Episode 175: Grifters, Scamps, and Thieves

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Lauren, Ashlyn, and Laura talk scams and con artists: Gem reads from a novel that somehow topped the New York Times bestseller list without anyone ever buying it, Laura covers a gang of thieves trying to make an end-run around Canada’s maple syrup monopsony, Ashlyn explains why a semi-famous skeptic went to jail for fraud, and Lauren talks about an ex-Mormon forger who dabbled in bomb-making. Then Gem just rants semi-coherently about NFTs for a while.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that explores the intersection of science and society.

Lani Sarem and the New York Times Bestseller scam: Did This Book Buy Its Way Onto The New York Times Bestseller List? (Pajiba) | 8 Notable Attempts to Hack the New York Times Bestseller List (Literary Hub) | Book Review: Handbook for Mortals by Lani Sarem (Bree Howland) | The New York Times Best Seller list (Wikipedia) | Lani Sarem (IMDb)

The Great Maple Syrup Heist: Sweet revenge for Quebec maple syrup producers: Thief gets five years for role in $18.7 million heist (National Post) | A Sticky Situation: SCC Grants Leave to Appeal for Maple Syrup Heist Case in R v Vallières (TheCourt.ca) | Reputed ringleader in $18.7M maple syrup heist found guilty (CBC News) | Police seize hundreds of barrels of syrup possibly linked to Quebec maple heist (The Globe and Mail) | Maple and Economic Development (PPAQ) | Inside Quebec’s Great, Multi-Million-Dollar Maple-Syrup Heist (Vanity Fair) | Alleged ringleader in $18.7M maple syrup theft testifies he faced death threats (CBC News)

Dunning’s Cookie Stuffing Scam: Brian Dunning, eBay and Affiliate Marketing Fraud (Business Insider) | Fraudster skeptic Brian Dunning’s shell game (Lousy Canuck) | A Critical Analysis of Brian Dunning’s Explanation (Skepchick) | The sophistry and revisionist history in Skeptoid Brian Dunning’s statement (Lousy Canuck) | How This Man Cheated eBay Out of $5 Million and Now Faces 20 Years in Federal Prison

The Salamander Letter: The Salamander Letter From Murder Among the Mormons Attempted to Rewrite the Church’s History (Esquire) | The True Story of The Salamander Letter from ‘Murder Among the Mormons’ (Cosmopolitan) | The Real History and Meaning of the Salamander Letter (Refinery29) | Salamander letter (Wikipedia) | Mark Hofmann (Wikipedia) | Anthon Transcript (Wikipedia) | Mormonism Unvailed (Wikipedia)

NFTs: ConstitutionDAO’s bold crypto bid for US Constitution falls short (TechCrunch) | Proof of work (Wikipedia)

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