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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Episode 170: Fish Crime!

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, and Lauren revisit Seaspiracy and discuss transnational organized crime in the international fisheries industry with returning guest Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Director of Research for Oceans Asia.

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

Links: Teale Phelps Bondaroff | Oceans Asia | LUEE Episode 168: “Seaspiracy”

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Episode 169: Legislative Prayer

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, and Lauren speak with Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, the Research Coordinator for the BC Humanist Association, about his research into unconstitutional governmental prayer in Canada.

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

Links: The Duty of Neutrality Beyond Saguenay (BC Humanist Association) | Legislative Prayer Across Canada (BC Humanist Association) | House of Prayers Report (BC Humanist Association) | Clergy residence deduction cost $1 billion over last decade (BC Humanist Association)

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Episode 159: Policing in Canada

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem is joined by Ashlyn, Lauren, and Laura to discuss the history of policing in Canada.

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

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Historical events in RCMP-Indigenous relations (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) | Canada isn’t offering a history lesson on colonialism, but the RCMP is (The Eyeopener) | History of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) | Explainer: Who were the RIC? (TheJournal.ie) | Sitting Bull (The Canadian Encyclopedia) | The RCMP was created to control Indigenous people. Can that relationship be reset? (Global News) | Don’t forget RCMP’s history (Ammsa.com) | Heritage Minutes (YouTube)

The Pass System: Don’t forget RCMP’s history (Ammsa.com) | A Condensed History of Canada’s Colonial Cops (The New Inquiry) | Pass System in Canada (The Canadian Encyclopedia) | North-West Rebellion (The Canadian Encyclopedia) | 1889: Peasant Farming policy implemented (decolonizEd) | The pass system: another dark secret in Canadian history (CBC Radio)

Police Killings in Canada: List of killings by law enforcement officers in Canada (Wikipedia) | Discover Canada: Canada’s History (Canada.ca) | Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (Wikipedia) | John Joseph Harper (Wikipedia) | Inquest begins into police shooting of Winnipeg teen (CBC News) | Police identify man shot by officer (CBC News) | ‘It’s devastating’: South Sudanese condemn fatal police shooting of man with mental health issues (CBC News) | ‘Truly sorry:’ Winnipeg officer sentenced to prison for killing pedestrian (National Post) | Canadian police struggle to maintain reputation under unprecedented scrutiny and demands for new approach (National Post) | Stop the killing: Fatal police shootings in Canada (The Indy) | A timeline of police charged with murder or manslaughter in Canada (The Globe and Mail) | Theft (Armoured Suits Criminal Defence Lawyers) | Capital punishment in Canada (Wikipedia) | Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (Wikipedia) | Shooting of Chantel Moore (Wikipedia) | Investigation of shooting death of Chantel Moore could take months (CBC News) | Edmundston, N.B., police officer who shot Chantel Moore now back at work (Global News) | Five things to know about Quebec police watchdog probing New Brunswick shootings (Global News) | Muslim man shot dead by Canadian police during mental health crisis (Daily Sabah) | Death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet (Wikipedia) | Defund the police? Here’s a look at how much Canadian cities spend on policing (CTV News)

Alternatives to Calling the Police: Alternatives to Calling the Police (Safe Congregations Handbook, UUA.org) | 12 Things to do Instead of Calling the Cops (Sprout Distro)

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Episode 155: COVID Quacks

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Gem, and Laura discuss the charlatans and snake oil salesmen trying to profit off of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Links: Researchers are tracking another pandemic, too—of coronavirus misinformation (Science, AAAS)

Alex Jones: Alex Jones: 5 most disturbing and ridiculous conspiracy theories (CNBC) | The Pandemic’s Shameless Profiteers (The New Republic) | Alex Jones’s Bogus Coronavirus Cures (The New Yorker) | Alex Jones ordered to stop selling fake coronavirus cures (Quartz) | “Aurum Potable”: the “Drinkable Gold of the Alchemists” (The BMJ) | Medical uses of silver (Wikipedia) | Argyria (Wikipedia)

Vitamin C and Garlic: In Vitro and In Vivo Immunomodulator Activities of Allium sativum L. (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine) | Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects (Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine) | Vitamin C and Immune Function (Nutrients) | Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds (Journal of Immunology Research) | Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold (Cochrane Library) | Garlic for the common cold (Cochrane) | Antimicrobial properties of hydrophobic compounds in garlic: Allicin, vinyldithiin, ajoene and diallyl polysulfides (Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine)

Herbal Cures: Medical experts warn against claims by Winnipeg acupuncturist advertising ‘coronavirus prevention tea’ (CBC News) | Coronavirus: Scams, hoaxes, fake sites, and myths (Radio Canada International) | Superfoods for COVID-19 Prevention (Cooking with Yoshiko) | Richmond Chinese medicine stores advertising ‘coronavirus prevention tea’ (Richmond News) | Misrepresenting traditional knowledge during COVID-19 is dangerous (High Country News) | COVID-19 Herbal Resource Hub (Red Moon Herbs) | Coronavirus: Herbal remedies in India and other claims fact-checked (BBC News) | Coronavirus ‘cures’ and prevention techniques are popping up all over the world. So we asked the experts what actually works (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Hydroxychloroquine: Some Patients Need the Drug That Trump Keeps Pushing (The Atlantic) | Doctors worry unproven Covid-19 drug will do more harm than good (STAT) | Hydroxychloroquine For COVID-19: Cure-All Or Flim-Flam? (Forbes) | FDA approves hydroxychloroquine new drug application to address COVID-19 related shortage (Healio Rheumatology) | Potential of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 causes fears of shortages among people with systemic lupus erythematosus (Nature Medicine) | Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine Can Have Serious Side Effects (National Capital Poison Center) | Trump’s support of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 could slow cure (USA Today) | Fearing coronavirus, Arizona man dies after taking a form of chloroquine used in aquariums (CNN) | Does Trump Benefit Financially by Promoting Hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 Treatment? (Snopes)

Ashlyn’s Patreon: Noble & Whimsical is creating art from glass, vinyl and creativity (Patreon)

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Episode 144: Twenty Questions

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem talks about Google’s search autocomplete feature, then Lauren, Ashlyn, Laura, and Gem answer twenty of the most popular questions suggested by Google.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Correction: When answering the question, “Where is your liver?” Ashlyn misspoke: the liver is of course located below the diaphragm, not above it. Whoops!

Google and Autocomplete: How Google autocomplete works in Search (Google Blog) | Censorship by Google (Wikipedia) | Leaked Google research shows company grappling with censorship and free speech (The Verge) | Google to End Pentagon AI Contract, Will Remain a Defense Contractor (Tom’s Hardware)

How: Avoirdupois system (Wikipedia) | Troy weight (Wikipedia) | How to Make Slime: Our 4 Most Popular Slime Recipes (Home Science Tools) | How to Tie a Windsor Knot (Ties.com) | How to write a cover letter (Youth Central) | Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe (Food Network)

Where: Stages of transcription: initiation, elongation & termination (Khan Academy) | Archibald (Wikipedia) | Where is Xur? | History of pizza (Wikipedia)

Can: Can You Start a Sentence with "Because"? (Writer’s Digest) | Can I give my pet…? (Park Road Veterinary Clinic) | Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs (VCA Animal Hospital) | What Shall You Not Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception as a Guest? (Discover India) | Is it Legal to Marry Yourself? (Parry & Pfau)

Why: Rayleigh scattering (Wikipedia) | Diffuse sky radiation (Wikipedia) | Photosynthesis (Wikipedia) | Polar bear (Wikipedia) | Effects of Earlier Sea Ice Breakup on Survival and Population Size of Polar Bears in Western Hudson Bay (Journal of Wildlife Management) | Why Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell (Smithsonian) | Benjamin Franklin’s Letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels (Early Americas Digital Archive) | Moore’s law (Wikipedia) | Why is Caillou bald? (Chouette Publishing)

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Episode 139: The Unnecessary Christmas Show

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Laura, and Gem talk about several elements of the holiday consumer frenzy. Lauren tackles gift guides, Gem explains why corporations love gift cards, Ashlyn talks about holiday debt, and Laura ends the show with a discussion of some truly bizarre holiday products.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Gift Guides: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop gift guide suggests you buy a whole village (Vox) | Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2018 Goop Gift Guide (Cosmopolitan) | Totally Random, Totally Useless Holiday Gift Guide (Chefdruck) | Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Chatelaine) | Subchronic inhalation toxicity of gold nanoparticles (NCBI) | The Hater’s Guide (Deadspin) | The 2012 Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalog (Deadspin)

Gift Cards: Gift Card Warning: Check Retailer’s Health (NPR) | Gift Card Review: Public Consultation Paper & Survey (Government of Manitoba) | Prepaid Purchase Card Requirements (Manitoba Consumer Protection Office) | Scam alert: Be wary of gift cards sold on a retailer’s rack! (Consumer Affairs)

Charitable Giving: LUEE Episode 115: Holiday Charity Special

Holiday Debt: Debt Snowball Versus Debt Avalanche: What The Academic Research Shows (Forbes) | 5 ways to cure your Christmas debt hangover (MoneySense) | Holiday hangover: Americans racked up more than $1,000 each in holiday debt (CNBC) | Christmas on Credit: How to Avoid the Debt (My Money Coach) | Here’s how you can avoid piling on holiday debt (Global News) | Don’t Let the Ghost of Christmas Gifts Past Hurt Your Finances (Huffpost) | Why Don’t People Manage Debt Better? (Scientific American Blogs)

Strange Holiday Gifts: As Seen on TV Clever Cutter (Canadian Tire) | 5 Condom Variety Christmas Fun Pack (Amazon) | Christmas Tinner Is the Dinner in a Can You Never Knew You Needed (BestProducts.com) | Shoppers take to Twitter to mock stores’ Christmas bleaches (Daily Mail) | Inhealer Himalayan Salt Inhaler (Showcase)

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Episode 136: Patent Medicine

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Laura, Ashlyn, and Lauren discuss the history and future of patent medicine, from snake oil and Piso’s Cure for Consumption through Bovinine and bitters all the way to the Burzynski Clinic.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Note: Additional music in this episode by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

Patent Medicine: Patent medicine (Wikipedia) | Snake oil (Wikipedia)

Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound: Advertising Motherhood with the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study) | Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound (The Embryo Project Encyclopedia) | Lydia Pinkham (Wikipedia)

Piso’s Consumption Cure: The Great American Fraud, by Samuel Hopkins Adams (Wikisource) | Piso’s Trio: One Step Ahead of the Law (Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors)

Micajah’s Medicated Wafers: Micajah’s Medicated Wafers (Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health) | The Fundamental Antagonism: Veritism and Commerce in Medical Practice (Bennett Holman)

Bovinine: Bovinine (National Museum of American History) | Bovinine Beef Food Tonic (National Museum of American History) | The Bovinine Co. blotter (National Museum of American History) | 15 Curious Quack Remedies From the Age of Patent Medicine (Mental Floss) | Bovinine, by the Bovinine Company (Google Books) | Bovinine Bottle | New Haven Morning Journal and Courier (1895-06-19) | Hand Book of Haematherapy with Clinical Reports, 1902, by the Bovinine Company | The Medical Times and Register (Google Books) | The Popular Science News and Boston Journal of Chemistry (Google Books) | Hemotherapy (Wikipedia) | Misbranding of Bovinina. U.S. v. Bovinine Co. (National Library of Medicine)

Soda Pop & Bitters: Angostura bitters (Wikipedia) | ‘Pop’ Culture: Patent Medicines Become Soda Drinks (CSI) | A Brief History of Bitters (Smithsonian)

Right to Try and the Burzynski Clinic: Right-to-try law (Wikipedia) | “Right to try” laws and Dallas Buyers’ Club: Great movie, terrible for patients and terrible policy (Science-Based Medicine) | The cruel sham that is right-to-try raises its ugly head at the federal level again (Science-Based Medicine) | Burzynski Clinic (Wikipedia)

Ian James and the Combo Breakers: The Broken Among Us by Ian James and the Combo Breakers (SoundCloud) | The Broken Among Us by Ian James and the Combo Breakers (BandCamp)

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Episode 128: Real Conspiracies

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, Laura, and Lauren talk about real conspiracies and cover-ups perpetrated by corporations and the government.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Links: Lack of fluoride in Calgary drinking water leads to rise in tooth decay (CBC) | Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid (The New York Times) | Google and Apple Settle Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging Wage Fixing (Time) | AllTrials | Tuskegee syphilis experiment (Wikipedia)

Iran–Contra: The Iran-Contra Affair (PBS) | Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs | Iran–Contra affair (Wikipedia)

MKUltra: Project MKUltra (Wikipedia) | When the CIA ran a LSD sex-house in San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle) | One of the Most Shocking CIA Programs of All Time: Project MKUltra | Sidney Gottlieb (Wikipedia) | CIA’s MK-Ultra LSD mind control experiment has lingering legacy (Washington Times)

COINTELPRO: What the JFK files say about Martin Luther King Jr. (The Washington Post) | What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals (The New York Times) | Martin Luther King Jr. (Wikipedia) | FBI–King suicide letter (Wikipedia) | The Uncompromising Anti-Capitalism of Martin Luther King Jr. (The Huffington Post)

The Smoking–Cancer Connection: Lung Cancer and Smoking: What We Really Know (The Atlantic) | The history of the discovery of the cigarette–lung cancer link (BMJ) | The Cigarette Controversy (Cancer Epidemiology)

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Episode 117: Trump

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, Laura, Lauren, and Brendan discuss a few of the many myths and conspiracy theories endorsed by Donald Trump, and Brendan points out that a simple fact check isn’t enough.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Note: For further context on Trump, fact-checking, border control, and claims of journalistic objectivity, Gem recommends these excellent episodes of On the Media: The Game Has Changed (On the Media) | The Ties That Bind (On the Media) | What We Know About the Border (On the Media)

Links: Episode 110: Science & Race (LUEE) | Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks in America (Global Research) | New Research Shows That More Immigration Means Higher Wages for All Workers in Cities (CityLab) | 3 Ways to Immigrate to USA (uscitizenship) | Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men (SSRN) | Unskilled Workers Lose Out to Immigrants (NYTimes.com) | An Aging U.S. is Revitalized by Immigrants (NYTimes.com) | Immigrants Are Replacing, Not Displacing, Workers (NYTimes.com) | Immigration Doesn’t Hurt Native Jobs or Wages in the U.S., Report Finds (Time) | Immigrant Employment by State and Industry (Pew) | Does Illegal Immigration Disadvantage American Workers? (ProCon.org) | Immigrants Aren’t Stealing American Jobs (The Atlantic) | Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories (Wikipedia) | Central Park jogger case (Wikipedia) | COINTELPRO (Wikipedia) | What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals (The New York Times) | Episode 101: “Trace Amounts” (LUEE) | 10 facts on immunization (WHO) | About Vaccines (Manitoba Health) | The GOP’s dangerous “debate” on vaccines and autism (The Washington Post) | Trump team denies skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was asked to head vaccine commission (CNNPolitics.com) | Gregg Phillips: Trump’s Favorite Voter-Fraud Activist (The Atlantic) | 25% of Voters Believe President Trump’s Unfounded Voter Fraud Claim (Time) | President Trump’s Voter-Fraud Expert Was Registered to Vote in Three States (Time) | President Trump Vowed to Investigate Voter Fraud. Then Lawmakers Voted to Eliminate an Election Commission (Time) | Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says (Skeptical Science) | Fact Check: Trump’s Cabinet Picks on Human-Caused Global Warming | Ice-albedo feedback (Wikipedia) | Yes, Donald Trump did call climate change a Chinese hoax (PolitiFact) | 2012 Benghazi attack (Wikipedia) | A Comprehensive Guide To Benghazi Myths And Facts | Hillary Clinton emails – what’s it all about? (BBC News) | Essays: To Profile or Not to Profile? (Schneier on Security) | Protestors call on mayor to make Winnipeg a sanctuary city (Winnipeg Free Press)

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