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SKEPTIC 26.4: HAVANA SYNDROME HYSTERIA

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Here’s what you’ll find in Skeptic Magazine 26.4 (2021): Havana Syndrome Hysteria and the Great Wild Goose Chase • Stupid Videos and Marketing Ploys • Environmental Conspiracies: Why do conspiracy theorists believe natural events are intentionally manipulated? • “You Can’t Say That!” Corporate Policing of Language • Excerpt from The Conjurer’s Conundrum: My Life in Magic & Skepticism • Vexed by the Un-Vaxxed • Misunderstanding Vaccines • Why Would God Create the Universe? • Distorting Darwinism • Electro-hypersensitivity as a New Psychological Disorder • Reviews of Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity; Mysteries and Secrets Revealed; The Conjurer’s Conundrum; The Century of Deception • Special Investigation: Penguin Paradox — Serious Skeptical Lessons from an Apparently Silly Story

The print edition will begin shipping mid-December. Pre-order the print edition, or download the digital edition today.

Havana Syndrome Hysteria and the Great Wild Goose Chase (2-page spread from issue 26.4)

Color spread from the digital edition viewed in the PocketMags.com Reader. Cover and Cover Story illustrations by Izhar Cohen.

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If you downloaded issue 26.4 before Dec 9, there is an updated version available. Delete issue 26.4 from your digital library and redownload it to get the latest version.

EPISODE # 234

Matt Ridley on the Search for the Origin of COVID-19: zoonotic spillover from nature or accidental lab leak?

A new virus descended on the human species in 2019 wreaking unprecedented havoc. Finding out where it came from and how it first jumped into people is an urgent priority, but early expectations that this would prove an easy question to answer have been dashed. Nearly two years into the pandemic, the crucial mystery of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not only unresolved but has deepened.

In this conversation based on the uniquely insightful book, Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19, Matt Ridley reviews how he and his co-author Alina Chan have tried to get to the bottom of how a virus whose closest relations live in bats in subtropical southern China somehow managed to begin spreading among people more than 1,500 kilometers away in the city of Wuhan. They grapple with the baffling fact that the virus left none of the expected traces that such outbreaks usually create: no infected market animals or wildlife, no chains of early cases in travelers to the city, no smoldering epidemic in a rural area, no rapid adaptation of the virus to its new host — human beings.

To try to solve this pressing mystery, Ridley delves deep into the events of 2019 leading up to 2021, the details of what went on in animal markets and virology laboratories, the records and data hidden from sight within archived Chinese theses and websites, and the clues that can be coaxed from the very text of the virus’s own genetic code.

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SUBSTACK RECAP

Trans Athletes and Conflicting Rights

MTF transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from Penn is crushing the female competition. Is that her right? Is it right? No. Here’s why.

Abortion: The Case for Choice

Part 1 of a 3-part series on binary thinking, conflicting rights, bodily autonomy, potential life, and how to reduce unwanted pregnancies

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