It’s been a busy month for the JREF team with the opening of registration for The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012 (register here!), the announcement of our annual Pigasus Awards, JREF’s new column on Wired.com, the release of two new classroom modules, our new online skeptical group database, more ebooks available in more formats, and various speaking appearances and grassroots events in California, Florida and Colorado and at the Reason Rally in Washington D.C. and QED Con in the UK.
And with so much going on there is one thing I especially want to highlight...
Randi was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Fellowship by the Academy of Magical Arts earlier this month. During their 44th Annual Awards Show held in Los Angeles, Neil Patrick Harris, AMA president, presented the award to Randi "in recognition of a career devoted to virtually every facet of conjuring. As a performer, he has traveled the globe, presenting the playful side of deception. As an author, he has captivated readers and galvanized important public discourse. As an advocate, he has been a tireless crusader against the sinister side of deception. And he has done all of this with a unique blend of curmudgeonly wrath and pixie-like charm.”
In his acceptance speech, Randi issued a fiery call-to-arms to his fellow magicians to help pursue the mission of the James Randi Educational Foundation and put a stop to those who would use conjuring tricks to fake paranormal abilities and swindle the public.
Congratulations on this high honor, Randi!
President, James Randi Educational Foundation
The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012
July 12-15, 2012
South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
Las Vegas, NV
The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) is an annual celebration of science, skepticism and critical thinking. People from all over the world come TAM each year to share learning, laughs and the skeptical perspective with their fellow skeptics and a host of distinguished guest speakers and panelists.
Early registration ends April 30. Lock in savings and register today. »
The 5 Worst Promoters on Nonsense
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.
This year’s “winners” are... »
Two New Classroom Modules Available
JREF educational modules are free, fully illustrated, and easy to use. They offer compelling topics, fun activities, and thought-provoking discussions that promote critical thinking and information literacy. The also address national science content standards and AAAS science literacy benchmarks.
Dowsing: Science or Pseudoscience? is a lesson module for high school classrooms that explores the history, claims, methods, and science of dowsing. Does it work? Is it science? What’s the harm? Featuring an introduction to the topic, discussion questions, and hands-on experimentation, Dowsing: Science or Pseudoscience? examines the ancient art of dowsing in a way that promotes well-reasoned critical examination of unproven and pseudoscientific claims.
The Case of the Cottingley Fairies: Examine the Evidence is an educational module designed with younger learners in mind (grades 3 through 5). Through The Case of the Cottingley Fairies, students take a fun and fascinating look at one of one of the most celebrated public hoaxes in history. This guide uses narrative, activities, and inquiry-based discussion to tell the Cottingley story while examining the role of publicity, celebrity, and physical evidence in shaping the public’s perception of extraordinary claims.
Both are now available as free downloads. »
Announcing the JREF's Skeptical Group Database
The JREF is proud to announce the publication of a database of local organizations specifically devoted to the promotion of scientific skepticism. Our goal with this database is to provide skeptics all over the world with a quick and easy way to coordinate with those of like mind who might already be organized in their communities. We also hope that those who live in places that aren't currently home to a skeptics' group might be inspired to fill in the gaps of this database by starting groups of their own.
The JREF's grassroots database is a living document, so please feel free to contact our field coordinator Brian Thompson with any additions or comments you would like to make. New skeptical groups are forming all the time, and some transform in a variety of ways. Please, help us keep this database as up-to-date as possible by keeping in touch.
You can find the JREF's grassroots database here. »
Updates from the Field
Last weekend, James Randi delivered another of his highly in-demand lectures at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA. A sold-out crowd of hundreds packed into Ohlone's Smith Center to see Randi live, and several more watched via live video feed in a nearby overflow room. The enthusiasm from the crowd was very nearly overwhelming, especially during a moving and personal introduction by Prof. Sheldon Helms. Read more »
On Monday, April 2nd, Randi attended Metropolitan State College of Denver's Pseudoscience Fair, organized by the Auraria Campus Atheists. Randi had the honor of closing the fair with a talk about his life as a skeptic. He closed the evening by wowing the audience with some inexplicable acts of mentalism. Read more »
Last month an estimated 20,000 people packed into Washington, D.C.'s National Mall for the Reason Rally, and we're proud to say the JREF was there in full force. JREF founder, James Randi himself, was one of the event's keynote speakers, sharing the stage with other well-known academics, activists, and entertainers who worked to spotlight the growing secularist movement devoted to fostering a more reasonable world. Read more »
Also last month, JREF President D.J. Grothe spoke at QEDcon in Manchester UK. Read more »
And just weeks before that, Randi spoke at Broward College in Florida on behalf of their Psychology Club, where he taught students and faculty how to recognize flim-flam and how an in-depth knowledge of conjuring has equipped him for a life in skepticism. Randi also participated in a public discussion about religion and skepticism at Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor, a reform synagogue in Lake Worth, Florida led by Rabbi Barry Silver. Read more »
Thanks to everyone who made these events happen!
Anouncing The Amazing Column at Wired.com
The JREF is proud to announce a new regular column for Wired.com called “The Amazing Column.” The first three articles are now online:
Four James Randi Books Now Available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad and iPhone
Flim-Flam!, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, The Faith Healers, and The Truth About Uri Geller are now available digitally for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks (iPad and iPhone) e-readers. Download these classic James Randi titles for your favorite mobile device for the special price of just $6.99.
Find download links here. »
- April 21: Brian Thompson leads a breakout on skeptical activism at SkeptiCal in Berkeley, CA.
- April 21-22: James Randi and D. J. Grothe speak at NECSS in New York City, sponsored by the JREF.
- April 27-29: D. J. Grothe speaks at Freethought Fest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- May 7 - 10: James Randi and D. J. Grothe attend Neuromagic 2012
- May 12 - 17: James Randi's speaking tour of Spain and Italy, including at The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; and in Milan, Tourin, and Padua, Italy.
- May 18 - 20: James Randi speaks at World Skeptics Conference in Berlin Germany
- June 7 - 10: James Randi speaks at the American Humanist Association Conference, in New Orleans, LA where he is being awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award.
- July 12 - 15: The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.
Recently on Randi.org
JREF In the News
- The Mandala, April 2, 2012
The Academy of Magical Arts Awards Results
- Doubtful News, April 2, 2012
JREF announces Pigasus awards
- Variety, April 1, 2012
'Liar,' 'Love' top Mipdoc, Mipformat
CANNES -- U.S. docu project "An Honest Liar" and Canadian format "Looking for Love" won Mipdoc and Mipformat's international pitch nods, respectively.
- International Business Times, March 31, 2012
April Fool’s Day: 8 Interesting Things And Hoaxes You Didn't Know
The Pigasus Award is the name of an annual tongue-in-cheek award presented by well-known skeptic James Randi. The award seeks to expose parapsychological, paranormal or psychic frauds that Randi has noted over the previous year. Randi makes his announcements of the awards from the previous year April.
- Realscreen, March 30, 2012
“An Honest Liar” claims MIPDoc pitch prize
Left Turn Films, the prodco behind Sons of Perdition, wowed judges at the MIPDoc International Pitch competition in Cannes with its latest project, which documents the life and exploits of master magician and “professional skeptic,” The Amazing Randi.
- C21Media, March 30, 2012
Liar wins Mipdoc pitch contest
A US documentary about a magician who has spent decades debunking ‘fraudulent’ paranormal and psychic claims has won the Mipdoc International Pitch competition.
- Freindly Atheist | Patheos, March 29, 2012
A Pseudoscience Fair with James Randi
- Northern News Services, March 28, 2012
Lackluster response to faith healing
- Bad Astronomy | Discover, March 25th, 2012
The Amaz!ng Meeting 10: July 12-15, 2012
The tenth* annual Woodstock of skepticism, The Amaz!ng Meeting, was just announced for 2012! It’ll be July 12-15 at the Southpoint Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Kelowna Capital News, March 23, 2012
Incensed over psychic’s appearance in Kelowna
- Curiouser and Curiouser | Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, March 21, 2012
Interview with Documentary Filmmakers Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom
- The McGill Daily, March 19, 2012
The Visions of Robert Lindblad
Randi’s foundation, the JREF, is currently offering US$1 million to anyone who can show “under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.” So far, no one has walked away with the money.
- Kelowna Capital News, March 15, 2012
CFI Okanagan critics slam medium's claims
One of her prime detractors, magician James Randi, has dedicated copious energy to pointing out what he believes is Browne's prime failing—that she deceives people without admitting to her deception.
- A Skeptic Canary, March 12, 2012
A Brief Write Up of QEDCon 2012
After lunch JREF president DJ Grothe gave a very clever and introspective talk on skepticism which dismissed the myth that Americans don’t get irony!
- Todd Newton, March 8, 2012
Interview with James Randi [VIDEO]
TV host and international hypnotist Todd Newton speaks one on one with "The Amazing Randi" about the James Randi Educational Foundation and what it means to be a skeptic.
- Daily Maverick, February 27, 2012
Fortune doesn't favour the clairvoyant
Bavuma and family shouldn’t weep though, because if the Peddie mystic’s powers are genuine, she stands an excellent chance of winning about R7.68-million in the James Randi Educational Foundation One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.
- Tucson Weekly, February 23, 2012
Loud and Silent
"I really thought that art should be about the truth, and not about lies," Jillette said. But later on, he said, illusionist James Randi taught him that "magic wasn't a lie," because when people come to see it in a theater, they are aware of the deception
- Ryan Kohls’s What I Wanna Know, February 19, 2012
Interview with James Randi
They don't have any scruples on that, just like any other thief or burglar. A thief doesn't look at a house and think to pass it up because the family has just suffered a recent tragedy. No, he goes in and robs it anyway.
- Towleroad, February 19, 2012
James Randi to Get a Documentary: Video
James "The Amazing" Randi, the legendary conjurer, performer, writer, debunker of frauds, and lifelong crusader for skepticism and reason is at long last getting his own documentary.... the trailer suggests it'll be cool.
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