Sunday, March 7, 2010

A visit to The Byrd Park Pump House "ghosts" capture event.

Richmond Skeptics visit the Byrd Park Pump House for a capture and containment of "ghost" event. Is it Real ScienceTM?

On March 6th, 2010, a couple of us from the Richmond Skeptics gathered along with perhaps 100 other curious onlookers to attend a live ghost capturing event put on by the Foundation for Paranormal Research. According to their own press release (available here and here) we were prepared to witness the "paranormal capture and containment of "ghosts" or foreign entity's within our personal world."

If you've gotten this far, I hope you'll make it to the end - but first, a quick note about this post. Please understand, if you are a member of the Foundation for Paranormal Research, I truly look forward to having a dialog with you about the event, and what conclusions and claims your organization will - I assume at some point - make about it. However, this blog post is not really trying to convince you of anything. I'm much more interested in reaching the people who weren't quite sure what they were going to see at the Pump House. The ones who might have gone hoping to see something fantastic and supernatural, and perhaps came away a little bit cold and mostly bored. Anyone who has not yet quite decided if "Ghost" hunting as an activity actually deals with real supernatural events. These are the people who motivate me to write about this experience, and to offer my thoughts on what I saw.

The venue for the event was The Bryd Park Pump House. It truly is a Richmond Treasure. It is an amazingly cool structure! The Pump House sits between the canal and the James River, just passed the tollbooths on the Nickel Bridge. Getting to take a look around this old building made the entire trip to the event well worthwhile. If you've never been for a visit, consider taking the time to seek it out (they do tours in the summer months) - you won't be sorry, and you'll come away with another uniquely Richmond experience.

The main room of the Pump House is where the event took place. It had been darkened for the event, by placing cardboard over all the windows (+1 for use of duct tape). This seemed to help offset the very atypical ghost hunting time selected for the event of 11am on a Saturday. Upon entering the main area, I was quickly struck by the overwhelming amount of technology present for this process. I was not expecting such an elaborate setup - it was pretty impressive and quite aesthetically pleasing. Here are a few excellent pictures of it that we took.

Unfortunately, this also present our first point of contention. Typically, Real ScienceTM, isn't very pretty. When I say Real ScienceTM, I'm talking about the kind done in controlled laboratory environments, which produce repeatable results. The outputs of Real ScienceTM are verifiable. Things like better treatment for cancer and AIDS, the clean drinking water in your house, and cool technology, like the stuff inside my phone and this laptop, which we know work, because you are reading this. Real ScienceTM creates Real ProgressTM that can help make life better, and teaches us something about the reality of the Universe we live in. When you are testing nature and looking for effects, what matters most is the data you produce and your ability to control for as many variables as possible. Making it look presentable and pretty is hardly on the list of things that matter, at all.

Now, this does not necessarily mean the demonstration team is not doing Real ScienceTM. It just means it that if they are doing Real ScienceTM, it also happens to look a bit like a stage show or a movie set. Perhaps a bit more than your average Real ScienceTM laboratory. Now let's take a closer look at some of the technology involved in this setup. Here's a partial list of the technology involved for the event - not including the main "Parabot" unit:

Apple iMac
Strobe lights
Auxiliary lighting
Dual Laser Levels
Tesla Coil
Handheld Fog Machine
Multiple Cameras, Boom Microphones and audio equipment (It really looks like someone is making a DVD or a Pilot TV show. There was some very serious effort being put forth on documenting this event)

Why the laser levels? I don't know. Perhaps the "ghosts" require a level containment unit. Strobe lights? At least they did add nicely to the ambiance - although, it did feel a little like a mall novelty shop. So at this point, maybe you could stop and ask yourself - is equipment for creating Real ScienceTM, or is it used for something else?

The actual "Parabot" unit had a separate control panel - complete with 1980's Ghost Theme Movie Containment handle

It was about 7 feet tall, and made out of what looked to be plexiglass. Why can "ghosts" travel through the thick stone walls of the Pump House with ease, but not manage to penetrate the clear plexiglass walls of the "Parabot" once trapped inside? I don't know.

On top of the "Parabot", there was a Jacob's ladder, two laser projectors - which created red swirly patterns on the walls (well, mostly one of them did - the other was only turned on briefly), and a Clock.

The doors to the "Parabot" unit were open for all of the pre-show. They also opened and closed several times during the demonstration. Inside the unit, were a couple of green neon lights mounted in two of the corners and another Tesla Coil. The doors also had thermometers mounted on them - which we were later told, allowed the team to measure the tempurature inside the "Parabot" chamber and the outside air temperature simultaneously. Perhaps not my precise definition of "cutting edge" technology as mentioned in the press release - but the temperature differentials did seem to provide moments of great excitement to the team, during the demonstration.

The bottom of the unit had inflatable tires for transportation purposes, and another fog machine - because, as we were later told during the introduction - having a "medium" for the ghosts to use is a requirement for the successful ghost capture and containment process. Obviously.

After a few minutes with several of the auxiliary lights turned off to allow our eyes to adjust we were finally ready to begin the show. There were brief introductions, warnings that some of the equipment could be dangerous - a quick overview of where the exits were located (in case anything 'unexpected' were to happen) and finally, a somewhat conflicting reassurance that the demonstration would be completely safe. A few request for copies of any video or pictures which are later found to have any sort of 'odd' or 'unexplained' objects in them were then made.

The request for video and pictures is very important. In the perhaps millions of frames of video, and thousands of pictures that were taken during this event - what are the chances that more than just a few of them, will end up with some sort of odd looking phenomenon? I'd say they are pretty good, really. I'd be more impressed if there wasn't a single thing that looked odd in any of the pictures!

Consider some of the understood processes that might create some of these effects. Lens Flares (If you do not know what that is, please, watch this for an excellent and entertaining overview), odd reflections from sunlight creeping into a fog filled environment, and movement of a camera while taking pictures in a low-light environment will all create artifacts on pictures which were not actually visible to those in the room. This is because the physical act of taking the picture is what creates the oddity on the photo. This is why watching the collection process, gets very boring, very quickly - there really is nothing to see. Will they capture something that falls outside of these well known effects? Perhaps. However, we must first consider using all the available ideas and concepts we already know about, before we can reasonably move onto explanations that involve invoking the unknown*.

It was time to get started. All the video cameras were rolling - and almost everyone who brought a camera was using it. But PLEASE - NO CELL PHONE RINGERS! Surely this request was made to be polite - not because it has some meaningful impact on the collection process. Right?

I was expecting an impressive display. Tesla coils are cool - nature is really cool - and thousands of volts of electricity flying through the air in random fractal forms can be quite mesmerizing. Then, with a subtle thunk, the machines turned on. It was OK.

The Tesla coil behind the "Parabot" flickered up into the air - and the two strobe lights on either side of the massive old pipe behind the whole setup - flickered about with seizure inducing zeal. There was a rhythmic pulse to the zapping of the two Tesla Coils during the demonstration, which was a bit reenforced by the didgeridoo heavy drum circle-like background music that was provided.

Truthfully, I was hoping for something a little - bigger. The pre-demo setup had been so nice looking. It was such an amazingly perfect venue. So many electronic toys had been brought along to record and monitor everything that happened. But the actual operation of the setup, was - well, a bit underwhelming. It zaps, and the fog machines did their thing. After a few minutes, they turned off the two main Tesla coils. Approached the "Parabot" - made some adjustments, then restored operation of the two Tesla coils.

This process pretty much looked like this:

Use the Fog Machine
Turn off "Parabot"
Add more Fog
Turn on "Parabot"
Add more Fog
Turn off "Parabot"
Add more Fog
Make adjustment to "Parabot"
Add more Fog
Turn on "Parabot"
Add more Fog

About 20 minutes into the demo, the doors were finally closed on the unit. Success! A Capture! Oh wait, they just opened them back up again. What happened?!? I thought we were going to seal this puppy up and head back to the old firehouse?

It seems there was a problem, so containment was aborted. Or perhaps this was also an important part of the process. It's hard to tell. For everything the main Pump House room had in character and ghosty charm, the acoustics were awful. The team seemed to chatter back and forth a bit, undeterred that Slimer had escaped. Perhaps their recordings will provide insight into the dialog that transpired during the demonstration - it was impossible to determine what they were trying to do from where I was standing. The doors closed and opened quite a few more times. In between, obviously, more fog was added.

Ok, enough about the fog, Mr. Skeptic! What's the deal with the Fog? I'm glad you asked.

Since we are dealing with professionals here, I'll assume the fog machines they used, were of the Propylene Glycol variety. I think someone needs to update the Wikipedia page, as it appears the Application of Propylene Glycol as a 'Medium for "ghosts" or foreign entity's within our personal world" is missing. It can, however, make you smell better and de-ice aircraft wings.

One does wonder, why is it that the use of the fog is such a critical part of this process. Is there something about the chemical properties of the fog that lend it to high performance for inter-dimensional foreign entity mediumship? Which properties make it work so well? How did they figure out which type of Fog to use? What methods did they use to determine that Propylene Glycol works better than, say, Dry Ice and Water? If they both work the same - how is it that such a different chemical structure can work the same. And if the chemical structure doesn't matter - what does? I want answers! My answer, is that I think the Fog just looked neat, and added to the show - so perhaps the other properties don't really matter. I could be wrong.

There seemed to be a lot of fuse about the clock on top of the "Parabot" during the demonstration. It might have even been one of the first things to be talked about by the team. The Clock looked like it might possibly be one of the radio based atomic variety - kinda like this.

From where I was, I had no way to hear what they were actually saying about this. I'm sure this could be explained as disruptions from spirits that were angry with the testing. It appears they were busy making Potholes, too - so perhaps they also created a temporary deafness in yours truly? Although, the acousitical properties of the room, did seem to precede the testing - so maybe I'm overstating the ability of the spirits to cause hearing trouble. It does, somehow, seem pretty convenient that any announcements about what they were doing, and claims the team were making, were difficult to discern. But, I don't think they did that deliberately. This, is perhaps unlike their flat denial after the demonstration that there was going to be a great secret revealed. This one:

"Last but not least, there will be an announcement by the founder referencing to his personal involvement with the paranormal - a kept secret that NO ONE has known about him - a sworn secret that he now has been given permission to be announced to the world."

Yeah, the one right there in the press release. The members of the group I spoke with after the demonstration claimed they had no idea where the rumors about the secret even came from. I admit, I did briefly leave the demonstration at the very end, to get up and out into the sunlight and warm up a bit - so it's possible I missed it, and the member I spoke to just didn't know about it. If someone else did hear the big announcement, please let me know. After all, I couldn't hear very well, so maybe I just missed it. Back to the Clock...

I could not see what the clock was doing. I also could not hear what claims were being made about the Clocks behavior - other than to hear the word "clock" and see some pointing in the general direction of the Clock. It was clear there was something unusual about what it was doing. Not knowing the specific claim, I will just have to make this general observation. I don't think it's overly presumptuous of me to assume the discharge of perhaps several thousand volts of electricity in close proximity to any electronic device might result in some unexpected behavior. I believe this concept is called "Electromagnetic interference" and according to Wikipedia "Anywhere electrical power is being turned off and on rapidly is a potential source." Perhaps the constant, pulsing, discharge of electricity into the air and against the walls of the "Parabot" from the Telsa Coil - no more than 4 or 5 feet away from the clock - could be considered a potential source? In addition, it would appear this concept - that EMI can produce unexpected results in all things electronic - has eluded this team in the past.

Then there's the issue of temperature. Several of the team members were very excited by the temperature measurements recorded during the demonstration. Also, I was told the results from the thermal imaging camera were like "nothing they had ever seen before." So this is the best evidence generated by the demonstration for "the real existence of ghosts"? The best they can do is make claims of "unexplained" temperature differences? Well, by definition - if they are truly not able to be explain these temperature difference using the well understood laws of thermodynamics, I have GREAT NEWS! I know where you can get 1 Million Dollars. Just violate the laws of thermodynamics, and you will become a Millionaire. It's that easy. It's important to note, that you can legally win the challenge - even WITH THE HELP OF THE PARANORMAL. In fact, that's really the point - if you can detect the paranormal (this paranormal...or any other paranormal - they all qualify), you win. The money is real, the test is real...the demonstration of any verifiable paranormal....well, we're still waiting for that.

Of course, to do a proper test for this, we would need make very careful measurements. Perhaps, with careful measurements, one could account for all the heat that was generated by the equipment inside the enclosure of the "Parabot" - and see that the laws of thermodynamics had not, in fact, actually been overturned. My money is on bad measurement, rather than assuming that the temperature changes are proof of "foreign entity's within our personal world."

However, if you are able turn the world of physics on it's head - I suspect your riches would not end with the first Million from the Randi Challenge. Think of all the new electronic toys that could be used for further research into ghost hunting with your newfound riches!

In Conclusion:

The entire process shown in the demonstration is setup to create random, chaotic events. Each strike of the Tesla coils, combinded with each flash of strobe lights, and the wiggle of the laser projectors - all combine to create a very, rapidly changing environment. Next, the photographs and video of these random events are looked at in great detail for the slightest oddity. I could not dream up a better scenario for the effects of Pareidolia to take hold. We Humans are pattern seeking animals - we want to make order out of chaos. Pareidolia puts Mother Terresa on grilled cheese sandwitches - and I suspect, it will also put claims of "ghosts" inside of the Byrd Park Pump House.

The folks from Foundation for Paranormal Research who I met at the event stuck me as very genuine. I think they very strongly believe in what they are doing. They have found a hobby they enjoy, and accordingly spend a lot of time and effort perusing it. I have no issues with any of that, and I would love nothing more than for them to discover a previously unknown phenomenon and change the way we all view the world. It would be an amazing discovery! Based on what I saw yesterday, I just don't think they've managed to do it yet - and while they pay tribute to some of the methods of Real ScienceTM in the process, I do not think they quite understand the level of rigor that is required by the Scientific Method.

I did very much enjoy the visit, and I'm glad they were so friendly and willing to allow folks to see what it is they were up to.

But someone, please, think of the Children! When we are shaping the minds of young people, we need to be careful, not to invent information or to acknowledge as fact, things which are at best, unverified speculation - and at worst, a horrible misunderstanding of natural phenomenon. We live in an amazing Universe and at an amazing time. Real mystery surrounds the human condition - there is much that we do not know. Unfortunately, nothing presented as evidence of "ghosts" so far is inconsistent with the explanations provided by the Real ScienceTM fields of Chemistry and Physics. Concepts like EMI, Pareidolia and Lens Flares** appear to be misunderstood or completely unfamiliar to the demonstration team executing the event. It's clear they prefer to embrace the results produced by these natural phenomenon. Rather than to taking steps to avoid the false positives created by these known natural effects, they actually go the other way. They put effort into to creating the very environment that most likely to produce these sorts of effects. Real ScienceTM and real scientists would be putting their effort into attempting to remove these factors from the testing environment.

What we all saw in the demonstration, was a very nice looking, chaos creating show - not Real ScienceTM. Will the team manage to pick out something that looks kind of ghost-like from the millions of frames of video and thousands of pictures? Of course they will! Is it proof of a "paranormal capture and containment of "ghosts" or foreign entity's within our personal world". No. Not even close.

I look forward to responding further directly to the evidence when it's presented. Until then, don't worry about "ghosts" - there are plenty of other genuine mysteries out there, and we need to get to work on those.

*This concept does not compute with some people. Have you met some of these people? I have.

**This list, is woefully incomplete.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Doubting Florence Presents: What Do I Do Next? Part Une: Motivation!

I sit here now, fueled by a lot of coffee and inspired by the latest podcast of Skepticality, attempting to compose a Doubting Florence column on the future of what I like to term as "personal skepticism." I define that as skepticism towards stuff that you feel the strongest about- stuff that chaps your butt more than most pseudoscientific subjects. This is a heavy post, so I am gonna break it down into two parts. This is part one, entitled "Motivation."

For those of you who do not know, Jr. Skeptic editor Daniel Loxton has edited a 70 page PDF as a follow-up to his spectacular "Where Do We Go From Here," entitled "What Do I Do Next?" I haven't read the PDF yet (I plan to, and trust me, I will blog about it here if no other Richmond Skeptic wants to tackle it), but from what it sounds like, "What Do I Do Next?," is less a disertation and more like a supercozy literary skeptical think tank featuring such notable merry mischief makers as The Skeptic's Guide Jay Novella, Skepticality's Swoopy, Dr. Karen "Skepbitch" Stolznow, Skeptoid Guru Brian Dunning, JREF's Jeff Wagg, Aussie Skeptic Spitfire Kylie Sturgess, Loxton and other s discuss how they use skeptical activism in their lives to correct the tripe of pseudoscience, to promote good science and critical thinking, and to expose frauds associated with such pseudosciences (pseudoscience and fraud appear to be bastard twins). I just got through listening to Skepticality #098- a dialogue between "What Do I Do Now?" collaboraters Daniel Loxton and Swoopy, which has peaked my interest to become a bit more of a skeptical activist.

Sometimes it's hard to be a skeptical activist. People get RULLLLLY testy when you question their gris-gries and beliefs. It's certainly no fun at parties when you're the skeptical one, listening as your friends and loved ones rile on blissfully about "insert pseudoscience-du-jour here" as being the bee's knees. It's a no-win situation- subjecting your friends to a powerful well-intentioned skeptical rebuttal can cast you as the wanka' who tinkled in everyone's peteunia bed; staying silent makes you feel lousy and like a skeptical sell-out. It's even worse here in cyberland. There's always going to be someone who could wander in to your world, and despite your beautifully worded and brilliantly factual blogposts, will declare you and all you associate with as stuffy intolerable group of pee pants...or worse, attempt to hijack discussion threads and launch into verbally cruel and abusive ad hominem attacks. It's happened to skeptical sites I admire and like to visit- Skepchick gets a Cold Prickley on a rather frequent basis, and it seems like it's a daily occurance on Science Based Medicine. It's such a turn-off for me when I run into these folks online. I handle a disrespectful so-and-so by ignoring them and leaving them to stew in their own venom, so sometimes I miss out on a lot of cool stuff because I want to avoid jerks. It's something I'm working on- a sort of cyber-agoraphobia, one could say. I have a lot of opinions on those who appear to sadistically enjoy this type of harassment, but the goal here is to stay positive and tell you how I try to keep my skeptical chin up during these difficult times, and, to get back to Loxton's premise, what I plan to do next.

Getting back on the subject of personal skepticism, the things that chap my big butt mainly involve pseudoscience in nursing. Bad Astronomer Phil Plait once said that the universe is cool enough without having to make crap up about it. Although he was addressing pseudoscience in astronomy, I feel his idea also could be applied to nursing and medicine. One only has to flip through Gray's Anatomy to see that the human body's coolness factor is high. It doesn't need B.S. like chakras or invisible pathways or snake oil or magic beans or whatever. Anyone who has studied pathophysiology (the study of how the bod works) will tell you it's a mother of a class that is chock full of scientific parts and processes. The pancreatic functions are fascinating enough to fill a PBS miniseries! And the wonderful thing is, most of the good science can be found in extremely inexpensive situations- local college libraries (especially those universities known for their science and medical department) are bursting with volumes of wonderful stuff that would keep most anatomy buffs like yours truly happy for hours. Real medicine and nursing is cool enough without having to make crap up about it. Being a skeptic helps me fall in love with nursing over and over again as new discoveries are being made. Looking at something you adore with a critical eye can be therapeutic as well as practical. The constant change that I see and adapt to my practice- new procedures, equipment and so on, helps me become a better nurse and smarter advocate for my patients. It's also hard to burnout when you've got so much exciting stuff to discover, examine, pull apart and discuss with others who share your zeal. It's freakin' awesome!

This is the end of Part Une. Don't worry. "Part Deux: Intervention" is in the works and coming up very soon (maybe in the next day or so!!)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Reason Comes In From The Cold," by Susan Jacoby

If you are a feminist or love one, you might be interested in picking up the new issue of Ms. Magazine. One of the articles is "Reason Comes In From The Cold" by Susan Jacoby. It basically outlines how the antiscience movement has been allowed to grow the past several years, as well as the impact of a lack of reason on women's issues (especially health and sexuality), and outlines the first steps needed in the long process to reverse the damage. On a nonrelated note, the issue features President Barack Obama in a very cool comic book pose with a T on that says "This is what a feminist looks like." Indeed.

Susan Jacoby's book "The Age of American Unreason" is scheduled for paperback in February by Vintage Books. I'm intrigued, how about you??

Friday, January 2, 2009

Be A Cool Dude(ette), Join The Skeptics Society

We here at Richmond Skeptics probably wouldn't rock and rule as hard as we do if it wasn't for two main organizations- The James Randi Educational Foundation, and the topic of today's blogpost, The Skeptics Society.


THE 411: The Skeptics Society, like the JREF, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization dedicated to investigating controversial claims (i.e. vaccines cause autism), promoting science (physics rules!), and promoting critical thinking (ruling out other options than "magic" when discovering how something works).

SKEPTICAL PEEPS: A "skeptic" as defined by the Skeptic Society, is anyone who adapts a provisional approach to any claim, applies reason to any and all ideas, and consistantly uses this method despite any temptation towards any sacredly held beliefs. Skeptics want tangible, testable proof that can be repeated in a variety of controlled settings. The Skeptics Society's head brainiac is a guy by the name of Dr. Michael Shermer, who is freakin' everywhere nowadays (here he is with me!)!!! Dr. Shermer is the author of some dozen books on skepticism, belief, evolution, and critical thinking. He travels constantly and is often the Skeptical Go-To Guy when media interviews and fluff pieces on psychic stuff are written. Dr. Shermer, despite being a busy bee, is very congenial, and remains a valuable resource for any skeptic. The main publication of the Skeptic Society is Skeptic Magazine, which features many skeptical writers, bloggers, artists, and average joes like me who do their small part for the promotion of science in our spaceship Earth. A very fun and extremely hip feature of Skeptic Magazine is Junior Skeptic (featuring the fabulous Emily "TT Busta" Rosa, the gorgeous drawings of Pat Linse and the ultra-clever Daniel Loxton at the helm- according to a recent interview, Loxton said the mini-mag was inspired by a fave fictional read of animated dynamo Lisa Simpson!) which is geared toward school-age kiddies who are starting out on the right foot by thinking critically. The Skeptic Society also has a semi-regular podcast, Skepticality (hosted by the awesome Derek and Swoopy) and a weekly email newsletter, eSkeptic.

WHY A BLOGPOST TODAY? Glad you asked, Sillybeans-it's because today my husband and I received in the mail our pre-membership renewal packet as a result of sending in a small amount of moolah for membership renewal fees (we became members in 2008- FYI: Skeptics Society members also receive Skeptic Magazine). Enclosed was a letter from Dr. Shermer as well as a pamphlet entitled "Learn to Be Psychic In 10 Easy Lessons" which outlines the cold reading and slight-of-hand tricks a lot of con artists pretending to have paranormal ability use on the unsuspecting public. The pamphlet totally rocks (and has that yummy thick paper-y smell), but the important thing is how much the Skeptic Society is contributing to society. According to Dr. Shermer's letter, 2008 was the biggest year that the Skeptics Society had in getting their message out. The small amount of moolah you send, along with all the other gargantuan tasks the society undertakes, goes toward funding science education projects in schools as well as to the general media (anyone here in RVA knows our local media could really benefit, n'es pa?). The Skeptics Society has just completed a contract to put 10,000 evolutionary science books in European schools and hopes that goal could be achieved here in North America. The books were developed by Junior Skeptic and The Junior Skeptic Baloney Detection Book Series. Speaking of, Junior Skeptic has just launched their own website with hopes that it will eventually become a universal resource for teachers. And, last but not least, the really cool (at least, in my opinion) project for 2009 is a documentary on belief- it's power, it's psychology, it's construction, and how to distinguish between true and B.S. belief systems. Wowsa.

KEWL. I WANT IN TOO; WHAT DO I DO NOW? If you have a small amount of moolah and want in on this too, you can visit the Skeptics Society by clicking on any mention of it in this blogpost (do yourself a favor and join- Junior Skeptic ALONE is so totally worth the cheap fees it takes to obtain membership!).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Healthy Weight Network and The Slim Chance Awards 2008.

John and I have been seeing a registered dietician for about 2 years now, and with her help we've lost a combined weight of over 160 pounds. No special tricks, just good old fashioned nutrition and exercise. It was important for us to not only lose the weight but to learn better health habits. Over the years we've encountered a lot of get-thin-quick schemes and have been asked at many a party what our "secret" was, and when we've told people we simply stopped shoveling food and ate more veggies and got up off our asses thirty minutes 4 to 5 times a week, the reaction was a bored "oh." (John says there was one time where he encountered a woman who walked away from him almost defeated. "It was as if I'd punched her in the stomach.")

Skepticism and nutrition pretty much go hand and hand. Two of my favorite fitness magazines have good advice mixed in with ads for pills or mixtures guarenteed to "get ya cut." It seems you have to have good critical thinking skills to take care of yourself properly. Frances M. Berg, M.S., who operates the Healthy Weight Network has issued the 20th annual set of "Slim Chance Awards" to weight-loss scheme promoters. Freakin hilarious! Special thanks to Dr. Steven Barrett from Quackwatch for the link and the story!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The JREF announces AB Kovacs as Director Of Operations

Woot. Whadda cool Holiday present for skeptics worldwide:

AB is an energetic skepchick who will serve the JREF well!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pooh Bear Knows Best...

"People who don't Think probably don't have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake." A.A.Milne.