A Skeptical Look at Pennsylvania


A depiction of Pennsylvania-land,
artist unknown

The first time I heard the outrageous claims about a magical land in the Far East, I dismissed them as the ranting of a deranged lunatic. As a learned man of science, I am not so easily swayed by such fanciful tales.

Unfortunately, these stories of a mythical state known as “Pennsylvania” have gained some traction amongst the more impressionable segments of the public. On behalf of all rational men and women, I have chosen now to speak out against this absurdity, lest it acquire through unchallenged repetition some facade of legitimacy. Continue reading A Skeptical Look at Pennsylvania

Catching an Arrow in Flight: Real Skill or Ninja Myth?

Midori Tanaka

Japan’s ninja spies were rumored to possess extraordinary powers of mind and body. By some accounts, ninja could jump twenty feet in the air, walk on water, or even disappear.

Last March, Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters decided to put a few of these legendary supernatural skills to the test, with carefully designed scientific experiments. The following images show their results. Continue reading Catching an Arrow in Flight: Real Skill or Ninja Myth?

Wushu and the Second Cultural Revolution

In 1966, the Chinese government began a violent purge of traditional culture. Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong called for the abolishment of all things old, and enlisted a youth militia to perform the destruction. Local police were forbidden to interfere.

Mao’s regime criminalized the practice of traditional wushu. Threatened by harassment, imprisonment or torture at the hands of the Red Guard, some martial arts experts went underground. Other unfortunate practitioners were “re-educated” to death.

The first Cultural Revolution has ended, but wushu now faces a new peril. This second revolution transcends national boundaries, and there is little hope of escaping its reach. Continue reading Wushu and the Second Cultural Revolution