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Skeptical Briefs

The Skeptical Briefs newsletter is only available to Associate Members of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 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.

Return of the Living Dead: The Final Chapter

by Paul DesOrmeaux
Volume 21.2, Summer 2011

Although most of us haven’t had the exhilarating and life-affirming ex­peri­ence of nearly dying, a lucky few have returned from being “living challenged” to report their near-death experiences (NDE).

The Doctor’s Ghostly Visitor: Tracking ‘The Girl in the Snow’

The Doctor’s Ghostly Visitor: Tracking ‘The Girl in the Snow’

by Joe Nickell
Volume 21.2, Summer 2011

Investigative Files

Although skeptics insist ghosts are unreal, there are many ghostly encounters that seem to present startling evidence to the contrary. One such incident is presented in the book The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales by Ruth Ann Musick.

Heralding the End of Discovery?

Heralding the End of Discovery?

by Julia Galef
Volume 21.2, Summer 2011

Book Review

A review of The End of Discovery by Russell Stannard.

The Atlanta Child Murders: Evidence vs. Psychics

The Atlanta Child Murders: Evidence vs. Psychics

by Joe Nickell
Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

Investigative Files

While television often offers pseudoscience and fantasy instead of lessons in critical thinking (consider shows like The Ghost Whisperer), there are noteworthy exceptions. One is Soledad O’Brien’s CNN special Atlanta Child Murders (2010).

Tripping on the Trebuchet: An Interview with George Hrab

Tripping on the Trebuchet: An Interview with George Hrab

by Skeptical Briefs
Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

Interviews

Musician and skeptic George Hrab recently sat down with Skeptical Briefs to discuss his latest album, Trebuchet, his Geologic Show at Dragon*Con, and why bald guys are just plain smarter than everyone else.

The Problem with the Cosmological Constant

The Problem with the Cosmological Constant

by Victor Stenger
Volume 21.1, Spring 2011

Reality Check

Einstein had inserted into his gravitational equation a factor called the cosmological constant that provided a repulsive force to counteract the gravitational attraction that otherwise would make the universe collapse. Although the cosmological constant is often referred to as a “fudge factor,” that is a misnomer.

Shootout with Martians: In the Wake of the 1938 Broadcast Panic

Shootout with Martians: In the Wake of the 1938 Broadcast Panic

by Joe Nickell
Volume 20.4, December 2010

Investigative Files

A visit to an art exhibit—based on Orson Welles’s famous 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast—at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo introduced me to a remarkable incident that reportedly occurred during the “panic” caused by Welles’s dramatized Martian invasion.

Did the Universe Come from Nothing?

Did the Universe Come from Nothing?

by Victor Stenger
Volume 20.4, December 2010

Reality Check

They will tell you that they intuitively feel that something must be “out there,” some power that is responsible for the universe and the laws that govern it. After all, they ask, “How can something come from nothing?”

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

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

by Ben Radford
Volume 20.3, September 2010

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...

Scientific Investigation vs. Ghost Hunters

Scientific Investigation vs. Ghost Hunters

by Joe Nickell
Volume 20.3, September 2010

Investigative Files

I have often crossed paths with The Atlantic Paranormal Society, headed by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, stars of the popular Ghost Hunters series.

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