November, 1997

Selecting the best information sources:
How to judge credibility
Laura Slaughter
University of Maryland

This talk will be about the veraciousness of sources. The speaker will discuss ways to tell whether a document is accurate, trustworthy, and reliable. The main emphasis will be on World Wide Web (WWW) sites with a focus on avoiding misrepresentation and deceit.

The speaker is a PhD candidate in Library and Information Services at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has a BS in psychology and her main research area is in Human Computer Interaction.

Saturday, November 15, 1997, 2:00pm -- 3:30pm
Bethesda Branch, Montgomery County Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, Maryland

Everyone Welcome -- Members and Non-members -- No admission charge

Call the NCAS Skeptic Line at 301-587-3827 for further info.


On Scientific American Frontiers, (PBS) "Beyond Science?" on Wednesday, November 18, 1997: What's science fact and what's fiction? Who's a crank and who's a scientific visionary? See what scientists think about the stories behind the headlines as they investigate a variety of well-known claims, from aliens to graphology, free energy machines and more.


The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and well-funded by the Congress, has alarmed a number of prominent scientists who are justifiably concerned by the lack of rigor in the projects entered into by the agency. Quack standards, embraced by the politically correct politicians, have applied to much of what has passed for science at the OAM. There's a move afoot to officially declare the OAM a "National Center," thus making it essentially immune to criticism and open to fresh funding opportunities. The alarmed scientists, both physicists and biologists, are now strongly supporting research into the efficacy of alternative therapies, provided that the research is held to rigorous scientific standards. Says the group, "The American public deserves to know what works and what doesn't work in the treatment of disease." Their statement warned, however, that "To elevate the OAM to a National Center without first examining its strengths and weaknesses would risk amplifying existing problems." (From R. Park's "What's New'')


The latest list of Skeptical references has been uploaded to a Web site. This list is over 66Kb and comprises Lewis Jones's personal index to Skeptical Inquirer, the UK Skeptic, and a few other skeptical and scientific magazines. If you read Skeptical Inquirer you will find this list very useful. It can be found at in html (76Kb) and text (66Kb) files.


CSICOP Fellow and Skeptical Inquirer magazine editor Ken Frazier did a 40 minute recorded interview on his new book, The UFO Invasion, with Ann Devlin for her online Internet audio program "Ann Online." The interview can be heard at the following address:


(p> An edited version of this year's Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony (given to honor that research that could not or should not be reproduced) will be broadcast on NPR's Talk of the Nation/Science Friday with Ira Flatow on Friday, November 28.


If you want to receive a copy of the Shadow of a Doubt by US mail as well as other membership benefits, then join NCAS. Please send $20 (for one person) or $30 (for two-member households) to NCAS, 8006 Valley Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Your membership will help NCAS stay atuned to the pseudoscience problems facing us today.
Last Change: November 1, 1997