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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.

A Skeptical Look at ‘Balance’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 16, 2012

The idea of “balance” is very popular in both society in general and especially with New Age and alternative medicine crowds. While it offers a superficially appealing way to view the world, it is actually often incorrect, misleading, and potentially unscientific. 

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The Bell Witch Mystery

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.1, January/February 2012

Skeptical Inquiree

Labyrinths, New Age Feminism, and Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 21, 2012
Labyrinths, New Age Feminism, and Skepticism
Skepticism and feminism clash over the ancient (and New Agey) labyrinth symbol. 

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A Skeptical Psychic’s Predictions for 2010

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

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New Mexico’s Mysteries and Mythtakes

Skeptical Briefs Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

Book Review

A review of Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained by Barbara Marriott

Rush Limbaugh, Being a Dick, and Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 8, 2012
 The controversy over Rush Limbaugh's comments has implications for the skeptical movement. Why Rush is a Dick, and skeptics shouldn't be. 

Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 28, 2012
Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence
Though few have heard of it, the important Oscar-winning short subject film Saving Face may be the best film of the year, highlighting horrific abuse of women in Pakistan.

A Skeptic’s Visit to Macchu Picchu

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 22, 2012
A Skeptic’s Visit to Macchu Picchu
A skeptic visits the Peruvian ruins of Macchu Picchu and finds history tainted by pseudoscience.

The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 6, 2012
The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story
In the new horror/thriller The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer whose grief over his dead wife has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote English village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased woman. Upon his arrival, he learns that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret: the woman's house is haunted by a ghost-the titular woman in black. Much of the film is classic ghostlore, and scenarios I have seen enacted during real-life ghost hunts by psychics and ghost hunters.

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Kinoki Drains Wallet, Not Toxins

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 35.6, November/December 2011

Skeptical Inquiree

The Mayan Calendar, 2012, and Doomsday: A Primer

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 25, 2012

It's no secret that the ancient Mayans (as opposed to the modern ones, some of whom work in offices and use cell phones) had a famous calendar that "runs out" in December of this year. Just what that means--if anything--is the question. Does it hold any particular significance for Doomday, the Apocalpyse, or Armageddon? Here's a (very) short primer on the Mayan calendar.

RileyGate: Lessons Learned

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 11, 2012

A recent blog I wrote about a viral video featuring a "pint-sized pundit" ranting about gender stereotypes was flawed in several ways, and deserved much of the criticism it got. 

‘Expert Eyewitness’ Shoots Dog Walker: Skeptical Lessons from Tragedy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 5, 2012
A woman was shot last week when a state trooper mistook her two retriever dogs for a deer; what does this say about expert eyewitness testimony?

Rebecca and Riley: Tempest in a Doll’s Tea Party

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 2, 2012
Skepchick blogger and skeptical colleague Rebecca Watson wrote a scathing blog about a column I wrote on a viral video starring a girl named Riley, and her rant about gender-stereotyped colors and toys. How valid are her criticisms? Decide for yourself. 

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. 

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