Tuesday, June 30, 2015

James Randi Educational Foundation's: The Amazing Meeting 13

James Randi TAM 2014
Last year, I wrote two posts on my experience at The Amazing Meeting 2014 with the intention that they would be a useful source of information for folks pondering attending a future TAM.  I even made one of the tags for those posts “TAM 2015” with the thought someone searching for TAM 2015 (aka TAM 13) information might stumble upon my posts.  While not everything in them is out of date, and no two conferences are the same, those posts are a lot more out of date after one year than I thought probable at the time.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Conspiracy Skeptic: Free Masonry

Local Masonic Lodge in Hershey, PA
nothing to fear here . . .
The last Conspiracy Skeptic podcast to drop was on August 21, 2014 that is until the day before yesterday on June 18, 2015.  Yes, our great skeptical nightmare is over: Karl Mamer is back.  However, as of this writing he still has not posted a link on his website, so go to iTunes to download it or do an RSS feed search.  Karl's return has inspired me to finally post something after my longest break since starting this blog in July, 2009.  Karl noted on this episode that life has just become too busy for him to post over the last ten months or so. My excuse is that the state of skepticism has made me a bit depressed.  Luckily, a new CS can turn my frown upside down.  

The topic of the latest episode of CS is Freemasonry.  Surprisingly, it is a topic that Karl has not covered in-depth before.  Next to the Illuminati and "the Jews," the Freemasons take the rap for almost everything bad in the world these days.  Karl engages in a discussion with Blake Oates, a 28-year Freemason and Masters student in anthropology.  While Karl and Blake discuss the history of the Freemasons and its origins, much of the discussion revolves around certain misconceptions of Freemasonry and just what it is like to be a Freemason in the American midwest.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rationally Speaking with Randi

James “the Amazing” Randi was the guest on the latest episode of Rationally Speaking.  Julia Galef and Dr. Massimo Pigliucci, the show’s hosts, noted this was only time Randi has been a guest on the show.  As Randi has recently retired from the JREF and Pigliucci will soon be leaving Rationally Speaking to attend to other pursuits, this was one of the last possible times for this event to occur.

Randi was ever the entertaining guest, but as of normal of late,mhe jumped between topics discussing a recent meeting with Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the documentary about himself (The Honest Liar), and his interaction with scientists and their work on psi.  Randi also discussed a book he has authored but is apparently in need of editing that ought to be out soon concerning a magician in the laboratory.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Exposing PseudoAstronomy Hale Bopp Trilogy

Dr. Stuart Robbins, host of the Exposing PseudoAstronomy Podcast, has over the course of the last month produced three episodes concerning alleged mysteries surrounding Comet Hale Bopp that was visible in 1997.  Hale Bopp is unfortunately tied to the mass suicides of the Heaven's Gate religious cult.  The three episodes, while all linked together, are designed to also stand alone as each episode considers a different facet of how the comet came to prominence in the popular culture and became connected to the Heaven's Gate deaths.  All together the episodes clock in at a tad over 145 minutes.

I will refrain from going into detail of each episode other than to point out the broad topics covered by each.  The first episode examines how Hale Bopp was discovered, a general history of how comets have been viewed by the public down the ages, and how this comet was of particular note to the public.  The peculiar notion that Hale Bopp had a companion burst upon the scene when an amateur astronomer contacted Art Bell of the then exceedingly popular Coast to Coast AM late night radio talk show.  This astronomer told Bell he viewed an unexpected companion with the comet.  Dr. Robbins breaks down this claim, its evidence, and the science that disproves it.  The claim ultimately entailed an alleged and unnamed professional astronomer who claimed photographic support of the comet companion claim which was brought forth by Courtney Brown a remote viewer of some popular note.  This was followed by the exposing of this 'evidence' of being a likely fraud on Coast to Coast.  Believe me, the audio clip of Art Bell losing his cool on the air at the fraudulent photographic evidence is dynamite.