Should Dueling Be Legalized?

For your consideration, guest author Liam Boyle submits this modest proposal for the reinstatement of the duel.

“Sir, I Demand Satisfaction!”

Turning on any television show based on small claims court a person is bound to hear some variant of that title, many times in a much less polite form. Sitting in a small claims court, or any civil court for that matter, a person is bound to hear some variant of that title phrase. Yet, in many representations of historical duels, those words are commonly found. Conflict seems to underscore our society and the phrase, “I’ll see you in court,” has almost seemed to reach the status of a common greeting. This could give someone cause to wonder that wouldn’t it be simpler and possibly more effective to just have the disputing parties put on gloves and go the proverbial twelve rounds rather than tie up the court with expensive and needless litigation. This lead this writer to the posting of the question, Should dueling (non-firearm) be legalized to replace some civil lawsuits? Continue reading Should Dueling Be Legalized?

The True Costs of Winning a Million Dollar Skeptic Challenge

By unwitting guest contributor Dean Radin, PhD…

How to Summon a Supernatural Dimwit

Let’s say we want to win a million dollar prize for rigorously demonstrating something psychic in a scientifically acceptable way.

One of the best candidates at present is the ganzfeld telepathy experiment…

A session typically takes about an hour for the two participants. For the investigator it takes another hour to prepare and to close down the session…

First, we do a power analysis to determine how many repeated sessions we have to run. Let’s say for a million dollars we are required to achieve results associated with odds against chance of a million to one. That seems like a reasonable criterion for success…

We’ll design an experiment that is run in three phases, where each phase has the same parameters: p(chance) = 0.25, p(hypothesis) = 0.32, alpha = 0.003, power = 0.99. This means that if we assume that telepathy gives us a hit rate of 32%, then if we run this experiment we’ll have a 99% chance of getting a final p-value of 0.003 or better, i.e. good evidence for telepathy.

The power analysis tells us that we need to run N = 1,147 trials to achieve this result. So now we will run this same experiment two more times, get a result each time at least as good as p = 0.003, and then the combined p-value over all three phases will be one in a million or better, or odds against chance of at least a million to one.

This requires that we run a total of 1147 x 3 = 3441 sessions.

Continue reading The True Costs of Winning a Million Dollar Skeptic Challenge

Google’s False Confessions

Inside the company’s daring plan to control the news

The greatest trick that Google Corporation ever pulled, was to convince the world it didn’t exist. Although its shareholders know it as a profitable advertising brokerage, the majority of Internet users believe it to be nothing more than a benevolent purveyor of web search, email, and other free online services.

Google is a fierce and formidable competitor. Its network of websites is the Internet’s single most popular destination; it processes more search queries than all its competitors combined, including stalwarts Microsoft and Yahoo; its annual revenues and profits are measured in billions. Through all its successful expansions, Google has worked to maintain an image of simplicity and altruism.

Google’s bungled launch of their Buzz platform illustrated the pervasiveness, and the deceptive nature of this public image. Continue reading Google’s False Confessions

An Affordable Martial Arts Insurance Plan For Everyone

Advocates of compulsory health insurance plans will often ask rhetorically, “What if you got hit by a bus?” Yet we all know that the relatively poor health of America today isn’t the result of some freak accident. It wasn’t the shark attack, the falling piano, or the runaway Prius that has led so many of us to physical (and financial) ruin.

The real cause is inappropriate conduct. It is, primarily, neglect and disregard for the effects of diet, exercise, environmental conditions, and other factors under our imperfect but substantial control.

As a holistic form of exercise, martial arts can arguably be classified as health care. Experienced practitioners also recognize it as a form of health insurance. Daily practice provides a richly detailed baseline against which latent health issues can easily be observed, and hopefully corrected in their earliest stages.

Those are the straightforward facts; now here is the tricky part: we can use martial arts to insure and ensure our health, but how do we insure the practice itself? Continue reading An Affordable Martial Arts Insurance Plan For Everyone

Martial Arts Charity Drive 2009

Our recent and spirited discussion of “McDojos” and mob justice was recently picked up at another forum. Apparently, the forum administrator is upset that I turned off comments on the original post, because he didn’t get an opportunity to express his dissenting viewpoint. In the interests of fairness and education, I will summarize his rebuttal here. Continue reading Martial Arts Charity Drive 2009

Real-Life Ninja Assassin Threatens Journalist

Rain as 'Ninja Assassin'

If you have to choose between seeing Ninja Assassin and Red Cliff this weekend, I recommend the latter–even if this abridged US release is not quite as good as the original 4-hour Chinese version. (Curious John Woo fans can order the longer cut of Red Cliff on DVD today.)

Fantastic tales about Ninja clans and other secret fighting societies are depressingly common in the martial arts world. These legends are used for marketing and entertainment purposes; repeated often, but rarely taken seriously.

Benjamin Fulford wants to be taken seriously. Formerly the Asia-Pacific bureau chief at Forbes Magazine, Fulford spent years reporting on the highest and lowest echelons of Japanese society, from politicians to Yakuza gangsters. Continue reading Real-Life Ninja Assassin Threatens Journalist

On McDojos and Mob Justice

Sean Treanor’s article on the Bullshido phenomenon raises some important questions…

Martial arts practice in America is entirely unregulated. There is no central body that issues standards, no set of accepted practices, no communication between different styles. State and local governments have nothing to say about who is and isn’t a martial artist. After all, consumers are free to make their own decisions.

Unfortunately, it can be very hard to tell the difference between fantasy and reality when studying an ancient, esoteric and exotic discipline. Not many people have any idea what martial arts training should consist of. There is almost no agreement within the martial arts establishment over what is effective training and what is not.

Investigation is expensive and the market is too small to attract much media attention, aside from cinematic mythmaking. The mainstream martial arts magazines have never made investigative journalism part of their repertoire. George Dillman, the mental KO king was Black Belt Magazine’s instructor of the year in 1997. There is simply no money in exposing these martial arts entrepreneurs. Some people, however, are willing to do it for free.

Continue reading On McDojos and Mob Justice

Yang Jwing-Ming: “Tai Chi was the only doctor I could afford”

From his recent interview with Lama Somananda Tantrapa…

“Between the ages of 9 and 12, I had almost no food. Taiwan was preparing for a war against mainland China. Most of us kids were starving.

There were nine children in my family, and at that time, feeding nine children was not easy. All our problems gave me an ulcer by the time I was 16 years old.

One day, I was sitting in the corner in a cold sweat. My White Crane Kung Fu master said I had a stomach problem. “What should I do?” I asked him. I had no medicine, and no money to see a doctor. Continue reading Yang Jwing-Ming: “Tai Chi was the only doctor I could afford”

No More Black Belts For Kids!

Following is a selection from Dave Lowry’s essay collection, The Karate Way.

The Karate Way: Discovering The Spirit of Practice

We have to admit that the popular image of the black belt is inextricably woven into the general perception of these arts we follow. While we may have a more comprehensive view of the belt, we need to see that in the population outside the dojo, in the world at large, it usually means something else. When a black belt is conferred upon a karateka, that has implications in the popular imagination. And we should consider some ramifications that perception and those implications have upon what people think about karate-do. Continue reading No More Black Belts For Kids!

2009 Martial Arts Tuition Survey

What is the biggest secret in martial arts today? Is it the mysterious methods of harnessing chi energy? Nope. Is it the touch of death? Guess again.

The biggest secret is a simple matter of dollars and cents…

  • Do you know the average martial arts school tuition rate in your area? Probably not.
  • Are you paying too much? Maybe.
  • Is there anything you can do about it? Absolutely!

By refusing to publish their class tuition rates, commercial martial arts instructors hope to prevent potential students from disqualifying them on price alone. As a result of this secrecy, it was nearly impossible to determine a “fair” market price for martial arts lessons–until now.

Please answer our quick, anonymous class tuition survey. The results will be published here, to help students like you find the best school at the best price. Continue reading 2009 Martial Arts Tuition Survey