr. Ann Weaver Hart and to Dr. John M. Daly, Temple’s Dean of the University Medical School, regarding this announcement:

JREF Kicks off its Regional Workshop Series in Saint Louis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Blanford   
Friday, 02 April 2010 20:14

dowsing_3The Regional Workshop Program, one of several new educational initiatives in development at the JREF, saw its debut in Saint Louis this past month.  The workshop, which was sold out, focused on the use of dowsing rods and pendulums for divination.  Participants were treated to a comprehensive review of the topic beginning with its fascinating history.  The real fun began, though, when participants were guided through the process of making their own dowsing rods & pendulums and examining their effectiveness under careful experimental conditions.  Making and using these “devices” gave participants firsthand experience in the ideomotor effect and confirmation bias.  This “hands-on” approach will be a focal point of all JREF workshops.  It’s gives people an important perspective on the topic.  A great example of this is the participant who said: "After I made my pendulum, they told me to ask the pendulum to give me a yes response.  I was like "this is stupid... woah, it's moving!" The workshop also stressed the need for robust testing protocols and gave practical experience in setting up double-blind trials.

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