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Small TAM 7 Update! PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Monday, 27 April 2009 10:23

randigeorgeFirst, in case you haven't been watching your calendar, TAM 7 prices will increase slightly on May 1st. If you haven't registered, now is the time! Click here for more info on TAM. I should mention too that some of the extra events are filling up. As of right now, everything is still open, including the workshops, show tickets, and private Randi events, but as in years past, there's a good chance they'll sell out. Best not to wait there either!

Also, I have to mention the TAM Scholarship program. This year, due to the economy and other factors we've been overwhelmed with applications, and the generous donations we've received thusfar haven't been enough to meet demand. To try to help get people to TAM who couldn't otherwise afford it, Kitty Mervine is organizing a unique auction to help raise some money. Check it out on our forum at this address. Some of the items available include:

  • A very special signed photograph of James Randi in the Galapagos.
  • A cornucopia of George Hrab goodies, pants optional.
  • A set of professional juggling balls signed by Michael Goodeau of Lance Burton and Bullshit! fame.

Check it out, and know that you're helping get folks to attend TAM. Thanks to everyone who's helped with this, including the generous people who dontated and signed the auction items. You know who you are, and I do too.


A Simple Demonstration PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 27 April 2009 00:00

picture1A friend of the JREF recently sent me two pictures, one of which is displayed to the right. At first I thought this must be a photo from a Japanese garden, where tastes in sculpture have been known to be a little bit different from what I see in Vermont, USA.

Sculpture is a representation, ranging from extremely lifelike to extremely abstract. Like all art, abstract art conveys meaning, sometimes more meaning, because we are pattern seeking creatures. The patterns we see come from our brains, and this tells us something of our experiences and our upbringing. In the abstract example above, I see a mother hawk feeding her chicks. It might be fun to post what you see in the comments below.

Now move your mouse over the photo in this article, and click Read More.

Following Up... PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 00:00

skullsSwift reader Steve Wellcome, commenting on my recent entry here about the Charles Lynch fiasco, offers us this:

You may want to check out the website of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of several thousand current and former law enforcement professionals who are calling for an end to drug prohibition. Not because they condone drug use, certainly, but because drug prohibition is causing far more harm than good. Think of the social harm caused by alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, and multiply that disaster by exponential quantities.

Steve expresses my feelings on the matter quite well. I believe that if the sale and use of drugs were to be suddenly legalized, first, the entire criminal community would be almost instantly crippled due to lack of income, on an international scale.

Another Chupacabra Sighting? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Saturday, 25 April 2009 00:00

chupacowbraReader Mark Hitch sends us the following:

The dreaded Chupacowbra.  I found this specimen along the South Platte River near Sterling, CO.  I think this is the male because of the crest.  The female looked identical, but without the give-away crest.  Now, with this irrefutable evidence, will the scientific community name it after me?  Chupacowbra shamicus hitchii, perhaps.

So, we should have taken a cruise to Colorado instead...

When Sylvia Comes to Town... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Friday, 24 April 2009 00:00

Derek Rogers ran into the JREF crew at the recent CFI World Congress in DC. He had an interesting answer to the question "What should you do when Syvlia Browne comes to town?" Derek and his friends at the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to attend. He gives us this very interesting, if somewhat disheartening report:

Sylvia Browne is well-known to readers of Swift.  Like all professional mediums, she makes a living on the grief, pain and desperation of people who are usually blissfully ignorant of cold reading, Barnum statements and the tendency of the human mind to see what it wants to see. The best way to combat ignorance is through education and when Sylvia announced that she would be coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia as part of her latest tour – a farewell tour, apparently (let's hope she's not like Cher) – the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to give her audience some information that could save them future heartache and empty wallets.

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