Saturday, May 23, 2009

Randigram for May 22, 2009

James Randi Educational  Foundation
May 22, 2009

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Randi Speaks

In this episode, Randi recalls the phenomenon that was "Carlos," and how the media is often responsible for creating phenomena simply by reporting it in a credulous fashion.
Click here to see the original YouTube video and comments.

SWIFT Digest
The official blog of the JREF, here are this week's entries:

This week's topics include:

Can You Apply Too Much Critical Thought?

pressurecookerReaders of this site, by and large, already accept the idea that applying critical thought is good for you. But can you apply too much?
Consider the purchase of an automobile. You have a long commute, so you want the most fuel-efficient car possible. The dealer in the area has a model that gets 40mpg, and meets all your criteria. He has two of these cars on the lot. One of them is white, and the other is black. Which car do you pick?
Actually, the proper question is: how do you decide which car you'll pick? A skeptic might make a list of pros and cons over the colors. White cars have a higher resale value and hide dirt and blemishes better. Given those facts, it seems the obvious choice is white.
A friend of mine answered this by saying "I'd never buy a white car. I think they're ugly. Only the black one could work for me."
Was she exercising critical thinking in her decision? I may surprise you by saying yes, she was.

Read more

UFO Mystery Solved! Er.. umm.. well..

ufobibleHere at the JREF, we believe in UFOs. That is, we believe that there are Flying Objects that for a time can be Unidentified. Most of these sightings have a rational explanation, however some remain unexplained. And then there are cases like this one.
Probably the most well-known UFO incident in the United States is the Roswell Crash, in New Mexico. The common rational explanation is that a secret balloon project crashed there, causing the military to act in a secretive fashion, which in turn gave fodder to the "alien spaceship" theory of so much contemporary lore.
However, at this year's UFO Festival (July 3-5... you can do this and still make TAM 7!), a Christian group plans to expose the "real" explanation for the crash. They found the answer in the Bible.

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Watch Out, Willy Wonka

Let's be clear here: I like chocolate. It's not my intent to have this article bash chocolate in general. Nor is it my intent to suggest that eating chocolate can't make you feel better. However, it is my intent to suggest that the chocolate makers at Intentional Chocolate make dubious claims. What claims you ask? How about this one:
All Our Chocolate is Embedded With This Intention:
"Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being for the benefit of all beings."
Wow, I need some of that! Or do I?

Read more

Another Loss..

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The James Randi Educational Foundation ( is a not-for-profit organization that promotes critical thinking, science education, and skeptical inquiry by providing the public and the media with reliable information about paranormal, supernatural, and pseudoscientific claims.

Randigram is the weekly e-bulletin of the JREF. Contents © 2006-2009 James Randi Educational Foundation.

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