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2009: International Year of Astronomy

The United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. Coinciding with both Galileo Galilei’s celestial discoveries in 1609 and the publication of Johannes Kepler’s Astronomia Nova (which described the fundamental laws of planetary motion), the International Year of Astronomy celebrates 400 years of discovery and exploration of our elegant universe. It is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase some amazing science — and to inspire cosmic wonder.

On this episode of Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy talk with astronomer, educator, and podcaster Dr. Pamela Gay about the many exciting global events people can enjoy during the International Year of Astronomy. She also shares her thoughts about the changing face of NASA, and about some thrilling recent astronomical discoveries.

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The Magic Cube

Readers of will immediately suspect something is up when Michael Shermer asks you to watch a video and tell him if you think he has ESP or not. Of course Michael doesn’t believe in ESP and most of you probably do not either. However, when you see this video consider that it might be something related to ESP that is not, in fact, at all paranormal…

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

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Talking to the dead is easy. Getting the dead to talk back is hard. Why not phone them? In this Scientific American column, Michael Shermer reminds us how easy it is for our brains to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise by sharing his experience with Thomas Edison’s “Telephone to the Dead” — or at least a facsimile of the rumored machine that the great inventor never built…

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