Signed copies of Scientifical Americans

Hi, everyone. I suspect this may be the first post of several to promote my new book, Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers, releasing in mid-November. If you like my work in publications, podcasts, and on the web, you will like this book, too. It’s being published by McFarland (softcover). Here’s the summary: In the 21st century, reality television and…

Sidgwick’s 1885 seed of an idea

I’m currently working on a piece for Spooky Geology. Such topics typically involve diversions, tangents, sidebars and rabbit holes. What I think is going to be a direct list of references and ideas to answer a question about where some concept came from never turns out to be that. Instead, I find incomplete leads from…

Paranormal investigators and Velikovsky sound similarly sciencey

In January 2013, I wrote about Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, and pseudoscience, referencing Michael Gordin’s excellent book The Pseudoscience Wars (2012). Well, I’m writing about it again, to be included in a book about amateur investigation groups “sounding sciencey” and fooling the public. I went back to some of my old sources and found a good one. It’s…

Science appreciation class

Several years ago, while learning about the problem of science illiteracy, I discovered something of critical importance: You can’t get people engaged and enthusiastic or even respectful about a subject if they don’t see any value or connection to themselves. Kids aren’t going to do well in high school science classes (or even choose to take those…

Astrology sounds sciencey

This month on Sounds Sciencey, I discuss astrology. Astrology: More like Religion Than Science I looked into this topic back in graduate school after I saw it discussed in a book about the changing worldviews that occurred throughout our history. At one time, alchemy and astrology were the forebears of science. Astrology lives with us…

Better living without chemistry?

My latest article for my Sounds Sciencey column is about chemistry. Or, more precisely, how it is viewed by the public. There is this thing you might see on labels of products ranging from baby health goods to fertilizer: “CHEMICAL FREE”. But what does that even mean? I say it’s meaningless and is harmful for…