For ten years, skeptic magician James Randi has offered a million dollars to "anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event." He's just announced that the James Randi Educational Foundation is discontinuing the Million-Dollar Challenge two years from now. The money will be freed, he says, "to generally add to our flexibility" and enable the group "to do many more projects." From his note on the matter:
Now, we’re sure that there will be those who will offer all kinds of objections to this decision – though they could have simply applied and won the prize. There will be accusations that the JREF is concerned about the safety of the prize money – which was never any sort of concern, I can assure you – and there will be more claims that the money was never there in the first place. I can see the professionals out there sighing in relief that they no longer have to answer questions about why they won’t take the prize, and they’ll just wait out the remaining period that the prize is available. All that’s to be expected.
Ten years is long enough to wait. The hundreds of poorly-constructed applications, and the endless hours of phone, e-mail, and in-person discussions we’ve had to suffer through, will be things of the past, for us at the JREF.
Those who believe they have mystic powers now have two full years to apply… Let’s see what happens.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
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