Category Archives: Metaphysics

Happy New Year! (Alex Jones Style)

Party Like It’s A Nuclear War !!!

By Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
(Originally posted December 31, 2013.)

Who is old enough to remember Y2K? I remember it well (translation: i’m old).

y2k1Y2K is an acronym for “Year 2000,” or, as it was also known – “The Year 2000 problem, the Y2K problem, the Millennium bug, the Y2K bug, or simply Y2K.” (source) It was the moment when the clocks struck 12:00 AM on Janury 1, 2000 and how it might affect every aspect of our lives. Why?

The year 2000 was a problem for many computers because many computer programs stored years using only the last two digits of the year; for example, 1980 was stored as “80”, the year 1999 was stored as “99” and the year 2000 would be stored as “00”.

Do you see the problem? Not only did such systems view the year 2000 as “00”, but they also viewed the year 1900 as “00”. Imagine what would happen to half your programs if your computer suddenly thought the current year (2013) was actually the year 1913. Your calendar program, your watch, your smart phone and many other programs we rely on would suddenly be all wacked out. Imagine what would happen to the banking system if this glitch occurred. Would you be able to access your money? Would all your checks suddenly bounce? (On the other hand, maybe the banks would suddenly give us 100 years of accrued interest. But i digress …)

Now imagine if such a glitch were to occur in bigger systems like nuclear electric plants and nuclear weapons? What might go wrong? This is what had a lot of people in a near state of panic.

Would telephone systems shutdown? Would the electric grid turn off across the country – plunging all of us into darkness for an indeterminant amount of time? Would trains run on schedule? Would the air traffic control system lose control? Would our nuclear arsenal behave in some unpredicted manner and cause WWIII? Would the nuclear arsenal in some other country malfunction and bomb us?

It seemed nobody knew for sure what would – or would not – happen. People were concerned and scared.

Enter my favorite moron – Alex Jones.

AlexJonesLunaticOn New Year’s Eve 1999, the night the clocks were due to change over to the year 2000, The Alex Jones show engaged in some of the most negligent, egregious and irresponsible scare mongering ever. I don’t know of a worse case than this.

In the 3 hours Jones was on the air, he made every conceivable claim of catastrophe imaginable. He took everything people were fearing about Y2K and he claimed those fears were materializing. Everything from cash machines failing, nuclear power plants shutting down, concentration camps (with shackles) being readied, empty grocery store shelves, gas stations out of gas, Martial Law declared, the military serving search warrants in 77 Texas counties – to an actual nuclear missile attack!!!!!!!!

And did any of this actually occur? No. None of it. People were so frightened they reportedly headed for the hills (literally) and got physically sick.

alex-jones_200pxWhat you are about to hear is approximately 30 minutes of the Alex Jones Show audio from that night. This audio from the Alex Jones Show was part of a radio show broadcast by William (Bill) Cooper on approximately January 4, 2000. Bill Cooper himself was a conspiracy theorist, but even he was disgusted by the antics of Alex Jones and he called him out.

Bill Cooper’s original broadcast was 3 hours long. In the Alex Jones recording i present below, except for the opening 30 seconds, i have edited out all of Bill Cooper’s narratives so you can hear Alex Jones uninterrupted in all his despicable glory.

As i was going through the audio, i noticed breaks in the Alex Jones audio that i assume were done by Bill Cooper’s editing team in preparation for broadcast. Where ever i believed there was an edit i added a half-second “beep” sound. This is to help avoid confusion as the conversation would sometimes abruptly change topics. So listen for the beeps (you can’t miss them).

Below the audio you will find a complete transcript of notes i made of what to expect in the audio. This will help you follow along. Where ever you see the word “Regurgitation,” that is my own shorthand to indicate it is a previously mentioned point being repeated by Jones – a tactic he uses to give the impression he has a pile of information. Any words [inside brackets] are commentaries i made for myself.

Believe me, this is an audio clip Alex Jones wishes would go away.

Enjoy!

:)

Mason I. Bilderberg.

P.S. If anybody knows where i can find a copy of the full 3 hour Alex Jones Show from 12/31/1999 please let me know.

P.P.S. I apologize in advance for any spelling errors.


Alex Jones Y2K (30 minutes):

Transcript/Notes:

  • 0:00 Bill Cooper sets up the scene.
  • 0:27 Cash machines are failing in Britain and other European countries
  • 0:32 Finding large amounts of explosives in France
  • 1:03 More wars then in the last 50 years is going on right now
  • Russian Hinds Helicopter

    Russian Hinds Helicopter

    1:07 The war in chechnya is raging with hundreds of thousands dying

  • 1:13 20,000 to 40,000 civilians trapped in the city [presumably chechnya]
  • 1:16 Russian Hinds (Helicopter) are being shot down, tanks are being blown to bits
  • 1:20 Massive Grad unguided rocket attacks are being launched from the city
  • 1:26 Air and artillery bombardments [presumably chechnya]
  • 1:39 Pennsylvania nuclear plant (Limerick Generating Station) has been shut down [implied because of Y2K-related problems. Not true. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings are contained in the image, below]
  • 1:49 The shelves (In TX) are empty of water and gas stations are running out of fuel
  • 1:50 In Minneapolis and Texas the shortwave (radio) is down
  • 2:50 The Pennsylvania nuclear plant and (now) 4 other nuclear plants were having Y2K-related problems [See 3:04 mark]
  • 3:12 The government in Washington D.C. has set up a $50M command bunker that is hooked into FEMA and they can take over all the shortwave (radio), AM/FM radio stations and all television and other broadcast stations
  • 3:34 The police and military [presumably nationwide] are on high alert
  • 3:41 The military are highly visible [presumably in the streets]
  • 3:45 Trains of military equipment moving into Austin, TX
  • 3:53 The airport (Robert Mueller Airport) will be used as a massive holding facility [ala concentration camps]
  • 4:03 Vladimir Putin is a demon
  • A Topol-M mobile launcher.

    A Topol-M mobile launcher.

    4:12 Now 6 to 7 (nuclear) reactors having Y2K related problems [Not true]

  • 4:50 Globalist Forces are gearing up to clamp down on America, Russia and the world
  • 5:08 America is gearing up and bracing for terrorism and militarizing everything in front of us.
  • 5:19 The Russians have deployed Topol-M “first strike” missiles across Russia while (Boris) Yeltsin (Russian President) has been openly threatening to nuke us [See the 5:44 mark].
  • 6:00 They (Russia) have deployed their missiles and submarines against us (America).
  • 6:09 Vladimir Putin, who just took over as Russian President, has “taken the codes off” Russia’s nuclear arsenal. (The Russian nuclear arsenal no longer requires a secret code to initiate a nuclear missile attack on America.)
  • 6:25 Discussing America being hit with a nuclear first-strike and the ensuing annihilation.
  • 7:27 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania Electric Company (PECO), Limerick Generating Station (here and here) was shutdown [presumably because of Y2K-related problems. Not true. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings are contained in the image, below].
  • 7:38 Doesn’t challenge a caller paraphrasing (Colonel) Bo Gritz who said, that Russia said, if their (Russia) power goes out they will blame us and they (Russia) would set off their nuclear arsenal.
  • 8:01 The Russians are threatening to nuke us every, single week.
  • out of gas_250px8:25 Currencies around the world are plunging
  • 8:39 Gas stations in America are out of gas
  • 8:58 American’s are standing up as Russia threatens to attack us with nuclear weapons
  • 9:02 Nuclear power plants are being shutdown
  • 9:07 The military is “running around” with the police and the FBI saying terrorism is imminent [the takeover is beginning]
  • 9:25 “They” have activated a powerful, cold war, radar system in the north pole region [presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack] that is affecting shortwave (radio)
  • 9:46 Military traffic is EVERYWHERE
  • 9:52 Regurgitation: Super power, cold war radar systems (presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack) and nuclear systems are up.
  • 10:07 Fresno (California?) is blacked out, he (Jones) is off the internet
  • 10:25 [Scare tactic, Survivalist Commercial]
  • 11:03 “America is under siege right now.”
  • 11:14 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 11:33 Egypt is having a run on the banks
  • 11:45 Regurgitation: The power in Fresno (California?) is down, he is off the internet
  • 11:50 Regurgitation: Cash machines and ATMs in Europe are having problems
  • 12:03 Martial Law signs are posted on highway 65 in Arkansas by the Arkansas Transportation Department
  • 12:52 Regurgitation: In Austin, TX they have announced it is a concentration camp at Robert Mueller Airport

    APC_250px

    Armored Personnel Carrier

  • 13:09 At Fort Hood giant, long lines of trains with flat cars loaded with APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) and LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles)
  • 13:33 They (Fort Hood) have flat bed trailers, large cattle trailer-types (think concentration camps)
  • 14:17 A power plant in michigan is prepared to shutdown when “given the order.”
  • 15:01 If you don’t have a supply of potassium iodide, now is the time to get your supply of potassium iodide in case of a russian nuclear attack.
  • 15:18 Regurgitation: The Russians have been publicly threatening to nuke us and they’ve been deploying their missiles against us.
  • 15:33 We will not survive a nuclear first strike
  • 15:58 Regurgitation: Austin (TX) is out of water and gas
  • 16:03 Regurgitation: The city of Fresno (California?) is blacked out
  • 16:18 Russia and China are now threatening to nuke us
  • 16:42 Discussing how the Russians have been building the biggest bunker ever known to man
  • 17:16 Our (America’s) designated nuclear fallout shelters are parking garages so “they” can move in later to pull out all the rotten skeletons after “they” emerge from “their” shelters.
  • 17:57 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 18:12 Regurgitation: Nuclear power plant problems in PA (Pennsylvania), shutdowns (?), power outages in Fresno (California?)
  • 18:40 Regurgitation: Russia and China have been threatening to nuke us.
  • 18:58 Regurgitation: The Russians deployed their Topol-M “first strike” missiles 2.5 weeks ago.
  • 19:09 The head of the Russian missiles systems, a top general, has been threatening to nuke us and he reserves first strike authority to attack us – even though they have no reason to attack us.
  • 19:25 A power plant has been blown up in Oregon [Not true]
  • 19:36 “Clinton has pulled it.” (????)
  • x

    Robert Mueller Airport
    (concentration camp)

    20:26 Massive Y2K problems being reported across the globe.

  • 20:55 Regurgitation: In Austin, TX Robert Mueller Airport, the local news was showing off the “detainment facilities.” [i.e. concentration camps]
  • 21:15 The local news showed the barbed wired fences inside the Robert Mueller Airport facility.
  • 21:18 There are “shackles on the ground, concreted into the ground” at Robert Mueller Airport – like a slave galley.
  • 21:42 New Zealand is having power outages
  • 21:57 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 22:33 Regurgitation: Vladimir Putin threatens to nuke us
  • 22:50 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 22:55 The power is off in 8 different areas across the country
  • 22:58 A lot of cable systems aren’t working
  • 23:01 Satellites are down
  • 23:09 “Minor fault (???) struck two nuclear power plants in Japan just seconds after the clock ticked into 2000 …”
  • 23:25 Anybody near a nuclear power plant should pack up and go someplace else.
  • 23:37 The store shelves are bare in Austin, TX.
  • 23:43 Regurgitation: Gas is running out.
  • 23:44 They’re announcing on the news that, “if you’re bad they’re going to put you in a … they’re going to bolt you to a pipe coming out of the ground at the airport (Robert Mueller Airport) in some cold hangar.”
  • 24:04 “The military is serving search warrants now in 77 Texas counties.”
  • 24:08 Regurgitation: “We got nuclear power plants shutting down.”
  • 24:20 Regurgitation: The Russians are threatening to nuke us RIGHT NOW.
  • 24:40 Regurgitation: “Well, they got the Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles) loading on the flat cars out of Fort Hood.”
  • the end is near_300px25:06 There are currently nuclear missiles being launched.
  • 25:15 ABC (news) just had a special news bulletin – a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 25:44 The general refused to say what kind of missiles, where they were coming from or where they were going.
  • 25:58 This secrecy is just like when the special operations training that was conducted with the Russians in south TX when they burned buildings and laying siege to towns [never happend]
  • 26:44 Jones’ co-host: “You elect me to president and i will nuke them (Russians) first, i’ll push the button as soon as i take the oath … i’m opening up that football and start launching, man.”
  • 26:55 Regurgitation: The Russians have been threatening to nuke us, they reserve the first strike right to hit us for no reason and Clinton said he will absorb the first strike by the Russians.
  • 27:06 Jones’ co-host: Hopes one of those 5 incoming nuclear missiles is headed towards Clinton.
  • 27:12 Regurgitation: a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 27:39 Jones complains that the television network went to a commercial break after announcing 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 27:53 A NORAD commander was on the news. “Space Command” (Air Force Space Command) is now running everything.
  • 28:20 The perceived enemy is “obviously” the American people.
  • 28:36 Regurgitation: It’s on ABC news that 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • boom28:57 The night before (12/30/99), anything and everything on the flight line at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was put into the air and was constantly in the air. [i.e. The U.S. is preparing for a nuclear attack]
  • 29:11 Regurgitation: Super power, cold war radar systems [presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack] are turned on.
  • 29:21 The Russians are not the only ones we need to be concerned about … we should worry about the Chinese too.
  • 20:24 We also need to be worried about Germany.
  • 29:58 Regurgitation: It’s on ABC news that 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 30:03 Regurgitation: a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 30:25 Jones complains, “we’re calmly sitting here knowing nuclear missiles could be about to rain down!”
  • 30:42 Discussing “Who launched?” Was it the U.S., a ballistics submarine? . . .
  • 30:54 Jones’ co-host: “No offense, but I hope it was us who launched.”
  • 31:19 Vladimir Putin is the Fuhrer.
Click image for larger view

The February 7, 2000 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) report shows the “unusual event” was terminated less than 3 hours after the initial declaration at 1:11 am. The event was NOT Y2K related.
Click image for larger view

Keywords: Apocalypse, Bermuda Triangle, ChemTrails, Climate Change, Comedy, Conspiracy, David Icke, Deepak Chopra, Demons, Disinformation, Doomsday, ESP, False Flag, FEMA Camps, Fraud, God, Hoax, Metaphysics, Moon Landing, Moron, New World Order, Organic, Paranoid, Seance, Secret Societies, Story Telling, Stunt. Tagged: Alex Jones, Alex Jones Show, Bill Cooper, Jones, Martial Law, nuclear power plant, nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons, United States, Year 2000, youtube

Here Be Dragons (Brian Dunning)

Originally posted February 9, 2013 this video is definitely worth a second look.

Enjoy:)

MIB


Here Be Dragons is a 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. This video is on my “must watch” list for skeptics and critical thinkers:)

Most people fully accept paranormal and pseudoscientific claims without critique as they are promoted by the mass media. Here Be Dragons offers a toolbox for recognizing and understanding the dangers of pseudoscience, and appreciation for the reality-based benefits offered by real science.

Here Be Dragons is written and presented by Brian Dunning, host and producer of the Skeptoid podcast and author of the Skeptoid book series.

Source: Here Be Dragons – YouTube.

Alex Jones Y2K

Originally posted December 31, 2013:

Party Like It’s A Nuclear War !!!

By Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)

Who is old enough to remember Y2K? I remember it well (translation: i’m old).

y2k1Y2K is an acronym for “Year 2000,” or, as it was also known – “The Year 2000 problem, the Y2K problem, the Millennium bug, the Y2K bug, or simply Y2K.” (source) It was the moment when the clocks struck 12:00 AM on Janury 1, 2000 and how it might affect every aspect of our lives. Why?

The year 2000 was a problem for many computers because many computer programs stored years using only the last two digits of the year; for example, 1980 was stored as “80”, the year 1999 was stored as “99” and the year 2000 would be stored as “00”.

Do you see the problem? Not only did such systems view the year 2000 as “00”, but they also viewed the year 1900 as “00”. Imagine what would happen to half your programs if your computer suddenly thought the current year (2013) was actually the year 1913. Your calendar program, your watch, your smart phone and many other programs we rely on would suddenly be all wacked out. Imagine what would happen to the banking system if this glitch occurred. Would you be able to access your money? Would all your checks suddenly bounce? (On the other hand, maybe the banks would suddenly give us 100 years of accrued interest. But i digress …)

Now imagine if such a glitch were to occur in bigger systems like nuclear electric plants and nuclear weapons? What might go wrong? This is what had a lot of people in a near state of panic.

Would telephone systems shutdown? Would the electric grid turn off across the country – plunging all of us into darkness for an indeterminant amount of time? Would trains run on schedule? Would the air traffic control system lose control? Would our nuclear arsenal behave in some unpredicted manner and cause WWIII? Would the nuclear arsenal in some other country malfunction and bomb us?

It seemed nobody knew for sure what would – or would not – happen. People were concerned and scared.

Enter my favorite moron – Alex Jones.

AlexJonesLunaticOn New Year’s Eve 1999, the night the clocks were due to change over to the year 2000, The Alex Jones show engaged in some of the most negligent, egregious and irresponsible scare mongering ever. I don’t know of a worse case than this.

In the 3 hours Jones was on the air, he made every conceivable claim of catastrophe imaginable. He took everything people were fearing about Y2K and he claimed those fears were materializing. Everything from cash machines failing, nuclear power plants shutting down, concentration camps (with shackles) being readied, empty grocery store shelves, gas stations out of gas, Martial Law declared, the military serving search warrants in 77 Texas counties – to an actual nuclear missile attack!!!!!!!!

And did any of this actually occur? No. None of it. People were so frightened they reportedly headed for the hills (literally) and got physically sick.

alex-jones_200pxWhat you are about to hear is approximately 30 minutes of the Alex Jones Show audio from that night. This audio from the Alex Jones Show was part of a radio show broadcast by William (Bill) Cooper on approximately January 4, 2000. Bill Cooper himself was a conspiracy theorist, but even he was disgusted by the antics of Alex Jones and he called him out.

Bill Cooper’s original broadcast was 3 hours long. In the Alex Jones recording i present below, except for the opening 30 seconds, i have edited out all of Bill Cooper’s narratives so you can hear Alex Jones uninterrupted in all his despicable glory.

As i was going through the audio, i noticed breaks in the Alex Jones audio that i assume were done by Bill Cooper’s editing team in preparation for broadcast. Where ever i believed there was an edit i added a half-second “beep” sound. This is to help avoid confusion as the conversation would sometimes abruptly change topics. So listen for the beeps (you can’t miss them).

Below the audio you will find a complete transcript of notes i made of what to expect in the audio. This will help you follow along. Where ever you see the word “Regurgitation,” that is my own shorthand to indicate it is a previously mentioned point being repeated by Jones – a tactic he uses to give the impression he has a pile of information. Any words [inside brackets] are commentaries i made for myself.

Believe me, this is an audio clip Alex Jones wishes would go away.

Enjoy!

:)

Mason I. Bilderberg.

P.S. If anybody knows where i can find a copy of the full 3 hour Alex Jones Show from 12/31/1999 please let me know.

P.P.S. I apologize in advance for any spelling errors.


Alex Jones Y2K (30 minutes):

Transcript/Notes:

  • 0:00 Bill Cooper sets up the scene.
  • 0:27 Cash machines are failing in Britain and other European countries
  • 0:32 Finding large amounts of explosives in France
  • 1:03 More wars then in the last 50 years is going on right now
  • Russian Hinds Helicopter

    Russian Hinds Helicopter

    1:07 The war in chechnya is raging with hundreds of thousands dying

  • 1:13 20,000 to 40,000 civilians trapped in the city [presumably chechnya]
  • 1:16 Russian Hinds (Helicopter) are being shot down, tanks are being blown to bits
  • 1:20 Massive Grad unguided rocket attacks are being launched from the city
  • 1:26 Air and artillery bombardments [presumably chechnya]
  • 1:39 Pennsylvania nuclear plant (Limerick Generating Station) has been shut down [implied because of Y2K-related problems. Not true. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings are contained in the image, below]
  • 1:49 The shelves (In TX) are empty of water and gas stations are running out of fuel
  • 1:50 In Minneapolis and Texas the shortwave (radio) is down
  • 2:50 The Pennsylvania nuclear plant and (now) 4 other nuclear plants were having Y2K-related problems [See 3:04 mark]
  • 3:12 The government in Washington D.C. has set up a $50M command bunker that is hooked into FEMA and they can take over all the shortwave (radio), AM/FM radio stations and all television and other broadcast stations
  • 3:34 The police and military [presumably nationwide] are on high alert
  • 3:41 The military are highly visible [presumably in the streets]
  • 3:45 Trains of military equipment moving into Austin, TX
  • 3:53 The airport (Robert Mueller Airport) will be used as a massive holding facility [ala concentration camps]
  • 4:03 Vladimir Putin is a demon
  • A Topol-M mobile launcher.

    A Topol-M mobile launcher.

    4:12 Now 6 to 7 (nuclear) reactors having Y2K related problems [Not true]

  • 4:50 Globalist Forces are gearing up to clamp down on America, Russia and the world
  • 5:08 America is gearing up and bracing for terrorism and militarizing everything in front of us.
  • 5:19 The Russians have deployed Topol-M “first strike” missiles across Russia while (Boris) Yeltsin (Russian President) has been openly threatening to nuke us [See the 5:44 mark].
  • 6:00 They (Russia) have deployed their missiles and submarines against us (America).
  • 6:09 Vladimir Putin, who just took over as Russian President, has “taken the codes off” Russia’s nuclear arsenal. (The Russian nuclear arsenal no longer requires a secret code to initiate a nuclear missile attack on America.)
  • 6:25 Discussing America being hit with a nuclear first-strike and the ensuing annihilation.
  • 7:27 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania Electric Company (PECO), Limerick Generating Station (here and here) was shutdown [presumably because of Y2K-related problems. Not true. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings are contained in the image, below].
  • 7:38 Doesn’t challenge a caller paraphrasing (Colonel) Bo Gritz who said, that Russia said, if their (Russia) power goes out they will blame us and they (Russia) would set off their nuclear arsenal.
  • 8:01 The Russians are threatening to nuke us every, single week.
  • out of gas_250px8:25 Currencies around the world are plunging
  • 8:39 Gas stations in America are out of gas
  • 8:58 American’s are standing up as Russia threatens to attack us with nuclear weapons
  • 9:02 Nuclear power plants are being shutdown
  • 9:07 The military is “running around” with the police and the FBI saying terrorism is imminent [the takeover is beginning]
  • 9:25 “They” have activated a powerful, cold war, radar system in the north pole region [presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack] that is affecting shortwave (radio)
  • 9:46 Military traffic is EVERYWHERE
  • 9:52 Regurgitation: Super power, cold war radar systems (presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack) and nuclear systems are up.
  • 10:07 Fresno (California?) is blacked out, he (Jones) is off the internet
  • 10:25 [Scare tactic, Survivalist Commercial]
  • 11:03 “America is under siege right now.”
  • 11:14 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 11:33 Egypt is having a run on the banks
  • 11:45 Regurgitation: The power in Fresno (California?) is down, he is off the internet
  • 11:50 Regurgitation: Cash machines and ATMs in Europe are having problems
  • 12:03 Martial Law signs are posted on highway 65 in Arkansas by the Arkansas Transportation Department
  • 12:52 Regurgitation: In Austin, TX they have announced it is a concentration camp at Robert Mueller Airport

    APC_250px

    Armored Personnel Carrier

  • 13:09 At Fort Hood giant, long lines of trains with flat cars loaded with APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) and LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles)
  • 13:33 They (Fort Hood) have flat bed trailers, large cattle trailer-types (think concentration camps)
  • 14:17 A power plant in michigan is prepared to shutdown when “given the order.”
  • 15:01 If you don’t have a supply of potassium iodide, now is the time to get your supply of potassium iodide in case of a russian nuclear attack.
  • 15:18 Regurgitation: The Russians have been publicly threatening to nuke us and they’ve been deploying their missiles against us.
  • 15:33 We will not survive a nuclear first strike
  • 15:58 Regurgitation: Austin (TX) is out of water and gas
  • 16:03 Regurgitation: The city of Fresno (California?) is blacked out
  • 16:18 Russia and China are now threatening to nuke us
  • 16:42 Discussing how the Russians have been building the biggest bunker ever known to man
  • 17:16 Our (America’s) designated nuclear fallout shelters are parking garages so “they” can move in later to pull out all the rotten skeletons after “they” emerge from “their” shelters.
  • 17:57 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 18:12 Regurgitation: Nuclear power plant problems in PA (Pennsylvania), shutdowns (?), power outages in Fresno (California?)
  • 18:40 Regurgitation: Russia and China have been threatening to nuke us.
  • 18:58 Regurgitation: The Russians deployed their Topol-M “first strike” missiles 2.5 weeks ago.
  • 19:09 The head of the Russian missiles systems, a top general, has been threatening to nuke us and he reserves first strike authority to attack us – even though they have no reason to attack us.
  • 19:25 A power plant has been blown up in Oregon [Not true]
  • 19:36 “Clinton has pulled it.” (????)
  • x

    Robert Mueller Airport
    (concentration camp)

    20:26 Massive Y2K problems being reported across the globe.

  • 20:55 Regurgitation: In Austin, TX Robert Mueller Airport, the local news was showing off the “detainment facilities.” [i.e. concentration camps]
  • 21:15 The local news showed the barbed wired fences inside the Robert Mueller Airport facility.
  • 21:18 There are “shackles on the ground, concreted into the ground” at Robert Mueller Airport – like a slave galley.
  • 21:42 New Zealand is having power outages
  • 21:57 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 22:33 Regurgitation: Vladimir Putin threatens to nuke us
  • 22:50 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 22:55 The power is off in 8 different areas across the country
  • 22:58 A lot of cable systems aren’t working
  • 23:01 Satellites are down
  • 23:09 “Minor fault (???) struck two nuclear power plants in Japan just seconds after the clock ticked into 2000 …”
  • 23:25 Anybody near a nuclear power plant should pack up and go someplace else.
  • 23:37 The store shelves are bare in Austin, TX.
  • 23:43 Regurgitation: Gas is running out.
  • 23:44 They’re announcing on the news that, “if you’re bad they’re going to put you in a … they’re going to bolt you to a pipe coming out of the ground at the airport (Robert Mueller Airport) in some cold hangar.”
  • 24:04 “The military is serving search warrants now in 77 Texas counties.”
  • 24:08 Regurgitation: “We got nuclear power plants shutting down.”
  • 24:20 Regurgitation: The Russians are threatening to nuke us RIGHT NOW.
  • 24:40 Regurgitation: “Well, they got the Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles) loading on the flat cars out of Fort Hood.”
  • the end is near_300px25:06 There are currently nuclear missiles being launched.
  • 25:15 ABC (news) just had a special news bulletin – a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 25:44 The general refused to say what kind of missiles, where they were coming from or where they were going.
  • 25:58 This secrecy is just like when the special operations training that was conducted with the Russians in south TX when they burned buildings and laying siege to towns [never happend]
  • 26:44 Jones’ co-host: “You elect me to president and i will nuke them (Russians) first, i’ll push the button as soon as i take the oath … i’m opening up that football and start launching, man.”
  • 26:55 Regurgitation: The Russians have been threatening to nuke us, they reserve the first strike right to hit us for no reason and Clinton said he will absorb the first strike by the Russians.
  • 27:06 Jones’ co-host: Hopes one of those 5 incoming nuclear missiles is headed towards Clinton.
  • 27:12 Regurgitation: a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 27:39 Jones complains that the television network went to a commercial break after announcing 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 27:53 A NORAD commander was on the news. “Space Command” (Air Force Space Command) is now running everything.
  • 28:20 The perceived enemy is “obviously” the American people.
  • 28:36 Regurgitation: It’s on ABC news that 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • boom28:57 The night before (12/30/99), anything and everything on the flight line at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was put into the air and was constantly in the air. [i.e. The U.S. is preparing for a nuclear attack]
  • 29:11 Regurgitation: Super power, cold war radar systems [presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack] are turned on.
  • 29:21 The Russians are not the only ones we need to be concerned about … we should worry about the Chinese too.
  • 20:24 We also need to be worried about Germany.
  • 29:58 Regurgitation: It’s on ABC news that 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 30:03 Regurgitation: a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 30:25 Jones complains, “we’re calmly sitting here knowing nuclear missiles could be about to rain down!”
  • 30:42 Discussing “Who launched?” Was it the U.S., a ballistics submarine? . . .
  • 30:54 Jones’ co-host: “No offense, but I hope it was us who launched.”
  • 31:19 Vladimir Putin is the Fuhrer.
Click image for larger view

The February 7, 2000 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) report shows the “unusual event” was terminated less than 3 hours after the initial declaration at 1:11 am. The event was NOT Y2K related.
Click image for larger view

Keywords: Apocalypse, Bermuda Triangle, ChemTrails, Climate Change, Comedy, Conspiracy, David Icke, Deepak Chopra, Demons, Disinformation, Doomsday, ESP, False Flag, FEMA Camps, Fraud, God, Hoax, Metaphysics, Moon Landing, Moron, New World Order, Organic, Paranoid, Seance, Secret Societies, Story Telling, Stunt. Tagged: Alex Jones, Alex Jones Show, Bill Cooper, Jones, Martial Law, nuclear power plant, nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons, United States, Year 2000, youtube

Deepak Chopra tries his hand at a clinical trial. Woo ensues.

Choprawoomed

By Orac via Respectful Insolence

Of all the quacks and cranks and purveyors of woo whom I’ve encountered over the years, Deepak Chopra is, without a doubt, one of the most arrogantly obstinate, if not the most arrogantly obstinate. Sure, a quack like Mike Adams wins on sheer obnoxiousness and for the sheer breadth of crankery to which he ascribes, which includes everything from quackery, to New World Order conspiracy theories, to Scientology-like anti-psychiatry rants, to survivalist and gun nut tendencies, but he’s so obviously unhinged, as well as intermittently entertaining, that he doesn’t quite get under the skin the way Chopra does. CHOPRAThere’s something about that smug, condescending, incredibly arrogant manner of Chopra’s that grates even more in its own way than the clueless arrogance of ignorance of a person like Adams, Vani Hari (a.k.a. the Food Babe), or Joe Mercola (who appears to be far more about the money than actually believing in the quackery he sells). When Chopra tries his hand at science, woo ensues, as we shall soon see.

Perhaps the best recurring example of Chopra’s smarmy condescension coupled with magical thinking comes in his ongoing war with skeptics (most recently illustrated by his hilariously off-base “million dollar” counter-challenge to James Randi) and atheists, in particular Richard Dawkins. Given that this particular war seems to have heated up again, with Chopra having declared that he’s “pissed off by Richard Dawkins’ arrogance and his pretense of being a really good scientist,” it seems the perfect time to bring up a project of Chopra’s in which he pretends to be a scientist. But first, let’s get a flavor of why real scientists like Richard Dawkins (who, regardless of what you think of his ill-advised and offensive Twitter ramblings, is nonetheless a scientist in the way that Chopra will never be):

Boasting is not becoming of a beacon of inner peace, and Chopra knows it. I don’t want to hear him talk trash, and I ask him why he can’t just let Richard Dawkins go.

“With Dawkins, I am just pissed off. I am pissed off by his arrogance and his pretense of being a really good scientist. He is not,” Chopra says. “And he is using his scientific credentials to literally go on a rampage.”

But it’s more than that, I suggest. Chopra sits back and raises his hands, palms upward, smiling.

“I totally agree. It’s my last challenge,” he says. “It may be a very strange psychological issue.”

I don’t think there’s anything particularly strange about it. It’s incredibly obvious. Chopra, who started out as a real physician (an endocrinologist, actually) somehow got into quantum quackery and turned into a pseudoscientist and quack. Dawkins is a prominent real scientist who reminds Chopra that his blather  .  .  .

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Meet the “Crystal Children”

Gordon Bonnetby Gordon Bonnet via Skeptophilia

Last year I wrote a piece on the phenomenon of people labeling themselves or their kids “Indigo Children.”  An “Indigo Child,” it’s said, is empathetic, sensitive, creative, and tends not to fit in well with regards to other people’s expectations.  They are highly intelligent, and are especially gifted in areas that require thinking outside the box.

Oh, yeah.  They also have “indigo-colored auras.”

indigo 734_250pxSo what we have here is yet another example of people trying to find an explanation and a label for something that really is best classified under the heading “People Are All Different.”  Even, apparently, with respect to the color of their auras.

But “Indigo” is becoming passé, apparently.  As C. S. Lewis observed, “Fashions come and go… but mostly they go.”  “Indigo Children” are now a dime a dozen.  So we have to move on to a new designation, an even more special kind of person.  One that shows up those silly Indigos for the bush-league posers that they are.

Now, we have “Crystal Children.”

I’m not making this up.  In an opening passage that should win some kind of award for New Age Doublespeak, we read that the “empathetic and sensitive” Indigos better just step aside:

After discovering more about Indigo Children and the (often misunderstood) gifts that they possess, the question arose: now what?  The answer came in the form of the Crystal Children.
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crystal children 800_250pxThe Crystal Children are the generation following the Indigo Children. Still thought to be relatively young, they have begun to be born from around 2000, though there is some speculation that they arrived earlier, around 1995.  Similar to their Indigo counterparts, these children are thought to be extremely powerful, with a main purpose to take humanity to the next level in our evolution and reveal to us our inner power and divinity.  Some things that make them unique from Indigo Children are that they function as a group consciousness rather than as individuals, and they live by the law that we are all one.  However, they are still are a powerful force for love and peace on the planet.

Yes, I have to say that when I read about the Indigo Children, my response was to shake my head and say, “Now what?”  But I don’t think I meant it the same way.

And my goodness, those “Crystal Children!”  They’re going to “take humanity to the next level in our evolution and reveal to us our inner power and divinity!”  Who could resist that?

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10 Theories That Will Make You Lose Your Mind

by Jake Anderson via ODDEE

I consider myself a collector of sorts. I collect strange, bizarre notions and theories that warp traditional narratives about reality and existence. The following is a presentation of 10 of my favorite mind-blowing theories. There is compelling evidence for each, but you certainly don’t – and, for the sake of your sanity, probably shouldn’t – need to take them as gospel.

1 • The Singularity: We will transcend biology and live as posthuman Gods

a98991_singularity2_300pxFuturists like Ray Kurzweil say in the coming decades humans will experience a technological singularity by which we will transcend biology itself. Intelligent civilizations such as ours, says Kurzweil, are destined to evolve into super-intelligent, possibly machine-based beings whose computational powers grow exponentially.

After such a singularity, we would be able to harness the power of our own sun in order to accomplish interstellar feats only dreamed of in science fiction, such as creating Dyson Spheres and literally saturating the known universe with consciousness.

Some progressive thinkers like Noam Chomsky have labeled the theory science fiction, while others question the classist undertones of the theory’s transhumanist enthusiasts.

(Source | Photo)

2 • Project Bluebeam: the Government Will Engineer a False Flag Supernatural Alien Invasion

a98991_bluebeam_300pxProject Blue Beam is a highly controversial conspiracy theory. Originally proposed by Canadian journalist Serge Monast in 1994, it holds that the New World Order will use advanced holographic technology in order to create a false flag alien invasion and/or a worldwide religious “awakening” in order to achieve servitude by the masses and acceptance of a one world government and religion and possibly depopulation efforts as well.

There are supposedly 4 parts to the implementation of Project Blue Beam. These stages include:

  1. The dissolution of major religions due to archaeological discoveries disproving them.
  2. A holographic “space show” in which deities and aliens appear as our overlords (it is not clear how these two would coexist).
  3. Telepathic Electronic Two Way Communication, via ELF(Extra Low Frequency), VLF (Very Low Frequency), and LF (Low Frequency) waves, whereby people will think they are being spoken to by the new true God or extraterrestrial overlords.
  4. Use of worldwide microchips to fabricate horrifying supernatural events that will make people desperate for the New World Order.

(Source)

3 • Our handlers use Predictive Programming To Plan, Communicate, and Brainwash

a98991_PredictiveProgramming_300pxPredictive programming is the idea that society embeds messages into pop culture media and other modes of transmission in order to psychologically prepare and incubate the general population for certain events. It is, of course, a conspiracy theory,

Many people maintain instances of predictive programming are simply coincidences on par with synchronicity and Déjà vu; others say they are sinister calling cards for shadow groups who communicate across media channels through coded signals.
(Source)

4 • Human DNA contains the signature of an alien creator

a98991_humanDNA_300pxNew evidence is suggesting that instead of searching the stars with telescopes, we should have been searching our DNA with microscopes. Vladimir I. shCherbak of al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Kazakhstan, and Maxim A. Makukov of the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute claim they have discovered an intelligent signal inside human DNA. In this case, “biological SETI” as it’s known, involves “arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language.”

In other words, it’s possible that an intelligent species encoded a message or signature into the very structure of our DNA. (Source | Photo)

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Deepak Challenge to Skeptics

steven_novellaBy Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog

Deepak Chopra doesn’t appear to like skeptics much, or understand them. He just put out a YouTube video challenging ”Randi and his cronies” to his own fake version of the million dollar challenge.

All we have to do, apparently, is make 50-100 years of scientific advance in neuroscience in a single peer-reviewed paper. Chopra_711_250pxI’ll get started on that right away.

Actually, even that probably would not be sufficient. The whole point of pseudoscientific goal-post moving is to keep forever out of reach of current scientific evidence. It doesn’t matter how much progress science makes, there will always be gaps and limitations to our knowledge. Chopra lives in the gaps.

Here is his exact challenge:

Dear Randi: Before you go around debunking the so-called “paranormal,” please explain the so-called “normal.” How does the electricity going into the brain become the experience of a three dimensional world in space and time. If you can explain that, then you get a million dollars from me. Explain and solve the hard problem of consciousness in a peer-reviewed journal, offer a theory that is falsifiable, and you get the prize.

The challenge is absurd because it is completely undefined. “Explain” to what degree? Science often advances by developing theories that are progressively deeper. Obviously we can explain consciousness on some level, CHOPRAand just as obviously Chopra would not accept that level as sufficient, but he gives absolutely no indication of how much deeper an explanation he would require.

A challenge without a clear way of judging the outcome is worthless. This is very different than the JREF’s million dollar challenge (now supervised by Banachek) which negotiates a very specific protocol with clear outcomes and a clear threshold for what will be considered success.

The vacuous nature of Chopra’s challenge reveals it for what it is – an insincere stunt that Chopra no doubt wishes to use for rhetorical purposes.

If you listen to the rest of the video challenge it is also clear that Chopra likes to operate in the gaps – he is making a massive argument from ignorance, or “god-of-the-gaps” type argument. In essence he is saying that because neuroscientists cannot now explain consciousness to an arbitrary level of detail (determined at will by Chopra, with an endless option to revise), therefore magic.

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Deepak Chopra Gets Owned

Back to the future with the healing energy of reiki

By Orac via Respectful Insolence

reiki_IHdsCxZvUnGm_200pxOver the last two days, both Mark Crislip and Jann Bellamy wrote great pieces over at Science-Based Medicine about reiki. In particular, Jann Bellamy discussed reiki starting with an example that I’ve been citing in my talks about the infiltration of quackademic medicine into medical academia for at least four or five years now: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and its website, which describes reiki thusly:

Reiki is a form of hands-on, natural healing that uses universal life force energy. The term comes from the Japanese words “rei,” which translates into universal, and “ki,” which means vital life force energy that flows through all living things. This gentle energy is limitless in abundance and is believed to be a spiritual form of energy. It is not tied to any specific religion or nationality.

The Reiki practitioner is the conduit between you and the source of the universal life force energy. The energy flows through the practitioner’s energy field and through his or her hands to you. The energy does not come from the practitioner; it comes through the practitioner from the universal source. There is no energy drain on the person giving the treatment. You may experience the energy as sensations such as heat, tingling, or pulsing where the practitioner places her hands on your body, or you may feel these sensations move through your body to other locations. This is the energy flowing into you. Some people may not perceive any change at all. Most people feel very relaxed and peaceful. Many clients even fall asleep while receiving Reiki treatment.

The way I like to handle this during a talk is to place an excerpt from the above two paragraphs onto a slide and just let the audience soak in the stupidity. Generally, they react with utter shock that a respected academic medical center would have something so unbelievably ridiculous on their website. I then continue my talk by explaining how reiki is faith healing that substitutes Eastern mysticism for Christian beliefs. reiki-cat 1104_300pxThink about it. In reiki, reiki masters claim to be able to tap into “life force energy” from the “universal source,” as described above, and channel it into a patient for healing effect. Now, substitute the word “God” or “Jesus” for “universal source” in the description above. Yes, that’s faith healing. Stripped to its essence, there’s no difference between reiki and channeling the healing power of Jesus or God into a patient to try to heal him.

That’s why the Catholic Church doesn’t like reiki being practiced in its hospitals, and that’s why fundamentalist Christians view reiki as a “sin.”

Next, I list some of the high profile medical schools and academic medical centers that offer reiki to patients, the most recent of which I discussed was the University of Arizona Cancer Center. It’s a depressing litany that includes luminaries such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Yale University (sorry, Steve Novella!), and Harvard, among many others.

Going back and reading about reiki again after having seen Jann’s discussion of whether advertising reiki as medicine could be viewed as fraud and whether there a class action lawsuit charging that could actually succeed, I came upon a hilarious article on reiki that helps to illustrate just how utterly nonsensical the ideas behind reiki are. Now, I’ve discussed how reiki isn’t really any “ancient” Japanese art of healing, having been invented out of whole cloth by a man named Mikao Usui back in the 1920s. I’m referring to an article on About.com’s Holistic Healing page by Phylameana lila Desy entitled Projecting Reiki Energies into Past and Future.

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Also see:

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Deepak Chopra and the attractiveness of nonsense

Via Skeptophilia

There are a variety of reasons to learn some science.  First is, it’s cool, and is the only game in town when it comes to understanding what’s actually going on around you in the natural world.  science 824_200pxSecond, there are some issues we’re facing (climate change and genetic modification come to mind) that you can only evaluate properly if you understand the science behind them.  These issues are having an increasing impact on humanity, and most of us are coming around to the idea that handling them properly will require some deep thought — deep thought that requires you to understand what the research actually says.

The third reason is that some knowledge of science will keep you from falling prey to purveyors of bullshit.

Take, for example, this article from Huffington Post entitled “Deepak Chopra On How to Modify Your Own Genes.”  The article begins thusly:

Physician and best-selling author Deepak Chopra has an empowering message: You can actually modify your own genes through your actions and behaviors.

deepak chopra 840

Purveyor of bullshit

Well, Dr. Chopra, it may be “empowering,” but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong.  Modifying your gene expression is not the same thing as modifying your genes.  Your body responds to changes in environmental conditions all the time — but that is altering the expression of the genes you already have, not making any sort of permanent changes to the genes themselves.

Alteration of gene expression happens continuously, throughout our lives.  If you hadn’t altered gene expression as you developed from a single-celled fertilized egg, for example, you would right now be an amorphous blob of undifferentiated cells, and you would be unable to read this post, because you wouldn’t have a brain.

Now, lest you think that it’s just the writer at HuffPost who got it wrong, and that the passage above was taking something that Dr. Chopra said out of context and making it sound like he believes that experience alters your genes, here’s an actual quote that proves otherwise:

“We are literally metabolizing something as ephemeral as experience or even meaning,” Chopra said in an interview this week at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “If somebody says to me, ‘I love you,’ and I’m in love with them, I suddenly feel great, and I make things like oxytocin and dopamine, serotonin, opiates. And if someone says to me, ‘I love you,’ and I’m really thinking they’re manipulating me, I don’t make the same thing. I make cortisol and adrenaline.”

First off, what does “literally metabolizing… experience” even mean?  Metabolism is one of those words that’s used in common parlance in a variety of ways, but for which scientists have a precise definition.  You can metabolize the protein in your dinner, but “metabolizing experience”CHOPRA is a meaningless phrase — and it’s almost funny that he put the word “literally” in front of it.

Chopra, of course, has become notorious for this kind of thing.  He once said, in a talk, “We are each a localized field of energy and information with cybernetic feedback loops interacting within a nonlocal field,” a phrase that is kind of admirable in how tightly it packs meaningless buzzwords together.  He specializes in a style of speech and writing that I call “sort of science-y or something” — using words like frequency and quantum and resonance in vague, handwaving ways that have great appeal to people who aren’t trained in science, and who don’t realize that each of those words has a precise definition that honestly has nothing to do with the way he’s using them.  In fact, he’s so well-known for deep-sounding bullshit that there is an online Deepak Chopra Quote Generator, that strings together words to create an authentic-sounding Chopra Quote.  (Here’s the one I just got: “The secret of the universe arises and subsides in descriptions of truth.”)

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The Weekend I Became a Reiki Healer

Carrie PoppyBy Carrie Poppy via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

I am a Reiki practitioner, but I don’t believe in Reiki.

That may sound like a contradiction, but apparently it isn’t. One of the lessons Jenny, my Reiki master, taught my class when we first gathered in her small, purple classroom in La Crescenta, California, was this:

poppy-reiki-certificate_cropped_350px“Belief is irrelevant. You don’t have to believe a single word I say. If you have the Reiki energy and even the vaguest intention to heal, it will work.”

Now I had paid $350 to learn the “ancient” technique myself in a class called “Reiki 1-2.” But, contrary to popular myth, Reiki isn’t all that ancient. This hands-on healing method was developed by Mikao Usui just shy of one hundred years ago. The stories are not entirely clear, but the general idea is that he went up on a mountain top in Japan, fasted, and ended up receiving special healing energy from the Heavens, which he then passed down to his students. Reiki is hugely popular in the United States, where you can find a healer in nearly every city. During a Reiki treatment, you can expect your practitioner to wave his or her hands over you, often without even touching you, to heal your body, mind, and spirit. The National Institutes of Health warn that Reiki hasn’t been thoroughly studied and should never replace conventional health care.[1] Our best bet, my instructor told us, was to always assume that whoever we were dealing with was skeptical of Reiki. And plenty of people are.

When I told Jenny I didn’t know whether I thought Reiki was real myself, she said, “Oh, perfect! People who believe in Reiki are so boring. Skeptics are so much fun! Skeptics are the easiest to work with, because they want to be fair. Just go through the motions, and let them tell you if it worked. Pretend you know what you’re doing.”

reiki-cat 1104_300pxThe six of us students looked at our hands, which would soon be divine instruments.

“This is a metaphysical software download,” Jenny said. “It works as long as you have the software.”

Jenny explained that everyone’s hands have some healing energy, but 10–20 percent of the population have enough to be healers already. People who get the special healing Reiki energy (passed down from Usui to every other master and student since Reiki’s birth) have the strongest, most divinely guided healing powers possible. And receiving the two “attunements” we would get in this class meant having “Super Hands” forever. It couldn’t be undone. Jenny had guided this process many times, training 2,000 students, ages five to one hundred, over twenty-three years.

For the most part, Jenny seemed like a warm, intelligent woman who defied my expectations of a Reiki teacher at every turn. She studied biology in college and was staunchly pro-GMO. Although she wore a fair amount of green and purple, her outfit was simple and all-American. Her long, brown hair was cut in straight bangs, and she was as glued to her iPhone as everyone else in the class. Besides her odd habit of saying “yesterday” instead of “tomorrow”—“We’ll learn about animal Reiki yesterday”—she was downright normal.

When it came time to receive the sacred Reiki attunements, we all sat in a circle, closed our eyes, and waited for Jenny to walk around the outer edge of our chairs, giving the six of us the holy energy one at a time.reiki 1225 I was sitting with my hands in prayer position, centering myself and focusing on the holy energy within me already, though what I felt most strongly was a longing for the Thai restaurant next door. She reached in front of me and grasped my palms with hers, lifting my arms above my head. Then she patted my crown three times, whistled a strange tune, and touched my back. That was it. I now had partial Reiki powers.

When we opened our eyes, my classmates and I exchanged notes. Richard felt his heart become heavy and his hunger go away upon receiving the energy. Mary felt lightning bolts in her head. Tasha felt vulnerable, like wings had popped open on her back, exposing her spine. Priscilla, a physical therapist, said she was relieved she could finally be a true healer. Pablo and I were the only ones who didn’t feel much. Jenny said all our experiences were equal. We didn’t need to feel anything.

Now that we had received half of the full Reiki energy, we practiced on each other. First, the class tried to cure my headaches by feeling for lumps in the energy field above my head. I was as lumpy-headed as my teacher had expected. My fellow students all stood above me, their hands miming the removal of stagnant energy about three inches above my skull.

“Oh wow,” they said. “I can definitely feel it.”

When it was over, the teacher asked me how I felt.

“Well, fine… But I didn’t have a headache before.”

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Your Body’s Energy Fields

We are constantly bombarded with marketing references to your body’s energy field. Is there such a thing?

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid
Read transcript below or listen here

body-energyfield_250pxYears after Skeptoid’s original episode #1 on New Age Energy, talk of energy fields — particular the human body’s energy fields — continues to permeate pop culture. A quick Google search for “human energy field” yields an avalanche of New Agey sciencey-sounding results: biofields, noetic balancing, auras, chakras, cleansing and activating your fields, bioenergetics, science unlocking the secrets, luminosity, sensing, negative energy, positive energy, and the human bioelectromagnetic field. Does the human body indeed have any characteristic that can be reasonably described as an energy field?

Although most of the usage you’ll hear of the term sounds like something from Deepak Chopra which is clearly without any factual meaning, the idea that a living body has some measurable effect on its immediate environment is not necessarily an unsound concept. Our bodies generate heat, we have mass, fluids move within us and millions of electric signals are constantly being transmitted through our nervous system. Might we not actually produce an energy field?

Molecular structuresA useful place to begin is with definitions, namely those of “energy” and “field”. Energy is a measurement of something’s ability to perform work. A liter of gasoline has chemical energy stored in molecular bonds that, when broken, produce an exothermic chemical reaction. Put it into the engine, and this reaction will cause the engine to run, converting stored chemical energy into kinetic energy. We can precisely quantify the amount of energy stored in that liter of fuel. A basic unit of energy is called the joule, and a typical gasoline contains about 42 megajoules of energy per kilogram. A typical alkaline AA battery contains about 9,000 joules. The calories of chemical energy that my bloodstream absorbs when I eat a Power Bar charge up my muscles enough to dig some specific, and measurable, amount of dirt in my garden.

That’s all that energy is: a measurement of work capability. But in popular culture, “energy” has somehow become a noun. “Energy” is often spoken of as if it is a thing unto itself, like a region of glowing power, that can be contained and used. Here’s a good test. When you hear the word “energy” used, substitute the phrase “measurable work capability.” Does the usage still make sense? Remember, energy itself is not the thing being measured: energy is the measurement of work performed or of potential.

OK, so that’s energy, a measured, quantified amount of work capability. So let’s wipe the slate clean and look at what a field is.

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Earth Day Festival 2014: How was the Woo?

by The Locke via The Soap Box

Last Sunday, April 26, I went down to my town’s annual Earth Day Festival to check out everything that was there, just like I do every year.

Last year I was appalled by the amount of pseudoscience and alternative medicine woo mixed in with all of the legitimate booths and displays promoting legitimate environmental causes and advice [read about it here] to the point where they pretty much overshadowed what the Earth Day festival was suppose to be about.

The worst offender last year of course was a booth promoting Anti-GMO conspiracy theories.

Fortunately that person wasn’t back this year, but still there were people back again promoting the same woo, including the Astrology and Tarot Card reader from last year  .  .  .

DSC08168

.  .  .  and the chiropractors from last year are back as well  .  .  .

DSC08226

.  .  .  but I have some new ones for this year, starting with this one:

DSC08189

Now I admit at first glance this one wasn’t that bad, even through it had nothing to do with environmentalism.

Creating art can help relax a person and cut down on stress. That’s the good part about what’s being presented there.

Then there’s the woo.

They also promote past life regression and trauma healing, clearing of curses, negative spirits, and other stuff of the like, and how to protect yourself from such things, all while using nature and spiritual energy.

In other words instead of addressing any real things that can cause stress in a person’s life, they’re just claiming that it’s supernatural forces, and use “techniques” they claim to get from Shamanism to “cleanse” a person of these supernatural forces.

The next offender of promoters of woo that I saw there was  .  .  .

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Quantum Jumping, or Bullshit Overload

Story H/T: @ Skeptic Wars


QJ-624x282
Via Enduring Beta

I stumbled upon the website Quantum Jumping from an ad for wooey pseudoscience that just seemed… too out there. But oh how I underestimate scammers! I was struck by the techniques used to trick readers into buying into the product and story, and then felt like tearing down some of the nonsense I was reading. Come join me for a hearty laugh, a face palm, and a clenched fist.

Here’s an opening quote from the site to get an idea of what they’re saying:

I would like to share with you a technique that has completely changed who I am. It has brought me everything I could have ever asked for in life – success, talent, wealth, wellbeing, happiness – you name it.

It stems from the aforementioned idea of ‘another you’ living in ‘another reality’. Whether or not this is possible will be debated for some time, and the answer may never be known, but it creates the mindset of what’s called…

The Most Advanced Creative Visualization Technique Ever Created

Now just imagine for a moment you could find a way to ‘jump’ into these alternate universes. That you could meet an infinite number of alternate versions of ‘you’…

Imagine that you could examine their ways and learn their methods, draw upon their skills, experience and wisdom, find out how they become so happy, talented or successful.

caption

This quantum disclaimer is from the quantumjumping.com customer reviews page.

Emphasis mine. This is a hallmark of pseudoscience to rope people in with a sensational claim like the title “Quantum Jumping” and buttress against criticism with a nod to the fact that it’s “still debated”. Or, in other words, “We’ll sell you on the idea without regard for if it’s real at all.” Legitimate self-help techniques and medicine should wait for the justification through evidence before making claims like this site does!

Burt Goldman says he developed the skills of painting, photography, writing, and business through, effectively, simply visualizing himself with those skills over time. I won’t deny that this mental technique might help with motivation, perseverance, clarity, and focus. But if you don’t have the skills to paint in your head and hands already, they’re not going to be revealed to you just by meditating. There are limits that the tone and language of this site refuse to address.

What’s further agonizing about this site is the dancing they do around whether or not they claim to Actually Contact Other Universes. For example:

[A]t its core, Quantum Jumping is simply an advanced visualization exercise. You’re tapping into your subconscious mind, where are infinite number of realities and possibilities are waiting to be discovered. Anything that can be, is.

“If a universe can be imagined, it exists.” Professor M. R. Franks

“There are vibrations of many different universes right here, right now. We’re just not in tune with them. There are probably other parallel universes in our living room–this is modern physics. This is the modern interpretation of quantum theory, that many worlds represents reality.” Dr. Michio Kaku

They tap Michio Kaku, Einstein, Planck, and more for fake science credibility. The site has moments of near-honesty, but they are sandwiched by the same vague language that can be interpreted in different ways and hollow appeals to unrelated experts and testimony:

Now I hate having to burst anyone’s bubble of having adventures through space – and Quantum Jumping was made to be an out of this world experience – but no, you wont actually leave this planet.

But what does one make of the first block? Are they claiming it or not? The real answer, of course, it that they are being intentionally vague to let the reader come to the most charitable conclusion. They are mentioning science related only in “theme” to give the quick reader, the casual glancer, the illusion of . . .

MORE – – –

Can Thinking Change Reality

Story H/T: @ Skeptic Wars


steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

I love the documentary series, The Day the Universe Changed, by James Burke. It’s a follow up to his equally good, Connections (I know, they have their criticisms, but overall they are very good). The former title is a metaphor – when our collective model of reality changes, for us the universe does change. When we believed the earth was motionless at the center of the universe, that was our reality.

James Burke The Day the Universe Changed

James Burke
The Day the Universe Changed

But Burke was not arguing that the nature of the universe actually changed, just our conception of it. Thinking alone cannot directly change external reality. That is magical thinking.

Such thinking, however, lies at the center of much new age spiritual claims. The secret of The Secret is that you can change your world by wishing. Proponents of such ideas are desperate for scientific validation of their basic premise. Such evidence does not exist. In fact over a century of such research shows rather conclusively that there is no such effect in operation in our world to any significant degree.

A recent article claiming that there is such evidence has been making the social media rounds – 10 Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical Material World. After some flowery Eastern mysticism, and rather gratuitously abusing the memory of Nikola Tesla, the author gives a quick summary of what they believe to be ten lines of evidence supporting the notion that consciousness can alter physical reality. It would take a full-length post to debunk each of these ten claims adequately. I am only going to give an equally quick summary here, but will link to longer articles when possible.

1 – Quantum Double Slit Experiment

Double-slit experiment, artworkYou knew this had to be on the list. The claim is that the classic double slit experiments prove that consciousness affects reality at a fundamental level. Light (or other elementary particles, and even small atoms) traveling through one slit will shine as a blob on the other side, as if the particles of light were all piling up after the slit. If two adjacent thin slits are open, however, then we don’t see two blobs but rather an interference pattern, as if the light were traveling like water waves and interfering with each other as they traveled through the slits. This is the core experiment that demonstrates the wave-particle duality of light – it travels like a wave but then interacts like a particle.

These experiments are often distorted into the claim that the experimenter has to be watching, that their consciousness affects the outcome. This is simply not true, however. All that is required is a detector, which physically interacts with the particles. “Detecting” forces the wave function to collapse into a particle. I discuss this further here.

2. Government Sponsored Psychokinesis Experiments

The claim is that government experiments demonstrated the ability to bend spoons and forks with the mind. The links provided as references, however, do not establish such claims. This, of course, is a theme of the article, providing links that give the appearance of evidence, even though they do not establish the claims being referenced.

MORE – – –

ALSO SEE: NeuroLogica Blog » Can Thinking Change Reality Part II.

Reichenbach’s odic force

Via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Baron Dr. Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Reichenbach (1788-1869) thought he had discovered a basic force in nature, which he called “od.” He is one of several classic examples of a respected scientist becoming fixated on an idea that only he can validate. The delusion in such men is impervious to criticism, which might lead one to conclude that a psychological aberration has occurred in a previously well-balanced and competent scientist.

Reichenbach was a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and had made numerous contributions to science in several fields before he became fixated on “sensitives” and their claims of perceiving things that other people didn’t perceive. For most of the last thirty years of his life, he did research and defended his discovery of a totally new, hitherto unknown physical force. He was unable to convince the scientific community of his discovery, yet he persisted. After he was rebuked by a scientific committee in Berlin that heard his arguments and sat through his demonstrations, he ridiculed them as den Gelehrten Berline Sieben (the seven wise men of Berlin) and was undaunted (Jastrow, p. 342-343). When his sensitives failed to detect positive from negative current or whether the current was on or off (as Reichenbach claimed they could do because of their ability to detect the odic force), Reichenbach claimed that the “magnetic” current reacted upon the “odic” current and confused the sensitives (Jastrow, 343). The committee of seven experts wrote:

the demonstrations of Baron von Reichenbach have in no wise established what they were intended to show, and give no proof of a new natural force.

As far as I know, the baron had no training in psychology or psychopathology and no training in devising experiments involving people. He applied many standard scientific techniques and followed standard practices of data collection and recording, including graphs and charts. But he seems to have had no sense of how to do a controlled experiment with so-called “sensitives,” people who might better be described as neurotics or delusional.

MORE – – –

The Pineal Gland: Mysticism and Neuroscience

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know

Five Stupid Things About the New Age Movement

By Steve Shives via YouTube

When the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, absolutely nothing will happen.

Happy New Year! (Alex Jones Style)

Party Like It’s A Nuclear War !!!

By Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)

Who is old enough to remember Y2K? I remember it well (translation: i’m old).

y2k1Y2K is an acronym for “Year 2000,” or, as it was also known – “The Year 2000 problem, the Y2K problem, the Millennium bug, the Y2K bug, or simply Y2K.” (source) It was the moment when the clocks struck 12:00 AM on Janury 1, 2000 and how it might affect every aspect of our lives. Why?

The year 2000 was a problem for many computers because many computer programs stored years using only the last two digits of the year; for example, 1980 was stored as “80”, the year 1999 was stored as “99” and the year 2000 would be stored as “00”.

Do you see the problem? Not only did such systems view the year 2000 as “00”, but they also viewed the year 1900 as “00”. Imagine what would happen to half your programs if your computer suddenly thought the current year (2013) was actually the year 1913. Your calendar program, your watch, your smart phone and many other programs we rely on would suddenly be all wacked out. Imagine what would happen to the banking system if this glitch occurred. Would you be able to access your money? Would all your checks suddenly bounce? (On the other hand, maybe the banks would suddenly give us 100 years of accrued interest. But i digress …)

Now imagine if such a glitch were to occur in bigger systems like nuclear electric plants and nuclear weapons? What might go wrong? This is what had a lot of people in a near state of panic.

Would telephone systems shutdown? Would the electric grid turn off across the country – plunging all of us into darkness for an indeterminant amount of time? Would trains run on schedule? Would the air traffic control system lose control? Would our nuclear arsenal behave in some unpredicted manner and cause WWIII? Would the nuclear arsenal in some other country malfunction and bomb us?

It seemed nobody knew for sure what would – or would not – happen. People were concerned and scared.

Enter my favorite moron – Alex Jones.

AlexJonesLunaticOn New Year’s Eve 1999, the night the clocks were due to change over to the year 2000, The Alex Jones show engaged in some of the most negligent, egregious and irresponsible scare mongering ever. I don’t know of a worse case than this.

In the 3 hours Jones was on the air, he made every conceivable claim of catastrophe imaginable. He took everything people were fearing about Y2K and he claimed those fears were materializing. Everything from cash machines failing, nuclear power plants shutting down, concentration camps (with shackles) being readied, empty grocery store shelves, gas stations out of gas, Martial Law declared, the military serving search warrants in 77 Texas counties – to an actual nuclear missile attack!!!!!!!!

And did any of this actually occur? No. None of it. People were so frightened they reportedly headed for the hills (literally) and got physically sick.

alex-jones_200pxWhat you are about to hear is approximately 30 minutes of the Alex Jones Show audio from that night. This audio from the Alex Jones Show was part of a radio show broadcast by William (Bill) Cooper on approximately January 4, 2000. Bill Cooper himself was a conspiracy theorist, but even he was disgusted by the antics of Alex Jones and he called him out.

Bill Cooper’s original broadcast was 3 hours long. In the Alex Jones recording i present below, except for the opening 30 seconds, i have edited out all of Bill Cooper’s narratives so you can hear Alex Jones uninterrupted in all his despicable glory.

As i was going through the audio, i noticed breaks in the Alex Jones audio that i assume were done by Bill Cooper’s editing team in preparation for broadcast. Where ever i believed there was an edit i added a half-second “beep” sound. This is to help avoid confusion as the conversation would sometimes abruptly change topics. So listen for the beeps (you can’t miss them).

Below the audio you will find a complete transcript of notes i made of what to expect in the audio. This will help you follow along. Where ever you see the word “Regurgitation,” that is my own shorthand to indicate it is a previously mentioned point being repeated by Jones – a tactic he uses to give the impression he has a pile of information. Any words [inside brackets] are commentaries i made for myself.

Believe me, this is an audio clip Alex Jones wishes would go away.

Enjoy!

:)

Mason I. Bilderberg.

P.S. If anybody knows where i can find a copy of the full 3 hour Alex Jones Show from 12/31/1999 please let me know.

P.P.S. I apologize in advance for any spelling errors.


Alex Jones Y2K (30 minutes):

Transcript/Notes:

  • 0:00 Bill Cooper sets up the scene.
  • 0:27 Cash machines are failing in Britain and other European countries
  • 0:32 Finding large amounts of explosives in France
  • 1:03 More wars then in the last 50 years is going on right now
  • Russian Hinds Helicopter

    Russian Hinds Helicopter

    1:07 The war in chechnya is raging with hundreds of thousands dying

  • 1:13 20,000 to 40,000 civilians trapped in the city [presumably chechnya]
  • 1:16 Russian Hinds (Helicopter) are being shot down, tanks are being blown to bits
  • 1:20 Massive Grad unguided rocket attacks are being launched from the city
  • 1:26 Air and artillery bombardments [presumably chechnya]
  • 1:39 Pennsylvania nuclear plant (Limerick Generating Station) has been shut down [implied because of Y2K-related problems. Not true. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings are contained in the image, below]
  • 1:49 The shelves (In TX) are empty of water and gas stations are running out of fuel
  • 1:50 In Minneapolis and Texas the shortwave (radio) is down
  • 2:50 The Pennsylvania nuclear plant and (now) 4 other nuclear plants were having Y2K-related problems [See 3:04 mark]
  • 3:12 The government in Washington D.C. has set up a $50M command bunker that is hooked into FEMA and they can take over all the shortwave (radio), AM/FM radio stations and all television and other broadcast stations
  • 3:34 The police and military [presumably nationwide] are on high alert
  • 3:41 The military are highly visible [presumably in the streets]
  • 3:45 Trains of military equipment moving into Austin, TX
  • 3:53 The airport (Robert Mueller Airport) will be used as a massive holding facility [ala concentration camps]
  • 4:03 Vladimir Putin is a demon
  • A Topol-M mobile launcher.

    A Topol-M mobile launcher.

    4:12 Now 6 to 7 (nuclear) reactors having Y2K related problems [Not true]

  • 4:50 Globalist Forces are gearing up to clamp down on America, Russia and the world
  • 5:08 America is gearing up and bracing for terrorism and militarizing everything in front of us.
  • 5:19 The Russians have deployed Topol-M “first strike” missiles across Russia while (Boris) Yeltsin (Russian President) has been openly threatening to nuke us [See the 5:44 mark].
  • 6:00 They (Russia) have deployed their missiles and submarines against us (America).
  • 6:09 Vladimir Putin, who just took over as Russian President, has “taken the codes off” Russia’s nuclear arsenal. (The Russian nuclear arsenal no longer requires a secret code to initiate a nuclear missile attack on America.)
  • 6:25 Discussing America being hit with a nuclear first-strike and the ensuing annihilation.
  • 7:27 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania Electric Company (PECO), Limerick Generating Station (here and here) was shutdown [presumably because of Y2K-related problems. Not true. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings are contained in the image, below].
  • 7:38 Doesn’t challenge a caller paraphrasing (Colonel) Bo Gritz who said, that Russia said, if their (Russia) power goes out they will blame us and they (Russia) would set off their nuclear arsenal.
  • 8:01 The Russians are threatening to nuke us every, single week.
  • out of gas_250px8:25 Currencies around the world are plunging
  • 8:39 Gas stations in America are out of gas
  • 8:58 American’s are standing up as Russia threatens to attack us with nuclear weapons
  • 9:02 Nuclear power plants are being shutdown
  • 9:07 The military is “running around” with the police and the FBI saying terrorism is imminent [the takeover is beginning]
  • 9:25 “They” have activated a powerful, cold war, radar system in the north pole region [presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack] that is affecting shortwave (radio)
  • 9:46 Military traffic is EVERYWHERE
  • 9:52 Regurgitation: Super power, cold war radar systems (presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack) and nuclear systems are up.
  • 10:07 Fresno (California?) is blacked out, he (Jones) is off the internet
  • 10:25 [Scare tactic, Survivalist Commercial]
  • 11:03 “America is under siege right now.”
  • 11:14 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 11:33 Egypt is having a run on the banks
  • 11:45 Regurgitation: The power in Fresno (California?) is down, he is off the internet
  • 11:50 Regurgitation: Cash machines and ATMs in Europe are having problems
  • 12:03 Martial Law signs are posted on highway 65 in Arkansas by the Arkansas Transportation Department
  • 12:52 Regurgitation: In Austin, TX they have announced it is a concentration camp at Robert Mueller Airport

    APC_250px

    Armored Personnel Carrier

  • 13:09 At Fort Hood giant, long lines of trains with flat cars loaded with APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) and LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles)
  • 13:33 They (Fort Hood) have flat bed trailers, large cattle trailer-types (think concentration camps)
  • 14:17 A power plant in michigan is prepared to shutdown when “given the order.”
  • 15:01 If you don’t have a supply of potassium iodide, now is the time to get your supply of potassium iodide in case of a russian nuclear attack.
  • 15:18 Regurgitation: The Russians have been publicly threatening to nuke us and they’ve been deploying their missiles against us.
  • 15:33 We will not survive a nuclear first strike
  • 15:58 Regurgitation: Austin (TX) is out of water and gas
  • 16:03 Regurgitation: The city of Fresno (California?) is blacked out
  • 16:18 Russia and China are now threatening to nuke us
  • 16:42 Discussing how the Russians have been building the biggest bunker ever known to man
  • 17:16 Our (America’s) designated nuclear fallout shelters are parking garages so “they” can move in later to pull out all the rotten skeletons after “they” emerge from “their” shelters.
  • 17:57 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 18:12 Regurgitation: Nuclear power plant problems in PA (Pennsylvania), shutdowns (?), power outages in Fresno (California?)
  • 18:40 Regurgitation: Russia and China have been threatening to nuke us.
  • 18:58 Regurgitation: The Russians deployed their Topol-M “first strike” missiles 2.5 weeks ago.
  • 19:09 The head of the Russian missiles systems, a top general, has been threatening to nuke us and he reserves first strike authority to attack us – even though they have no reason to attack us.
  • 19:25 A power plant has been blown up in Oregon [Not true]
  • 19:36 “Clinton has pulled it.” (????)
  • x

    Robert Mueller Airport
    (concentration camp)

    20:26 Massive Y2K problems being reported across the globe.

  • 20:55 Regurgitation: In Austin, TX Robert Mueller Airport, the local news was showing off the “detainment facilities.” [i.e. concentration camps]
  • 21:15 The local news showed the barbed wired fences inside the Robert Mueller Airport facility.
  • 21:18 There are “shackles on the ground, concreted into the ground” at Robert Mueller Airport – like a slave galley.
  • 21:42 New Zealand is having power outages
  • 21:57 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 22:33 Regurgitation: Vladimir Putin threatens to nuke us
  • 22:50 Regurgitation: Pennsylvania nuclear power plant shutdown
  • 22:55 The power is off in 8 different areas across the country
  • 22:58 A lot of cable systems aren’t working
  • 23:01 Satellites are down
  • 23:09 “Minor fault (???) struck two nuclear power plants in Japan just seconds after the clock ticked into 2000 …”
  • 23:25 Anybody near a nuclear power plant should pack up and go someplace else.
  • 23:37 The store shelves are bare in Austin, TX.
  • 23:43 Regurgitation: Gas is running out.
  • 23:44 They’re announcing on the news that, “if you’re bad they’re going to put you in a … they’re going to bolt you to a pipe coming out of the ground at the airport (Robert Mueller Airport) in some cold hangar.”
  • 24:04 “The military is serving search warrants now in 77 Texas counties.”
  • 24:08 Regurgitation: “We got nuclear power plants shutting down.”
  • 24:20 Regurgitation: The Russians are threatening to nuke us RIGHT NOW.
  • 24:40 Regurgitation: “Well, they got the Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles) loading on the flat cars out of Fort Hood.”
  • the end is near_300px25:06 There are currently nuclear missiles being launched.
  • 25:15 ABC (news) just had a special news bulletin – a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 25:44 The general refused to say what kind of missiles, where they were coming from or where they were going.
  • 25:58 This secrecy is just like when the special operations training that was conducted with the Russians in south TX when they burned buildings and laying siege to towns [never happend]
  • 26:44 Jones’ co-host: “You elect me to president and i will nuke them (Russians) first, i’ll push the button as soon as i take the oath … i’m opening up that football and start launching, man.”
  • 26:55 Regurgitation: The Russians have been threatening to nuke us, they reserve the first strike right to hit us for no reason and Clinton said he will absorb the first strike by the Russians.
  • 27:06 Jones’ co-host: Hopes one of those 5 incoming nuclear missiles is headed towards Clinton.
  • 27:12 Regurgitation: a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 27:39 Jones complains that the television network went to a commercial break after announcing 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 27:53 A NORAD commander was on the news. “Space Command” (Air Force Space Command) is now running everything.
  • 28:20 The perceived enemy is “obviously” the American people.
  • 28:36 Regurgitation: It’s on ABC news that 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • boom28:57 The night before (12/30/99), anything and everything on the flight line at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was put into the air and was constantly in the air. [i.e. The U.S. is preparing for a nuclear attack]
  • 29:11 Regurgitation: Super power, cold war radar systems [presumably to keep an eye out for a Russian ICBM attack] are turned on.
  • 29:21 The Russians are not the only ones we need to be concerned about … we should worry about the Chinese too.
  • 20:24 We also need to be worried about Germany.
  • 29:58 Regurgitation: It’s on ABC news that 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 30:03 Regurgitation: a military General standing in front of Cheyenne Mountain (nuclear bunker) announced 5 nuclear missiles have been launched.
  • 30:25 Jones complains, “we’re calmly sitting here knowing nuclear missiles could be about to rain down!”
  • 30:42 Discussing “Who launched?” Was it the U.S., a ballistics submarine? . . .
  • 30:54 Jones’ co-host: “No offense, but I hope it was us who launched.”
  • 31:19 Vladimir Putin is the Fuhrer.
Click image for larger view

The February 7, 2000 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) report shows the “unusual event” was terminated less than 3 hours after the initial declaration at 1:11 am. The event was NOT Y2K related.
Click image for larger view

Skeptic Presents: Get Your Guru Going

Via Skeptic Magazine

In this video — the fifth in our series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire — we present a Con Academy mini course in the techniques of New Age Spiritual Gurutry.

If you missed our first four videos, check them out:

Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator – Wisdom of Chopra

By Mason I. Bilderberg

hand in hand_250pxAre you looking to impress a love interest who happens to be neck deep into everything woo?

Are you at a loss finding the right words that speak to their chakras?

Well Stinky, this is your lucky day!!!

Hop on over to the Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator – Wisdom of Chopra.

With the click of your mouse you will receive a very special message of woo courtesy of Deepak inspired words being randomly strung together. Even though you’ll recognize the Wisdom of Chopra message as meaningless mind-numbing ramblings from the crazy house, your higher consciousness love interest will be so totally impressed with your new found soul-penetrating revelations that the two of you will be energizing each others deeper universe before you can say “An inch of surprise leads to a mile of gratefulness.”

So hone your chakra chops now, go to Wisdom of Chopra.

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)

Seriously

Seriously, have some fun – take one of these quotes and post it on a woo
Facebook page and watch how many woosters click the “Like” button.

Quantum Physics: Teleportation and Holograms

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube

In countless works of fiction, authors use quantum mechanics to explain things like telepathy, teleportation or the shape of the universe. Why? Tune in to learn more about quantum physics — and why, in some cases, the truth may be stranger than fiction.

Emergency Handbook: What to Do When a Friend Loves Woo

How you can help a friend or loved one with a potentially harmful pseudoscientific belief

Brian DunningBY Brian Dunning via Skeptoid: Critical Analysis Podcast. Read podcast transcript below or listen here.

It’s the #1 most common question I get: My wife, my friend, my mom, my boss, is investing their health or their money in some magical or fraudulent product/scheme/belief. What can I do about it?

StephnMedShow_250pxThis is a tough situation to be in. Whether it’s a loved one who’s ill and is being taken advantage of by a charlatan selling a magical cure with no hope of treating the illness, or a friend who’s out of work and is going into deeper debt to buy into a hopeless multilevel marketing plan, it’s really hard to watch. The hardest is when they have a real problem and are expending their limited resources trying to solve it with a medieval, magic-based system that you know can’t possibly help. But all too often, they think it’s helping. Cognitive biases, anecdotal thinking, placebo effects and cognitive dissonance combine to build a powerful illusion that our brains are hardwired to believe in. At some point, it falls to a caring friend to try and rescue them with a candle of reason.

You’re up against a foe who’s far more formidable than you might think. This isn’t like settling a bet with a friend where you can look up the answer on Wikipedia, see who’s right, then buy each other a beer. You’re going after someone’s religion. You’re setting out to talk someone out of believing something that they know to be true, for a fact, from their personal experience. That right there makes your task nearly impossible, but it’s worse. Their belief has spiritual underpinnings that make it deeply moral and virtuous. Imagine if someone came to you and flashed a magazine article that said it’s best to turn your children out into the street and never talk to them again. It’s not only unconvincing, it’s laughable. Your effort to talk someone out of their belief in their sacred cow is likely to be just as laughable.

pick your battles_200pxSo what should you do, give up? You may be surprised to hear it from me, but I advise you to do just that, in many cases. Know which battles to fight. Weigh the risks. Consider the context of your friend’s belief: Is he in imminent danger of harming himself or others? Probably not; and if not, this may not be the time to take what might be your only shot. So I want to make this a rule: Before you decide what to do, consider the risks and the context. How terrible are the consequences of your friend’s belief? Think that through comprehensively. Make sure you have a good understanding of the risks to your friend if you do nothing, and the risks to your relationship if you attack their beliefs and (in all probability) fail to convince them. It may well be that this first strategy I’m going to present is the safest.

Strategy #1: Do Nothing

acceptingDoing nothing now doesn’t mean giving up. When you choose not to confront your friend’s current weird belief, there’s still an effective strategy for helping him out that you can follow. By accepting and tolerating your friend’s weird belief, you’re actually setting yourself up to be in a position of great influence the next time something weird comes down the line. Your friend likely knows that you’re a skeptical person, and eventually he’ll recognize that you’ve been putting up with his weird belief and saying nothing. In fact he may someday ask you, “Hey, you know I believe in this weird thing, how come Mr. Cynical Skeptic has never tried to talk me out of it?”

Ask “Is it important to you?”

“Yes.”

“You’re important to me.”

Think what a powerful message that sends. It may sound corny, but it’s a statement that your friend will always remember. You’ve just communicated that your friendship is more important than your “evil debunking hobby”. You’ve made it clear, unequivocably, that you don’t want such differences to come between you.

And now look at the position you’re in. You’re trusted. You’re an ally at the most important and fundamental level. This is exactly where you need to be if you want to be influential on someone. You can now begin to introduce critical thinking using topics that are more about exploration than confrontation, and this is a journey you should take together. critical-thinking1_250pxNext time you’re in the car together, play a few Skeptoid episodes. Play episodes like The Baigong Pipes, Is He Real or Is He Fictional, The Missing Cosmonauts, and When People Talk Backwards. Topics such as these do not attack or challenge anyone, they instill an appreciation and a passion for the value of critical thinking. Once introduced, I find that most people want more.

Gather every bit of skeptical material you can find that you know will interest your friend, and that does not attack or challenge his belief. So long as you remain a trustworthy friend and not an irrational adversary, you’re in a position to introduce him to the fundamentals of critical thinking, and to the value and tangible rewards of reality. Don’t underestimate the value of seeds that are well planted in a good environment. If your friend comes around on his own, his growth is far more complete than any that’s forced upon him.

Always remember the story of the little boy who couldn’t get his pet turtle to come out of his shell. He tried to pull on its head, he shook it, he squirted water, he did everything he could think of. But the turtle wouldn’t come out. Then his grandfather took the turtle and placed it on the warm hearth, and within a minute the turtle was out of his shell. The little boy never forgot that lesson.

Strategy #2: The Intervention

Sometimes the situation is urgent and you don’t have time to do things the easy way. There might be a medical crisis, an emotional crisis, or a financial crisis, and an immediate intervention is needed. Sometimes a friend’s situation is dire enough that helping him is worth the loss of the personal relationship. In these cases, and probably only in these cases, would I suggest a confrontational approach. And to do this effectively, draw on the established principals of the counseling intervention.

interventionFirst you want to gather a group of friends or family, and you need to meet with them separately. Try to get a group, but even if there are only two of you, it’s worlds better than just you by yourself. Your next task is to present your evidence to the group that the magical system your friend is relying on is pseudoscientific and cannot help him. Do not expect them to accept what you say at face value, and do expect that some of them might buy into the magical system as well. Be prepared. Show your work. Print out pages from the web. Use the Science Based Medicine blog, use Skeptoid, use Quackwatch, use Swift. Search the best sources and have all your ducks in a row. The most important thing you need to do at this stage is to be certain that everyone in the group is united in their understanding of the useless, pseudoscientific nature of the magical sacred cow.

MORE – – –


On a related note . . .

Susan Blackmore – Fighting the Fakers (and Failing) – TAM 2013:

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is the is author of a number of books, including The Meme Machine and Zen and the Art of Consciousness.


▶ James Randi – Fighting the Fakers

Via ▶ James Randi – YouTube

James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued “psychic” spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water “with a memory,” and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural. He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural.

Kirlian photography – electrophotography

Via The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com

Kirlian_200pxIn 1939, Semyon Kirlian discovered by accident that if an object on a photographic plate is subjected to a high-voltage electric field, an image is created on the plate. The image looks like a colored halo or coronal discharge. This image is said to be a physical manifestation of the spiritual aura or “life force” which allegedly surrounds each living thing.

Allegedly, this special method of “photographing” objects is a gateway to the paranormal world of auras. Actually, what is recorded is due to quite natural phenomena such as pressure, electrical grounding, humidity and temperature. Changes in moisture (which may reflect changes in emotions), barometric pressure, and voltage, among other things, will produce different ‘auras’.

Living things…are moist. When the electricity enters the living object, it produces an area of gas ionization around the photographed object, assuming moisture is present on the object. This moisture is transferred from the subject to the emulsion surface of the photographic film and causes an alternation of the electric charge pattern on the film. If a photograph is taken in a vacuum, where no ionized gas is present, no Kirlian image appears. If the Kirlian image were due to some paranormal fundamental living energy field, it should not disappear in a simple vacuum (Hines 2003).

There have even been claims of electrophotography being able to capture “phantom limbs,” e.g., when a leaf is placed on the plate and then torn in half and “photographed,” the whole leaf shows up in the picture. This is not due to paranormal forces, however, but to fraud or to residues left from the initial impression of the whole leaf.

Parapsychologist Thelma Moss popularized Kirlian photography as a diagnostic medical tool with her books The Body Electric (1979) and The Probability of the Impossible (1983). She was convinced that the Kirlian process was an open door to the “bioenergy” of the astral body. Moss came to UCLA in mid-life and earned a doctorate in psychology. She experimented with and praised the effects of LSD and was in and out of therapy for a variety of psychological problems, but managed to overcome her personal travails and become a professor at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. Her studies focused on paranormal topics, such as auras, levitation and ghosts. One of her favorite subjects at UCLA was Uri Geller, whom she “photographed” several times. She even made several trips to the Soviet Union to consult with her paranormal colleagues. Moss died in 1997 at the age of 78.

Moss paved the way for other parapsychologists to speculate that Kirlian “photography” was parapsychology’s Rosetta stone. They would now be able to understand such things as acupuncture, chi, orgone energy, telepathy, etc., as well as diagnose and cure whatever ails us. [new] For example, bio-electrography claims to be:

…a method of investigation for biological objects, based on the interpretation of the corona-discharge image obtained during exposure to a high-frequency, high-voltage electromagnetic field which is recorded either on photopaper or by modern video recording equipment. Its main use is as a fast, inexpensive and relatively non-invasive means for the diagnostic evaluation of physiological and psychological states. [from the now-defunct http://www.psy.aau.dk/bioelec/]

bioshirt
There is even a bioresonant clothing line that has emerged from the “study” of bio-electrography; it’s allegedly based on “an astonishing new theory in bio-physics: that the information exchange in human consciousness can be directly influenced and enhanced by vibrations of Light [sic], that we call colors.”

MORE . . .

Also see: Debunked: Soul Leaving Body Photo (Russian scientist Konstantin Korotkov)

5 Things I’ve noticed about… Reiki Healing

Via The Soap Box

reiki-cat 1104_250pxReiki healing. It is a form of alternative medicine that was invented in 1922 by Mikao Usui that many people (particularly those in the New Age Movement) believe that people can focus this energy from some supernatural source and use it to heal people.

While there are a lot of things that I’ve noticed about Reiki healing, there are five particular things that I’ve noticed about it.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about Reiki healing:

5. It’s like faith healing without God.

Reiki healing is to the New Age Movement what faith healing is to Christian Fundamentalist: they both are using a source of energy from a supernatural power that is basically far beyond what they can really comprehend (and that they will admit to not fully understanding it) and expect it to do your bidding. Also, practitioners tend use their hands as a way to channel this energy into the “patient”.

That is the basics of what both faith healing and Reiki healing is, the only real differences is that with faith healing you at least know where this energy is suppose to be coming from, where as in Reiki healing there can be multiple sources where this supposed energy is coming from (except from God… usually). And that’s another thing about Reiki healing…

4. There is no set source from where this energy comes from.

reiki_IHdsCxZvUnGm_200pxDo you know where your spiritual healing energy is coming from? Well, neither do Reiki healing practitioners.

The range of alleged sources for the energy that Reiki healers claim they get this energy from to do their healing varies. Some claims it’s from themselves. Some claims it’s from the “patient”. Some claims it’s all life around us (kind of like the Force from Star Wars). Some claims it’s from the Earth. Some claims it’s from spirits. Some claims it’s from the Sun. Some claim it’s from the Universe.

In other words there is no agreement on where this alleged energy comes from. The only agreement amongst Reiki healing practitioners is that this energy is good for you.

3. It should be cheap.

money-stacks-psd70735_200pxAccording to Reiki healing practitioners, Reiki energy is all around us and/or inside of us, and if you believe them, it is an unlimited resource that can be used by anyone… theoretical speaking.

Now considering this it should be pretty darn cheap to go to a Reiki healing practitioner and have them try to heal you (hence the word “try”) because they don’t have to buy anything to do what they do, they’re just using their own mental power to force your body to heal.

Most people would think that after considering all of these factors that Reiki healing would be cheap, except…

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Quantum Quackery

quantum-physics-lecture_600pxQuantum physics is claimed to support the mystical notion that the mind creates reality. However, an objective reality, with no special role for consciousness, human or cosmic, is consistent with all observations.

By Victor Stenger (1997) via Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

quantum_physicsCertain interpretations of quantum mechanics, the revolutionary theory developed early in the century to account for the anomalous behavior of light and atoms, are being misconstrued so as to imply that only thoughts are real and that the physical universe is the product of a cosmic mind to which the human mind is linked throughout space and time. This interpretation has provided an ostensibly scientific basis for various mind-over-matter claims, from ESP to alternative medicine. “Quantum mysticism” also forms part of the intellectual backdrop for the postmodern assertion that science has no claim on objective reality.

The word “quantum” appears frequently in New Age and modern mystical literature. For example, physician Deepak Chopra (1989) has successfully promoted a notion he calls quantum healing, which suggests we can cure all our ills by the application of sufficient mental power.

Photo courtesy Daniel Johansson

Photo courtesy Daniel Johansson

According to Chopra, this profound conclusion can be drawn from quantum physics, which he says has demonstrated that “the physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world” (Chopra 1993, 5). Chopra also asserts that “beliefs, thoughts, and emotions create the chemical reactions that uphold life in every cell,” and “the world you live in, including the experience of your body, is completely dictated by how you learn to perceive it” (Chopra 1993, 6). Thus illness and aging are an illusion and we can achieve what Chopra calls “ageless body, timeless mind” by the sheer force of consciousness.1

Amit Goswami, in The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World, argues that the existence of paranormal phenomena is supported by quantum mechanics:

. . . psychic phenomena, such as distant viewing and out-of-body experiences, are examples of the nonlocal operation of consciousness . . . . Quantum mechanics undergirds such a theory by providing crucial support for the case of nonlocality of consciousness.

(Goswami 1993, 136)

Since no convincing, reproducible evidence for psychic phenomena has been found, despite 150 years of effort, this is a flimsy basis indeed for quantum consciousness.

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B.Y.T.H. Busters (The Secret Law of Attraction)

From WikiPedia:

The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. One example used by a proponent of the law of attraction is that if a person opened an envelope expecting to see a bill, then the law of attraction would “confirm” those thoughts and contain a bill when opened. A person who decided to instead expect a cheque might, under the same law, find a cheque instead of a bill.


via YouTube.

In B.Y.T.H. Busters: The Secret Law of Attraction, Adam Average and Jamie Imtheman put the “Law of Attraction” to the test. This is the second in a series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire. If you missed our first video, The Con Academy, watch it now: http://youtu.be/eR_HlRDhUxY

Reality Hits Hard

If you didn’t believe in telekinesis before, you will definitely believe after seeing this extraordinary video (said with extreme sarcasm).

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)


Written by Kyle Hill via randi.org

RobinsonHeg Robinson has been a martial artist and Tai Chi teacher for four decades. He has surely taught legions of willing participants to relax and “find their inner flow.” Through his practice of this ancient art, Robinson claims “that a self-health practice such as T’ai Chi heals the mind/ body /spirit and prevents common ailments.”

It’s the boilerplate alternative medicine pitch. I was expecting that. Traditional Chinese Medicine has made that claim based on the supposed power of Chi forever. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was how extraordinary his demonstration of telekinesis was.

I have to be honest (and laugh). Even if skeptics unduly assume that many of those who claim to have supernatural powers are knowingly faking it, this demonstration does seem like an impression of an impression of a fake. It could be a Poe. I have seen spoon-benders and page-turners and other martial artists who can “knock out” an attacker without touching them. This is something else.

The flailing student is quite shocking. It’s reminiscent of the dances of trance-induced ecstasy cultures like the Amazonian Yanomami practice. Though “kinetic” implies some force being transferred, we get this imparted dance instead of an otherworldly punch or kick. But as bizarre as the reaction to Robinson’s “energy” is, it’s still no different from other feats of Chi. Reality always hits it hard.

A demonstration like in the video above, I will claim, can only be done with a student or willing participant. Like stage hypnosis, Robinson’s feat is a performance piece between two believing parties. Choose anyone else, and the supposed power will immediately evaporate.

Sam Harris gives a great example of the student-master delusion on his blog. A martial arts master, supposedly able to defeat multiple opponents (his own students) with unseen Chi-based attacks, meets reality rather violently. Outside of his own school, facing an unfamiliar opponent, the master is punched in the face multiple times. It’s rather sad. When he needed it most, his powers vanished. Of course, the die-hard practitioners will claim this or that condition was not met or this or that life force was not in line, but nothing can substitute for the empirical test. He put his money where is mouth was, as did the opponent his fist.

MORE . . .

The Sedona Energy Vortex

Do a series of spiritual energy vortexes, of a type unknown to science, exist in Sedona, AZ?

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid

Read transcript below or listen here.

Today we’re going to visit central Arizona in the American Southwest, along a wet green valley cutting through the red rock desert. This is the town of Sedona, once a humble ranching and retirement community, later popular with art galleries, and today a full-blown, prices-through-the-roof home to the rich and famous and opulent resorts, overrun with private jets and Range Rovers. Cathedral Rock TenWhat catapulted this remote hamlet into stardom? In large part, it was Sedona’s reputation among the New Age elite as a mystical Mecca, a place where the Earth breathes its energy in and out, invigorating the enlightened and enriching the meditative. For the city of Sedona is virtually synonymous with what the faithful call an energy vortex.

Normally, the plural of vortex is vortices, but people in Sedona have a slightly abnormal view of what a vortex is. Accordingly, they refer to them in the plural as vortexes. Although most vortex believers are genuine, a huge tourism industry has been built up around these mystical constructs. Most tourist maps describe four main vortexes in Sedona: the Airport Vortex, the Boynton Canyon Vortex, the Cathedral Rock Vortex, and the Bell Rock Vortex. What exactly are they?

vortex_cropped
Sedona Vortex Tours says:

A vortex is a place of concentrated energy that people can sense.

About.com says:

These vortexes are subtle energy centers where spiritual and psychic powers are enhanced.

Love Sedona says:

The energy resonates with and strengthens the Inner Being of each person that comes within about a quarter to a half mile of it. This resonance happens because the vortex energy is very similar to the subtle energy operating in the energy centers inside each person.

Sedona.net even warns of potential physical effects:

…You may feel a range of sensations from a slight tingling on exposed skin, to a vibration emanating from the ground when you encounter a vortex. Most often a vortex is felt by palpable sensation across the nape of the neck and the shoulder blades.

[…]

Vortex.ico_02_250pxA vortex is an exquisite manifestation of fluid dynamics. You see them around the edge of your paddle when you canoe; you see them in the storm clouds of Jupiter; you see them when someone blows a smoke ring; you even see them when you stir your coffee. Vortices can occur in any fluid; air, water, magma, so long as there is some force stirring it. A vortex is the most common way that a fluid converts the energy put into it by the stirring motion into potential energy. Pressure is highest at the edge of the stirring spoon, the tip of the aircraft wing, or whatever is doing the stirring. As the pressure is reduced the further you go from the axis, these differentials in pressure cause movement at different speeds. The formation of vortices follows Bernoulli’s Principle, set forth in Daniel Bernoulli‘s 1738 magnum opus on fluid dynamics, Hydrodynamica.

[…]

So from a physics perspective, we see there are two necessary ingredients for a vortex to exist: first, a fluid; and second, some stirring influence. When we try to match up a real vortex with the Sedona version, we quickly find there are no matches to be made. The “energy field” described by the vortex proponents is not the air or anything else that has the physical properties of a fluid; therefore there can be no pressure differentials or fluid dynamics in play. Since the fluid is not there, there is no canoe paddle or stirring spoon or uplifting warm air against falling cold air to initiate turbulent flow. Physically, anyway, a Sedona-type vortex does not exist. If there’s no physical fluid, there are no fluid dynamics.

Spiritual-Awakening-Sedona_250pxBut many vortex proponents will be the first to acknowledge this. It is a vortex of spiritual energy, not of any physical force. You’re not likely to have any success trying to pin down a vortex believer by discussing the properties of this alleged energy field. The whole idea is, of course, completely unscientific; as we discussed at length in the very first Skeptoid episode #1, New Age Energy. Energy is simply a measurement of work capability, it is not a physical thing unto itself. It is not a glowing cloud of power. It’s a measurement, not a fluid that swirls and flows. There is no such thing as an energy field. Yet, a few vortex proponents buck the trend and do attempt to ascribe physical properties to them.

The usual suspect is magnetism, as discussed at length by independent researchers such as Ben Lonetree, who has gone to great lengths to analyze US Geological Survey magnetometer readings of the region. A 2002 USGS report says:

Volcanic rocks are the most prevalent magnetic lithology of this region, and we expect high-amplitude, short-wavelength anomalies over volcanic terranes, especially in the Black Hills and the area between Page Springs and Sedona.

811_200pxThis is referencing paleomagnetism. When volcanic lava comes to the surface as liquid, its ferromagnetic particles align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field like so many tiny compass needles. As it cools and hardens into rock, these alignments become fixed. When later tectonic processes disrupt the placement and orientation of this rock, a magnetic anomaly results, which is basically just a tiny variance in the local magnetic field.

The problem with trying to associate such magnetic variances with the vortexes is that Sedona’s variances are not especially remarkable, certainly not unique, and certainly nowhere near the magnitude of much greater variances all around the world.

MORE . . .

Also See: I Tried to Have a Spiritual Experience in the Desert (Vice.com)

sedona-vortex1_600px

Weirdly, None of the Conspiracy Theorists at Bilderberg 2013 Made Any Sense

By Matt Shea via VICE Nordics

01_300pxEvery year, the Bilderberg Group – a collection of the world’s most powerful people – get together to discuss how to keep on being powerful. Now, considering that the past fortnight hasn’t been a great one for democracy (shouts to Turkey and the NSA), I wouldn’t blame you if the prospect of heads of state covertly meeting with the financial elite far from the media’s watchful gaze gets your goat a little. Especially as all the while unemployment continues to rise, cities continue to burn and things are so bad in Syria that Nick Griffin just went there in an attempt to score political capital.

The thing is, the average conspiracy theorist will look at this information, and not just see a horrible mess that we’ve arrived at through basic human weakness and error. Conspiracy theorists see the word “Bilderberg” and immediately start joining the dots: they’re poisoning the water supply, they’re enslaving your mind – this isn’t the result of human weakness or error at all, but a malicious plan being orchestrated against humans by a New World Order of aliens from space. With a guestlist including David Cameron, IMF chief Christine Lagarde (one of 14 women among 134 delegates), David Petraeus and the heads of BP, Goldman Sachs and Shell, the public surely does have a right to know what they’re discussing. Unfortunately, that legitimate demand for media clearance gets discredited by the swarms of conspiracy theorists who show up at the event each year to stand outside the gate and scream stuff about secret occult societies.

Sure enough, when the Bilderbergers arrived at the five-star Grove hotel in Watford last weekend, they were joined by the biggest crowd of conspiracists to date. They’d decided to turn it into an event and so the inaugural Bilderberg Fringe Festival was born, complete with campsite, makeshift press tent, citizen security and the biggest names in the conspiracy world, including David Icke and Alex Jones. So what’s the latest in secret truths dreamt up by the powerful to fuck us? I went down to the Grove to test the (fluoride saturated) water.

Indie Meds.

Indie Meds.

When I arrived, the police were operating a one-in, one-out policy. “The event has already exceeded capacity,” they shouted. “We intended to have 1,000 people there; there are now 2,000. Please keep off the grass.”

“Keep off the grass? Is that what we’re paying our taxes for?” one guy shouted, to whoops and cheers from the crowd. I waited patiently for my turn to get closer to the fringe festival, along with a bunch of totally legit media organisations, like InfoWars, WeAreChange and Truthjuice. Everyone seemed nervous and the air smelled of Cannabis Cup-winning weed. I wondered whether these two phenomena might be connected in some way.

After watching journalists peel off and away all around me, I finally got through. Alex Jones, the keynote speaker, hadn’t begun his speech yet, so I started making friends.

“What’s your name?” I asked a guy in a brown robe.

“Indie Meds. That’s my enlightened name since I started to wake up.”

“When did you wake up?”

“I started to wake up about a year ago, when I had a stroke on the left side of my brain. Afterwards, my aware side woke up and I started to notice that the news was a load of rubbish. I started doing my own research into Egyptian pyramids, the Mayans, sacred geometry, the whole package – and aliens. They all sort of came together in a package and I put the pieces together myself.”

“What ties all those things together?”

“The message is the same – back to the Mayans, back to the Egyptians and back to the Atlantians even before that: You are God; you are one.”

Right at the back there is The Grove Hotel, where the Bilderberg Meeting was being held.

Right at the back there is The Grove Hotel, where the Bilderberg Meeting was being held.

Right at the back there is The Grove Hotel, where the Bilderberg Meeting was being held.

“What does this have to do with Bilderberg?”

“Bilderberg’s just part of the power game,” Indie Meds told me. “All the wars, all the media, all the politics, all the religions. I’m sure they’re tied in with the Vatican, too. Once you start doing research, you find you can link everything together, and once you’ve linked it together it changes your outlook on life.”

“Okay. What’s the costume for?”

“Because I like dressing up as a Jedi.”

After speaking to Indie Meds, I was still confused. What did it mean to be “awake”? Do I need to have a stroke in order to wake up? And how did sacred geometry have anything to do with a load of powerful people who meet once a year without any cameras present? I asked some more people for help.

Phillis (left) and Jud Charlton.

Phillis (left) and Jud Charlton.

Maybe Jud Charlton and his ventriloquist dummy, Philis, could help me wake up.

“The idea with Ventriloquism Against Conspiracy (VAC) is that we come together,” Jud said.

“If I came on my own, it’d be no good,” chuckled Phillis.

“Fair enough,” I replied. “What’s the conspiracy?”

“It’s all about: let’s get the information out. Let’s get all the stuff that they’re doing out.”

“What are they doing?”

Many of the "awake" people seemed to spend a lot of time sleeping.

Many of the “awake” people seemed to spend a lot of time sleeping.

“Well, that’s the issue, isn’t it?”

I stared blankly at him for a few seconds. “Yes. Wait – what’s the issue again?”

Alex Jones

Alex Jones

Before I could enquire any further, a wave of hollers and people shouting the Star Wars “Imperial March” song told me that Alex Jones had taken to the podium. The show was about to begin.

I’m sure by now you’re aware of who Alex Jones is. If not, he’s kind of like a wrestler, if the WWE scriptwriters forced that wrestler to assume the persona of an extremely paranoid person every time he entered the ring. He seems to have mastered the debating technique of overwhelming you with such a torrent of falsehoods that you couldn’t possibly address them all in real time.

“If you think hundreds of raped children and necrophilia is anything, that again is only the surface,” he began, gently feeling his way into the swing of things.

MORE . . .

Also see: Alex Jones, moron extraordinaire, strikes again!!!! (iLLumiNuTTi.com)

Dowsing: The Pseudoscience of Water Witching

By Benjamin Radford via LiveScience

dowsing 730_300pxDowsing is an unexplained process in which people use a forked twig or wire to find missing and hidden objects. Dowsing, also known as divining and doodlebugging, is often used to search for water or missing jewelry, but it is also often employed in other applications including ghost hunting, crop circles and fortunetelling.

The dowsing that most people are familiar with is water dowsing, or water witching or rhabdomancy, in which a person holds a Y-shaped branch (or two L-shaped wire rods) and walks around until they feel a pull on the branch, or the wire rods cross, at which point water is allegedly below. Sometimes a pendulum is used held over a map until it swings (or stops swinging) over a spot where the desired object may be found. Dowsing is said to find anything and everything, including missing persons, buried pipes, oil deposits and even archaeological ruins.

[…]

Dowsing: No better than chance

Skeptic James Randi in his “Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural,” notes that dowsers often cannot agree on even the basics of their profession: “Some instructions tell learners never to try dowsing with rubber footwear, while others insist that it helps immeasurably. Some practitioners say that when divining rods cross, that specifically indicates water; others say that water makes the rods diverge to 180 degrees.”

Though some people swear by dowsing’s effectiveness, dowsers have been subjected to many tests over the years and have performed no better than chance under controlled conditions. It’s not surprising that water can often be found with dowsing rods, since if you dig deep enough you’ll find water just about anywhere. If missing objects (and even missing people) could be reliably and accurately located using dowsing techniques, it would be a great benefit: If you lose your keys or cell phone, you should be able to just pull out your pendulum and find it; if a person goes missing or is abducted, police should be able to locate them with dowsing rods.

Science differs from the New Age and paranormal belief in that it progresses, correcting and building on itself. Technology and medicine are continually advancing and refining. Designs and techniques are improved or abandoned depending on how well they work. By contrast, dowsers have not gotten any more accurate over centuries and millennia of practice.

MORE . . .

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of six books including Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. His Web site is www.BenjaminRadford.com.

Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Websites

My list of the worst offenders on the web in the promotion of scientific and factual misinformation.

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid
H/T: Thomas J. Proffit

Read transcript below or listen here

screw science_250pxThe Internet is a dangerous place. It’s full of resources, both good and bad; full of citations linking one to another, sometimes helpfully, sometimes not. Today we’re going to point the skeptical eye at ten of the worst web sites in terms of quality of science information that they promote. To make this list, they not only need to have bad information, they also need to be popular enough to warrant our attention.

Many of these sites promote some particular ideology, but I want to be clear that that’s not why they’re here. Sites that make this list are only here because of the quality of the science information that they advocate.

As a measure of each site’s popularity, I’m giving its ranking on Alexa.com as of this writing. Of course this changes over time, so I’m rounding them off to give a general idea of each site’s traffic. Also, I’m giving its US traffic ranking, as these are English language sites and the worldwide rankings are skewed by sites in China, Russia, and the rest of the non-English world. For a starting point of reference, Skeptoid.com’s ranking is currently about 40,000, meaning that 40,000 web sites in the United States get more traffic than I do. And, compared to the number of web sites there are, that number is actually not half bad — but note how it compares to some of these sites promoting misinformation.

Let’s begin at the bottom of our list of the worst offenders, with a site that nevertheless has staggering amounts of traffic:

10. Huffington Post

huffingtonpost.com
Alexa ranked #23
Google PageRank 8

alternative_759_300pxThe Huffington Post is arguably one of the heaviest trafficked news, opinion, and information sources on the Internet. Its many editors and 9,000 contributors produce content that runs the gamut and is generally decent, with one exception: medicine. HuffPo aggressively promotes worthless alternative medicine such as homeopathy, detoxification, and the thoroughly debunked vaccine-autism link. In 2009, Salon.com published a lengthy critique of HuffPo’s unscientific (and often exactly wrong) health advice, subtitled Why bogus treatments and crackpot medical theories dominate “The Internet Newspaper”. HuffPo’s tradition is neither new nor just a once-in-a-while thing.

Science journalists have repeatedly taken HuffPo to task for this, and repeatedly been rebuffed or not allowed to submit fact-based rebuttals. HuffPo’s anti-science stance on health and medicine appears to be deliberately systematic and is unquestionably pervasive.

9. Conservapedia

conservapedia.com
Alexa ranked #13,600
Google PageRank 5

Artwork: Nathan Bebb

Conservapedia was founded by Christian activist Andrew Schlafly as resource for homeschooled children, intended to counter what he saw as an anti-Christian bias in Wikipedia and science information in general. It is, in short, an encyclopedia that gives a Young Earth version of every article instead of the correct version. If you want to know about dinosaurs, geology, radiometric dating, the solar system, plate tectonics, or pretty much any other natural science, Conservapedia is your Number One resource to get the wrong answer. That it is intended specifically as a science resource for homeschooled children, who don’t have the benefit of an accredited science teacher, is its main reason for making this list.

8. Cryptomundo

cryptomundo.com
Alexa ranked #41,800
Google PageRank 5

bigfoot-2Run by cryptozoologists Loren Coleman, Craig Woolheater, John Kirk, and Rick Noll, Cryptomundo promotes virtually every mythical beast as being a real living animal. Cryptozoology may be a fun and illustrious hobby for some, but its method of beginning with your desired conclusion and working backwards to find anecdotes that might support it is pretty much the opposite of the scientific method. Cryptomundo only ranks as #8 on our list because, let’s face it, cryptozoology is not exactly the most harmful of pseudosciences. It’s more of a weekend lark for enthusiasts of the strange.

Cryptomundo’s forum moderators have something of a notorious reputation for editing comments posted by site visitors, and for deleting comments that express skeptical points of view. Some skeptical commenters have reported even being banned completely from the forums, not for spamming or trolling, but just being consistently skeptical.

See this screen capture of Cryptomundo’s amusing criticism of my inclusion of their site.

7. 9/11 Truth.org

911truth.org
Alexa ranked #109,000
Google PageRank 5

911outside-jobThe only reason this site has such a low traffic rating is that its field is saturated with competition. 9/11 Truth.org is only the largest of the many, many web sites who began with the idea that 9/11 was a false flag operation against American citizens staged by the American government, but unlike most others, it has stayed on topic. Even more than a decade after 9/11, 911 Truth.org still manages to find and post articles almost daily promising to reveal new evidence proving the conspiracy.

6. Mercola.com

mercola.com
Alexa ranked #650
Google PageRank 6

alternative-medicine-for-dummiesThe sales portal of alternate medicine author Joseph Mercola has received at least three warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop making illegal health claims about the efficacy of its products. A tireless promoter, Mercola has built his web site into probably the most lucrative seller of quack health products. But Mercola’s web site is not wrong because it’s lucrative; it’s wrong because the vast majority of its merchandise has no proven medical value, yet virtually all of its product descriptions imply that they can improve the customer’s health in some way. Today’s Featured Products include:

Probiotics supplements that can “boost your body’s defense against disease and aid your production of essential nutrients”.

and

Krill oil that provides “A healthy heart, Memory and learning support, Blood sugar health, Anti-aging, Healthy brain function and development, Cholesterol health, Healthy liver function, Boost for the immune system, Optimal skin health”.

At least Mercola.com usually includes the required statement (tucked way down at the bottom of the screen in a tiny font) that “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” Presumably that’s a result of all the regulatory action he’s suffered.

More . . .

Derek Acorah cancels psychic show due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’

Via Mirror Online UK
H/T: Thomas J. Proffit

Fans were left fuming after Acorah apparently couldn’t see what was about to happen in his own life

derek acorah_300pxTelly psychic Derek Acorah was forced to cancel his latest show because of unforeseen ­circumstances, the Sunday People has reported.

Fans were left fuming after Acorah, 63, who claims to be able to contact the dead, apparently couldn’t see what was about to happen in his own life.

The star of ghost show Most Haunted was due to perform at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline, Fife, last night for the latest leg of his Eternal Spirits Tour.

But a statement on the venue’s website told ticket buyers: “Please note – the performance at Carnegie Hall has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.”

An annoyed fan told the Sunday People: “How can a psychic have his show cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances?

“You would think he would have seen it coming.”

Acorah’s booking agent Brian Shaw said: “Why the theatre have used the words ‘unforeseen circumstances’ I don’t know.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

“You couldn’t make it up – it’s an old music hall joke. We transferred the date more than a week ago to the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy for September 11. All tickets will be transferable and still be valid.

“It made more sense to do that due to the other upcoming dates on Derek’s tour and for personal reasons.”

Acorah claims he can speak to dead people by contacting his Ethiopian spirit guide Sam.

The Kevin Keegan lookalike set himself up as a medium after failing to make the grade as a footballer at Liverpool.

He then got his big break in 2001 on TV’s Most Haunted.

He is considered the UK’s No.1 TV psychic but has also been hit by controversy including claims his act is fake.

In 2005 he was allegedly outed as a fraud by Most Haunted’s psychologist Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe.

That year George Best’s friends accused him of cashing in after he claimed he would speak with the dead football legend.


Derek Acorah: “Mary loves Dick!”

Debunking Earthing

via The Soap Box

A few days ago I was alerted to a short video on Youtube about something called “Earthing“, which is something to do about humans getting energy from the Earth (and I’m not talking about geothermic energy either).

Here is the short video that I watched:

Now the first claim in this video says this:

  • So we all know the sun’s energy is crucial for good health.

This is true. The sun’s light is necessary for the production of Vitamin D inside of our skin, which is necessary for our bodies. Of course to much exposure can also led to the production of skin cancer too…

The video then goes on to claim this:

  • But did you know that the Earth’s energy is also crucial for good health? When we make direct contact with the surface of the Earth, our bodies receive a charge of energy that makes our bodies feel better, fast. This is called “Earthing.”
Where is Mr. "Pseudoscience"?

Where is Mr. “Pseudoscience”?

Now this is where we get into the pseudoscience part.

Human beings do not receive energy from the Earth, and there are no studies that show this. In fact, other then from eating and drinking food, we can’t receive energy by any actual means.

If you are outside and you “feel” like you are receiving energy from the Earth, what you’re experiencing is not the receiving of energy from the Earth, but a placebo effect in which you only think you’re receiving energy from the Earth.

The next claim in the video states that:

  • Throughout history people were always “naturally” absorbing the Earth’s energy, but in today’s world we live most of our lives inside, and even when we do go outside, we usually wear shoes, which prevent us from connecting.

Yes, “earthing” includes wiring your bed to the earth. Imagine your energy boost when lightning strikes!!

Back in the “good old days” working outside was far more common then it is today. This is because most people tended to have jobs that required working outside. It was also far more common for people back then to die in their 40’s and 50’s than it is today as well.

People simply didn’t live as long in the past as they do today. The reason for that is because of a combination disease and the occasional lack of food. While a lack of food could be a hard thing to prevent back then, one of the things that helped prevent some diseases then (and now) however is shoes. Shoes help prevent us from cutting our feet on things like sticks and rock, and then getting infections from stepping in bacteria and parasite infested water and animal droppings.

Besides all of this, there is still no proof what so ever that we have ever been able to absorb energy from the Earth through our skin.

This claim makes it appear that we better off in the past when more of us were barefooted, when in reality the exact opposite is true.

The next claim then goes on to say . . .

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Open Up Your Mind and Let Your Brain Shut Off

Sharon_hill_80pxBy via The Huffington Post

People tell me I should be more open-minded.

There is a clichéd saying regarding open-mindedness: “Keep an open mind — but not so open that your brain falls out”.

This piece of advice is most often said to come from physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), but also a slew of other more or less famous people, most of them from the field of science: Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, James Oberg, Bertrand Russell, J. Robert Oppenheimer. It’s plausible that they all certainly said it at one time or another because it applies every time one is presented with a fringe or alternative explanation for something. It’s well worth remembering as a rule of thumb.

Because I peruse paranormal-themed sites and various “water-cooler” forums on the web, I frequently see ideas thrown out there that would qualify as amazing and paradigm-shifting. So, what do I think about this latest crazy thing, people ask?

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The Starchild skull.

Here’s a recent example. With all the recent speculation about “alien” remains, someone on Facebook mentioned Lloyd Pye who contends (for almost 15 years now) that a curiously-shaped skull he has is that of an alien-human hybrid. Called the “star child” skull, Pye promotes the story that this is proof that humans descended from extraterrestrial beings.

The plausibility of this idea is practically nil. There is no decent evidence in support of it except a nifty story. To accept it, we’d have to throw out all of what we know about human history, evolution, and a good bit of well-established physics. Just because of one odd-looking skull? No, thank you. That would be stupid. Thus, to consider such an idea takes me about a minute before I realize that would be unreasonable. It’s an imaginative idea, just like mermaids and remote viewing and time travelers. But in order to accept it, I’d have to discard too much (e.g., my brain and society’s accumulated knowledge). The evidence clearly suggests another more down-to-earth explanation. Since the skull DNA tested as human, and we know that certain genetic conditions can cause the enlargement of the skull in just this way, I’m going to accept the obvious and not some far-fetched story just for kicks.

Calling skeptics closed-minded because we discard wacky ideas is a common ploy. It’s often used as a personal insult because the skeptic has rejected a baseless idea that the promoters fancy. When you don’t have evidence to support your idea, observe that the proponent resorts to derogatory tactics.

But all ideas are not equal. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration.

“But all ideas are not equal. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration.”

It’s not about actually being open-minded towards new ideas. Instead, the proponent is accusing the skeptic of being stubborn, undemocratic and unfair. They see it as the skeptical person, being overly rational, ignoring a possibly worthwhile option to be considered. But all ideas are not equal. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration.

Let’s take another example: energy healing. I should be open-minded, reiki practitioners say, and try these forms of energy medicine where healing energy gets channeled or manipulated for better health. If someone offers these treatments to me and I just say “OK! Sounds good!” (and hand over my money) is that actually being open-minded? No. It’s swallowing what I’m being fed without a thought. The same would apply to . . .

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Aura Cleanser: Another WTF Item

Via The Soap Box

Aura Cleanser only $3.23 per ounce!!!!! (source: Amazon)

Sometimes you can find some really strange products on the internet. Some of these products honestly make me wonder how these things can even legally be sold, and why the website companies that these products are being sold off of would even allow these items to be sold using their websites in the first place. Recently I came across such a product on Amazon.com called Aura Cleanser, and the only thing I could think of when I saw this is, “why is this allowed on Amazon?”

In the product description of this spray, it first claims to do this:

  • AURA CLEANSER is a highly effective patterned recipe formulated to erase negativity in and around you on many energy levels.

Okay, how exactly can a spray, whom’s contents are unknown, erase “negativity” (as if that’s a real thing rather than just how you perceive the world and how you allow it to affect you) and effect energy levels on any scale?

The second claim goes as this:

  • This Essence was especially created to help neutralize and cleanse areas where it is sprayed.

Again, how is some simple spray going to “cleanse” an area of something that really hasn’t been proven to exist, more or less yet been proven to actually affect a person’s mind?

Now the third claim made says it can do this:

  • This powerful essence encourages energetic responses from multi-levels of consciousness, clearing any negative threat, psychic or otherwise.

There’s no such thing as psychic powers, and thus no such thing as psychic threats, negative or otherwise. Also, what exactly is this so called “energetic responses” that it is said to encourage? In my opinion that is sort of vague.

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Sylvia Browne’s Biggest Blunder

By Ben Radford via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

From June 2007

The tragic consequences of listening to psychic advice were brought into sharp focus in January 2007, when yet another psychic vision from Sylvia Browne was revealed to be wrong.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

Several years ago during one of her many appearances on the Montel Williams show, Browne told the parents of missing child Shawn Hornbeck that their son was dead. His body, she said, would be found in a wooded area near two large boulders. Furthermore, according to Browne, Hornbeck was kidnapped by a very tall, “dark-skinned man, he wasn’t Black, more like Hispanic,” who wore dreadlocks.

According to a spokesman for the Hornbeck family, following the Montel broadcast Browne tried to get money from the family: “She called Pam and Craig about one month after the show and pretty much offered her services to continue their discussion for a fee. Pam was that desperate that if she had had $700 in her bank account she would have put it on the table. We are talking about a mother who would have sold her soul to have her boy back.”

In fact, Hornbeck and another boy were found very much alive January 16, 2007, in the home of Michael Devlin, a Missouri man accused of kidnapping them. Hornbeck had been missing for four years, but his parents had not given up hope of finding him despite Browne’s misinformation. Devlin, a Caucasian, is not Black, dark-skinned, nor Hispanic and almost certainly did not have dreadlocks at the time he allegedly abducted Hornbeck.

Within days of Hornbeck’s recovery, critics such as James “The Amazing” Randi spoke out against Browne. CNN’s Anderson Cooper featured Randi and gave refreshingly skeptical (and harsh) coverage of the case, calling attention to Browne’s highest-profile failure to date. Browne, in a statement posted on her Web site, responded to the criticism, stating that “I have never nor ever will charge anyone who seeks my help regarding a missing person or homicide. In these cases I choose to work strictly with law enforcement agencies involved to aid and not impede their work and only when asked. To be accused of otherwise by James Randi and others like him is a boldface [sic] lie. . . . If the brilliant scientists throughout history had a James Randi negating every aspect of their work, I doubt we would have progressed very far in medicine or in any technology. . . . I cannot possibly be 100 percent correct in each and every one of my predictions.”

Yet her documented track record is one of nearly 100 percent failure rate instead of 100 percent success. Browne’s confidence in her body of work is baffling, and her claim that her flawed visions were “one human error” is an amazing understatement.

Also see:

Red Flags Of Quackery

Created by Maki at Sci-ence, the Red Flags Of Quackery inforgraphic below lays out many of the gambits and logical fallacies you may encounter by charlatans and true believers.


(click image for larger view)

2012-01-09-redflags2

(click image for larger view)

Energy Medicine – Noise-Based Pseudoscience

by via Science-Based Medicine

energyhealingSo-called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is largely philosophy-based medicine rather than science based. There are a few core concepts that are endlessly recycled in various forms, but it is mythology and culture, not grounded in the rigorous methods of science that allow us to tell the difference between our satisfying fantasies and hard reality. Sometimes proponents of such philosophies try to cloak their beliefs in the appearance of science, resulting in what we simply call pseudoscience.

Harriet Hall coined an excellent term to refer to such pseudoscience –” Tooth Fairy science.” In her metaphor, pseudoscientists sometimes act like scientists by describing the details and statistics of their claimed phenomenon (such as examining all the details of the Tooth Fairy phenomenon) without ever testing the reality of the phenomenon itself. The fundamental concept at the core of their belief is never challenged, or only superficially so, and they proceed prematurely from their faulty premise.

Another term that I find extremely apt is “Cargo Cult science,” a term coined by Richard Feynman. This is a reference to the cargo cults of New Guinea – the pre-industrial tribes were observed building straw mock-ups of control towers, planes, and runways in hopes that the planes they observed flying over head would deliver their cargo to them. In other words – the cargo cults mimicked the superficial appearance of an aviation infrastructure but had none of the real essence or function (because of lack of understanding). This is a perfect analogy to much of what passes for science within the world of CAM.

reiki-hand_200pxNot that we need another analogy, but I have often described such pseudoscience as being lost in the noise. In any endeavor to detect something there is the issue of the signal to noise ratio.  Often the core challenge of scientific research is pulling the signal out from the background noise, or (more to the point) deciding if there is a signal in the noise, or if the information represents pure noise. In this analogy “noise” refers to any randomness in the data or interference from effects other than the alleged signal of interest. What I find is that pseudoscientific investigations of tooth fairy phenomena are completely lost in the noise of data, seeing whatever phantom “signals” support their philosophy. Elaborate but entirely illusory constructs are often crafted (or retrofitted to) these phantom signals.

Energy medicine is a perfect example of cargo-cult, Tooth Fairy, noise-based pseudoscience.

Energy medicine began its life as a philosophy-based notion, and is still philosophy-based, but many of its modern practitioners are desperate for the respectability that science has to offer. Some have therefore erected a pseudoscientific facade for this pre-scientific superstition.

One example I was recently asked to investigate is the Heartmath institute., which promotes an energy-medicine based claim that the heart sends out “energy” waves that regulate the body, including the brain.

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5 Ways to Tell Science from Pseudoscience

Here are 5 quick ways to tell good science from bad science.

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Full transcript and more information.

2013 Pigasus Awards Announcement (James Randi)

Since 1997, the JREF’s annual Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous enablers, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek mythology and the highly improbable flying pig of popular cliche. These are the awards for 2012. Find out more about this year’s winners here: http://ow.ly/jDZwg

via 2013 Pigasus Awards Announcement – YouTube.

DMT and Our Brain: What the Scientists Say

Via The Bent Spoon

If you travel around paranormalist circles as I do, or have done a fair amount of reading about consciousness and Near-Death Experience research, you may have come across some confusion online about dimethyltryptamine (DMT).  DMT is a compound that is found throughout the plant and mammal kingdom, and acts as a psychedelic drug when ingested.  Many proponents of its use as a hallucinogen say it is produced naturally in the human brain; specifically, by our pineal gland.  dmt-w199Others believe that is merely speculation.  But is it really true?  If not, why do so many people seem to believe it?  Let’s see if we can find out.

Much of the confusion seems to come from two sources:  Dr. Rick Strassman and Joe Rogan.  In 2000, Strassman published a book called “DMT:  The Spirit Molecule” which offered up this very hypothesis.  Furthermore, he proposed the wild speculation that DMT may provide access to everything from parallel universes to alien beings through the use of superconductive quantum computing of the human brain.  Whatever that means.  Though Strassman was clear that his hypothesis was not proven, and admitted he knew “little about theoretical physics,” it hasn’t stopped many from repeating his ideas as fact.

One of those people is Joe Rogan, a popular stand-up comedian and podcast host who fancies himself something of an expert on a variety of topics which he seems to have limited knowledge about.  He has been, at various times, a staunch moon landing hoax conspiracy theorist, as well as one who gave credence to thoroughly debunked 9/11 myths.  But he also speaks a lot about psychedelics and altered states of consciousness.  Several years ago, when prompted by a caller during a radio show interview, Rogan launched into a roughly 10 minute diatribe about DMT, how it is produced by the pineal gland and how, while using it, “literally you are transported into another fucking dimension.”  The audio of Rogan’s reply went viral, and has been repeated ad nauseam by a number of internet mystics.

So, is it true that DMT is produced naturally by our brain’s pineal gland?  Instead of merely relying on internet resources, I decided to get more information from a couple of neuroscientists.

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The Three Categories of Alternative Medicine

Via The Soap Box

alternative_759_400pxAlternative medicine is a really big business, and is practiced around the world (in some places more than others).

In some place in the world it might be practiced because the people there either can’t afford modern medicine, or more likely they either just can’t get access to modern medicine, or they feel they have no need for modern medicine because they have been taught that their local folk medicine works. In other places in the world it could be just simply that they don’t trust pharmaceutical companies.

So back at the subject at hand, alternative medicine can be basically categorized into three different types:

Ineffective

While many people might say that no forms of alternative medicine work, there are in fact a few that do work to some extent, they just don’t do to the extent that many of the practitioners of that alternative medicine claims, and that there are more effective (and sometimes cheaper) conventional medical practices that can be done.

Examples of this would be acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, and even vitamin supplements can be categorized into this group, and that is if these things done correctly, otherwise some of these things could be not effective at all, or even dangerous.

It should also be noted that this is the smallest category for alternative medicines as most alternative medical practices are like the next two categories.

Non-effective

This is the largest of the three alternative medicine categories as simply put, almost all alternative medical practices just do not work at all, and is mainly based off of anecdotal evidence, rather than real, scientific evidence.

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Astrology

via Mysteries and Science – The Skeptic’s Dictionary

«In a nutshell: Astrology is the idea that the stars, planets, and other objects in the sky shape who you are and what your life will be like. The science doesn’t favor this idea.»

astrology_854_300pxAstrology is a kind of fortune telling based on the positions of stars, planets, and other objects in the deep sky (called celestial objects). Astrologers believe that the position of celestial objects affect what kind of personality you have and also cause such things as forest fires, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Astrology is sometimes confused with astronomy, which is the scientific study of planets, the Sun, stars, comets, galaxies, and other things outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Astronomers know that celestial objects like the Moon and the Sun affect the ocean tides but have nothing to do with what kind of personality you have. Astronomers also know that the position of celestial objects has nothing to do with such things as forest fires, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

[…]

Thousands of years ago in Babylon (now in modern Iraq) astrologers charted out the path that the Sun seems to make around the Earth. They divided the path into twelve equal parts. The stars in some of the twelve parts of the sky looked like the outlines of animals to them. The chart is called a zodiac (Greek for circle of animals). I was born when the Sun was in a part of the sky where the stars looked sort of like the outline of a bull’s head to those who were charting the zodiac. According to Sun sign astrology, I am a Taurus. The bull has a reputation for being stubborn. Sun sign astrologers believe that those born under the sign of the bull will have bull-like qualities. Scientific skeptics think this idea is a bunch of bull. When I’m asked what sign I was born under, I say “St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

[…]

In addition to Sun sign astrology, there are several other astrologies, but none of them are scientific. All systems of astrology make unscientific claims about the effects on people or things on Earth by the positions of planets, comets, and other things in the sky.

Confirmation bias: Selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs.

Confirmation bias: Selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs.

Some of these systems are very complicated and involve making charts that connect the positions of many different celestial objects. With many charts covering many different possibilities, it is easy to find one that matches something on Earth like a forest fire, an earthquake, or a tragedy in some famous person’s life.

It is also easier than most people think to find evidence in support of a strong belief. We pay attention to what agrees with our beliefs and ignore what goes against them. If you believe that people born under the sign of Taurus are stubborn, you might pay more attention to stubborn behavior by someone born under that sign. You might even call that person stubborn for not doing something, while calling another person firm for not doing the same thing. You might not pay attention to or remember a Taurus when she isn’t stubborn. Psychologists call this natural bias we have to confirm our beliefs confirmation bias.

Astrologers sometimes make accurate predictions that are really nothing more than lucky guesses. Many astrologers believe that comets, the alignment of planets, or an eclipse are omens that something terrible is going to happen on Earth. Since something terrible happens on this planet every day, it is always easy to find something after the fact that the astrologer can say was predicted.

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Revenge of the Woo

by via NeuroLogica Blog

Sometimes the targets of our skeptical analysis notice, and they usually are not pleased with the attention.

acupuncture_1_250pxLast year the Acupuncture Trialists Collaboration published a meta-analysis of acupuncture trials in which they claim, “The results favoured acupuncture.” The report was widely criticized among those of use who pay attention to such things. In my analysis I focused on the conclusions that the authors drew, rather than their methods, while others also had concerns about the methods used.

The authors did not appreciate the criticism and went as far as to publish a response, in which they grossly mischaracterize their critics and manage to completely avoid the substance of our criticism.

To review, the original meta-analysis concluded:

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo. However, these differences are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.

In my critique I pointed out that the results do not show that acupuncture is effective, nor that it is a reasonable referral option. What they characterize as “modest” differences were, rather, not clinically significant.acupucture_chinese_medicine_cartoon_400px Further, such tiny differences are most parsimoniously explained as the result of researcher and publication bias, two phenomena that are well established in general and specifically within the acupuncture literature. Unblinding alone would be sufficient to explain these results.

What they call “factors in addition to the specific effects of needling” the rest of the scientific community would call “placebo effects,” which are not an indication that a treatment works, but rather the result of bias, noise, and statistical illusions. These results are due to unblinded comparisons with untreated groups in clinical trials – they are not evidence of any kind of efficacy.

Their conclusions are part of a pattern visible within the acupuncture community – attempting to parlay placebo effects into the mirage of a real effect from acupuncture. I commented in my original article that such a conclusion was evidence of pro-acupuncture bias in the authors.

In their response, the authors write:

Although there was little argument about the findings in the scientific press, a controversy played out in blog posts and the lay press.

Only one substantive critique of the paper has appeared in a scientific forum.

We find that there is little argument in the scientific press because most scientists pay little attention to what they consider fringe practices. That is precisely why it is left to those of us who do care and pay attention to fringe medicine to provide a detailed analysis and point out the flaws in reasoning used by proponents.

In fact we did submit a letter in critique of the study, in a traditional scientific forum, but it was not published. Only the brief letter by David Colquhoun was.

This represents a typical strategy by proponents of dubious fringe medicine – interpret lack of resistance by mainstream scientists as acceptance.

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10 Attempts to Use Magic and the Supernatural to Win Wars

by Listverse

Anyone who has sat through a course on medieval history knows that there was once a time when people believed in the power of magic, as a tool that could be used to crush their enemies. Eventually people realized how silly such ideas were—and ultimately, magic on the battlefield became limited to nerds LARPing around a local park, the only real magic employed being a powerful anti-coitus charm.

Or so at least you would think. Here are ten real cases of modern governments that tried to harness magic in order to win real wars.

• 10 – John Mulholland and the CIA

Screen-Shot-2013-03-05-at-8.42.09-PM_300pxSleight of hand is cool and all, but you would never expect anyone to employ a guy like Penn Jillette as an advisor to one of the most powerful organizations in the world. Of course, when we are talking about the Central Intelligence Agency, anything is possible. That’s why during the Cold War, the CIA hired illusionist John Mulholland to write an official manual that would teach its operatives the same sort of sleight of hand he used in his shows.

Called “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception,” the manual taught agents to use misdirection and hidden compartments, and also to use seemingly hidden signals—such as the way a shoe was tied—when working in the field. Of course, the CIA was not interested so much in earning the “oohs” and “ahhs” of a crowd, but something more along the lines of drugging people by discreetly slipping something into their drink. Bear in mind that this is the same CIA which attempted to use LSD for the purposes of mind control; apparently, everything was fair game for these nut-cases.

• 9 – Mexico, Drugs, and Voodoo

Voodoo-Doll-Ritual-Witchcraft-Demons-Evil-Harm-Hate-Spirit-Work-False-Fake-Curses-Hex-Exposed-African-Vodun-Religion-Practice_300pxThis one is a bit different because it’s not about a war in the traditional sense, but rather the so-called “war on drugs”. There have been a tremendous number of casualties in that particular war, at least partially because the battlefield is Mexico. The battle being waged along the US/Mexico border is one of the bloodiest ongoing “war” efforts in the world, with the drug cartels taking lives at an alarming rate. That’s why Mexican officials decided that they could do with a little outside-the-box thinking.

Specifically, they turned to voodoo. In 2010, police in Tijuana were at such a loss as to how they might combat the cartels—and so afraid for the safety of their officers—that they actually turned to ritualistic animal sacrifice in order to turn the tide. As a part of this attempt at harnessing voodoo magic, priests killed chickens under a full moon and proceeded to smear the blood on the police as a sort of protection spell. Some of the police believe it worked, too—claiming that while guns and body armor are ineffective, faith never fails. Even if it’s faith in cutting the heads off chickens and invoking spirits.

• 8 – Houdini the Spy

houdini_article_300pxWhile the other entries on this list are all well-documented, we will say up front that there are no official records that Harry Houdini ever worked as a spy. However, in 2006 a biography was released claiming to have been written with the help of over 700,000 pages of information collected over the years, with all signs pointing to the alleged fact that history’s most famous magician did spy for Scotland Yard and the American government from time to time.

The book claims that Houdini worked closely with William Melville, a British spy who worked at Scotland Yard at the same time Houdini is said to have aided them. Apparently, Houdini would use his act as a cover to travel the world collecting secret information for law enforcement officials, including secret service agencies in both Britain and the US.

• 7 – Britain and the Fake Horoscopes

Screen-Shot-2013-03-05-at-8.47.37-PM_300pxWorld War II, it would seem, was a wacky time for military strategy. Considering how many schemes involving magical shenanigans took place, it feels in retrospect like those Indiana Jones movies might have been onto something after all. Part of that is due to the fact that Hitler and the Nazis were obsessed with the occult, and that they held a strong belief in the validity of astrological charts.

The British knew this very well, and employed an astrologer named Louis de Wohl to concoct false horoscopes in order to try to throw off the Nazis and get a glimpse into their mindsets. Churchill himself sent de Wohl to America with the aim of convincing the US to join the war effort, but after Pearl Harbor his services were rendered unnecessary.

Declassified documents show that MI5 later came to regret his involvement in any of their efforts, because apparently they figured out that he was full of crap. Considering that’s precisely what they hired him to invent in the first place—crap—it’s a little shocking that Britain’s top spies took so long to sort that out for themselves.

• 6 – Britain’s Psychic Defense

Screen-Shot-2013-03-05-at-8.48.33-PM_300pxWhen you think about it, it makes sense that the British would partake in supernatural dealings, considering it has access to the Ministry of Magic and a school of wizards. Or was that Harry Potter?

Well, it turns out that the British government takes the whole “magic” thing more seriously than you’d expect. In 2002, the Ministry of Defense conducted a study to determine whether or not soldiers could be trained to become psychics. The goal was to have psychic soldiers working to find WMDs or even Bin Laden himself. If you’re from the UK, keep this in mind that you were probably paying taxes right around that time.

Following the attack on the World Trade Center and the rise of Osama Bin Laden as public enemy number one, the Ministry tried to hire “real” psychics to participate in the tests. Perhaps not wanting to be exposed as the frauds they most likely are, they declined—so some regular people decided to take advantage of the scheme, and get some easy money by partaking in the research. They quickly proved what we all could have guessed: that none of them were any more “psychic” than a rusty doorknob.

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Past Life Regression (PLR)

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

PLR 815_02_250pxPast life regression (PLR) is the alleged journeying into one’s past lives while hypnotized. While it is true that many patients recall past lives, it is highly probable that their memories are false memories. The memories are from experiences in this life, pure products of the imagination, intentional or unintentional suggestions from the hypnotist, or confabulations.

Some New Age therapists do PLR therapy under the guise of personal growth; others under the guise of healing. As a tool for New Age explorers, there may be little harm in encouraging people to remember what are probably false memories about their living in earlier centuries or for encouraging them to go forward in time and glimpse into the future. But as a method of healing, it must be apparent even to the most superficial of therapists that there are great dangers in encouraging patients to create delusions. Some false memories may be harmless, but others can be devastating. They can increase a person’s suffering, as well as destroy loving relationships with family members. The care with which hypnosis should be used seems obvious.

Door to mystical UniverseSome therapists think hypnosis opens a window to the unconscious mind where memories of past lives are stored. How memories of past lives get into the unconscious mind of a person is not known, but advocates loosely adhere to a doctrine of reincarnation, even though such a doctrine does not require a belief in the unconscious mind as a reservoir of memories of past lives.

PLR therapists claim that past life regression is essential to healing and helping their patients. Some therapists claim that past life therapy can help even those who don’t believe in past lives. The practice is given undeserved credibility because of the credentials of some of its leading advocates, e.g., Brian L. Weiss, M.D., who is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School and Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. There are no medical internships in PLR therapy, nor does being a medical doctor grant one special authority in metaphysics, the occult or the supernatural.

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… The New Age Movement

via The Soap Box

I’ve made some observations about people in the New Age Movement, and that there are certain things that tend to be a common trend amongst New Agers.

Here are five things that I’ve noticed about the New Age Movement:

5. They love energy.

Poder-de-la-mente_250px_200pxNew Agers tend to believe that energy (in one form or another) is all around them, and that somehow they can somehow control this energy, and that they can somehow convert it and use it for their own personal means (such as healing, or some type of food source), or that they can use it to gain knowledge, rather than gaining knowledge the old fashion way, by reading.

Some New Agers even believe that you don’t even need food, that all you need is to absorb sun light, or breathing clean air.

It should noted that last one is very dangerous and has resulted in the deaths of several people.

4. They’re obsessed with crystals.

NEW AGE_200pxMost New Agers seriously believe that crystals are more then just pretty objects that make for nice coffee table or mantle decorations. Apparently they believe that crystals can be used for dowsing (which has not been proven to work), healing, and warding off negative energy, which apparently a small crystal being in your pocket, or hanging around your neck, is suppose to protect your entire body from all sides from negative energy that’s suppose to be bombarding you from everywhere…

3. They believe they don’t have to do much to alter their lives.

Apparently New Agers believe that if you just do a few good things, or if you rearrange the furniture in your house in a certain way, or you carry around some good luck charms, or if you put some plants in your house, or even if you have just positive thoughts, that you can dramatically alter your life for the better, rather than actually working hard and putting some real effort into changing their lives, which has been proven to be much more effective.

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‘Psychic Nikki’ backs away from JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge

via James Randi Education Foundation – JREF

Toronto-based ‘psychic’ breaks her promise to contact JREF; now says she’s “not available” to have her abilities tested

james-randi-69LOS ANGELES—’Psychic Nikki,’ the Toronto-based psychic who claimed she’d be willing have her abilities tested for the Million Dollar Challenge offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), now says she’s “not available” to be tested.

“It’s not surprising that Nikki isn’t willing to have her abilities tested under fair conditions,” said JREF President D.J. Grothe.

"Psychic Nikki" isn't willing to have her abilities tested

“Psychic Nikki” isn’t willing to have her abilities tested

“Of the hundreds of so-called psychics and other paranormalists who have accepted our challenge and agreed that our tests were fair, not a single one was able to demonstrate any special ability whatsoever. These professional ‘psychics’ are either deluding their clients or deluding themselves.”

Nikki first said she’d be willing to take the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge in a CBC News story on Aug. 30.1

The JREF called Nikki on Sept. 2, requesting an email address to send her information about the Million Dollar Challenge. After CBC News published a followup story2 on Tuesday, Sept. 6, Nikki returned the JREF’s call, leaving a message in which she promised “I will try to contact you in the next couple of days for sure.” The JREF called her back within an hour, again offering to send information about the Challenge and answer her questions.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

A full week after Nikki promised to call the JREF “in the next couple of days,” she still had not responded.

Instead, she seemed to be backing away from the Million Dollar Challenge on Friday, when she said on CFNY-FM in Toronto, “I didn’t tell CBC I would do the test for sure, I said [I would] if I was available… I’m not available.”3 She went on to say, “I don’t have to take [the JREF’s] stupid test … I don’t want a million dollars.”4

These are the reasons Nikki gave for avoiding the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge, and the JREF’s response to each:

• “I have no time [from] now until next year.”5

This is an obvious dodge, as Nikki was unable when asked to describe the plans that prevented her from taking the test, even over the next few days.

• “[Randi] doesn’t have the million dollars.”6

The JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge account is held with the investment firm Evercore in New York, and the bank statement is available on the JREF web site. ABC News recently verified the status of the account for an episode of Primetime Nightline in which the prize money was offered. ‘Psychic Nikki’ never raised this concern to the JREF, nor responded to the JREF’s repeated attempts to reach her and answer her questions.

MORE . . .

References:

  1. CBC News, http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/2011/08/30/psychic-challenge-randi-nikk.html
  2. CBC News, http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2011/09/06/psychic-challenge-nikki-randi.html
  3. CFNY-FM, Dean Blundell Show, Sept. 9, 2011, timecode 49:42 in the file available at http://www.edge.ca/DJsandShows/TheDeanBlundellShow/Audio.aspx
  4. CFNY-FM, Dean Blundell Show, Sept. 9, 2011, timecode 59:20 in the file available at http://www.edge.ca/DJsandShows/TheDeanBlundellShow/Audio.aspx
  5. CFNY-FM, Dean Blundell Show, Sept. 9, 2011, timecode 50:20 in the file available at http://www.edge.ca/DJsandShows/TheDeanBlundellShow/Audio.aspx
  6. CFNY-FM, Dean Blundell Show, Sept. 9, 2011, timecode 53:25 (repeated at 56:50) in the file available at http://www.edge.ca/DJsandShows/TheDeanBlundellShow/Audio.aspx

2 Psychics Arrested, 3rd Sought

via CBS Denver

psychic_300pxDENVER (CBS4) – One Denver psychic has been convicted of theft, a second was arrested this month in California and Denver prosecutors are still seeking to arrest a third psychic accused of convincing clients she was a “witch doctor.”

Ralph Stevenson, an investigator with the Denver District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Unit, said victims have described the psychics as being akin to “witch doctors,” making grapefruits bleed, tomatoes taste like salt and cracking eggs open and producing gooey black yolks.

“In these cases, where after they’ve paid money for services rendered, they take additional money, I believe through theft and deception, through magic and things like that and then don’t give money back to the victims … that’s when we get involved,” said Stevenson.

Denver psychic Cathy Ann Russo is currently on probation after being pleading guilty last August to felony theft and misdemeanor theft. Over the course of five years, beginning in 2007, Russo conned a Hispanic man out of $35,250. according to court records.

She told him his money had “evil spirits” and that she needed to pray on his money to rid the cash of its evil spirits. She promised the man she would return the money to him as soon as his cash was cleansed. At one point, she told the man she had buried his money in a graveyard.

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