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High Woo-Woo at Work PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Saturday, 28 March 2009 00:00

Reader Mack Hitch sent us a news item from Denver, where the rarified high-altitude atmosphere seems to be getting to some citizens. A woo-woo vendor named David Stevens is a "Home clearer" who helps real-estate agents by erasing those dreaded negative vibes from properties that aren't selling... Last Monday, Re/Max City Horizon broker Steve Kinney, in his experienced wisdom, summoned guru Stevens to dissipate the negative energy from a new home in the Berkeley neighborhood, vibes that came from the "resentment seeping in from the older property next door." Makes perfect sense, don'tcha think...?

Stevens is the owner of "Yoga of the Mind." He mystically waved his hands, clearing the way for the house to sell. The home had been completed in November, and the developer hadn't had a single offer on it, a sure sign of clogged-up evil vibes. Broker Kinney had purchased these magical gestures several times previously, paying the hand-waver $100 to $200 to have a home "cleared."

An Open Letter to Open Minds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Saunders   
Friday, 27 March 2009 00:00

Some time ago I had an idea. Well, I have many ideas but most just come and go. This time, however, the idea sort of stuck in my head.

The idea was to somehow alert the general public here in Australia about some of our concerns as skeptics. The normal press release is all very good but with hundreds of companies and organizations issuing press releases everyday, ours can get lost in the wash. So, what to do?

Why not write a letter to the very people and/or institutions with which we have a concern? Again, would that mean anything really, would they care? Okay, one more step. Aim the message not so much at them, but at the general public. An open letter was the answer.

Tune In! PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by James Randi   
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:50

The indomitable Eric Krieg of PhACT - the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking - tells us to watch Dateline NBC, 7pm EDT, Sunday March 29th.  One of the half-hour segments will be on scammer Dennis Lee's latest deceit - a nationally-sold $1000+ fuel-saver kit he claimed would get at least a 50% mileage boost - they say often over 100mpg - using the phony old magnets, fuel additives and hydrogen electrolysis devices.  Lee claims to have thousands of happy customers, though he's unable - even for a $1000 offer - to find any of them willing to participate in a proper demo of the mileage advantage he claims.  Eric was recently sued by Lee, and that suit was dismissed by the court. Both Eric and leading skeptic/scientist/author Bob Park will be offering their skeptical point of view on Dateline.  Full-page ads for this device ran in magazines like Newsweek and US News, which brought Dennis Lee to the attention of the FTC who use the expression "to the fullest extent of the law" to describe their prosecution effort.  You can see Eric's skeptical response to Lee's mileage claims at

A U. N. Victory For Reason PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Thursday, 26 March 2009 00:00

Proposals that would have banned "defamation of religion" were formally rejected by United Nations international bodies this week. The  contentious "blasphemy" resolution presented by Pakistan, introduced at the UN and supported by some of the Middle East regimes, called upon all governments to forbid critical, insulting or defamatory statements about religion, especially the Islamic faith. The proposal failed to earn sufficient votes in the UN General Assembly to become a binding resolution, and it will not be on the agenda at the next conference, slated for Geneva in April. Doubtless, it will be again proposed in the future, as zealots seek to promote their discriminatory agendas.

Winners! PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 00:00

hungaryfGyula Staar, editor of Természet Világa, the Hungarian science journal that has served the academic community of that country for 140 years, has written to inform me of the last two winners of the annual Randi Prize which is given to students who show appropriately skeptical approaches to claims and statements that they encounter in the news. The prize was first awarded back in 1992, when I visited Hungary, and has continued since, though with a few gaps because the journal did not find applicants of sufficient talent to justify the award. That principle - granting an award only when it's justified - is the way such matters should be handled. The journal holds a student essay competition on the first Saturday of March every year at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the awards are presented by my friend Professor Gyula Bencze.

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