Sunday, May 31, 2009

Randigram for May 30, 2009

James Randi Educational  Foundation
May 29, 2009

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JREF Activities & Events
  • TAM 7 registrations are growing daily, but there's still space for you. Join us!

More TAM London tickets available!

tamlondonsmallWhen the JREF opened up registration for TAM London (our critical thinking conference to be held on October 3-4 of this year), the response was literally overwhelming: the server and database both freaked out. Now that the dust has settled and we've confirmed how many people got tickets, we have a pleasant bit of news: more tickets are indeed available!

Rather than simply do a first-come-first-served offer, which can be biased towards some time zones over others, we have opted instead to have an email lottery. Here's the deal, as enumerated on the TAM London website:
1) Send an email to from the email address you wish you register. You don't have to put anything in the email (unless you really want to), the subject and body won't be read.
2) You will receive an automated response confirming you've been added to the database.
3) 25 email addresses will be chosen at random on Sunday 7th June. If yours is chosen, you will be notified by email no later than Monday 8th June 2009 with a link to buy a maximum of two tickets.
4) Your purchase link will expire after two weeks. If you have not made a purchase after that time, another email address will be drawn.
There's more info on the website, including terms and conditions, so PLEASE go there before sending in your email. This deadline is a little over a week away, so get cracking! And remember, you can keep up with TAML on Facebook, Twitter, and through RSS.

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

This week's topics include:

Don't Read My Lips

"When you run your hands through your hair like that it makes me think you're flirting with me," a colleague said recently.
I replied, "Maybe I'm not flirting, but I'm getting my hair out of my eyes, or detangling my hair, or it's a nervous habit, or I have dandruff, or I'm readjusting my wig."
Someone's been reading those self-help books about so-called "Body Language"…
Linguistics, kinesics and semiotics are among the disciplines that attempt to observe and describe gesture and other forms of non-verbal communication.
On the other hand (excuse the pun), Body Language "experts" claim they can "read" posture, facial expressions, and other body movements. But people try to conceal their thoughts and emotions, and our own bodies reveal too much. It's a conspiracy.

Read more

Skeptic's Toolbox: Enlightenment in Eugene

skepticstoolboxIn 2004, I attended my first Amaz!ng Meeting at the Tuscany Hotel in Las Vegas. It was an event that changed my life. Hungry for more, I subscribed to Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, and it was there that I found an advertisement for something called "The Skeptic's Toolbox."
This event has been held for the last twenty years at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Led by skeptic, scholar and magician Ray Hyman, The Skeptic's Toolbox is an intense weekend devoted to a single aspect of skepticism. This year's topic: "The Scientific Method." August 6-9 is going to be an interesting weekend in Eugene.
From the site:
Skeptics believe that unusual claims should be backed by evidence which is supported by sound scientific method. However the status of science and the existence of scientific method are currently highly controversial issues. Cynics argue that scientific method does not, and cannot, yield objective outcomes. Indeed, they argue that all scientific knowledge is relative to a given culture or social group.

Read more


Gift Items of the Week
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JREF Tastefully-Bent Stainless Steel Fork

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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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