PhACT in the Media

-- by Tom Napier

PhACT has been getting its share of media attention recently. In addition to my own appearance on WHYY's program, "Radio Times," Eric Krieg's name appeared on the front cover of the July/August Skeptical Inquirer in connection with his fine article on the free energy scam. My technical appendix to his article appeared as a separate piece in the same issue. Eric should have appeared on cable TV by the time you read this.

PhACT also made a double impact on the June issue of Skeptical Briefs. Milton Rothman poked fun at a glossy catalog which offers super-scientific gadgets. (Have you drunk any Tachyonized Water lately?) I (yes, me again) showed how a report on a nuclear waste disposal hoax had gathered strength and scientific howlers with every reprinting. (It even gathered a proofing error on its way into Skeptical Briefs. The italicized "counts" in column 3 was "curies" in the document I was quoting.)

Bob Glickman has an article on Therapeutic Touch in the second issue of James Randi's new newsletter, Swift. Among other things, Bob says: "Not knowing the difference between fantasy and reality is dangerous. People who don't know the difference but should and have a 'scientific' background are among the most dangerous of all. Although many are honest and well meaning, they have the greatest potential to mislead an uninformed public. There are several gurus today who have attracted a large following by mixing mainstream medicine with a multitude of fantasy ideas."

Bob has also appeared in the letters section of the Philadelphia Daily News. He pointed out that the paper had made a front page story out of an astrologer's prediction that the Flyers would win the Stanley Cup and yet had somehow omitted to give equal prominence to the prognosticator's total failure.

PhACT's Web site has been recognized with the "Dr. Matrix Award for Science Excellence" from Dr. Matrix' Weird Web World of Science." To quote from the award: "Sites receiving this award are distinguished by the quality of their content alone. A flashy Web site will not receive this award if its content lacks interest and integrity. A simple Web site will receive this award if it serves the interests of discovery, mental enrichment and thoughtful enjoyment. This award doesn't go to "cool" sites. It goes to the great sites. It's not a daily or weekly award, but an award based on presence, here and now. It is given in gratitude, with no other request but that you keep doing what you're doing."

Thanks to Eric for keeping up our WWW presence.

Last, but certainly not least, PhACT Council member Bill Wisdom will be speaking on miracles at the European Skeptics Conference in Spain in September, and I am scheduled to speak about PhACT's investigations at a Central New Jersey Mensa meeting in October.

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