Rape Horoscopes: India TV News’ Latest Ratings Ploy

In Sunday’s Bangalore Mirror, writer, poet and documentary filmmaker Prathibha Nandakumar devoted a column to a passionate appeal:

Guruji Sachidananda

A popular Kannada television channel is telecasting a self proclaimed astrologer Sachidananda Babu Guruji, who gives out predictions like these:

“For Kumbha Rashi [Aquarius] people, three to six months after marriage, there is a danger of being raped, or possibility of being raped by husband’s elder brother or younger brother…

“For Makara Rashi [Capricorn], between the age of 8 and 12, there is a possibility of rape, or a possibility of being raped by parents and colleagues.

For Meena Rashi [Pisces], there may be an attempt of rape by the neighbour woman’s husband.

For Dhanuss Rashi [Sagittarius], there is a possibility of getting raped between the ages of 60 to 64.

For Vrishabha Rashi [Taurus], possibility of being raped between the age of 12 and 16.”

Unbelievably, he then gives this rape “advice” to women and children on national television: Continue reading

ABC Nightline’s 2011 Test of Professional Psychics

Psychic stockbroker shocked that he can't connect to dead people when tested.

A “psychic stockbroker” and medium is shocked that he can’t connect to dead people when tested.  The magician Banachek conducts the test.

ABC’s news program Nightline worked with magician-skeptics James Randi and Banachek as part of its series “Beyond Belief,” in a fascinating episode called “Psychic Powers” on August 16, 2011. It focused on the James Randi Educational Foundation’s (JREF) Million Dollar Challenge, which would award a million dollars to anyone who could prove their paranormal claim.

The segment did not receive nearly the coverage and discussion it deserved, in my opinion, considering how rare such broadcast tests are due to the extreme difficulty of putting them together.  I’ve combed through blogs and podcasts to assemble a more detailed description than has been published so far.  Check out the video, then continue reading for an even more interesting look behind the scenes.

Continue reading

Astrology, Time Twins and Serial Killers

[Excerpt from Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., 2007]

 

Time twins?  Oh really?

According to the claims of astrologers, the position of the planets at a person’s moment of birth predicts his or her personality and the key events in that person’s life.  If this is true, people born at the same moment, and in the same place, should be almost identical to one another.  In fact, they should… be “time twins.” Continue reading

Believing in astrology makes you become like your star sign

[Excerpt from: Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., 2007]

Hans Eysenck was arguably one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, and at the time of his death in 1997 he was the living psychologist most frequently cited in scientific journals and magazines… He is… perhaps best known for his work on the analysis of human personality, and he developed some of the most widely used personality questionnaires in modern-day psychology…

Eysenck teamed up with a respected British astrologer named Jeff Mayo.  A few years before, Mayo had founded the Mayo School of Astrology and rapidly gained a large international following of students.  About 2,000 of Mayo’s clients and students were asked to report their birth dates and to complete the Eysenck Personality Inventory… Continue reading

6 Physicists Speak on Quantum Quackery

Murray Gell-Mann, CalTech physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for introducing quarks.

Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle: [C]ertain writers have claimed acceptability in quantum mechanics for alleged “paranormal” phenomena like precognition, in which the results of chance processes are supposed to be known in advance to “psychic” individuals. Continue reading