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Going Around in Crop Circles PDF Print E-mail
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.

Hands Licensed to Kill PDF Print E-mail
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.

Give the NAS a moment of your time PDF Print E-mail
Written by Phil Plait   
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 00:00

The National Academies of Science is one of the most prestigious scientific organizations in the world. As their "About the NAS" page states:

The National Academies perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

The JREF Welcomes A B Kovacs as New Director of Operations PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Phil Plait   
Monday, 22 December 2008 12:14

A B Kovacs and James RandiIt is our pleasure to announce A B Kovacs is the new Director of Operations of the JREF. We heard from many excellent applicants, and the final decision was a difficult one. But A (yes, her first name is just the letter "A") distinguished herself with her qualifications and her obvious devotion to the skeptical movement.

As Director of Operations, A will be the functional manager for all employees, event manager for special events, and member relationship manager. She will also be responsible for the JREF's consistent achievement of its mission, goals, and financial objectives.

Orgasm, Orgone, Or Not PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Saturday, 20 December 2008 21:23

bigoTime is running out. There are just hours left to participate. DO NOT DELAY. At 7am Eastern Standard Time today (Dec 21, 2008), you can create world peace in the comfort of your own bed, shower, or.. well wherever.

The world of the woo-woo can be harmful in many ways. From silver colloid therapy which can leave your skin blue to alternative cancer treatments that can leave you dead, unfounded beliefs are often best left ignored. However, it has been brought to my attention by The Sex Tech that a movement is afoot with the peculiar belief that a certain physiological response will bring about world peace. And while I don’t actually believe that, I can’t think of a reason not to go along.

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