Tonight was my talk at the Melbourne branch of the Skeptics, Are Philosophers Any Good?  The audience, about 50 or so, seemed engaged and entertained.  Most people had had a few drinks and were in a mood for a bit of fun and hyperbole at the expense of the philosophical profession.

At the end, I was given the de rigueur bottle of fine Australian red wine (much appreciated).  But more memorable, in the long run, was the novel gift of a boxed “MONEY DETECTOR PEN” inscribed with the words Australian Skeptics.   What does this do?  A quick Google search revealed that there is a quite a market for Counterfeit Money Detector Pens, i.e., pens which supposedly detect counterfeit money.  However the Australian Skeptics variety, it seems, detects not counterfeit money but money, i.e., the real thing.  So it is obviously much more useful.  I’ve tried it out (it took a while to figure out how to insert the batteries).  When it detects something it flashes green and red lights.  It seems to detect anything I point it at, so it certainly detects money.  In addition, it is “ANTI-RADiATION”, and “PORCH”.  By Porch, I think they mean Torch, though what it is in fact is a laser pointer.  Unfortunately the laser point only worked for a few seconds.