Skepticon 2017

9 May, 2017

Tickets are now available for Skepticon, the 33rd Australian Skeptics National Convention, November 2017

The Skeptical highlight of the year, our 33rd convention is being organised by Think Inc, and will be held on November 18-19, 2017, at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney.

This promises to be a great event, with speakers including: science media star Dr Karl; astronomer Prof Alan Duffy; YouTube super-debunker Captain Dissolution; comedian and MC Lawrence Leung; former naturopath and now critic of alt med Britt Hermes; doctor and TV personality Dr Brad McKay; award winning documentary maker Sonya Pemberton; Walkley award-winner journalist Kathy Marks; and doctor-cum-magician Dr Vyom Sharma.

More great speakers will be announced soon.

Tickets HERE

A Skeptic’s Guide to Free Energy Machines

9 May, 2017
This article has been revised and re-posted from August 2011. It first appeared as a Vic Skeptics discussion pamphlet by Peter Barrett of Canberra Skeptics, but it’s up to date: from time to time these machines still get promoted in niche magazines and websites. Vic Skeptics and our interstate colleagues are from time to time called upon to test claims for “Over-parity Engines”, a.k.a Free Energy Machines.
The full range of our discussion pamphlets can be downloaded from the “Useful Info” link at the top of this page.

Imagine you have an ordinary one litre jug. Two things which I’m sure you’d agree with are that you couldn’t pour more than a litre of water into it or empty more than one litre out of it.

Now imagine you had two such jugs, one full to the brim with water and the other empty. Pour the water from one jug to the other and back again. Repeat this process as often as you like. Is there any way you could imagine that you’d end up with more than one litre of water split between the two jugs?

The logical answer is “No.” In fact, due to spillage and evaporation, it’s more likely that you’d end up with less than one litre of water.

This is a fairly accurate representation of one of the most basic principles of physics, known as Conservation of Energy. This principle states that energy can change form, but can’t be destroyed or created. A good example of this is the production of household electricity in Australia. Most electricity in Australia is generated by burning coal. The coal has chemical energy. When it’s burned, it releases heat energy.

This energy heats water to steam, which turns a turbine (kinetic energy). The turbine drives a generator, producing electrical energy. We then use this electrical energy for heating, cooling, running the TV, and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

Puzzles for May 2017

30 April, 2017

Our Crossword this month is mainly about Conspiracy Theories.

May 2017 Skeptical Crossword Puzzle (HTML format)


81 May 2017 Crossword Conspiracy Theories (.pdf format).

There are ten new May 2017 Logic & Maths Problems (HTML format)


58 Logic and Maths Puzzles May 2017 for pdf (.pdf format);

with new Picture Puzzles and “Mixed Bag” questions at the top of the Puzzles Page


March For Science

20 April, 2017

Puzzles for April 2017

31 March, 2017

Our Crossword this month has Paranormal Pastimes as its theme, and we return to a choice of standard or cryptic clues.

April 2017 Skeptical Crossword Puzzle (HTML format)


80 April 2017 Crossword Paranormal Pastimes (.pdf format).

There are ten new April 2017 Logic & Maths Problems (HTML format)


57 Logic and Maths Puzzles April 2017 for pdf (.pdf format);

and a new set of  seven Picture Puzzles and twenty “Mixed Bag” questions at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE


A Skeptic’s Guide to the Scientific Method

17 March, 2017
This article first appeared here in July 2011. You can also download the latest .pdf version here: Scientific Method . Our full range of  Skeptics Guides can be accessed using the USEFUL INFO tab at the top of this page.

“Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What’s left is magic.

And it doesn’t work.”

– James Randi

The term “Scientific Method” is used to describe the way scientific research is designed, performed and reviewed. Good science depends on rigour – strict and unfailing adherence to basic principles.

In simple terms, as a scientist,  you would:

1. Make some observation about something that is going on in the universe. Read the rest of this entry »

Puzzles for March 2017

28 February, 2017


Our Crossword this month is on General Skeptical Issues

March 2017 Skeptical Crossword Puzzle (HTML format)


79-mar-2017-crossword-general (.pdf format);

with ten new Logic & Maths Problems
March 2017 Logic & Maths Problems (HTML format)


56-logic-and-maths-puzzles-march-2017 (.pdf format);

and a new set of  Picture Puzzles and  “Mixed Bag” questions at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE