Lady Sword Swallower

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
March 12, 2012

On February 25, 2012, more than twenty of the world's dwindling number of sword swallowers "dropped swords" at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditoriums worldwide to celebrate the Sixth Annual World Sword Swallower's Day. My wife Diana and I were at the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Ripley's with Vanessa, Canada's celebrated female sword swallower, to watch her have a snack of cold steel.

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Rita Swan and Protecting Children from Religious Exemptions

by Dren Asselmeier
March 09, 2012

Last weekend, I had a chance to hear about the advocacy work of Dr. Rita Swan. She gave a talk at the Moving Secularism Forward Conference, and I want to share what I learned because protecting children is a concern we should all have as secular humanists, and as decent human beings.

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Zelig Was a Woman: Meet Freethought Campaigner Lucy N. Colman

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
March 08, 2012

As we observe International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, it’s worth remembering one of nineteenth-century America’s most active – and best-connected – freethinkers. Lucy N. Colman (1818-1906) was the Zelig of the Golden Age of Freethought. She contributed to every reform cause of the day and touched the lives of the time’s most noteworthy freethought activists.

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Rush Limbaugh, Being a Dick, and Skepticism

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
March 08, 2012

 The controversy over Rush Limbaugh's comments has implications for the skeptical movement. Why Rush is a Dick, and skeptics shouldn't be. 

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The Evolution of Altruism and Social Intelligence

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
March 06, 2012

Video of CFI-New York City's recent panel discussion on altruism, decision making, and the evolution of human cognition, featuring prominent psychologists Laurie Santos (Yale) and Felix Warneken (Harvard).

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Christians Protesting at the Reason Rally

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
March 04, 2012

On March 24th in DC, the Reason Rally will have company from Faith rallyers.

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Senate Rejects Blunt Amendment

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
March 01, 2012

The U.S. Senate has voted 51-48 to table a proposal by Sen. Roy Blunt that would have allowed employers and health insurance providers to exclude any coverage that they deem immoral or contrary to their religious beliefs.

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Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
February 28, 2012

Though few have heard of it, the important Oscar-winning short subject film Saving Face may be the best film of the year, highlighting horrific abuse of women in Pakistan.

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Where are all the Atheists? The NONES, the NONS, and the SHUNS

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
February 25, 2012

Even the best polls make it difficult to know how many people have left religion behind.

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An Antique “Temperance Drink”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 24, 2012

On February 21, 2012, CFI Libraries intern Christian Exoo (a graduate student in Library Science at the University of Buffalo) gave me the two items pictured here, an antique medicine bottle and accompanying advertising booklet, for my medical quackery collection (part of which may be viewed on www.skeptiseum.com.) Christian discovered the artifacts in the wall of a late-nineteenth-century house in Canton, New York, during a renovation. Both items were new to me, and, additionally, complemented each other with helpful information.

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