Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Randi’s TAM 7 Opening Speech transcript

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on July 10, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

Written by Phil Plait

Today marks the official start of The Amaz!ng Meeting 7! The ceremonies were opened by Randi himself, and below is a transcript of his talk.

Greetings, all! First, welcome to The Amaz!ng Meeting 7. The JREF staff and I have been repeatedly astonished – if not “amazed” – at the steady growth of this annual event, and we are appropriately grateful and humble for your presence here. But, I must explain my somewhat subdued appearance…

This is what I call a major bummer. During a routine medical examination more than a month ago, it was discovered that I had a nasty visitor inside me – yet another stunning example of Intelligent Design at work, friends. My doctors went in and removed it, and things are looking up again. I’ll be pretty weak for a couple of months, but I assure you all that I’m fighting this thing with the very best technical help – I’m not at all shy about embracing technology! – and I’ll be able to keep up with my regular duties as the treatment proceeds.

This is the reason you’ve not seen any recent videos from me. Of course, I’m very fortunate to have good folks like Phil Plait, that Bad Astronomer, along with the ever-present, ever-diligent, and very fierce Linda Shallenberger, to back me up. They stepped in to manage and resuscitate TAM 7, and I think the results speak for themselves…!

The public response to my illness has been very generous and flattering. I’m now all the more aware of just how important our work is, and I intend to stay around for a long time because I’ve got a lot to do. My prognosis is good, even though I’ve decided to go along with this old-fashioned “orthodox” medicine, cutting back on the prayers and faith-healing, and opting for minimal voodoo ceremonies.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

Captain Disillusion gets some Amazing help!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on June 19, 2009

Homeopathy Qualifies for the Million Dollar Challenge

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on June 2, 2009

A quick clarification from the man himself. James Randi apparently has been asked by some homeopath bozo to put it in writing, in the JREF website that homeopathy is eligible for the Million Dollar Challenge and he obliged. Now let’s see how many homeopaths will line up to first embarras themselves and then rationalize it all away..somehow!

Patricia Putt Million Dollar Challenge Test Results In!

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on May 6, 2009

Patricia Putt, who claims she is psychic, took the preliminary test for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge today. The test was conducted by Professor Richard Wiseman and Professor Christopher French. In order to pass her challenge test, Mrs. Putt was required to pen psychic readings for ten volunteers who were then asked to identify their own readings from the group. At least five volunteers would have had to correctly identify their own reading.

None did. Mrs. Putt’s readings were correctly identified by zero out of ten volunteers.

According to the testers, Mrs. Putt took this failure well, and did not blame the test or the testers but rather her own powers for failing.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RANDI.ORG”

Skepdude predicts that even though she took the failure well and blamed her powers, this symptom is only temporary and within a short period of time, less than a full month, she will rationalize it away and keep on doing exactly what she was doing before she failed the test.

James Randi Speaks: The Compass Trick

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on April 30, 2009

A Champion Grubby Speaks Out

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on April 22, 2009

I hardly know where to start… First, see americanchronicle.com. This account is just so packed with mis-statements, outright lies, and scientific howlers, it would take me all day to itemize them – but it can still do a lot of harm just because the ignorant reporter – Peter Fotis Kapnistos – has published the material. I suggest he may now want to return to his former calling in fashion and advertising photography, rather than continue to pose as a “journalist.”

To quote him, he says, first:

…it was alleged that Uri Geller was caught cheating in an Israeli TV documentary that has lately also circulated on YouTube.

No, it was proven that Geller was doing one of the only five tricks he knows, and second, that was not any “TV documentary,” at all.  It was simply a TV entertainment show. Kapnistos continues:

The accusation was that a slow motion shot revealed him producing a small magnet from behind his ear or out of his hair to influence a compass needle.

Well, anyone who might have said that, would not have been a magician, I’ll tell you that. In any case, I’ve never seen such a statement, except from Geller himself – because he knows that it’s a ridiculous scenario, as I’ll show you up ahead, one that can’t be supported. No “slow motion” was required to show that Geller blatantly placed a thumb-tip – a very common and often-used magician’s prop – onto his thumb, which then seemed somehow magnetic, because it caused the very sensitive marine compass to turn as soon as it was brought near the instrument. Kapnistos, again:

…we see a wide overall view of the controversial Israeli TV video scene where Uri Geller’s critics accuse him one way or another of allegedly plucking a slightly thick “hidden magnet” from the edge of his hairline.

No, that’s not true. The magicians – particularly the Israeli magicians, who are seriously embarrassed by this crude trick from their countryman – never made any such silly statement. That’s like saying that a magician produced a rabbit from a hat by having it shot there from a concealed offstage cannon. But this “journalist” really reveals his ignorance by this next statement:

…the video footage makes it readily understood that Uri could not possibly have placed pointlessly thick thumb magnets on both of his hands.

“Both his hands”? Suddenly we have two “thick thumb magnets” being wielded by the magician? Believe me, one is more than sufficient, folks, as I’ll show you next week. But just how “thick” – or massive – does a magnet have to be to dramatically affect a marine compass, one of the size that Geller used on the TV show? Just 1/16″ thick by 3/16″ diameter – and you can easily get a number of those tiny discs into any thumb-tip! Does Mr. Kapnistos really think a responsible journalist would describe such a miniscule object as, “thick”? The fact is, that we magicians are astonished that Geller actually chose to use a plastic thumb-tip, rather than just taping a tiny disc to his finger!

As for the Swedish person Kapnistos says has so carefully researched magnets and their effects on compasses, he’s an incompetent, too. His ignorance of the subject is apparent. One statement by Kapnistos says that

…a magnet small enough to hide in someone’s hairline can’t possibly make a compass needle shift as much as it does in the Uri Geller video.

Au contraire, both of you “experts”! A tiny neodymium magnet contained in a plugged-on thumb tip sure can!

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RANDI.ORG”

JREF account suspended-Let YouTube Management Hear It!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

I did my part and let them hear it Skepfeeds style. I do regret that they only allow 350 characters in their comments box, because I had so much more to unload on them, all in good style obviously, but it is really hard to take someone to task with 350 characters. Please follow the directions below the video to give them a piece of your mind. But a word of caution, KEEP IT CIVIL, no foul language and no cursing; that can only backfire on us. Be firm but polite. You can hand out a criticism without being rude, so let’s make sure we do that. I think that will be our best chance to bring the venerated JREF back to YouTube.

To complain to youtube FOLLOW THIS LINK. Scroll to the very bottom and click on “new issue” Select “suspended account” from the options and express your opinion

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James Randi speaks with Steve Novella

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 5, 2009

James Randi Speaks: Dowsing, the Ideomotor Effect

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 21, 2009

James Randi Speaks: My Horoscope

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 4, 2009