Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Things I love about the Internet

I know, I know; the Internet is frustrating, full of porn and snake oil.  Probably 95% of it needs to be assigned to the bin. does allow a person to dig behind a story.  It not only gives a platform to the snake oil peddlers, it also gives a platform to people who wish to expose the snake oil sellers.

I trawl all over the net; and often am disappointed with what I find, but sometimes you come across gems, that make it all worthwhile. 
I will try to give a few as time goes by.
One that I recently found (although this is by no means new news!) is the James Randi site (  Now Mr Randi, like me, is a sceptic.  I probably have become more sceptical since becoming paraplegic, as so many people have offered me 'miracle cures' and the like.
I must admit that I become quite incensed when mainstream media (TV & radio) allows so much airtime to assorted quacks and mystics and all that nonsense.  There is one local radio show, Cape Talk, where the afternoon presenter, in a vain effort to be hip, cool, & trendy has all sorts of mystics and the like on her show.  I do try to listen, and even phone in, but rarely if ever get through (strangely I often do get through on other shows, when I am agreeing with a guest, or adding to the debate)...
Anyway, back to Mr Randi.  He has a Million Dollar Challenge; which is aimed at all anyone selling the paranormal, pseudoscience, & the super natural.  He offers to pay a million dollars to anyone who can prove their 'powers' in a mutually agreed test.  Quite simple!  He does not set the requirements - but they are agreed between the 2 parties.  If they manage to do whatever they claim that they can do then they would walk away one million dollars richer!  He even has a 'clock' on his site recording the weeks - currently at 285 weeks since the 'great' 'psychic' (both in inverted commas as I don't believe either title!) Sylvia Browne admitted on the Larry King show that she would take the test.  To date she hasn't!  Many have actually tried...and to date not a single one has managed to even pass the preliminary test!!

Why is the general public so gullible?  I really like a good magician, and I enjoy trying to work out how he did his 'magic'.  But I really cannot stand people who use slight of hand, or basic human psychology and start claiming mystical powers, and the like.  They are selling snake oil!

I shall reserve my feelings and opinions on other forms of snake oil (homeopathy, faith healing, and the like for another post.  I try not to be cynical about any claim, but rather view any claim like this; "Great, that is wonderful if it works as you say, now prove it to me please?"

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