The Power of Psychics Explained in One Graph

(via the amazing Jessica Hagy)

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After Showing Up to His Live Event, Skeptics Debunk Promoter of ‘Touchless’ Karate

Master Jukka Lampila is a Finnish con artist who claims to be able to teach you a form of karate that requires no kicks or punches. All you need is your mind and your opponents will be defeated. It’s called “EFO” or Empty Force and it’s all a trick.

Last week, Lampila was giving a demonstration of the technique in Spain (you bet your ass there was a pricey entrance fee) and a few skeptics decided to pay him a visit. I seriously don’t know why Lampila allowed cameras to be there…

While he “demonstrates the power” for the first couple of minutes, the fun begins at 2:28 when the skeptics decide to allow Lampila to use his powers on them:

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This is What a Celebrity Psychic’s Obituary Should Look Like

The New York Times, yesterday, published an obituary of “psychic” Sylvia Browne that is strikingly accurate without giving her more credit than she’s due.

What makes it worth reading aren’t the descriptions of the major details of her life, but how the reporter suggests that her claim to fame was suspect all along.

This is how William Yardley puts it:

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‘Psychic’ Sylvia Browne is Dead

Sylvia Browne, the “psychic” whose appearances on talk shows like “Montel” and “Larry King Live” made her a well-known celebrity despite her not-even-close-to-the-truth predictions, died earlier today at the age of 77.



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Can Quora Be Inoculated from Pseudoscience?

For those who don’t know, Quora is a question-and-answer web platform where anyone can log in, ask any question to the community, and potentially have it answered. It’s kind of a Wikipedia for Q&A. The questions can be on any topic, from the highly technical, to the superfluous, to the hilarious (see my posts on Quora questions regarding Starbucks on the Death Star and the geopolitics of Super Mario). As on platforms like Reddit, users can upvote and downvote both questions and answers to better curate the content. It’s a great way to get yourself lost for hours on end and destroy your productivity.

Anyway, this question came up anonymously about Quora itself, and it’s relevant to our little skepto-atheist community:

Are there any Quora policies regarding pseudoscience? If not, should there be one? Let’s discuss. . . . this question is directed towards a Quora moderation perspective.

Wow, what a great question. Quora can’t and doesn’t make any claims to hosting “definitive” answers to anything, but it’s true that an open platform like this easily provides those who shill nonsense, from homeopathy to the paranormal, with a soapbox and with an air of legitimacy.

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