Since 1984, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and its journal, the Skeptical Inquirer, have been appealing to US newspaper editors to run a short disclaimer with their horoscope columns. The suggested disclaimer reads ``The following astrological forecasts should be read for entertainment value only. Such predictinos have no reliable basis in scientific fact." Today, at least fifty papers have adopted some form of this disclaimer.
Scientific investigation has shown repeatedly that horoscopes and astrological charts are incapable of analyzing personality characteristics, predicting the future, or prediciting compatibility. Researchers have found no correlation between ``compatible" and ``incompatible" sun signs among married and divorced couples. Moreover, the accuracy of astrologers in making predictions of future events has been found to be no better than would be expected by chance.
Astrology has remained widely controversial in the press as well as among the general public. Many editors claim horoscope columns do no harm and that readers alreadly know they are for entertainment purposes, especially when such columns are placed on the comics pages. Unfortunately, there are many readers who do take the columns seriously. Our government mandates health warnings on cigarette packages becasue scientific evidence has determined that smoking is injurious to health. Belief in the pseudoscience of astrology can also be harmful, especially when people base serious decisions on its predictions.
We very much hope that you will choose to join the fifty newspapers who currently use such a disclaimer with their astrology columns.
Paul Kurtz, Chairman, CSICOP
Consider it done. Thanks for writing!
I knew you before you became hoity-toity enough to be known as Phosphorous.
As a matter of fact, I knew Voo Doo before any of you were now were born (probably before your fathers were born). As background, I was Business Manager for the 1939-1940 volume.
We had a more elaborate publication that you sent me. The cover was in color, and slick paper was throughout. We also had less trouble recruiting a staff than you apparently have.
I won't compare the humor, since times have changed so much. To show you how they have changed, we ran a cartoon of a toilet with the seat up, and the caption ``scandal at Wellesley". We got called on the carpet by Dean Killian for being so bold.
I was greatly disturbed in the 60's when I was told that VooDoo had been discontinued because it was ``irrelevant". I cannot understand how humans can consider humor to be irrelevant.
In those days we had an office on the second floor of the Walker Memorial and shared a secretary with The Tech. Annually we played The Tech a football game; any former high school football players we could find were put on the staff for one issue to play in the game. I nearly got killed.
All in all, we had a good time and, I think, put out a magazine that helped ease some of the tension that life at the Institute could generate.
Thanks for sending me the magazine.
Rowland Peak '40.
Thanks for the VooDoos, I'm glad I finally got a chance to see them --- I've heard quite a lot about your mag. I enjoyed reading them --- you've got some funny writers! I was lost on some of the M.I.T. humor --- but that is to be expected as I don't go to school there. (Duh).
I liked most of the contents --- except for ``The Final Exam'' and ``The Cybernetic Kid'' --- they were both truly awful. Sorry. They didn't jive with the rest of the mag. I would strongly suggest avoiding projects like those in the future. Otherwise, you seem to have a lot of talented people at your disposal (especially that J. Lopez person --- doesn't she have anything better to do than draw cartoons?!) It'd be great to see VooDoo aspire to something beyond just a ``College Humor Magazine''. It could be done!
Thanks again, best of luck,
Ryan Michael Dunlavey
Thank you for the issue of your humour mag.
I'm sure that some of it went over my head as a non-student, but what I ``got'' I liked for the most part.
If it is critique you are looking for, let me offer this: more jokes about suicide, the building of atomic weapons and becoming corporate toadies. And things like that, dark humour is, by far, the funniest.
Well, good luck,
I really enjoyed VooDoo. Good writing and some funny cartoons. I especially liked the ``Manhole Tiddlywinks" story, and the kid who dies after fucking his unconsious girlfriend.
Yes, I'm still alive and kicking! Thank you for the Summer copy of VooDoo which I was delighted to receive. All 48 pages of it represent a big undertaking that only MIT geniuses could produce.
At my present age of 92 it was most extremely gratifying to be so remembered for what I did at my old school do long ago. It warms my heart.
William B. Elmer '22
It's always good to hear from you, Bill! Keep in touch.