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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Episode 115: Holiday Charity Special

On the Life, the Universe & Everything Else Holiday Special, Brendan Curran-Johnson joins Gem, Laura, Ashlyn, and Lauren to talk about charitable giving, including how an organization qualifies as a charity, how to maximize the good your contributions can do, and some of the questionable practices of the most popular charities. The episode concludes with a rebroadcast of a segment from 2013’s holiday episode contrasting the various nativity accounts.

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

Definition of Charity: What is charitable? (Canada Revenue Agency)

Image vs. Effect: Dems help reopen a NC Repub office by David Weinberger (GoFundMe) | MEDIA ADVISORY: NCGOP Sees Encouraging Early Voting, Obama/Clinton Coalition Tired, Fail to Resonate in North Carolina | Courts are finally pointing out the racism behind voter ID laws (The Washington Post) | Today I did a lot of screaming about the anti-LGBT bill North Carolina passed (mcclure111) | Susan G. Komen Partners With Fracking Firm, Despite Possible Cancer Links (Huffington Post) | Pinkwashing (Wikipedia) | Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Promises to Spend $3 Billion to Research and Cure All Diseases (Forbes) | Mark Zuckerberg can’t believe India is debating net neutrality rather than being grateful for Facebook’s free internet (Quartz)

Effective Altruism: Effective altruism (Wikipedia) | GiveWell (Charity Reviews and Research) | Giving What We Can | 80,000 Hours | TRC #270: Effective Altruism + Drinking While Eating + Square on Toothpaste Tube (The Reality Check) | TRC #325: Cells On A Plane + Effective Donating Revisited + Sad Music (The Reality Check) | TRC #379: Charitable Giving + Premium vs Regular Gas + Elf On The Shelf (The Reality Check) | The Way to Produce a Person (The New York Times)

Donations in Kind: Understanding the Impact of Donated Clothes (WhyDev) | Why second-hand clothing donations are creating a dilemma for Kenya (The Guardian) | Stop donating canned goods to food drives: Your corned mutton castoffs are only making things worse (National Post) | Charities Need Your Money, Not Your Random Old Food (Slate) | The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys And Voluntourism (Huffington Post)

Winnipeg Harvest: Winnipeg Harvest | Winnipeg Harvest (Charity Intelligence)

Salvation Army: The Salvation Army in Canada Non-Discrimination | UK Salvation Army chief defends ban on gay members (PinkNews) | Here’s The Internal Document The Salvation Army Doesn’t Want You To See (Queerty)

World Vision: FAQs (World Vision International) | World Vision Canada statement on sexual orientation and hiring practices | A World Vision Donor Sponsored a Boy. The Outcome Was a Mystery to Both. (The New York Times)

Other Charities That Need Your Help: Top Charities (GiveWell) | American Civil Liberties Union | Canadian Civil Liberties Association | Planned Parenthood | Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights | Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) | National Center for Transgender Equality | Trans Equality Rights in Canada | Advocating for LGBTQ Equality (Human Rights Campaign)

The “Charity Slump”: The Holiday Giving Season: A Make or Break Time for Small Charities (CanadaHelps) | Charitable Giving in America: Some Facts and Figures | Why Charities Receive Less During The Summer (CanadaHelps)

Other Links: Episode 72: The War on Christmas: A Brief History (LUEE) | Episode 107: Solving Homelessness (LUEE) | Power In A Union on Vimeo | C.R.E.A.M. (Wu-Tang Clan) | The best God joke ever (Emo Phillips) | Are We the Baddies? (That Mitchell and Webb Look)

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Episode 107: Solving Homelessness

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Gem, and Laura discuss strategies aimed at ending homelessness with returning guest Brendan Curran-Johnson. This episode also features an interview with Greta Christina and Alex Gabriel discussing The Orbit, a new blog network focusing on atheism and social justice.

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

Links: The Orbit: Atheism, Activism, Culture | Help Launch The Orbit (Kickstarter) | Trends & Issues in Affordable Housing & Homelessness (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) | Better Off in a Shelter? (University of Toronto Centre for Urban and Community Studies) | Poor Housing, edited by Josh Brandon and Jim Silver | Cheating Welfare, by Kaaryn S. Gustafson | Hobos to Street People, by Art Hazelwood | Hand to Mouth, by Linda Tirado | Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments (Popular Science) | Basic income (Wikipedia) | Guaranteed minimum income (Wikipedia) | Guaranteed Annual Income (CanadianSocialResearch.net) | Mincome (Wikipedia) | The Town with No Poverty (Evelyn Forget) | Welfare trap (Wikipedia) | Humans Need Not Apply (YouTube) | Silicon Valley’s Unchecked Arrogance (The Development Set) | Pathways to Housing: Supported Housing for Street-Dwelling Homeless Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities (Pathways to Housing) | Substance Use Outcomes Among Homeless Clients with Serious Mental Illness: Comparing Housing First with Treatment First Programs (Pathways to Housing) | A multi-site comparison of supported housing for chronically homeless adults: “Housing first” versus “residential treatment first” (Tsai, Mares, Rosenheck) | Housing First for Homeless Persons with Active Addiction: Are We Overreaching? (Kertesz et al) | Outcasts on Main Street: Report of the Federal Task Force on Homelessness (Google Books) | The Plan to End Homelessness (Medicine Hat Community Housing Society) | Housing First (The Homeless Hub) | Housing First (Wikipedia) | Misandry Angie

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Episode 99: Forensic Science

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn discusses the scientific (and sometimes pseudoscientific) underpinnings of several forensic investigation techniques with Laura, Gem, Ian, and Lauren.

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

Links: The CSI effect (National Post) | FBI Testimony on Microscopic Hair Analysis Contained Errors in at Least 90 Percent of Cases in Ongoing Review (FBI.gov) | Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI’s ‘mass disaster’ of false conviction (The Guardian) | FBI admits it fudged forensic hair matches in nearly all criminal trials for decades (National Post) | Hair analysis (Wikipedia) | Comparative bullet-lead analysis (Wikipedia) | Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis: A Case Study in Flawed Forensics | Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis: A Retrospective by Paul C. Giannelli (SSRN) | Ballistic fingerprinting (Wikipedia) | Forensic entomology (Wikipedia) | Forensic science is biased and inaccurate, but juries believe it and convict the innocent (Slate) | Flawed Journalism on Flawed Forensics in Slate Magazine (Forensic Science, Statistics & the Law) | More on the Mistakes in “Forensic Science Isn’t Science” (Forensic Science, Statistics & the Law) | Fix the Flaws in Forensic Science (The New York Times) | Pseudoscience in the Witness Box (Slate) | John Schneeberger (Wikipedia)

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