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JREF Kicks off its Regional Workshop Series in Saint Louis PDF Print E-mail
Swift
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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5 Things You May Not Have Thought to Bring to TAM PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Friday, 02 April 2010 14:51

We're now three months away from The Amaz!ng Meeting 8, 2010. I can tell you that things are abuzz at the JREF as we finalize plans, make arrangements, and put the finishing touches on what promises to be the biggest and most exciting TAM ever. Really. And though we say that every year, we've been right!

For those of you coming to TAM and for those of you considering it, I've put together a list of five things that you may not have thought you'd need. TAM can be a bit hard to explain, and this list might help some of you get a better grasp of what you're in for.

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The 2009 Pigasus Awards PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by The JREF   
Thursday, 01 April 2010 20:54

pigasusawardGood evening!

Tonight, we are pleased to present this year's Pigasus Awards to the following very-deserving people. It was a hard call — there seem to be millions all over the world clambering to make it onto the following shortlist — but these folks had that special something that commanded our attention and, in the end, impressed us like no others. No matter if it was blatant cynicism, shocking callousness, lazy ignorance, or merely old-fashioned pig-headedness — these men and women took those qualities that most vex us to their wild, crazy extremes. We'd salute them, but we're too busy gaping.

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It feels so good to be able to say: PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by The JREF & Friends   
Thursday, 01 April 2010 12:23


Congratulations, Simon Singh!

shinyballoons shinyballoons

shinyballoons

  

(And good job, English justice.)

The hard part is over.


 
Blinding Lady Justice PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 16:21

lady-justiceI've written about the Westboro Baptist Church before, though I didn't mention their name. I'd rather not in this case either, but I have to as they're prominently featured in the news today, including this article from the New York Daily News.

Albert Snyder's son was a U.S. marine killed in the line of duty while serving in Iraq. At his funeral, the Westboro Baptist Church appeared waving signs thanking God for "dead marines," among other well-known hate speech. Albert Snyder sued for emotional distress, and initially won a multi-million dollar award from a jury in a Maryland court. The church appealed, and won, nullifying the award to Snyder. The kicker: the court granted the church's request for reimbursement of legal costs, and Albert Snyder now owes them about $16,000.

In short, a man's son dies for his country, a hate group protests at the funeral (claiming that the son is now in Hell, among other things), and now Albert Snyder has to pay them $16,000. It hardly seems fair.

I first learned about this from skeptics via an Internet chat room, and the reaction was along the lines of "Damn, that sucks. I hate those guys." An Internet poll had 92% of participants claiming that the court made a mistake in this case.

And while I certainly agree that the church's actions and very existence are an affront to humanity, I'm glad they were granted their legal costs by the court.

Yep, that's right... I'm supporting the court. They did the right thing.

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