Here is a rundown of the top stories in oddities and pseudoscience news from the past week courtesy of Doubtful News.
There was a flurry of news related to skeptical personalities on Sunday. JREF fellow Dr Karen Stollznow reported that she received a death threat in reference to a piece she wrote for the SWIFT blog critical of Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo.
We mourn the loss of two great skeptics. Paul Kurtz, one of the founders of the modern skeptical and humanists movements passed away at age 86. Writer and editor Leon Jaroff, who wrote a column called “Skeptical Eye”, died at age 85.
Psychic fails were all over the news this week.
One psychic tells a family a missing student will be found alive. That was, tragically, wrong.
Another psychic claims to be in contact with Steve Jobs, the iconic founder of Apple. Her story contradicts as least one other psychic who describes what Steve is doing in the afterlife.
The Merseyside (U.K.) Skeptics challenge famous psychics like Sally Morgan and Derek Acorah to show their stuff for the good of the world. Other psychic are encouraged to be tested with the results to be revealed on Halloween.
Can't pass this opportunity up to showcase one of those laugh out loud psychic moments as the Psychic Friends Network state outright that they can't predict their own success or failure. That's business.
In other stories about people from which you should NOT be taking advice, Jenny McCarthy, promoter of much nonsense like Indigo children and a supporter of disgraced anti-vaccination proponent Andrew Wakefield has her own parenting advice column.
Academics band together to call out Dr. Oz for his misleading medical information.
Proposition 37 for labeling genetically-modified food in California is being promoted with material that just drips half-truths and pseudoscience. That tactic may be working.
The flurry of news reports and health claims about dangers of Wi-fi and electromagnetic waves all around us prompted me to collect many of the latest studies on this topic. The problem is not as clear as we would like it to be but there is NO good evidence that there are physical health effects from EMFs.
In another case of misplaced big worry, a German woman fails to stop the Large Hadron Collider.
Some good news: A mass suicide was averted in Brazil.
And, there were encouraging results about American's views on global warming.
But, we end on a sobering note: A volunteer administering polio drops in Pakistan was gunned down. Factions in that country believe the vaccination efforts are a conspiracy.
There is much harm in mistaken beliefs.
On Thursday I'll be at CSICon in Nashville, TN. On Sunday, I'll be giving a talk about weird news and how Doubtful News has chronicled the year in paranormal, oddities and the unbelievable. Also, we're working on some year-end wrap-ups of the best stories of the year. It's been a wild one and it's not over yet. Stay tuned!
Sharon Hill runs Doubtful News, a unique feed of news stories about the paranormal, pseudoscience, the weird and the unexplained with questioning commentary.