Those Were the Days... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 00:00

No matter how much we write, lecture, or complain, it's easy to think that we've made little progress. Do you remember 1981? I do. I was as sophomore in High School, and I loved the occult. There was a little shop in Salem, MA where I grew up called Crow Haven Corner. It was run by the "Official Witch of Salem," Laurie Cabot. Yes, that Salem. I grew up near where the witches were hanged and attended Witchcraft Heights Elementary School.

They sold potions, amulets books, etc. It was the only shop of its kind in town, right across from the Witch House, which is the former home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges during the witch trials.

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and Salem has become witch and psychic mecca. Crow Haven Corner has moved to a bigger location, and faces competition from a dozen or more similar shops.

It's Not Just US PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Saturday, 24 January 2009 00:00

I was in Canada recently. I live in Vermont and Montreal is a short drive north, but even though we're right next door, Vermonters talk about how things are better in Canada. Affordable health care, less crime, less bigotry, more accessible higher education, more progressive politics, etc. Even their football fields are longer. All of those opinions are debatable, but I did notice a few things of interest.

In many ways, Canada really does seem more advanced. I'll give you one concrete example: traffic signals. All around Montreal, the familiar red, yellow and green traffic lights have been replaced with lights that have red squares, yellow triangles, and green circles. It looks like this (if they were all on):

James Randi Speaks, Episode 3 PDF Print E-mail
James Randi Speaks
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Friday, 23 January 2009 12:00

James Randi is back with the second entry in his YouTube vlog. This week's entry, "Who Gets the Credit?" deals with living an honest life, and giving credit for "miracles" where it's due.

This, and all of the JREF's videos are available at our YouTube account. To see it larger or leave comments, click here.

God's Thoughts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Friday, 23 January 2009 00:00

godsthoughtsI was at an open house at my oldest son's middle school tonight, and I saw this poster. There is much debate over Einstein's beliefs, and though it seems clear from his writings that he was not a Christian or practicing Jew, he did proffer quotes about "God" fairly often, and these are widely used by religious groups today. The full quote:

I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element; I want to know his thoughts; the rest are details.

This particular quote is intriguing, because I cannot find a definitive source for it. He supposedly said it to a young student, in the context of some experiment or other.

But what did he mean by it?

Einstein claimed to believe in Spinoza's God, which is basically "nature." This is an impersonal God, who has no more regard for humans than for birds, bacteria, or boulders. For Einstein though, this "god" was a puzzle for him to figure out. He wanted to learn what nature was, take it apart, determine how it was put together and why. Taken in this light, he was simply saying something akin to "I don't care about rainbows, I care about why they exist."

WOO IN REVIEW: Lost - 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie' (TIME TRAVEL CONTEST) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alison Smith   
Thursday, 22 January 2009 13:44

WOO IN REVIEW TIME TRAVEL CONTEST - Lost: 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie'

This review contains information on the plots of 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie'. If you have not yet seen these episodes and do not want spoilers, read no further. The episodes are also available online here. HOWEVER, for those who HAVE NOT SEEN THE SHOW: YOU CAN STILL ENTER THE CONTEST. Scroll to the very bottom of this article and read numbers two and three for information on how to enter with no Lost knowledge whatsoever.lostintro

Lost, if you haven't seen it, is pretty impossible to explain – especially now that we've entered season five, and the lives of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are so muddled with random eerie island crap that watching an episode in the middle is the equivalent of flipping open a Bible repeatedly, citing a single random word from each page, and then trying to moosh them together into a storyline that makes comprehensible sense.

Things happen so quickly during each episode that you may find yourself stranded on your own island of confusion. So, if you have never watched the show you may want to go ahead and rent the DVDs rather than tune in now. 

The series was created by J.J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are the main writers for the show. I assume the whole group dropped acid a few moments prior to the show's creation, because that's the only way I assume a person could fathom of genetically altered polar bears that hang out on a tropical island and a smoke monster that shows you your past, judges you, and then either kills you or apparently gives you superpowers – or, at the very least, an uncanny ability to tell when it's going to rain, and an irrepressible urge to hold your hands skyward when you're right.

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