January Update

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is taking the month of January off, but here’s a little Something Nice to tide you over!

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

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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 174: The Assassination of Bigfoot by the Coward Rick Dyer

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn introduces everyone to the most famous monster from West Virginia not named “Joe Manchin”, Lauren talks about colonialist brontosaurus-hunters, Gem reminds everyone of that time a used car salesman murdered Bigfoot, and Laura gives a low key defence of cryptozoology.

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

Crytpozoology on LUEE: Episode 108: Cryptozoology & Mythical Creatures (LUEE)

The Flatwoods Monster: In 1952, the Flatwoods Monster Terrified 6 Kids, a Mom, a Dog—and the Nation (History) | The Flatwoods Monster (Visit Braxton, WV) | The W.Va. Monster That Crept Into International Pop Culture (WVPB) | Flatwoods monster (Wikipedia)

Mokele-Mbembe: Hunting Dinosaurs in Central Africa (Contingent Magazine) | Congo Basin (Wikipedia) | Mokele-mbembe (Wikipedia) | Great Zimbabwe (Wikipedia) | Rhodesia (Wikipedia) | Lake Bangweulu (Wikipedia) | Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (Wikipedia) | Reptilian conspiracy theory (Wikipedia) | Willy Ley (Wikipedia) | Ishtar Gate (Wikipedia) | Brontosaurus (Wikipedia)

Rick Dyer, Big Foot Hunter: On Tour with Rick Dyer and his Bigfoot through Texas (Texas Monthly) | Bigfoot Claim Exposed As Hoax (CBS News) | Bigfoot Experts Skeptical of Body in Freezer (Fox News) | Las Vegas man claims he killed the first Bigfoot (WDAM7 News) | Bigfoot tracker admits body is a hoax (Houston Chronicle) | Why is the Latest Guy Who’s Pretending He Caught Bigfoot Cavalierly Giving Him Such a Tiny Penis? (Esquire) | Rick Dyer (Wikipedia)

A Defence of Cryptozoology: How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world (The Conversation) | The strange case of the spiral-horned ox (Nature) | Seven species that used to be cryptids (ScIU) | The platypus is so weird that scientists thought the first specimen was a hoax (The Washington Post) | Okapi (Wikipedia) | Okapi (Cryptid Wiki) | Bondegezou (Cryptid Wiki) | Platypus (Cryptid Wiki) | Dingiso (Wikipedia) | Dingiso Tree-kangaroo (PapuaWeb)

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Episode 173: Social Contagion and Psychogenic Illness

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem is joined by Ashlyn, Laura, and Lauren to talk about social contagion and unpack the sociological, psychological, and sometimes pseudoscientific history of “hysteria”. Topics include the Tanganyika laughter epidemic, the Dancing Plague of 1518, and the Seattle windshield pitting epidemic.

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

Social Contagion: Contagion: a theoretical and empirical review and reconceptualization (ResearchGate) | Social contagion (Wikipedia) | Mass psychogenic illness (Wikipedia) | Irish Fright (Wikipedia)

The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic: The laughter of the 1962 Tanganyika ‘laughter epidemic’ (ResearchGate) | An epidemic of laughing in the Bukoba district of Tanganyika (Central African Journal of Medicine) | Why laughter makes no sense: The surprising science behind what tickles our funny bones (Salon.com) | The 1962 Laughter Epidemic of Tanganyika Was No Joke (Atlas Obscura)

The Dancing Plague of 1518: A forgotten plague: making sense of dancing mania (The Lancet) | Dancing plague of 1518 (Encyclopaedia Britannica) | Dancing plague of 1518 (Wikipedia) | Ergotism (Wikipedia) | Sydenham Chorea Information Page (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic: Windshield pitting incidents in Washington reach fever pitch on April 15, 1954 (HistoryLink.org) | The Windshield-pitting mystery of 1954 (NPR) | How the Seattle windshield pitting epidemic is connected to data interpretation (Quantilia Financial Data and Calculation Factory)

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Episode 171: Dubious Diagnoses

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Laura is joined by Gem, Ashlyn, and Lauren to discuss Morgellons syndrome, adrenal fatigue, Wilson’s temperature syndrome, and candida overgrowth, four medical diagnoses with dubious supporting evidence.

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

Morgellons Syndrome: Delusional infestation: Epidemiology, clinical presentation, assessment and diagnosis (UpToDate) | The Morgellons Mystery (Psychology Today) | Sir Thomas Browne’s A Letter to a Friend (University of Chigago) | Morgellons (Wikipedia) | Delusional parasitosis (Wikipedia)

Adrenal Fatigue: Treating the Symptoms that are believed to be Adrenal Fatigue (Endocrine Society) | Adrenal fatigue: What causes it? (Mayo Clinic) | Adrenal fatigue (Wikipedia)

Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome: Wilson’s temperature syndrome (Wikipedia) | Wilson’s Disease: Risk Factors, Causes, & Symptoms (Healthline)

Candida Overgrowth: The Candida Overgrowth Problem: Too Much Yeast? No, Too Little Science (SELF) | The Candida Diet: Separating Fact from Fiction (Nutrition Diva) | The Candida Diet: Separating Fact from Fiction (Scientific American) | Invasive Candidiasis (CDC) | Systemic candidiasis (NIH) | The Anti-Candida Diet: 11 Simple Rules to Follow (TheCandidaDiet.com)

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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 168: “Seaspiracy”

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Laura, and Gem watch the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy, and find that they have more to say about it than they expected!

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

Additional Music: This episode includes The Mariner’s Revenge Song by The Decemberists and So Long and Thanks for All the Fish performed by the Tenebrae Choir from the soundtrack to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Links: Seaspiracy (Netflix Official Site) | Seaspiracy (Wikipedia) | Seaspiracy: Netflix documentary accused of misrepresentation by participants (Environment, The Guardian)

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Episode 166: The Wellness Industry

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Laura leads Ashlyn, Gem, and Lauren in a discussion of the wellness industry, including a brief detour into QAnon conspiracies, and together the panel tries to figure out what wellness even is, anyway.

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

Additional Music: In addition to original music by Ian James, this episode also features Cavatina performed by the Mangoré Duo.

Wellness, Defined: Frequently asked questions (World Health Organization) | Twenty-first century health promotion: the public health revolution meets the wellness revolution (Health Promotion International, Oxford Academic) | The dark side of the wellness industry (New Statesman) | What is Wellness? (Global Wellness Institute)

Apps and Plans: Why The Wellness Industry is So Utterly Broken (In Fitness and in Health) | Public Health and Online Misinformation: Challenges and Recommendations (Annual Review of Public Health) | The Truth Behind Weight Loss Ads (FTC Consumer Information) | Tons of Weight-Loss Ads Show Fake Before/After Photos: Report (Women’s Health) | The History of Dieting (Skyterra Wellness) | Is Fasting Healthy? (WebMD) | “Find Your Fit”: Wearable technology and the cultural politics of disability (Journal of New Media and Society)

QAnon and the Wellness Industry: How Instagram Aesthetics Repackage QAnon (The Atlantic) | How COVID-19 Guided Wellness Influencers to QAnon (Bitch Media) | This yoga instructor is fighting the rise of QAnon in the wellness community (CBC Radio) | New Agers and Wellness Influencers Are Falling for Far-Right COVID Conspiracies (Vice)

Police Officers and Domestic Violence: Police Domestic Violence: Data Shows 40 Percent of Cops Abuse Family (Fatherly)

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Episode 165: SoupCast!

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Laura, Gem, and Lauren discuss soup’s history as a religious conversion tool, the science of bone broth, and the discredited claim that bat soup was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, then everyone attempts (and fails!) to define what, exactly, makes something a soup.

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

Souperism: Souperism (Wikipedia) | Origins of the Irish Famine term “take the soup” (Irish Central) | Edward Nangle and the Achill Island Mission (History Ireland) | Irish Potato Famine (History Channel)

Bone Broth: Dietary Collagen: Should Consumers Believe the Hype? (Today’s Dietitian Magazine) | Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix (NCBI Bookshelf) | What’s the scoop on bone soup? (Harvard Health) | Bone Broth vs. Stock: What’s the Difference? (Epicurious) | Bone Broth Analysis: Reader Research (alive) | Ask the Expert: What’s the Deal With Bone Broth? (Today’s Dietitian Magazine)

COVID-19 Wasn’t Caused by Bat Soup: Where did COVID come from? WHO investigation begins but faces challenges (Nature) | Covid-19: Infectious coronaviruses ‘circulating in bats for decades’ (BBC News) | How the myths surrounding bat soup came to represent our collective fear and confusion over COVID-19 (National Post) | Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Transmission (CDC)

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