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Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

acupuncture

Acupuncture is a medical technique usually involving the shallow insertion of needles through the skin at particular points on the body (called acupoints). There are many different kinds of acupuncture, involving different kinds of needles, different insertion points, different techniques, and the use of various accompaniments such as electricity or moxibustion. Some acupuncturists use low energy laser beams; others use magnetic BBs on patches applied to acupoints. There are other variations as well, such as microacupunture, which uses forty-eight non-traditional acupoints located on the hands and feet, and auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture, which postulates that the ear is a map of the bodily organs. Similar notions about a part of the body being an organ map are held by those who practice iridology(the iris is the map of the body) and reflexology (the foot is the map of the body). Staplepuncture, a variation of auriculotherapy, puts staples at key points on the ear hoping to do such things as help people stop smoking. Acupressure applies pressure, rather than needles, to acupoints.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)

monsters

In a nutshell: Monsters are freaks of nature or scary creatures in stories that are ugly and mean.

The word 'monster' comes from the Latin monstrum, which means two-headed snakesomething like a freak of nature.So, technically, something like a two-headed snake would be a monster. Two-headed snakes happen when there is an incomplete splitting of the egg.

Animals are made up of cells, which are like chemical factories. One of the most important strings of chemicals in cells is the one that copies itself to make more cells. These chemical strings are called chromosomes. Chromosomes come in pairs, one from the mother and one from the father. Each chromosome has several genes. The genes help make different kinds of cells in an animal's body. Sometimes when genes are copied the chemicals get mixed up. Sometimes the chemicals get mixed up when an egg splits to make twins. That's what happens when a two-headed snake is made.>>more

a blast from the past

Book Review

Charlatan by Pope Brock

The only complaint I have about Pope Brock's fabulous and depressing book,Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, is the implication in the title that the age of flimflam has passed. Flimflam will end when human weakness ends. Human nature drives us to magical thinking, making us vulnerable to becoming either charlatans or their victims or both. You don't have to enter the revival tent to find masses of people adoring charlatans. You don't have to go to third world countries to find people who believe in magical potions that promise everything from restoring vitality, hair, or eyesight to curing everything from constipation to cancer....>>more

 

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