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Gerald Finley

Gerald Finley as J. Robert Oppenheimer (photo credit: Metropolitan Opera)

Shermer’s First Opera Review

Oppenheimer the Opera
A Review of Doctor Atomic

Read Michael Shermer’s review of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Doctor Atomic, the story of the building of the atomic bomb and the brilliant but enigmatic J. Robert Oppenheimer, at Scientific American:

READ the review >


Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine

The Long Tail of Skepticism

What can regular skeptics actually do to enhance the appreciation of science and skeptical inquiry?

This question has been an ongoing theme for Skepticality, and this week’s guest has one answer to propose. In his audio essay, “Raising Our Game: The Rationale to Embrace Skepticamp,” software architect Reed Esau argues that “Skepticamps” (self-organizing peer conferences of intimate scale) can harness the potential of the “long tail” of the skeptical movement — offering a voice to all of us who have passion and expertise to share but who cannot take on the role of a “professional” skeptic.

These meetings are an experiment in the structure of a movement, and they are capturing the imagination of many new skeptics. What are the true implications for skeptical organizing? Is the advent of social networking technologies really the moment when everything changed?

Skepticality presents the essay in audio format, followed by Swoopy’s feature interview with Reed. Rounding out the discussion, Swoopy talks with Whatstheharm.net creator Tim Farley about his role in encouraging Skepticamp.

DOWNLOAD the text version of the essay (719 KB PDF) >

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new this week on MichaelShermer.com

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This week at SkepticBlog.org, Michael Shermer presents Part 2 of his Chronicles of Skeptica about his trip to the big science conference in Puebla, Mexico called “City of Ideas,” in which he and Dan Dennett debated Dinesh D’Souza and John Esposito on “Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil in the World?”

While you’re there be sure to read the blogs posts of the other Skepticbloggers: Brian Dunning, Kirsten Sanford, Mark Edward, Phil Plait, Ryan Johnson, Steven Novella, and Yau-Man Chan.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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