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Skeptical Briefs

Skeptical Briefs is the quarterly newsletter of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. It is available by subscription. A subscription to Skeptical Briefs is independent of your subscription to the Skeptical Inquirer. It is published four times per year (in March, June, September, and December), and includes articles; news from skeptical groups across the country and around the world; and regular columnists Joe Nickell ("Investigative Files"), Lewis Jones ("Inklings"), Victor Stenger ("Reality Check"), Henry Huber ("Group News"); and Benjamin Radford ("Briefs Briefs"). It also includes a Hidden Messages puzzle in each issue by New Mexico physicist and skeptic David E. Thomas.

The New Zealand Moa: From Extinct Bird to Cryptid

The New Zealand Moa: From Extinct Bird to Cryptid

by Joe Nickell
Volume 27.1, Spring 2017

Investigative Files

Cryptids are of two types: either (1) unknown species, such as Bigfoot or at one time the Mountain Gorilla; or (2) known species that supposedly become extinct but may have survived and could be rediscovered.

Curated Crowdsourcing in UFO Investigations

Curated Crowdsourcing in UFO Investigations

by Mick West
Volume 27.1, Spring 2017

Since this flying object was unidentified, the video footage ended up at the Committee for Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA), the official UFO investigating body of the Chilean DGAC.

For What It’s Worth

by Mark Edward
Volume 26.4, Winter 2016/2017

We have a glut of non-information. Most of it coming from people who have a proprietary interest in self-promoting garbage they may even consciously know to be false.

George Cherrie’s 
Dark Tales

George Cherrie’s 
Dark Tales

by Benjamin Radford
Volume 26.4, Winter 2016/2017

It’s a good lesson for skeptics to question all extraordinary claims—not only from those with whom we may disagree or who may hold a different worldview, but also those whom we consider friends.

Steller’s Sea Ape:
 Identifying an Eighteenth-Century Cryptid

by Joe Nickell
Volume 26.4, Winter 2016/2017

Investigative Files

Since its appearance in 1741, a mysterious creature has remained controversial—a so-called “sea monkey” that puzzled naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller.

To Be More Skeptical about Anti- Vaccination and Vitamin Supplements: An Interview with Paul Offit

To Be More Skeptical about Anti- Vaccination and Vitamin Supplements: An Interview with Paul Offit

by Felipe Nogueira
Volume 26.4, Winter 2016/2017

Interviews

I think once you scare people, it’s hard to un-scare them; once you open the Pandora’s Box, it’s hard to close it.

A Champlain ‘Croc’ of Mythic Proportions

A Champlain ‘Croc’ of Mythic Proportions

by Scott Mardis
Volume 26.3, Fall 2016

The idea that the “monsters” of Lake Champlain (assuming they exist) are either crocodiles or animals with a crocodilian metabolism is poorly supported by the available evidence.

Mystery Coin of 
the Yukon

Mystery Coin of 
the Yukon

by Joe Nickell
Volume 26.3, Fall 2016

Investigative Files

According to raconteur Ed Ferrell in his Strange Stories of Alaska and the Yukon (1996, 120), the coin “appeared to have been minted before the Ice Age”

Reflections on Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture

Reflections on Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture

by Felipe Nogueira
Volume 26.3, Fall 2016

Skepticism and Science

Carroll is a poetic naturalist, and he does a great job throughout the book of differentiating fundamental from emergent phenomena, highlighting that both are real.

A Guide to Ghost Hunting Guidebooks: NO MORE! Please! (Part 2)

by Sharon Hill
Volume 26.2, Summer 2016

Book Review

Such incredible claims should have equally incredible documentation provided. Nope. Nothing. It’s practically lying.

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