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The Story So Far: Vikings In The Bar, Envelopes, Randi’s Big White Limousine, Some Notes On Food, The Conference Begins PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon Thorp   
Friday, 10 July 2009 00:00

The Del Mar bar is empty right now, which is weird. It is a big bar, roughly the shape of an oyster shell, separated from an ocean of evil-looking slot-machines by several hundred feet of polished brass railings. Each of the slots advertises an ever-growing jackpot, which had edged up near $1,300,000 last time I checked. But we are not interested in slots. We are interested in the bar. By 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon, a small band of early-bird skeptics led by a large and improbably cuddly Danish Viking named Toby had colonized one of the Del Mar’s central tables. We were a small bunch, but loud, and The South Point Casino’s more traditional patrons eyed us curiously as though we were some rare, geeky species of desert fauna.

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TAM 7 Begins! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 09 July 2009 00:00

For those of you not attending TAM, I can understand if you'd rather not read about it. After all, you're missing out on the premiere skeptical event of the year, and possibly the largest skeptic gathering of al time. But, I urge you to read this, because technology has moved forward, and you can actually attend TAM in the comfort of your own home.

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Acupuncture versus Electro-Acupuncture: Application of Occam's Razor PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Christina Stephens   
Monday, 06 July 2009 00:00

When one sees press release headlines like, "For Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Acupuncture and Exercise May Bring Relief, Reduce Risks", as seen here, one tends to assume that the content of said press release concerns a specific alternative medicine procedure in which fine needles are inserted into specific parts of the body for therapeutic purposes based on the hypothesis that the needles can alter "energy".  When one reads the text of the press release, one is greeted with, "Exercise and electro-acupuncture treatments can reduce sympathetic nerve activity in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), according to a new study."

Electro-acupuncture and acupuncture are two different things and should not be used synonymously.

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Homeopathology PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 00:00

We skeptics can rant and rail against homeopathy, how it's useless, how it's nothing more than water, how there is no real methodology or mechanics behind it, how it's been shown over and over not to have any efficacy over the placebo effect... ... but sometimes simple mockery is the best way to sway people's hearts.

 


 

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How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Hold My Tongue PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Richard Saunders   
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 00:00

Over the years, I have gained a reputation for being cool in the face of utter nonsense. Attending many, many Mind Body Spirit (Wallet) festivals has taught me to keep a straight face, feign ignorance and ask questions.  This approach has given me a valuable insight into the thinking of those we oppose or at least investigate.  It’s hard to underestimate the amount of information peddlers of woo, will gladly tell you when you seem really interested in what they have to say.  My best result was a number of years ago when I managed to have members of the Australian Homeopathic Association Inc tell me at a Parents, Babies & Childrens’ Expo to keep clear of orthodox vaccinations but instead use homeopathy. (See Homeopathy Exposed Again! ) This resulted in Australian Skeptics blowing the whistle on the Australian Homeopathic Association Inc in the press and on radio.  A good outcome for our side.

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