skeptic email list
- I thought the following is cute:
Were too late! It?s already been here.
Mulder, I hope you know what you?re doing.
Look, Scully, just like the other homes: Douglas fir, truncated, mounted,
transformed into a shrine; halls decked with boughs of holly; stockings hung by
the chimney with care.
You really think someone?s been here?
Someone, or someTHING
Mulder, over here -- it?s a fruitcake.
Don?t touch it! Those things can be lethal.
It?s O.K. There?s a note attached: ?Gonna find out who?s naughty and nice.?
It?s judging them, Scully. It?s making a list.
Who? What are you talking about?
Ancient mythology tells of an obese humanoid entity who could travel at great
speed in a craft powered by antlered servants. Once each year, near the winter
solstice, this creature is said to descend from the heavens to rewards its
followers and punish disbelievers with jagged chunks of anthracite.
But that?s legend Mulder -- a story told by parents to frighten children.
Surely you don?t believe it?
Something was here tonight, Scully. Check out the bite marks on this
gingerbread man. Whatever tore through this plate of cookies was massive --
and in a hurry.
It left crumbs everywhere. And look, Mulder, this milk glass has been
It gorged itself, Scully. It fed without remorse.
But why would they leave it milk and cookies?
Appeasement. Tonight is the Eve, and nothing can stop its wilding.
But if this thing does exist, how did it get in? The doors and windows were
locked. There?s no sign of forced entry.
Unless I miss my guess, it came through the fireplace.
Wait a minute, Mulder. If you?re saying some huge creature landed on the roof
and came down this chimney, you?re crazy. The flue is barely six inches wide.
Nothing could get down there.
But what if it could alter its shape, move in all directions at once?
You mean, like a bowl full of jelly?
Exactly. Scully, I?ve never told anyone this, but when I was a child my home
was visited. I saw the creature. It had long white shanks of fur surrounding
its ruddy, misshapen head. Its bloated torso was red and white. I?ll never
forget the horror. I turned away, and when I looked back it had somehow taken
on the facial features of my father.
I know what I saw. And that night it read my mind. It brought me a Mr. Potato
head, Scully. IT KNEW THAT I WANTED A MR. POTATO HEAD!
I?m sorry, Mulder, but you?re asking me to disregard the laws of physics. You
want me to believe in some super-natural being who soars across the skies and
brigs gifts to good little girls and boys.
Listen to what you?re saying. Do you understand the repercussions? If this
gets out, they?ll close the X-files.
Scully, listen to me: It knows when you?re sleeping. It knows when you?re
But we have no proof.
Last year, on this exact data, SETI radio telescopes detected bogeys in the
airspace over twenty-seven states. The White House ordered a Condition Red.
But that was a meteor shower.
Officially. Two days ago, eight prized Scandinavian reindeer vanished from the
National Zoo, in Washington D.C. Nobody -- not even the zookeeper -- was told
about it. The government doesn?t want people to know about project Kringle.
They fear that if this thing is proved to exist the public will stop spending
half its annual income in a holiday shopping frenzy. Retail markets will
collapse. Scully, they cannot let the world believe this creature lives.
There?s too much at stake. They?ll do whatever it takes to insure another
Mulder, I --
Sh-h-h. Do you hear what I hear?
On the roof. It sounds like .... a clatter.
The truth is up there. Let?s see what?s the matter.E
Eric Krieg eric@...
PS: I close with the latest from CSICOP:
Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest 12-10-99
Visit the CSICOP and Skeptical Inquirer Magazine website at
http://www.csicop.org Receiving over 200,000 hits per year, the CSICOP site
was rated one of the top ten science sites by HOMEPC magazine.
In this week's SI DIGEST:
--PREVIEW: Skeptical Inquirer Jan./Feb. 2000
--Center for Inquiry West to Cash in on the Apocalypse
--NY TIMES on Global Cooling
--Scientific American "End of the Millennium" Special Issue
--NPR on Doomsday Predictions, Mars Mission, Science Funding
PREVIEW: SKEPTICAL INQUIRER JAN/FEB 2000
Arriving to subscribers and in bookstores in the next several weeks:
The Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Twentieth Century
Two Paranormalisms or Two and Half? An Empirical Exploration
Most researchers have found an inverse negative correlation between
religious traditionalism and paranormal beliefs. It is possible that the two
dimensions share a great deal more in common than previous surveys suggest.
A new study supports that view.
Anna Eva Fay: The Mentalist Who Baffled Sir William Crookes
The Pseudoscience of Oxygen Therapy
John M. Allen
Confessions of a (Former) Graphologist
Robert J. Tripician
Notes of a Fringe Watcher
The Second Coming of Jesus
Canada's Mysterious Maritimes
The Congressional Censure of a Research Paper
Kenneth K. Berry and Jason Berry
CENTER FOR INQUIRY WEST TO CASH IN ON THE APOCALYPSE
For Immediate Release
Contact James Underdown at 310-306-2847
SCIENCE PUTS ITS MONEY WHERE ITS MOUTH IS...
LOS ANGELES, CA--In an unprecedented move for a not-for profit organization,
the Center for Inquiry-West in Los Angeles is offering $.10 on the dollar for
cars, houses, and other valuables to people who believe that the world will
end on January 1, 2000.
"Scientifically, there is no reason to believe that the planet earth will
behave any differently on January 1st, 2000, than on any other
day--regardless of what the so-called prophets say. We are giving those who
do believe such nonsense a chance to quickly cash-in and enjoy their last
days with some extra funds," says James Underdown, Executive Director, Center
for Inquiry West. "If people really believe in the apocalypse, they should
have no hesitation to sell their belongings. They won't need them if the
world ends, will they?"
The Center for Inquiry-West will consider any available property and stands
by with ready cash to act on the proposal. Our confidence is in logic,
reason, and science.
How confident are those who think the end is near?
The Center for Inquiry-West serves as the Los Angeles-area bureau for Skeptic
al Inquirer magazine, and sponsors lectures and activities that promote
science, reason, and critical thinking. Visit the Center for Inquiry-West at
NY TIMES ON GLOBAL COOLING
On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the NY TIMES highlighted the prospect of global cooling
brought about by a disruption of ocean currents. Some skeptics might be
familiar with the topic as it was a feature presentation by University of
Washington Professor William Calvin at the 1998 World Skeptics Congress in
For more on the topic, visit Calvin's webpage at
http://www.williamcalvin.com/atlantic/index.htm, and read a World Skeptics
Congress summary at http://www.csicop.org/si/9811/conference2.html.
For the full NY TIMES article go to:
By William K. Stevens
Evidence continues to accumulate that the frozen world of the Arctic and
sub-Arctic is thawing, and the findings are spotlighting two increasingly
important questions: Can what is happening in the Great White North touch off
sudden shifts in climate that will transform weather and disrupt life
throughout the Northern Hemisphere? Is the Arctic a key to the way in which
global warming might be translated into region-by-region climatic changes?
The answers, many experts believe, may depend on how much fresh water flows
into the North Atlantic Ocean as a result of melting Arctic ice and the
runoff from an increase in Northern Hemisphere precipitation that some
scientists say is already resulting from global warming. The theory behind
this view holds that the climate of the North Atlantic region, including
Europe and eastern North America, is controlled by great ocean currents that
transport heat northward from the tropics. This oceanic conveyor belt is set
in motion when saltier, and therefore heavier, surface water sinks to the
deep ocean in the vicinity of southern Greenland. It is replaced by warm
water from the tropics that warms the North Atlantic region. Without it, the
relatively mild climate of England, for instance, might be as cold as that of
northern Canada. The worry is that a great influx of fresh water from the
thawing Arctic might dilute the salty current and so either halt or weaken
the heat-bearing conveyor belt. This could result in a sudden, long-term drop
in the North Atlantic region's temperature, a climatic disruption that would
probably reverberate around the hemisphere by altering large-scale
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN "END OF THE MILLENNIUM" SPECIAL ISSUE
The December 1999 Scientific American "End of the Millennium" Special Issue
features essays on the future of science by CSICOP fellows John Maddox,
Steven Weinberg, and Jill Tarter.
Go to http://www.sciam.com/1999/1299issue/1299quicksummary.html
"What Science Will Know in 2050"
Today's top scientific authorities speculate on the great questions that
further research will answer within the next five decades
The Unexpected Science to Come
Sir John Maddox
The most important discoveries of the next 50 years are likely to be ones of
which we cannot now even conceive.
A Unified Physics by 2050?
Experiments should let particle physicists complete the Standard Model, but
a unified theory of all forces may require radically new ideas.
Exploring Our Universe and Others
In the 21st century cosmologists will unravel the mystery of our universe�s
birth--and perhaps prove the existence of other universes as well.
Deciphering the Code of Life
Francis S. Collins and Karin G. Jegalian
With a complete catalogue of all the genes in hand, biologists will spend
the next decades answering the most intriguing questions about life.
The End of Nature versus Nurture
Frans B. M. de Waal
Arguments about whether our behavior is shaped more by genetics or
environment ought to yield to a more enlightened view.
The Human Impact on Climate
Thomas R. Karl and Kevin E. Trenberth
The magnitude of our species� effect on climate could be clear by 2050, but
only if nations commit to long-term monitoring now.
Can Human Aging Be Postponed?
Michael R. Rose
No single elixir or treatment will do the trick. Antiaging therapies of the
future will need to counter many destructive biochemical processes at once to
How the Brain Creates the Mind
Antonio R. Damasio
The origin of the conscious mind might seem eternally mysterious, but a
better understanding of the brain�s workings should explain it.
Is There Life Elsewhere in the Universe?
Jill C. Tarter and Christopher F. Chyba
Scientists� search for life beyond Earth has been less thorough than is
commonly thought--but that is about to change.
Rise of the Robots
By 2050 robotic �brains� based on computers that execute 100 trillion
instructions per second will rival human intelligence.
NPR ON DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS, MARS MISSION, SCIENCE FUNDING
From NPR's Morning Edition, Wed. Dec. 8:
Doomsday Predictions -- NPR's Barbara Bradley reports on some of the
millennial doomsday scenarios that are portrayed on television, in movies and
in popular music. The idea is that the world will undergo a cataclysmic event
at the turn of the millennium. (7:20)
To listen to the segment on RealAudio go to
From NPR's Science Friday, Dec. 3:
HOUR ONE: Mars Landing
Member of the Deep Space-2 Mars Microprobes Science Team
Faculty Research Associate, Department of Geology
Arizona State University
Assistant Professor, Department of Astronomy
Ithaca, New York
Lockheed Martin Astronautics
Right now, an intrepid explorer is nearing the end of a 470-million-mile
space odyssey. Mars Polar Lander is scheduled to arrive at the red planet on
Friday, after eleven long months of travel. Scientists hope it will answer
questions about the soil, weather, and water on Mars. In this hour, we'll
take a look at this latest Mars mission.
HOUR TWO: Science Funding- A Conversation
With Rita Colwell and Harold Varmus
National Science Foundation
National Institutes of Health
This year, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of
Health together will distribute close to $20 billion in research money. In
this hour, we'll talk with the heads of these two powerful scientific
institutions about their institutions' goals and the future of science
To listen to the show on Real Audio go to:
SI Electronic Digest is the biweekly e-mail news update of the Committee for
the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP.)
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