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Ben Radford

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Benjamin Radford is a scientific paranormal investigator, a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, and author or co-author of six books and over a thousand articles on skepticism, critical thinking, and science literacy. His newest book is The Martians Have Landed: A History of Media Panics and Hoaxes. Radford is also a columnist for Discovery News and LiveScience.com.

Five Solved ‘Unexplained Mysteries’ of 2011

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 27, 2011

Each year brings new puzzles and mysteries to challenge skeptics and put our wits to the test. Sometimes mysteries take weeks, months, or even years or decades to solve, and while most of the public’s attention naturally focuses on the still-mysterious, it’s always worth reflecting on former mysteries. Here are five high-profile (temporarily) unexplained mysteries that were finally solved in 2011.

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Dowsing: Dubious, Discredited, and Dangerous

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.5, September/October 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Poll Holds Surprises About Teen Self-Image, Reality TV Effects

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 8, 2011
A new survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute issued a report titled "Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV" which came to a variety of conclusions about the effects of reality TV on beliefs and attitudes of teen girls. One interesting result what was most girls reject the "beauty myth" idea that a girl's value is based on how she looks. 

Talking Lake Monsters for Canadian TV in the New Mexican Desert

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 25, 2011
New Mexico's Rio Grande river looks nothing like British Columbia's Lake Okanagan, but it was close enough for TV when I was interviewed on November 14 for a Canadian science show called Daily Planet.

U.K. Ghost Group Concerned About Fake Ghost Photos

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 15, 2011
A U.K.-based paranormal research group is worried about the rise in faked ghost photos created by smartphone apps. 

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Dave Thomas vs. Jesse Ventura: The Skeptical Smackdown

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.4, July/August 2011

Article

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Is There a 100C Grain of Truth to Homeopathy?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.4, July/August 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Heeding (Or Ignoring) Skeptical Investigation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 22, 2011
One of the interesting things in skeptical research to see is how (or whether) skeptical investigations make it into the mainstream literature. After all, it's all well and good for skeptics to know that a case has been solved, but the real benefit is when the greater public realizes it. 

World To End—Again

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 18, 2011
It's almost that time again. No, I don't mean fall, or Halloween, nor (shudder) the holiday season.

No, it's time for another doomsday.

The Journal of Folklore Research Reviews ‘Tracking the Chupacabra’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 6, 2011
The Journal of Folklore Research, a peer-reviewed publication of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University, reviewed my recent book Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. 

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Slaying the Vampire: Solving the Chupacabra Mystery

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.3, May/June 2011

Article

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Anomaly Hunting

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.3, May/June 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Alone on the Loch: One Man’s Search for Nessie

Skeptical Briefs Volume 20.3, September 2010

Alone on the Loch: One Man’s Search for Nessie

I found Feltham more or less by accident. I was at Scotland’s famous loch for about a week following a speaking engagement in London...

Reaction to Faster Than Light Claims Expose Anti-Skeptic Myth

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 23, 2011
 The scientists and researchers who are skeptical of the new faster than light claims are not skeptical because accepting that Einstein was wrong about something would lead to a nervous breakdown, or that their whole worldview would crumble beneath them, or that they would have to accept that science doesn't know everything. The reason scientists are skeptical is because the new study contradicts all previous experiments. 

Skeptic Daniel Loxton’s Evolution Book Wins Canadian Award

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 17, 2011
Skeptic Daniel Loxton’s Evolution Book Wins Canadian Award
 "Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be," by Junior Skeptic editor Daniel Loxton, won the 2010 Lane Anderson Award in the young reader category for a book published in the field of science and written by a Canadian.

“Contagion” Film Review—Now With 20% More Anti-Vaxx Conspiracy!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 8, 2011
“Contagion” Film Review—Now With 20% More Anti-Vaxx Conspiracy!
The new thriller Contagion has an ensemble cast, including Jude Law as a conspiracy theorist anti-vaccination blogger. 

JREF $1 Million Challenge Delights and Amuses Psychic Carla Baron

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 29, 2011
Carla Baron, who claims to have psychic powers, is not interested in getting James Randi's $1 million prize for proving her abilities, but she does find it "endlessly amusing."

False Rape Claim Sinks Real Rape Case

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 24, 2011
Rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped yesterday; the wealthy French banker had been accused of raping a housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, in an upscale Manhattan hotel in May. The accused didn't even have to defend himself in this case; instead the accuser's lies caused her case to implode.

Fright Night: The Vampire Genre That Won’t Die

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 13, 2011
A remake of the cult classic vampire film Fright Night comes to theaters. 

Amy Winehouse Finally in Rehab

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 29, 2011
Amy Winehouse, the London singer who died last week and famously sang that she wouldn't go to rehab, is finally in rehab. It's too late for Winehouse, of course, but her image has been in rehabilitation mode since news broke of her death. 

UFOs Videotaped Over London?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 4, 2011
I recently provided an analysis of a UFO video that was allegedly shot in London, England. The piece appeared on CBS News, Fox News, Yahoo News, The Free Republic, and elsewhere. Reactions to my UFO video analysis were interesting: Many people thought I was obviously wrong; some thought I was obviously right, and a small handful gave compliments. Such is the life of a professional science-based investigator. 

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The Mysterious Morgellons Malady

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.2, March/April 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

Most doctors believe that Morgellons is a type of psychiatric disorder called delusional parasitosis, in which patients come to believe ...

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Debunking the Trauma Myth

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.2, March/April 2011

Book Review

A review of The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children—and Its Aftermath by Susan A. Clancy.

Carla Baron Complains About Fake Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 11, 2011
A high-profile psychic failure last week has many psychics, including Carla Baron, complaining about the damage done by 'fake' psychics. Baron is also concerned that America is in the midst of a modern Salem Witch Trial. 

Urban Legend Come Alive: Mom Cooks Baby in Oven

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 19, 2011
Baby in Oven Urban Legend Comes True- Kind Of

Weird Bogus UFO Videos—and Their Defenders

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 10, 2011
A curious exchange with a UFO believer who didn't like my skeptical analysis.

Real-time, Real-Life Abduction Tests Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 15, 2011
A Tennessee woman was abducted yesterday, and dozens of psychics are on the case. How will they do?

The Great Chupacabra Memory Experiment & Contest

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 23, 2011
The Great Chupacabra Memory Experiment & Contest
Dozens of people remember hearing about the chupacabra decades ago: truth or false memory?

Public Reactions to the Chupacabra Solution

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 22, 2011
Public Reactions to the Chupacabra Solution
I solved the mystery of el chupacabra and I was curious to see what the public's reaction would be...

New Skeptical Cryptozoology Books!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 8, 2011
2011 and 2012 will bring more skeptical books on monsters than ever before....

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