Skeptic - Gentle Wind Project
Has anyone heard of any skeptical response to "Gentle Wind Project"?
A media person in my area asked about it. I've started investigating,
but would be happy to o take advantage of and promote any extent work by others.
There is a good NYT review of "Voodoo Science" by Robert Park:
The new skeptical discussion board (Phactboard) is at:
I read that Mark Hughes, the founder of Herbalife, just died at age 44.
There is now evidence that sharks do get cancer - so much for shark cartilage as a cure. (maybe snakes don't get cancer and we can all
just take snake oil instead :) )
The following is what we already suspected about the clueless
being over confident:
for those not already subscribing to Skeptical Inquirer or their
email list, here's the kind of stuff you are missing:
Subject: Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest 2-24-00
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 11:26:43 EST
Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest, Feb. 24, 2000
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 edition of SI DIGEST:
--PREVIEW: Skeptical Inquirer March/April 2000
--OBERG: What are the flying triangles?
--NY TIMES: NEJM apologizes for violating own standards
--PITTSBURGH POST-GAZZETTE: For Ghost hunters its in the ectoplasm
--SIXTH SENSE to be novelized for kids
PREVIEW: SKEPTICAL INQUIRER MARCH/APRIL 2000
Available on newsstands in the next two weeks. Arriving to subscribers this
week or next. Order a copy or subscription by calling 1800-634-1610.
Vividness, Availability, and the Media Paradox
The popular media deliver reports on a carefully chosen set of events in
vivid detail. Owing to its concrete, personal, and emotional flavor, this
biased sample of information is easily retrievable from memory and therefore
exerts a disproportionate influence on our judgments and decisions. This
results in the media paradox: The more we rely on the popular media to inform
us, the more apt we are to misplace our fears.
--Physics and the Paranormal
A Theoretical Physicist's View
Gerard 't Hooft
The co-recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics explains how modern
physics and biology restrict the possibilities for physical explanations of
--Efficacy of Prayer
A Critical Examination of Claims
Irwin Tessman and Jack Tessman
The "landmark study" of Byrd and the recent confirmation attempt by Harris
et al., both claiming therapeutic benefits of intercessory prayer, are shown
to be invalid. One was improperly designed, the other fallaciously
analyzed--and the two contradict each other.
--Can We Tell When Someone is Staring at Us?
A common belief is that people can tell when someone is staring at them, and
some parapsychologists contend this is a form of distant mental influence. To
test this phenomenon, the author carried out two demonstrations, one with
forty people in a public area, the other with fifty students in a controlled
--Assessing the Quality of Medical Web Sites
Quackery and misinformation on the Internet may become a matter of life and
death. As a growing number of patients and health professionals consult
medical Web resources, concerns have been raised about their quality and
reliability. The free flow of information inevitably brings such
--The Demon-Haunted Sentence
A Skeptical Analysis of Reverse Speech
Advocates of reverse speech propose that it is a direct path to the
unconscious mind. However, there is no evidence of its existence, and
accepting this pseudoscience could prove tragic.
Tom Byrne and Matthew Normand
--Notes of a Fringe Watcher
The Secrets of Oak Island
ET, You've Got Mail
OBERG: WHAT ARE THE FLYING TRIANGLES?
Science writer James Oberg recently contributed the following commentary to
For the full article, go to
What Are the Flying Triangles?
By James Oberg
special to space.com
posted: 05:15 PM EST
14 January 2000
NOSS: U.S. military uses of space
[The December 1999 issue of Spaceflight magazine carried two letters from
writers looking for explanations of a curious celestial phenomenon: a
triangle of lights crossing the night sky. NOSS/Parcae sightings probably do
not account for very many of the flood of "triangle UFO" sightings. The
lights are dim, are visible only for an hour or so before and move in
straight lines across the sky. Still, the phenomenon underscores the richness
of prosaic visual stimuli out there waiting to mislead naive observers, and
so would-be researchers should do well to rule NOSS out as an explanation
before leaping to conclusions. Satellites are not just steady points of
light --they can flash and can travel "in formation." They can emit clouds of
fuel or waste water or even sport visible thread-like tethers. Letter writer
Nick Spall described what he saw from Cornwall at about 10 PM on August 10,
1999. The triangular-shaped formation moved from north to south passed the
"With the naked eye the formation appeared as one object," Spall wrote.
However, "through binoculars (7x50) the group was resolved into three steady
pinpoints traveling together in formation." A second letter from A.R.
Thompson in Surrey echoed the first account. "On 4 September 1999 I was
sitting in my garden enjoying the cool of late evening," he wrote, "when I
noticed three satellites apparently moving in a triangular 'formation' ... I
have never witnessed satellites moving in the same direction and maintaining
the same position relative to one another."...]
NYTIMES: NEJM APOLOGIZES FOR VIOLATING OWN STANDARDS
Medical Journal Apologizes for Violating Own Standards
By Lawrence K. Altman
February 24, 2000
For the full text of the article go to
[The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world's top-ranked
scientific publications and a leading critic of doctors' financial ties to
industry, apologized yesterday to its readers for violating its own financial
conflict-of-interest policy 19 times over the last three years in choosing
experts to review drug therapies. The journal said it had failed to
disqualify the authors of the 19 reviews even though the authors had told
them about their financial ties to drug companies that marketed therapies
described in the articles. "This is the most serious mistake for which we
have had to apologize," Dr. Marcia Angell, the editor in chief of the journal
that began publishing in 1812, said in an interview....]
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: FOR GHOST HUNTERS, IT'S IN THE ECTOPLASM
Here is a typical example of highlighting a paranormal claim with scant
mention of criticism coming at the end of the feature article.
Letters-to-the-editor can be sent to: letters@...
For these ghost hunters, it's all in the ectoplasm
Tuesday, February 22, 2000
By Gretchen McKay, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
For the full article, go to
[John DuMaurier pulls a flashlight out of his briefcase and points to the
blue plastic lens. If a yellow fog-like trail shows up in the blue beam, a
ghost has been here, he says. "That indicates ectoplasm, the spiritual
residue of a ghost," he says to the home's new tenant, Lisa Alexander, KDKA
Radio's morning news anchor. Turns out, the flashlight is something of a
formality. Though he'd been in the 130-year-old house barely 15 minutes
yesterday morning, he'd already gotten a "very positive feeling" about some
sort of spirit. He's picturing a gray-haired, elderly woman. "This place is
incredibly rich with vibration," he says. When Alexander and roommate Lisa
Rutter exchange quizzical glances, DuMaurier quickly assures them....]
SIXTH SENSE TO BE NOVELIZED FOR KIDS
Scholastic has signed an agreement with Spyglass Entertainment to create a
series of books based on the Oscar-nominated spirit medium suspense film "The
Sixth Sense." _The Sixth Sense: A Novelization_ arrives in stores in March
to coincide with the horror flick's release on home video. Meanwhile, The
Sixth Sense: Secrets From Beyond, a series of books starring the character
Cole Sear, debuts this fall.
SI Electronic Digest is the biweekly e-mail news update of the Committee for
the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP.)
Rated one of the Top Ten Science sites on the Web by HOMEPC magazine.
The Digest is written and edited by Matthew Nisbet and Barry Karr. SI Digest
is distributed directly via e-mail to over 3000 readers worldwide, and is
sent from CSICOP headquarters at the Center for Inquiry-International,
Amherst NY, USA.
To subscribe for free to the SI DIGEST, go to:
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CSICOP publishes the bimonthly SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, The Magazine for Science
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skeptics of the twentieth century, religious traditionalism and paranormal
belief, the second coming of jesus, and the pseudoscience of oxygen therapy.
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