Critical thinking

Support free speech in the public interest: Anti-SLAPP act proposed

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It’s a shame that outspoken bloggers have to have lawyers at their disposal because of threats to take down pieces critical of some charlatan. This week, there is a new push to support anti-SLAPP lawsuits. Lawsplainer: The Proposed Federal Anti-SLAPP Act: What It Would Do, Why It’s Important | Popehat Last week, two members of…

Another “video games are dangerous” story – this time, misleading about Alzheimer’s

call of duty

As one commenter put it, “don’t use your brain, because you may get Alzheimers” is a pretty fair summary of this article that suggests that “boys” playing “action video games” may have increased risk of Alzheimers. Yes, the jump to that is quite a big one. Call of Duty increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease –…

The scoop on the Roswell Slides: really pathetic hoax

Nice resolution, eh? Looks like a museum, you say? Hmm, yes, I believe you are right. What kind of idiots do you think we are?

Back in November 2014, we reported on a story from the UFO community – Thomas Carey told the audience at a conference that he had “smoking gun” evidence that extraterrestrials have been here – Kodachrome slides dated 1947 showing an alien. I don’t typically use Billy Cox as a source but he does note that people have…

Panera changing ingredients to be more “healthy”

Let me have one of the cranberry-orange scones.

Panera is the latest company to declare they are going to make their food sound healthier. While they portray it terms of simplicity and customer demands, really, it’s a marketing gimmick and may end up disappointing the consumer. Panera CEO says ‘no’ to unacceptable ingredients – Fortune The restaurant chain is doing away with or reformulating…

“Real” ghost claim takes a back seat to skeptical research

A screen shot from Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers offers the clearest copy of the photo by Mrs. Mabel Chinnery allegedly showing a back-seat ghost. Photo from Skeptic.com/Blake Smith

What paranormal enthusiast like me hasn’t seen this famous picture of the dead mother in law in the back seat of the old car? IT WAS CREEPY AS HELL and it was one of the most widespread photos promoted as “real” because there seemed no good explanation. That’s because not many people attempted to provide…

Fire sinkhole story shows how mystery mongering site gets your ‘click’

"sinkhole" of fire

A certain mystery mongering, ad-infested site that declares an apocalypse every friggin’ day is reporting this story about a “sinkhole” spewing fire in China. It took me about 20 seconds to figure this out (being where I am in the world). While it may look like a volcanic vent, China is not particularly volcanically active…

Loftus Hall heavily playing up the paranormal – now with added spookiness

Photo credit: Thomas Beavis

The paranormal promotion continues at Loftus Hall. You may recall this story of a ghost photo that appeared last September. Photos are terrible forms of evidence of the paranormal since they are so easily misinterpreted or faked. So called investigators rarely attempts to recreate the event and are easily impressed when environmental variables are, well,…

Stop sharing this insane warning about vaccines and drug use!

Fake scare ad

This photo was making rounds this past weekend on Facebook and Twitter. Many people who should know better were blinded by the appalling ridiculousness and passed it along as a demonstration of stupidity. Stop. You are making things worse! Even by trying to express outrage, you will be amazed at how many will not read an explanation…

Dowsing useless in finding missing girl

PENDULUM

The “Find Me” crew is back in the news. And, again, not really helping. Private Investigator believes he knows who the suspects are in the Celis kidnapping The private investigator the family contacted said, “Whoever did this knows the family 100 percent guaranteed, and my suspect has a key to the house.” Retired federal agent…

Sheldrake collaborating on children’s book about psychic dogs

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Sheldrake’s idea that dogs know when there owner is coming home is unconfirmed and falls on the highly dubious side. But let’s tell kids about it! Boy’s Best Friend | Kate Banks, Rupert Sheldrake Kate Banks and world-renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake collaborate on this novel about two boys who set out to prove that their dogs…

Anonymous commenters undermining science have negative impact. We knew this.

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This is further justification why we do not allow anti-science commenters on this site. It’s not a debate but the reader often does not know that. Healthcare websites are attempting to educate about health risks but a new study shows, surprisingly, that readers may be influenced more by online comments than by credible public service announcements.…

James Randi retires from foundation at age 86

Photo credit: Bruce F. Press photography. brucefpressphotography.com

James “The Amazing” Randi, world-renowned magician and advocate for science-based skepticism, is stepping down from the Board of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). In statements released today on the JREF website, Randi announced his retirement from the JREF, and the Board regretfully accepted it. But, Mr. Randi noted, he’s got a few tricks left…

The main problem with confession – it could be completely manufactured

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Think memory is like a videotape? Wrongity wrong wrong. It can be rather easily manipulated and is reconstructed without our awareness every day. Of special interest to criminal confession cases, it’s not really too hard to convince someone that they committed a crime. People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened –…

Food Babe clueless about food, science, and apparently, air

FBhari

Vani Hari is a blogger who calls herself the “Food Babe”. She has become infamous for her criticism of the food industry. However, with a degree in computer science and experience as a management consultant, she sounds like an idiot when talking about food facts and science, and she has little fear of being identified…

Media violence correlated to societal violence: An actual scientific controversy

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Experts disagree: violent content in media correlates/does not correlate to violent behavior. No link found between movie, video game violence and societal violence. Since the 1920s, scholars and politicians have blamed violence in movies and other media as a contributing factor to rising violence in society. Recently the responses to mass shootings in Aurora, CO…

Law clinic investigates 27-year old “Satanic Panic” child abuse conviction

satanic panic

The Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic takes on a doubtful case of Satanic ritual abuse that landed a man in jail for 27 years. Duke law clinic to review 1987 conviction. Duke law professor Theresa Newman has three boxes full of files about Andrew Chandler Jr.’s case: details about the bizarre allegations, the expert testimony…

The ‘News’ – hijacked by trolls

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I love lots about this piece, especially the use of the word “arseholes” to describe scumbags who get their jollies out of trolling and making trouble on the internet. It’s a fine English word. Meanwhile, arseholes hijack the news. Is this the fault of the trolls or the people who click? The Emma Watson nude…

Espanola police conclude “ghost” is the only possible explanation for an insect on the camera

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Each day, I come across a half-dozen “news” stories about officials who sanction ghost hunts in their buildings or use ghost tours as fundraisers or tourism draws. See Paranormal testing scheduled for Southwick Town Hall | masslive.com. Medina Paranormal Society to discuss building findings Monday – The Daily News Online: News. Even most sceptical spooked…

Spinosaurus appears to have been toothy and semi-aquatic; but don’t call it a crocoduck

Ibrahim (left) and Sereno with Spinosaurus

Previously-known Spinosaurus was a dinosaur that blew my mind. I couldn’t figure out the deal with the sail and the ultra-long snout. Turns out it had more surprises in store. Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus: Massive predator was more than 9 feet longer than largest T. rex — ScienceDaily. Scientists today unveiled what appears…