Critical Enquiry

All existing content has been migrated to the WordPress blog (Critical Condition) and most new material will be added to that location, so please be sure to navigate to that part of the site. There you'll find articles on everything from "Land Battleships" to Premature Burial and the dawn of Standard Time. I encourage interested users to register and discuss topics of interest, or to suggest new areas for research.

A New Direction for Critical Enquiry

History of the US Space Program

In a case of total serendipity, some years ago I stumbled across several issues of a magazine called Space World. This was a technical, scientist-written journal published from May 1960 through the late 1980s. The founding publisher was the prolific writer and comic book developer William Woolfolk, with Otto Binder and Willy Ley on the editorial team. In 1963 it was acquired by Ray Palmer’s Palmer Publications and then transferred on Palmer’s death to Charles Spanbauer, who continued publishing the magazine in association with the National Space Institute (NSI). Out of curiosity I looked into the publication and found it had never been rendered as an online resource, which was unfortunate since it's a veritable chronicle of the heyday of the US space program. Articles discuss space flight, propulsion systems, survival in space, the development of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, and other interesting topics. Authors over the years were NASA scientists -- von Braun, Ley, Oberg, and many others. 

Space World May 1964 Cover Space World September 1965 CoverSpace World Jan 1964

After contacting the last publisher, Critical Enquiry has arranged to acquire copyright on the existing issues and is publishing them online for the first time. Each issue available (there are many) is being scanned as a high resolution PDF, complete with OCR text so it can be searched easily. We're making them available on the Critical Condition blog, generally at $5 per issue to help defray costs and in order to provide funding for new issue acquisition. This will never be a money-making venture, but putting Space World online will enable new generations of space flight enthusiasts to read about the development of the US (and Russian) space programs.

We also hope to acquire more documents, photos, and other materials from the same period, and to make them available as well. If interested, or if you have access to material that would be suitable, please contact us.

Oak Island News

The History Channel's "Curse of Oak Island" series his still running with (unsurprisingly) no discoveries, no treasure, and lots of unwarranted speculation. Who knows how long they'll keep flogging this dead horse, but all indications point to the producers continuing to broadcast new episodes as long as viewers keep coming back for the next set of non-discoveries. Happily, the chap with the "Roman Sword" (an early 20th century fake, at best) is now gone and hopefully will never be seen again.

A video on the island on our YouTube channel has been receiving a great deal of commentary and activity. This is a version of the 2012 presentation, recorded with much better audio and a clear view of the slides. Interested folk are highly encouraged to view it, as it sums up the whole problem of money digging scams and their relationship to the Money Pit in fairly short order.

An article on the Money Pit was published in History Magazine in March 2015, and contained an "expose" of sorts on the reality of the Oak Island legend. It's certain to have annoyed many in the believer set.

Critical Videos

We are continuing to add material to YouTube as time permits. The first material, covering Oak Island, was published some years ago and continues to be very popular.

A new piece was added in January 2016, and provides an excellent Introduction to Historical Study for those who are interested. This work describes the differences between real and pseudohistory, and discusses common tasks and methodologies used in historical research as well as basic historiography.

A new work was published in June 2016 on the topic of "Money Digging and the Supernatural Economy" in the early US and Canada.

Check it out, and please feel free to request video coverage of topics you think might be of interest to readers of the site.


Remember: the objective of Critical Enquiry is reasoned, impartial research into topics of interest and controversy. If you have a favorite subject you'd like to see us investigate, please email us at this email address. Also, please register for Critical Condition and jump into a discussion of the topics, or of skepticism in general.

And if you've written (or are considering) material you'd like to see on the site, let us know.

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