Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Amazing Show!

I have another podcast to recommend: The Amazing Show, starring James Randi and brought to you by the folks at For those of you who do not know already about James Randi, he is the grand old man of Skepticism. Originally billed as "The Amazing Randi" when he performed as a magician and escape artist (at a recent Google lecture he jokingly referred to himself as only "mildly astonishing"), Randi began focusing his efforts over the years on debunking performers who claimed to have supernatural powers. An expert on how the human mind is deceived, Randi sees through such tricks, and has publicly debunked such flim-flammers as Uri Geller and Peter Popoff. Randi is also famous for offering a $1,000,000 challenge to anyone who can prove paranormal abilities under proper observing conditions.

The Amazing Show is a series of interviews in which Randi shares memories about past events and the people he has dealt with. He's lived a long, fruitful, and interesting life, and there is much of interest here. He talks about his interactions with the likes of Isaac Asimov, Richard Feynman, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, Penn and Teller, and even Alice Cooper. I was particularly interested in his recollections of Steve Allen, as the Center For Inquiry in Hollywood where I'm involved houses the Steve Allen Theater, and I learned a lot about him reading Inventing Late Night.

I am happy to say that I met James Randi at the 2005 Skeptics Annual Conference (on Brain, Mind and Consciousness). We talked primarily about digital cameras. This isn't a flattering photo of either of us, but I'm proud of it and I'm glad to have met such a great mind.

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