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Time Off PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 00:00

Hey, just for fun – for which we have to make room, from time to time – courtesy of reader Steve Ilett in Australia, we’ll send you to www.whitepages.com.au, which gives you a search facility to find businesses in that country.  Some wag – an eminently sensible person, as I see it – has been at work. Go there, and enter “magic shop” in the “Business Name” slot, and “Queensland” in the “State” box, then click on “Search.”

See….?

And Matthew Hu Xinyu, my good friend in Beijing who is with the Beijing Cultural Protection Center [CHP], has informed me that the current year-designation in China incorporates a subtle joke – which you may wish to spring on your Chinese-speaking friends.  The word for “ox” – and this is the Year of the Ox, in China – is “niu,” pronounced “nee-oo,” which is very similar to our pronunciation of the English word “new.” Thus, when you say “Happy New New Year,” you see…  But I’m sure that you can figure it out…

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Two big TAM news items! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   
Monday, 02 February 2009 12:54

We have two big TAM-related news items for you today.

1) The JREF is very pleased and excited to announce that registration for The Amaz!ng Meeting 7, our annual conference on critical thinking, will open on Wednesday, February 25, 2009!

TAM 7 will be from July 9 - 12, 2009 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. As always, we have a fantastic lineup of guest speakers, including Mythbuster Adam Savage, skeptical investigator Joe Nickell, science writer and head of the Science and Entertainment Exchange Jennifer Ouellette, and of course our very own Phil Plait and the head guy himself, James Randi.

We're also very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker is Bill Prady, Executive Producer of the hit TV show "The Big Bang Theory." Bill is a science and scifi buff, and The Big Bang Theory has done a great (and hilarious) job of mainstreaming science and scientists on television. He'll be speaking on how the show got on the air, how they portray science, and what the environment is like in Hollywood for science-minded programming.

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A Clean Rant PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Sunday, 01 February 2009 10:37
carmen

I travel a lot and I try to take advantage of the hotel's amenities where appropriate. As I'm not in the least bit picky about shampoo and conditioner, I will most often use what's provided. And I've been noticing a disturbing trend: soap makers want to cover me with food. Specifically, they want to fill my hair with fruit. Newsflash: I am not Carmen Miranda.

I've seen ginger, green tea, white tea, vanilla, almond, coconut, spearmint, peppermint, raspberry, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. But today, I reached my limit. Today's choice: bamboo.

Pandas favor bamboo and Tiki lounges employ it effectively. I like bamboo as well, and once owned several delightful acres of it in Virginia. That said, bamboo has none of the qualities I want associated with my hair. It is stiff, brittle, and green. It also grows quickly, which may be seen to have some advantage, but honestly I'd prefer barber visits to be spread out as much as possible.

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Norway Retreats Back Into the Middle Ages PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Tuesday, 03 February 2009 00:00

Norwegian reader Bjarte Foshaug gives us disheartening news. I had always thought of the Scandinavian countries as being generally more rational than most other parts of the world, but I must reconsider that view after learning this. Mr. Foshaug writes:

Words can not describe how much I appreciate what you are doing. Sorry if this has already been brought to your attention, but things don't look too good in Norway at the moment. I have often seen my own country hailed as a beacon of enlightenment. All I can now say is that if the situation is even worse everywhere else, we are all doomed...

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Quick Clicks on Advanced Silliness PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Monday, 02 February 2009 00:00

Canadian television has inherited a quack-in-drag - Dr. Bill Nelson - who we thought was out of business, but it appears that he's still selling his $20,000 machines - see first this Swift article and then this one, then go to tinyurl.com/cosyhz to see the latest... Yes, that's the same Nelson in all these places...

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