James Randi Educational Foundation
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December 2011

On behalf of James Randi and everyone at the JREF, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

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New JREF eBooks Available!

The JREF sees digital publishing as an important tool for advancing its educational mission and introducing scientific skepticism to new audiences.

Publishing books on scientific skepticism for the Kindle, iPad and Nook is just one of many new projects we've launched this year (what Randi has called our "most productive and effective year on record"), all thanks to supporters of the JREF just like you.

We are proud to announce the availability of the following two new ebooks: 

  • 51av46mzViL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRUnnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Science Exposed! by Robert Todd Carroll is now available as a JREF Digital Edition.

    Unnatural Acts, the latest addition to the growing library of e-books published by the JREF, and the first digital-only release is for people who want to improve their thinking, become more accurate in their beliefs and more reasonable in their actions, and who are tired of being fooled by others.

    This book is about natural and unnatural thinking, and how the way we think affects everything we do. Natural thinking is instinctive, intuitive, quick and dirty. It works pretty well most of the time, but it can get us into trouble. We can deceive ourselves into believing what’s not true or even what goes against our own self-interest, if we’re not careful. And manipulators who understand natural thinking can use that understanding to hoodwink us into believing what isn’t true or doing what they want us to do. You can reduce the chances of being duped by learning how to think in unnatural ways.

    Download Unnatural Acts for Kindle today »
    iBooks(iOS devices) and Nook versions coming soon! 
  • 41GfPNAqQAL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRThe JREF is proud to introduce its new Classic Editions e-book series with the release of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions.

    Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions—originating as a series of lectures presented to the Boston Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in 1842—must be included on a short-list of the most important works in the history of scientific skepticism. This special digital edition features a new Foreword by James Randi and a new Introduction by Harriet A. Hall, MD.

    The JREF Classic Editions series will introduce important and often poorly-known works from the skeptical literature to new readers through enhanced digital editions for popular mobile devices.

    Download Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions for Kindle today »
    iBooks (iOS devices) and Nook versions coming soon!

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James Randi Answers Questions from Mexican Students

randi1.jpgRecently, James Randi took the time to conduct a Skype video chat with students at Mexico's Tecnológico de Monterrey, a higher education institution dedicated to creating new generations of entrepreneurs.

In 2010, Professor Felipe Quintanilla helped to form a student group devoted to science and critical thinking, and they have enjoyed conferences with notable leaders in the skeptical world.

Randi answered student questions about his history as a magician and how a background in conjuring gave him the unique ability to recognize the tricks used by charlatans to fool the public into thinking they have supernatural abilities. He also discussed the founding of the James Randi Educational Foundation and how we have furthered our mission of science advocacy and education over the years.

Special thanks to Professor Quintanilla for allowing his students a chance to speak with Randi reinvigorate their passion for critical thinking.

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Randi's books for Kindle now just $4.99 -- during the Season of Reason!

Holiday JREF eBooks
These classic books of skepticism by James Randi are "must reads" for those who care about advancing science, reason and critical thinking. Buying all four makes the perfect holiday gift for skeptics!

You specify the delivery date. No Kindle required. Books can be read using free reading apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, Mac, or PC.

Use Amazon's "Give as Gift" option when purchasing to give the gift of skepticism today!

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Recently on For Good Reason

For Good ReasonFor Good Reason is the weekly interview program produced in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation, promoting critical thinking and skepticism about the central beliefs of society. Interviews often focus on the paranormal, pseudoscience and the supernatural.

  • Why Skepticism Matters | James Randi
    In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, James Randi explores the meaning and worth of “skepticism,” and explains why skepticism is not the same as cynicism. He talks about the focus of the JREF’s mission, and to what extent social issues such as GLBT rights, civil rights, economic equality, church-state separation, feminism and environmentalism are within skepticism’s purview. He debates whether God’s existence should be a skeptic topic, and reveals why he is an “atheist of the second kind.” And he details recent activities at the JREF to challenge charlatans and educate the public about harmful paranormal claims, and how listeners can get directly involved with this important and unique work. 
  • In Pursuit of Psychics | Jamy Ian Swiss
    Famed magician Jamy Ian Swiss sits down with D.J. Grothe to talk about psychics. As an advisor to the James Randi Educational Foundation, Swiss helped put self-proclaimed psychics to the test on ABC’s “Primetime Nightline”. He discusses the phenomenon of celebrity psychics and why their claims should be challenged. But are all psychics knowing charlatans? Swiss says no, resulting from cognitive dissonance, but he explains how even the self-deluded have the capacity to do harm to an unknowing public. And he details the connection between “storefront psychics,” organized crime, and “gypsy” culture.
  • The Science of Fantasy Sports | AJ Mass
    D.J. Grothe sits down with ESPN.com’s fantasy sports analyst AJ Mass to discuss how fantasy sports relate to science and skepticism. Success in fantasy sports is about predicting the future, and Mass explains how he learned how to gather useful information and avoid the same kinds of misunderstandings of science and human nature that cause people to find patterns where none exist. He also talks about the methods of Sylvia Brown and other celebrity psychics, and why he was so convinced he had psychic powers himself at an early age. He also explores the role of pareidolia in sports and other areas of life, and how he is held to a different standard than those who predict the future using purported supernatural means.

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Grassroots Spotlight: Vancouver Skeptics in the Pub

VSITP.jpgSome of the most important work in promoting science and skepticism happens at the grassroots level. There are regional skeptical organizations all over the world that serve their local communities, and we like to regularly shine the spotlight on some of them.

The Skeptics in the Pub model for organization has proven extremely popular all over the world since it originated several years ago in the U.K. Local Skeptics in the Pub groups serve as a central place for the science-minded to gather, socialize, and even create new skeptical activism projects that serve their local community.

JREF Field Coordinator, Brian Thompson, recently had the pleasure of visiting Vancouver's Skeptics in the Pub group and came away very impressed with the liveliness, hospitality, and passion for promoting science and critical thinking that was on display. He say down with Fred Bremmer, about what makes Vancouver Skeptics in the Pub tick.

Read the interview here.

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Introducing The Randi Show

randishow.jpgWe are very pleased to announce the premiere of The Randi Show, a biweekly video podcast featuring James Randi himself discussing news from the worlds of science, pseudoscience, and the paranormal and sharing a few personal stories from his amazing life along the way.

  • Cold Fusion and Carl Sagan
    In this episode, Randi explores the latest news in cold fusion. Has it finally been achieved?

  • Season of Reason
    In this special episode of The Randi Show, Randi discusses some of the JREF's many accomplishments this year. Plus, he finally reveals whether he is, in fact, Santa Claus!

  • Power Balance
    In this episode, Randi explores the recent bankruptcy of Power Balance, makers of pseudoscientific "energy" apparel. 

  • NCCAM
    In this episode, Randi discusses the latest report on the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. How many millions have been spent figuring out whether smells can heal wounds or whether coffee enemas can cure prostate cancer? And what can we do about it?  

You can also subscribe to The Randi Show on iTunes.

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Enjoy the JREF on YouTube

We are happy to announce that the James Randi Educational Foundation has been granted a nonprofit channel on YouTube. The JREF's YouTube channel is currently the 13th most subscribed nonprofit channel of all time!

We are now posting full-length videos in their entirety, including panels and presentations from The Amaz!ng Meeting, rather than being limited to short ten-minute clips. We are moving our existing collection of videos into the channel, to help us reach new audiences on YouTube with more exciting content, broadening the reach of our work to promote skepticism and critical thinking.

The JREF's videos have been watched on YouTube more than 5 million times, and our channel currently has nearly 40,000 subscribers. If you're not a subscriber yet, visit our channel and click subscribe to get the latest videos from the JREF.

Visit the JREF on YouTube here.

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JREF Events

  • December 21: D.J. Grothe at The Binghamton Skeptical Society pub night.
  • January 12: James Randi presents for the Porchlight Storytelling Series at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, CA.
  • January 16: James Randi speaks at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA.
  • February 16: James Randi speaks at CFI Portland "Food for Thought" lecture series.

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Top Posts from the Randi.org Blog

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JREF In The News

  • Montreal Gazette, November 26, 2011
    Human magnets and their repulsive claims
    … no human magnet has been able to claim the $1 million offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation for any demonstration of a paranormal phenomenon under controlled condition …
  • Cocktail Party Physics | Scientific American 
    In Praise of Insignificance
     
    A couple of years ago, I attended my first Amaz!ing Meeting — an annual conference sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), founded by magician, escape artist, and scourge of fake psychics and pseudoscience around the globe James Randi.
  • The Fifth Down | The New York Times 
    Redefining Excellence, One Handoff at a Time
     

    But to cut through the rhetoric and analyze and evaluate these quarterbacks, you are better off consulting the noted skeptics James Randi and Michael Shermer than the gang at ESPN.
  • Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine, November 9, 2011
    On the birthday of Carl Sagan

    ... James Randi eloquently and emotionally talks about his friendship with Carl ....

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