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WOO IN REVIEW: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
Friday, 26 December 2008 02:36

WOO IN REVIEW: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!
Soundtrack available on iTunes ($7.99), DVD available in stores everywhere ($11.99), and check listings on Comedy Central

This season, instead of waiting for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to come on network television, you colbertchristmas1might try heading up to Barnes and Noble to purchase a copy of A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All. That is, if you're one of the people who can stand Christmas sentiment (and if you aren't, I'll be getting to you momentarily). And yeah, I realize it's not Christmas anymore in many parts of the world. But for all I know, you're still flipping through the channels awaiting that part where the other reindeer make fun of Rudolph and he responds by letting out a phlegmy-sounding wail. Don't worry, A Colbert Christmas isn't your standard blaring O Holy Night type of Christmas special. It is edgy, controversial, and might even piss off skeptics.

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Where's the Justice? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Friday, 26 December 2008 00:00

In recent months, there've been a few satisfying examples of how some police departments have moved in on "psychic" scams, arrested the perpetrators, and even obtained penalties against them. In San Mateo, California, Janet Adams, 42, a woman who advertised herself as a psychic was charged with taking $80,330 from an 85-year-old woman by claiming that both their husbands would die if the woman didn't hand over money. She is being held on $500,000 bail at the San Mateo County Jail. Adams came up with additional colorful - and false - stories about funeral expenses and a fictional son's medical treatments, and has a history of victimizing women in this way. In 2004, she spent two years in state prison on a theft conviction, while working as a palm reader.

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We're Back! PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 25 December 2008 14:50

Thanks to the tireless holiday efforts of volunteer technical administrator Terry Heatlie, our server is back much sooner than we'd hoped, and looks to be running better than ever. Thanks Terry!

If you see anything unusual, please let me know at webmaster@randi.org. Thanks!

 
Going Around in Crop Circles PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Thursday, 25 December 2008 14:28

Reader "Troy C" shares this with us:

I have enjoyed your site for some time now.  I'm a former high school agriculture science teacher, and I'd like to share an experience I had with one of my classes a few years ago.  A local newspaper reported that a farmer in the area had discovered  a crop circle in one of his soybean fields, so naturally a crop circle "expert" was brought in to "investigate."  One of the comments in the article  made by the "expert" caught my attention: she noted that only about 50% of the soybean stems were broken off in the circle, and the rest were merely bent over.  That curious observation was one of the things that led her to believe that the circle was "genuine" - whatever that means - since according to her all the stems should have broken.

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Hands Licensed to Kill PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Linda Rosa   
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 00:00

It's hard to keep bad ideas down.  With the recent publication of an NCCAM-funded study, Therapeutic Touch (TT) — where nurses wave their hands above their patient to manipulate their "human energy fields" — seems to be trying to revive its early glory days with a return to the petri dish. When Bernard Grad (McGill University) claimed plants fed healer-treated water produced extra chlorophyll, TT's inventor and NYU nursing professor Dolores Krieger set out to see if laying on hands could do the same to hemoglobin (1975). That launched TT's invasion into nursing as the profession's premier quackery.

TT would go on to produce over two decades of unconvincing clinical trials before young Emily Rosa dealt the practice a body blow in 1998 when she published the results of her experiment testing TT's basic tenet that TT practitioner's could detect the human energy field (now redubbed the "biofield") with their hands. (For a description of Emily's findings, see QuackWatch.

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