In "Challenging Challenges" (Swift, Oct 17), Jeff Wagg posted a video with weird sounds and the voice of John Benneth, who is challenging Randi's Million Dollar Challenge. I recently had an e-mail exchange with Benneth that was very illuminating.
A former unsuccessful applicant for the MDC, he is considering re-applying. He thinks he can distinguish between water and homeopathic remedies. He believes a recent study by Montagnier et al. supports homeopathy, and he wants to perform a variant of the same experiment. He is not alone in praising the Montagnier study: homeopaths are touting it as proof that homeopathy works.
It was only a matter of time. Yes folks, you can now tweet the dead, using Twitter, the micro-blog messaging tool that seems to be on everyone's desktop and cell phone these days. Twitter works like this: you send a message of 140 characters or less, and those people who are subscribed to your "tweets" will see it. You can subscribe to anyone who tweets, and many celebrities use the service to communicate with their fans. Now, thanks to department store psychic Jayne Wallace, you can tweet the dead. And they'll answer.
(Note: an earlier article on this topic has been replaced with this one.)
FLASH! Copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps are useless for relieving pain in people with arthritis, say University of York researchers! In what they claim was the first tightly controlled trial to look at both alternative therapies, they discovered there was no benefit to their use for pain or stiffness. Though this, to me, is equivalent to announcing that the Titanic has struck an iceberg, I congratulate the York researchers on their bravery in confronting and arousing the ire of the millions - literally - all over the globe who wouldn't be caught without their precious - $40 to $100 - ornaments. Though we wish the data pool had been larger - it was 45 patients - at least it was conducted. The York savants tested a copper bracelet, two different magnetic wrist straps, and a demagnetized version.
If you're reading this, you are aware of the James Randi Educational Foundation's $1,000,000 psychic challenge. This is the real deal. We have the money in a Goldman Sachs account, we WILL pay if someone wins a test that they design with us, and we do test people. A lot of people dispute those facts, but they simply can't—we've demonstrated them time after time.
Some individuals think it's a simple thing to conduct a challenge, and they've concocted their own home-brew versions. As a fun diversion, I'm going to present two of them to you.
Quest Florida is accepting registrations for campers 8-17 years old until November 20, 2009. Don't put off signing up and reserving a spot for your camper this Winter. Older campers can attend as counselors in training. Families are welcome to join us too. The camp is located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will run from 12/25/09 to 1/1/10. Campers will receive three meals a day, a bunk bed in a single sex cabin with a CQ FL counselor of the same gender, a CQ FL t-shirt, a field trip to John Pennekamp Underwater State Park, visits to the beach, a short day hike, a canoe trip on a lagoon to see Florida wildlife, celebrate Festivus and New Year's Eve, participate in critical thinking activities and other fun arts and crafts and games, and enjoy a special visit from The Amazing Randi!
Your camper will make friends, have fun, and create memories to last a lifetime!