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Off The Wall PDF Print E-mail
Written by Luke Doug Haines   
Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:03

Penn and Teller once predicted -- with a lot more accuracy than your average psychic -- that, soon after the September 11th attacks, someone, somewhere, would hold a séance on national TV to contact the victims. When someone did indeed try to do this (take a bow, John Edward) network executives balked at the idea as being too tacky and exploitative even for modern TV audiences.

British TV, apparently, works a little differently.

Sky One, one of the leading UK satellite channels, has decided that whilst exploiting the recent deaths of thousands for viewing figures mightn't be terribly sensitive, exploiting the recent death of one extremely famous person for viewing figures is a-okay.

So we arrive at last Friday night's televised séance, in which spiritual medium Derek Acorah attempted to contact the ghost of the Michael Jackson. Why he chose November 6th as a date for this endeavour is unclear; it was not Jackson's birthday, nor, obviously, his date of death, so we're left to wonder why the more obvious idea of a Halloween séance wasn't used. (Perhaps a holiday associated with giving candy to children and wearing scary rubber faces was a little too close to the bone when dealing with The King of Pop.)

Reich For The Wrong Reasons PDF Print E-mail
Written by Penn Bullock   
Tuesday, 10 November 2009 17:01

NASA is prospecting for water-ice on the moon. On October 9, it shot a space probe into a crater at 9,000 miles per hour. The impact kicked up a mile-high plume of dust, which was photographed for clues. NASA hopes it gleaned enough data from this one-off Old Faithful to tell if there's water-ice in the moon's pock marks and poles -- as has long been suspected, and not only by NASA. "We are blown away by the data returned," said Tony Colaprete, the mission's top scientist. If NASA's moon bombing turns up water-ice, another acronymic organization beginning in N will stand belatedly vindicated. Kind of. The existence of lunar ice was, after all, the keystone of the NAZI cosmogony.

HELP! PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Sunday, 08 November 2009 13:57

Years ago, I won a prize in a limerick contest sponsored by Isaac Asimov's magazine. The verse had to incorporate the name of a celestial constellation and deal with the future. I submitted two. This one won me the prize:

An angry young student from Reticulum,
Annoyed at their crazy curriculum,
Said, "They teach biorhythms, Ψ,
And a rational .
I hear Asimov's set to ridicule 'em."

(In case your Greek is a bit rusty, those letters are "psi" and "pi.")

Carl Sagan Day Live! PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Saturday, 07 November 2009 15:10
The folks at are broadcasting Carl Sagan Day live from Fort Lauderdale. You can watch right at their site using UStream, the same technology we used at TAM 8. Join the chat room to discuss while you're viewing!
Why We Will Win PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Saturday, 07 November 2009 12:07

During an interview with a newspaper reporter recently, I was asked a common question: "Do you feel like we're losing the battle? That people are increasingly turning away from science and towards woo-woo?" And I answered, as I always answer, "No."

While it's true that the anti-vax movement could do some real harm to society, and that so-called Intelligent Design could make its way into text books, we have one thing going for us that they will never have.

But before I answer what that is, I have to define "we" and "they."

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