Friday, November 30, 2007

All the Pot Without the High

Scientists at Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences have discovered a way to separate the beneficial effects of marijuana's THC chemical from its mood-altering side-effects. This could lead to the development of cannabis-based medicines to treat epilepsy, obesity, and chronic pain. Great news for those of us who would like to experience the physiological wonders of pot without having to trick our minds into thinking Squidbillies is funny. More details here.

Sudanese Insanity

Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher working in Sudan who was convicted of insulting Islam by allowing her class of seven-year-olds to name a teddy bear "Mohammed" has been sentenced to two weeks in jail and subsequent deportation. However, the insane Muslim fanatics in Sudan (like the school employee who ratted Gibbons out, marched in the streets of Khartoum today, brandishing clubs and knives and shouting for Gibbons' execution. A telling note in this story concerns the fact that these protesters swarmed out of their mosques and into the streets after being stirred up by their local bloodthirsty clerics. If there's somewhere Islam is a religion of peace, it's not in Sudan. More details here.

Creationism Afoot

A lot of science blogs have been commenting on this (including our friendly neighbor Skeptical Digest), but the Texas Education Agency's director of science curriculum, Chris Comer (pictured), has been fired most likely because she is not a supporter of teaching "intelligent design" in state science classrooms. This is a situation that's been feared ever since devout creationist Don McLeroy became chairman of the State Board of Education. The best writeup on this story so far comes from Dr. Steven Novella's NeuroLogica Blog here. If this eventually goes to trial, let's hope there's a reasonable a decision as the one that came out of the Dover trial.

Interstate Highway to Heaven

Kick start your weekend with this video from Pat Robertson's comedy program The 700 Club. Christian groups up and down middle America believe that Interstate 35 running from Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota is a road of wickedness prophesied in the book of Isiah (Isiah 35, actually). Good thing it also happens to run close to their homes, since these youth squads and church platoons don't have to drive far to set up "purity sieges" around liquor stores, porn shops, and gay bars. There's lots of hilarious mass insanity on display, but my favorite part is when a youth pastor touches a gay gay, yells "FIRE!", and cures him of his desire to play with cocks. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Teacher Arrested

It's like Sharia law's greatest hits today. Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher working in Sudan has been arrested and charged with "offending religion" after allowing her class of seven-year-olds to name a teddy bear "Mohammed". If convicted, she faces 40 lashes, six months in jail, or a fine. I fail to see what's so offensive about naming a teddy bear after an illiterate 7th century warlord and pedophile. Actually, when you put it that way, it is kind of offensive. Still, shouldn't those seven-year-olds have been arrested instead? It was their idea. More details here.

No Free Speech in Turkey

It must be great to live in a Muslim country with all its free-flowing ideas and respect for independent thought. Speaking of, a Turkish prosecutor has begun an investigation into whether the local publisher of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Erol Karaaslan, could be brought up on charges for printing literature that insults religious values. If tried and convicted, Karaaslan would face up to a year in prison. It's funny how Turkey's religious values don't include respect for opposing viewpoints, an omission that seems common among Muslim countries. Hey, and I think Dawkins pointed that out in his book. The good news is that Turkey will have to soften its more oppressive laws if it hopes to join the European Union. Still, it's time to start planning a jail break, kids. Read CNN's article here.

Romney Update

Continuing with today's updating trend, there's new information on the mysterious anti-Mitt Romney push polling phone calls of a couple of weeks ago. Several Iowa and New Hampshire residents were receiving anonymous survey calls asking questions about the more embarrassing aspects of Romney's Mormonism: his military deferment to do missionary work in Europe, the fact that the Mormon church officially rejected black people until 1978, etc. At the time, Romney lamented such a dirty, underhanded attack on his faith. But as Mark Hemingway (no relation?) at National Review Online argues, Romney most likely initiated the calls himself in order to play up the sympathy card and discourage the media from pressing the Mormon issue. Read Hemingway's excellent article here and Christopher Hitchens' (he of the newly waxed "sack, back, and crack") thoughtful response for Slate here.

Blue Ghost Update

"AnswersInSkepticism" (also known as "markav28" on the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe message boards) has posted the following video on YouTube pretty definitively explaining the truth behind the mysterious blue gas station ghost from a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a plastic bag, but this video makes a very good case that it was actually just a bug on the camera's lens. For anyone who thought the ghost might be tortured spirit of his dearly departed, rest assured that your loved one's soul is either singing in Heaven, roasting in Hell, or never existed in the first place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spaghetti Miracle

It's official. There was a holiday miracle this past week as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that noodly deity whose existence is just as likely as any other's, appeared in the spicy surface of a pumpkin pie. But the question remains: just what is the FSM trying to tell us through this manifestation? I believe that by appearing on such a delicious treat, he's saying that evidence of his existence is both important and inviting, but it won't last forever (maybe only an evening, if you have company over). Get it while it's hot. Read more about this special revelation here.

Rise of a Dictator

Riot police in St. Petersburg have beaten and detained 50 activists planning to march in opposition to Russian president Vladimir Putin. This comes after Putin hand-picked a successor to his office while vowing to remain a controlling factor in the Russian government until he can run for president again. In other words, he thinks he's there to stay. On top of the suspicious deaths of several critical journalists in the past few years, the KGB-style murder of Alexander Litvinenko, and the arrest just days ago of opposition leader (and world famous chess champion) Garry Kasparov for "chanting anti-government slogans", these beatings and detentions are just the latest in a disturbing pattern of totalitarian control. Time to dust off that iron curtain. More details here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Bad Press for Satanists

Bruce Kent Williams, the mayor of Centerton, Arkansas, has revealed that despite the fact that he's been living a quiet life for thirty years, he is, in fact, Pastor Don LaRose, a Baptist minister who went missing in the mid-'70s, leaving his wife and children behind. As a pastor, he says he was teaching a course on Satanism that stoked the anger of local Indiana Satanists who forced him to submit to brainwashing and electric shock or they would kill his family. He says the Satanists destroyed his identity, and he took on the name of Bruce Kent Williams, a man who died in a car crash in 1958. He realized his true identity after taking a truth serum injection under unknown circumstances. However, he also ran a website about Pastor Don LaRose's disappearance, which LaRose's family discovered and used to track down Williams. If this whole story seems a bit fishy to you, it is. Turns out LaRose kidnapped himself and blamed it on Satanists once before--kind of a trial run before his eventual disappearance. As Williams, he has remarried. While charges of fraud and bigamy are sorted out, might we take a moment to remember the real victims here? When will Satanists stop being blamed for outlandish movie-of-the-week crimes they didn't commit? And when will they stop dressing like idiots? More details here and here.

Green Team

Everyone talks about the horrors of global warming, but they never answer the most important question: what can I do about it? Here's the Green Team with a few practical tips for making the world a greener place.

More Psychic Nonsense

The attorneys employed by Illinois police sergeant Drew Peterson, the man who allegedly murdered his most recent wife and says she left him for another man (honestly, why do I have to paste an "allegedly" in there?--the guy's previous wife was murdered and shoved into a bathtub--although who could blame the latest one for leaving such a dickish prick?--I mean, he blamed her disappearance on her menstrual cycle--on national television, no less--this is when I end my parenthetical notation), have been making a to-do about an anonymous letter they received claiming Stacy Peterson, the "missing" wife, was spotted in a supermarket sporting a baby bump. What's this have to do with amateur science, you ask? Well, Stacy Peterson's family have laughed off the letter (not only because anyone with a functioning brain knows her husband [allegedly] murdered her) because they've also received numerous similar letters and phone calls from "psychics". These people crawl out of their lairs whenever a missing person is reported--offering to give vague clues for lots of cold, hard cash. They're predators, and they're always wrong. It's nice to see Stacy Peterson's family isn't taking them as seriously as some other grieving victims might. Read CNN's full story here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giant Sea Scorpions

British researchers have uncovered the fossilized remains of what could be the largest bug ever to roam the Earth. The fossil measures about eight feet long from tail to claw and appears to be of a Jaekelopterus Rhenaniae, a type of ancient sea scorpion that lived in Germany about 400 million years ago. While Jurassic Park was full of cute, cuddly (and sometimes deadly) dinosaurs, one shudders to think what horrors await the unlucky patrons of Six Flags Over the Devonian. More details here.

The Horrors of Islamic Law

CNN today has a good writeup on the Saudi woman recently sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison after being kidnapped and violently raped by a gang of seven men. The court ruled that she was in violation of Saudi Arabia's Islamic law, because she was in the company of an unrelated man at the time of her abduction. Originally, she was sentenced to 90 lashes, but the judge increased her punishment after she appealed his verdict. Her lawyer, known to be a human rights attorney, has also faced harassment at the hands of the Saudi court. Despite the fact that Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz instituted reforms earlier this year to protect some women's rights, Islamic law still forbids Saudi women from driving or voting, and they can't testify in court, have surgery, or travel without the permission or supervision of a man. And for some reason, the U.S. still considers this country an ally. Read CNN's full article here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Indonesia Preps for Psychic Quake

Officials in Bengkulu province on Sumatra Island, Indonesia are preparing evacuation plans in anticipation of a major earthquake on December 23rd. All because of a letter from Jucelino Nobrega da Luz (pictured here playing with his energy balls), a Brazilian self-proclaimed psychic who says he's foreseen the quake. He also claims to have sent letters predicting the 2004 tsunami and a previous quake in 2006. Bengkulu's emergency planners say they're just hedging their bets. They don't want to be held responsible if da Luz's latest prediction turns out to be true. Of course, there's no evidence da Luz ever actually sent letters predicting the disasters he says he has, but still. Stay tuned for an update after December 23rd, and read the full story here.

Will Smith: Idiot

In a recent interview with Men's Vogue (renew your subscriptions today!) actor/rapper/Wild Wild West star Will Smith waxes philosophical about his chosen religion, Scientology. "Like 98 percent of the principles are identical to the principles of the Bible," he says. "The Bible says, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' And you know, there's a Scientology principle: 'Do not create experiences for others that they cannot comfortably perceive.'" So, in making up his sci-fi moneymaking scheme, L. Ron Hubbard plagiarized the principles of another made-up sci-fi moneymaking scheme. What validation. Also, Smith says that like fellow Scientologists John Travolta and Tom Cruise, he's home schooling his children--presumably so they don't have to learn the critical thinking skills that would lead them astray from the church. You know, if you cut off access to the outside world, the Internet, South Park, and the powers of your brain, Scientology starts to make a lot of sense. Read more here.

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Two scientific papers published this week in the journals Cell and Science document a cross-continental team's success in making ordinary human stem cells take on the properties of embryonic stem cells. This is a major achievement in itself, but it's also a promising step toward eliminating the main controversy of stem cell research--that is, gathering stem cells through the cloning of human embryos. The only downside is that the skin cells' DNA is damaged in the procedure, so any tissue grown from them would probably become cancerous. The embryos aren't out of the woods yet. More details here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Author Sam Harris has distributed the following e-mail to drum up support for the physical protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel. Please donate if you can.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the most prominent advocate of free speech and women's rights in the Muslim world, and for this she must live under perpetual armed guard, even in the West. Unfortunately, on October 1st of this year, the Dutch government officially rescinded its promise to protect her. Now, Ayaan Hirsi Ali's friends, colleagues and admirers must come to her aid.
I have created a page on my website that links directly to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust. The money raised by this trust will pay Ayaan Hirsi Ali's security expenses. In the event that money remains after these costs have been met, it will be used to encourage and protect other dissidents in the Muslim world.
The ongoing protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a moral obligation. It is also a strategic one: for here is a woman doing work that most of us cannot do--indeed, would be terrified to do if given the chance--and yet this work is essential for preserving the freedoms we take for granted in the West.
If every reader of this email simply pledged ten dollars a month to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the costs of her security would be covered for as long as the threat to her life remains.
Thanks in advance for your support.

Sam Harris

Friday, November 16, 2007

Noodly Appendage Debated

When the American Academy of Religion meets in San Diego this weekend, flying spaghetti will be on the menu. The world's leading religious scholars (including next week's podcast guest, Dr. Robert M. Price) will debate the intellectual basis of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a hypothetical deity invented as a reaction to intelligent design. According to the FSM's believers, their noodly god is just as scientifically plausible as the more traditional bully in the clouds. Here's hoping a few fundamentalist hearts will feel the wet slap of holy pasta. More details here.

Singapore Hates Gays

The government censors in Singapore have banned the Microsoft game Mass Effect from their country due to what they say is a lesbian sex scene, though it's actually a female human/female alien mutual physical stimulation scene. This comes a ridiculous, but unsurprising, development from the socially repressive country. Singapore has previously banned gay-themed festivals and films, officially ruling that homosexuality should not be promoted as a lifestyle. But while it's easy to knock Singapore for their backward ways, there's another aspect of this story which seems to be falling through the cracks. Mass Effect, for some reason, features no man-on-male-alien action. Perhaps the pasty Mountain Dew addicts who make up the game's target audience just aren't ready to face certain unwelcome facts about themselves. More details here.

Millipede Invasion

Residents of Obereichstaett, a Bavarian village, have successfully (for now) stemmed the tide of millipede invaders that had been plaguing their town for hundreds of years. The seasonal millipede onslaught had gotten so bad that some roads were reportedly covered with the creepy beasts. Now, the villagers have constructed a foot-high, metal-lined wall with an overhanging lip, which seems to be foiling the millipede invasion. However, it's hard to see how one foot of metal will be a permanent deterrent to, like, a gajillion feet of arthropod rage. Read all about the ongoing fight here.

Romney Bashing

No one knows which candidate is responsible yet (though it's fairly likely one of them's to blame), but residents of Iowa and New Hampshire have reported some aggressive push polling phone calls casting Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in a negative light. Push polling is a particularly sneaky tactic once favored by Karl Rove back when he was trying to get George W. Bush elected in 2000. He set up recorded phone calls to random voters which were disguised as polls but were actually designed to plant negative information about candidates. For example, one of the calls asked primary voters if they would be upset were they to discover John McCain had an illegitimate black baby. And so on. However, these recent push polls against Romney seem to only suggest information that's actually true. From CNN:

Among the questions was whether a resident knew that Romney was a Mormon, that he received military deferments when he served as a Mormon missionary in France, that his five sons did not serve in the military, that Romney's faith did not accept blacks as bishops into the 1970s and that Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible.

The military record and Bible comments aside, isn't it noteworthy that a presidential candidate belongs to a church with such a blatant and recent record of unabashed racism? More details here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ask an Amateur Scientist: Vaccines and Autism

It's a different kind of Ask an Amateur Scientist column this week over at PinkRaygun.com. In an effort to spread the word about how vaccines don't cause autism in children (or anyone else, for that matter), I make a plea for everyone to pick up the latest issue of The Skeptical Inquirer and read Dr. Steven Novella's cover story on the issue. It's time to put this myth to rest before hysterical parents following the paranoid advice of former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy and the rabid anti-vaccination movement create a serious health risk. Read all about it here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The Japanese lunar probe Kaguya (a.k.a. Selene) has replicated the famous Apollo "Earth rise" photograph with modern high-definition imaging equipment. Click for a bigger picture. It's fucking awesome.

Gas Station Ghost

Paranoid schizophrenics, religious nutbags, and non-critical thinkers across the country are in a tizzy over a blobby blue object spotted on a gas station's security camera in Parma, Ohio. The object appears to fly around the gas pumps, rest on the windshield of a car, and remain stationary for about thirty minutes. The local news story quotes a witness who insists that the blob is actually an angel. Why an angel would appear as an amorphous blue mist is anyone's guess, but if you actually watch the video, it's fairly obvious that the object is actually some kind of light material too close to the camera to be in focus. Most likely, it's a blue plastic bag fluttering about in the wind. Which would explain why the man upon whose car the object appears to rest doesn't appear to notice any kind of ghostly angel. The video:

Ask an Amateur Scientist: The Chupacabra

In the latest Ask an Amateur Scientist column at PinkRaygun.com, I explore the frightening world of the chupacabra. What is it? Where does it come from? Why does it keep sucking goats? Isn't it really just a mangy coyote? Find the answers to all these questions right here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Iran Killing Homosexuals

Now we know why Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed at Columbia University that there were no gays in Iran. He's been killing them. At a recent peace conference (irony!), Iranian minister Mohsen Yahyavi told a group of British MPs that homosexuals deserve torture and execution. This comes after several reports that Iran has been doing just that--specifically, hanging young gay men. This shouldn't be too surprising, though, considering Iran's history of enforcing oppressive and barbaric Islamic laws against "moral criminals". More details here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monkey Clones

According to a paper in the upcoming issue of the journal Nature, scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center have successfully cloned embryos from adult monkeys. This is a major breakthrough in the field of cloning, and is one step closer to the cloning of human embryos. However, none of the monkey embryos implanted in adult females has gone to full term. Still, I'm sure the ONPRC would be happy to take orders for your very own cloned monkey army. Who knows, with enough cloned monkeys at your command, you might be mistaken for a Hindu god. Read the full story here.

MILF Smarts

Who knows how scientific this study is, but it's a slow news day. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UC Santa Barbara claim to have discovered a statistical link between smart kids and the curviness of their mothers. Their hypothesis is fatty acids in a woman's hips help the development of her child's brain as a fetus. Children whose mothers had wide hips and a low waist-hip ratio scored highest in cognition tests. So science seems to have proven there's nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk. More details here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Back Off the Witches

On Halloween night, a 186-year-old grave in Hillsboro, New Hampshire was dug up, leaving no trace of the deceased. A local police lieutenant suggested to the media that witches may have been involved. Since then, New Hampshire's Wiccan community has been up in brooms over this latest act of malicious stereotyping. And they have a point. Wiccans aren't some creepy cultists who steal dead bodies and sacrifice household pets. Theirs is a peaceful religion based on lighting candles, dressing like Stevie Nicks, and defending Anne Rice's sub-literate prose. According to the owner of Pachamama, Concord, New Hampshire's one-stop shop for all your metaphysical supplies, grave robbing is entirely against the Wiccan's creed. Satanists, she says, are the more likely culprit. Read the full story here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rain on My Pray-rade

Maybe this post's title is a bit of a stretch, but so is gathering in front of Georgia's state capitol to pray for rain. Regardless, that's just what Gov. Sonny Perdue has planned for next week. "The only solution is rain, and the only place we get that is from a higher power," says the governor's spokesman. Perhaps Perdue has never read the study on prayer's stunning ineffectiveness, or perhaps he's simply an idiot. Everyone knows the only supernatural moisture method is the good old fashioned rain dance. Of course, being a Baptist, Perdue probably doesn't have the rhythm for that. More ridiculousness here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Televangelists Investigated

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is leading an investigation of several televangelists accused of using their ministries' tax-exempt status to fund opulent lifestyles for themselves. Letters demanding the submission of financial records to the Senate Finance Committee were sent to the offices of Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn. Copeland and Hinn are notorious faith healing frauds, and Meyer is just really, really annoying. I don't really know anything about the rest, but isn't it about time the government looked into how this tax-exempt money is spent. This investigation will not make these hucksters go away, but it may lead to some reform in our tax system when it comes to religious organizations. In response to the investigation, Creflo Dollar lamented that it could "affect the privacy of every community church in America." Sounds like a good idea. Read the full story here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Holmes, I Presume

See that glowing fuzzy ball in the night sky? That's the Comet Holmes, and sometime on October 23rd, it suddenly became almost a million times brighter than it used to be. What caused this explosive outburst is still up for debate, but who really cares when it means we get to see something kind of awesome in the sky? Actually, does that look like a spaceship following behind? Time to break out the sneakers and black sweat pants. Read more about the comet, incuding how to find it, here.

World's Smallest Radio

Researchers at UC Berkeley have created a functioning radio out of a single carbon carbon nanotube 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. The nanotube vibrates with radio frequencies, and an applied electric field forces electrons to be emitted from its tip. With a battery and a pair of very sensitive headphones, you've got a microscopic Walkman. Maybe now bacteria will have something to listen to while jogging or engaging in mitosis. Read more here.

Asian Space Race Continues

A month after Japan's lunar probe settled into orbit, China's rival Chang'e 1 satellite has also reached the moon. No one involved wants to call it an Asian space race, but what else could it possibly be? With India set to launch their own lunar probe next Spring, the competition's only going to become more heated. Is it too early to predict a winner? Maybe. But my money's definitely not on Japan. It just can't compete with China's or India's wage-less, prepubescent, and/or mentally disabled labor force. With workers like that, either one of those countries will have a base on Mars within the decade. Of course, it may be constructed entirely of deadly lead. More details here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Chupacabra Update

Remember that cute, cuddly roadkill a woman in Texas sawed the head off of and stored in her freezer earlier this year? Despite what her novelty t-shirts would have you believe, it's not a chupacabra. Instead, biologists at Texas State University have matched its DNA with that of a common Texas coyote. Ah, well. As long as goats are being sucked, the legend of the chupacabra will continue. Read the full story here.

And read the original post here.

How to Beat Your Wife

Looking to add the spark of physical punishment back into your marriage? Muslim Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-'Arifi kindly appeared on Kuwaiti television to educate husbands in just how to beat their wives into submission. Always a softy, Al-'Arifi says wives should only be beaten after several verbal admonishments and withholding of sex. If she's still all uppity, he says it's fine to go ahead and beat her, but not in the face. "If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly," he helpfully suggests. Who knew a Muslim cleric would have anything in common with Sean Connery? You can watch the video of Al-'Arifi dispensing his relationship advice here, but I warn you that this site tried really hard to crash my browser.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Invisible Tanks

Mad scientist Sir John Pendry at Britain's Ministry of Defence has developed a method to effectively render a full-sized tank invisible. The exact details remain top secret, but the system has something to do with using cameras and projectors to beam an image of the surrounding landscape onto a moving tank. Says a terrified soldier who witnessed a test of the method: "I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees--but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun." Paranoid schizophrenics across the world are undoubtedly rejoicing at this confirmation of their most horrible suspicions. The Daily Mail has more details here.

Mars Plane

NASA engineers have been working for years on a concept for a rocket-delivered unmanned plane to fly through the skies of Mars. Now, with support from the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Mars plane is one step closer to reality. DARPA plans to develop the idea for use in terrestrial disasters--launching a rocket to deliver the plane quickly to dangerous areas. After that, there's no reason NASA couldn't ship the plane to Mars, as was originally intended. DARPA is also working on an autonomous fueling system that could keep the plane flying above the Martian surface for up to five years straight. Plus, it looks really cool. More details here.

Ask an Amateur Scientist: The Great Pumpkin

This week in my PinkRaygun.com column Ask an Amateur Scientist, I take a probing look into the well-founded scientific proof for the existence of the Great Pumpkin. If he passed over your house this year, maybe you'll understand why. Read all about it here.

Hillary Clinton's Colon

What is it about quacky holistic healers and their obsession with laxatives? Go into one of these shops, and behind the rack of Kevin Trudeau books, you're likely to find whole shelves filled with implements and herbs to "cleanse" your bowels of "toxins". Maybe these people really do understand that they're full of shit. Anyway, humorist Mo Rocca recently visited an herbal supplement den to seek advice on loosening up a tightly wound Hillary Clinton. Hilarity ensues.

Jim Callahan: Fraud

As is discussed in the upcoming first episode of The Amateur Scientist Podcast (excited yet?), the premiere of NBC's mentalist competition show was fairly boring and uneventful. But during last night's Halloween broadcast, Criss Angel made good on his promise to smack down any competitors claiming real paranormal abilities. Fuzzy-coiffed wax dummy and self-proclaimed channeler Jim Callahan gave a hilariously over the top performance of his mysterious ability to identify small objects locked in a box. However, he claimed help from the spirit of a dead man. Watch the video below, and buy Criss Angel a cup of coffee the next time you see him. Or maybe some shampoo. He needs it. And by the way, this clip appears to have been posted by a Callahan supporter, so ignore the bit at the end about Angel being an idealogical bigot. Criss Angel has never claimed to have any paranormal powers, which makes him honest.

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