The Great Tantra Challenge - "On 3 March 2008, in a popular TV show, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged India’s most “powerful” tantrik (black magician) to demonstrate his powers on him. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment."
Fake Memoir Exposed: Margaret Seltzer, pen name Margaret Jones, wrote a critically acclaimed memoir, Love and Consequences, that was published last week. NPR's "On Point" covered the story, and she gave Penguin an interview. After seeing a New York Times feature, though, her own sister outed her as a fraud. [more inside]
In the March issue of Maxim magazine, music critic David Peisner gave the Black Crowes' upcoming release Warpaint two and a half stars out of five, remarking: "...they sound pretty much like they always have: boozy, competent, and in slavish debt to the Stones, the Allmans, and the Faces." Nothing remarkable, right? Except he had never heard the album.
ICANN accreditation yanked, RegisterFly rebrands and tries again. Though partner Robert O'Niell claims otherwise, it looks like former CEO Kevin Medina is still in the picture. Without accreditation and their former registrar partner, eNom, Reg
isterFly, uh I mean RegFly has partnered with leading wholesale registrar Tucows to start selling domain names again. RegisterFlies.com comes out of retirement. Previously.
Kucinich Asks for New Hampshire Recount in the Interest of Election Integrity. A little earlier in the election cycle this time around, many people are worried about serious discrepancies between pre-election opinion polling and exit polls, which both had Obama winning by a substantial percentage, and the official results. Obama also appears to have won in hand-counted precincts while Clinton seems to have dominated in precincts which counted the votes with the Diebold Accuvote TSx optical-scan machines, which have been shown to be susceptible to a memory card hack. [more inside]
James Randi to end the Million Dollar Challenge in 2010. Nobody's won it in 10 years, and the money would work better if it wasn't tied up waiting for the impossible. Many have tried, none have succeeded.... and just so this isn't a single link, here's Randi owning Uri Geller, and Randi owning James Hydrick (using only styrofoam!) [YouTube links].
Lost? Why not consult a map? Because, according to a past exhibit at the British Library, the mapmaker might have a political agenda.
Do you feel like a fraud? Holden Caulfield used to hunt phonies a few blocks from here, but times have changed. Now the phonies — or people who think they are, anyway — hunt themselves.
In Violation of Federal Law, Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election Records Are Destroyed or Missing. "The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election."
Former media baron Conrad Black has been found guilty of obstruction of justice and three counts of mail fraud.
Brent Kovar got investors and employees to believe his invention was the next big thing, but nobody's ever seen it. Mister Kovar had also been appointed in 2003 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay. Apparently, a DC-9 they co-owned (painted to resemble aircraft from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security) was busted in Mexico with 5.5 tons of cocaine on board. First link via fark
Was American Idol's Sanjaya a fraud? Graduate art student Bill Vendall claims that he created the American Idol character "Sanjaya" as an art project. He claims the character is "a symbol for the self referencing nature of progressive evolution." This is being debated around the internets.
Fake Chinese Gylcerin kills hundreds, possibly thousands. So, if you thought melamine in pet food and food chain animal feed was bad, how do you feel about antifreeze in your medicine? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to drug manufacturers, suppliers and health professionals that counterfeit drug additives have been using diethyline glycol, or DEG (commonly used as antifreeze) as a substitute for glycerin in cough medicine, fever medication and injectable drugs. Hundreds, possibly thousands have been killed.
A 13-YEAR-OLD boy who lives with his gran has been exposed as one of Britain's biggest internet conmen. Frank Abagnale Jr. 2.0 ? Citizens United to Find Fugitives with an internet swindlers database. A little about sociopaths and some of the scams they play.
... Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system...
Network Hosting Attorney Scandal E-Mails Also Hosted Ohio's 2004 Election Results --...more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website -- which gave the world the presidential election results -- was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors. ...
Clive James on Scams and Hoaxes. "If the flim-flam man is sensible enough to offer you a return of only twice as much, the scam might even work. I was once defrauded of a heartbreakingly-large sum by a fellow writer who was smart enough to offer no return at all. True to her word, she didn't return my money either."
Stockman agreed that supply-side theory was, in Greider's words, "only new language and argument to conceal a hoary old Republican doctrine: give the tax cuts to the top brackets, the wealthiest individuals and largest enterprises, and let the good effects 'trickle down' through the economy to reach everyone else." Said Stockman: "It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down,' so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down' .. . Kemp-Roth [the supply-side tax bill] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate."Reagon's Budget Director, David Stockman "was indicted for defrauding investors and banks of $1.6 billion while chairman of Collins & Aikman Corp., an auto-parts maker that collapsed days after he quit." via
Everybody loves Zombies. Everybody loves killing Zombies. Nobody wants to suddenly wake up surrounded by Zombies. Not when you thought you were just playing a video game.
Marjoe Gortner, world's youngest preacher kicked off his religious career by performing a marriage at the age of four and a half. Although he eventually left the evangelism gig and became a hippie, lack of cash led him to take it up again part time as an adult. That is, until a crisis of conscience precipitated a documentary where he exposed the business of evangelical ministry. "Marjoe" won the 1972 Oscar for "Best Documentary" and has been recently re-released. An interview with Marjoe. You tubery inside.
Open Secrets - the trouble with Enron
United States v. George W. Bush et al. Retired federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega has written a hypothetical indictment for a hypothetical grand jury charging President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, thereby commiting a conspiracy to defraud the United States by tricking the nation into war. Though a work of fiction, the evidence presented is real. Part 1 is the introdutction, part 2 is the indictment, and part 3 is the beginning of grand jury testimony, with more to come over the next few days.
Video the Vote. "Starting this election... people like you and I... will document problems as they occur. We'll play them online, spread word through blogs and partner websites, doing our part to make sure the full story of our elections is told." via Rushkoff.
Fixavote.com Election Consultants "provides unparalleled results by focusing on the outcome rather than the process. Using state-of the-art technology, we overcome the challenges of competition and ensure election results for our clients." (To make it even more evil, it's Flash-based) A food-for-thought satire or something more? When A reporter called the site's 800 number, the person who answered "said that he had been contacted by representatives of about 30 political campaigns to date." (I'm thinking sting operation to catch dishonest idiot politicians. Whad'ya think?)
A manual for electoral apocalypse in America. Quite a bit's been written both on MeFi and other places about how bad Diebold machines are. Rolling Stone wrote an article about election fraud in 2004 that was discussed here on MeFi. Tonight, Ars posted a very thorough, very clear article about how we are completely screwed if we do not enact expensive, fundamental changes in how we handle elections in America. It's too late to do anything about the elections in a couple weeks, but perhaps steps can be taken to fix things before 2008...
As virtual worlds economic activity and populations grow, the importance of Real Money Trade comes to the fore. When does fraud inside game worlds become illegal? when do earnings from online worlds become taxable? [discussion], and what happens when real day traders get interested? [more inside]
Impossible Is Nothing. Yale student applies for job on Wall Street, includes video detailing his physical prowess and philosophy of success. Hilarity ensues: "He single-handedly decreased trading volumes over the last two hours of the day because everyone was laughing too hard." Perhaps not surprisingly, there are some problems with his story.
Canada's a nice place to live. At least I think so, anyways. And so do, apparently, about 150 delegates from the International AIDS Conference. They've decided that they'd rather stay here than go back to their homes, mostly in Africa, and are claiming refugee status in order to meet this goal. While it's understandable that some of these claims may be legitimate, and that the home countries might not have been as enticingly developed as Canada, it does seem that for some "delegates", their claims are not what they may seem.
Mexico City post-election protests, which began on July 30th at the instigation of López Obrador, former mayor and alleged "loser" of the July 2 federal election, now cover a 12-kilometer (7.5 - mile) stretch of Paseo de la Reforma, one of the main arteries of one of the world's largest cities. Some see it as a party, others see it as ridiculous. In any case, a crisis of legitimacy is at hand, as all eyes await the announcement, due by Sept. 6 from "Trife", the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary, which will either decide the winner, or annul the result and call for new elections. With partisans of Obrador already claiming that the results of the recent partial recount suggest systematic fraud, it's unlikely that a smooth resolution is going to come any time soon.
TOO MUCH BLOOD IN MY STOOL! THIS COULD BE COLOGNE CANCER! (NSFW) Eddie Reedom's site, www.choppercarsfraud.com claims Josh "Chop" Towbin and Towbin Dodge (known for their silly infomercials and the A&E series King of Cars) defrauded him of $50m to $100m. Among the evidence is photos of his stool, and video of an unruly Australian Buddhist security guard who kicks Reedom's truck. While Reedom may seem a bit nuts, there are tens of millions of Americans with bad credit. If you're one of them, seek some good advice before signing up for any loan. Credit problems are enough to drive anyone insane.
Worst Ever Security Flaw in Diebold Voting Machine A single switch is all that is required to cause the machine to boot an unverified external flash instead of the built-in, verified EEPROM."
Dr. Stephen Lanka claims that H5N1 doesn't exist. Or AIDS. Or disease-causing viruses in general. "In humans, in the blood or in other bodily fluids, in an animal or in a plant there never have been seen or demonstrated structures which you could characterize as bird flu viruses or flu viruses or any other supposedly disease-causing virus. The causes of those diseases which are being maintained to be caused by a virus, also those in animals, which can arise quickly and in individuals either one after the other or several at the same time, are known since a long time back. However much you stretch things in biology, there is simply no place for viruses as the causative agents of diseases. Only if I ignore the findings of Dr Hamer’s New Medicine, according to which shock events are the cause of many diseases, and the findings of chemistry on the effects of poisonings and deficiencies, and then if I ignore the findings of physics about the effects of radiation, then there is a place for imaginings such as disease-causing viruses."
Stripping The Gurus. Sex, violence, abuse and enlightenment. Chogyam Trungpa, the Dalai Lama, Zen masters, exposing the reality behind the facade of various spiritual teachers. Geoff Falk also writes about the spiritual beliefs of rock stars.
Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.
"DEAR SIR, MAY I CRAVE YOUR INDULGENCE TO OPEN THIS BUSINESS DISCUSSION BY A FORMAL LETTER OF THIS SORT. MY NAME IS MARIAM ABACHA..."
[419Filter] The Perfect Mark: After losing thousands and being sentenced to prison, John Worley is still convinced the Nigerian governmental officials and their fortune exist.
Whooops! While making a required filing to the state ethics commission, Ohio Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell finds Diebold shares in his stock portfolio that he now claims to have bought "accidentally." Yes, that Diebold -- the e-voting company whose chairman promised to "deliver the vote" to George Bush. And yes, that Blackwell, whose state helped deliver the White House to the GOP. Blackwell insists that the humble amount of Diebold stock was in one of those "blind trust" type of arrangements that worked out so rewardingly for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. [newsfilter via RawStory.]
Baghdad is calm, except it's neither. So this guy Howard Kaloogian is running for Congress in California, and he supports the troops. Thinks they're making all sorts of progress that simply isn't reported by the evil lib'rul mainstream media, so he went to see Baghdad for himself, and posted a picture of a calm Baghdad street - See? No terrorists here! Except that certain sleuthing types found something awfully fishy about that photo...
Город наш! The city is ours! Belarussians are using weblogs, online communities, and text messaging to organize, share news and numerous photos, and oppose their corrupt government's fraudulent election. Patriotism, flags, and dark blue is in fashion, whether the government likes it or not.
The Secret Agent - whilst talk has gone on for many a year about things like 'bubbles' and 'bursting' on the topic of real estate, never before has it been seriously considered that regular offer-withholding, mortgage-falsifying, and price-gouging to the tune of £50,000 by real estate agents might be affecting the housing market altogether. I challenge metafilter to make the links, and see who's first on that merry conspiracy theory bandwagon. And why is it that people who work with selling or developing buildings are just, well, evil?
In April of 1817, a distraught, exotic, bizarre young lady wearing a black turban appeared in the village of Almondsbury, England. She spoke an unintelligible language, and mystified villagers brought her to see the local magistrate. Linguistic experts of the day were baffled: until a Portuguese sailor appeared, who claimed to be able to translate. He explained that she was kidnapped royalty from the island of Javasu. She called herself Princess Caraboo.
The Torn-Up Credit Card Application. Can you get a credit card with a torn-up application? One citizen puts in the minimal effort to find out.
Thomas Kinkade, Painter of LightTM, seeks to "to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace, and joy into their lives through the images he creates." Not all of his side ventures have been considered successful. But now the Christian-themed artist is accused of ruthless business tactics and seamy personal conduct, including drunkenly heckling Siegfried & Roy and, um, wantonly marking his territory. Perhaps Kinkade hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jack the Dripper?
$200,000,000,000 scandal? America is ranked 16th in the world in Broadband speed. Wanna know why? Verizon won’t tell you, but Bruce Kushnick will. His latest book, $200 Billion Dollar Broadband Scandal, is a powerful critique that outlines a truly massive case of fraud. The Bell Companies (Verizon, SBC, Qwest, and BellSouth) used trickery and deceit to swindle the U.S. out of a promised 45mbps internet connection. They collected billions of dollars in regulatory fees, and now they are attempting to commoditize the Internet. Kushnick's book uses stunning detail to expose this treachery with accuracy and thoroughness.
Massive fraud, theft, corruption in Iraq rebuilding ...Iraqi money gambled away in the Philippines...spent on a swimming pool that was never used...US$700,000 in cash in an unlocked footlocker...millions to companies that never submitted required competitive bids or that were paid for unfinished work...paid US$14,000 on four separate occasions for the same job...US$1.3 million wasted on overpriced or duplicate construction or equipment not delivered..."needlessly disbursed more than US$1.8 million" of the estimated US$2.3 million spent for renovating the library...from new auditor reports from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Hot on the heels of the JT Leroy and James Frey fracases, here's a list of other literary frauds. Writing is lying, indeed. [via Bookslut]
£45 GBP lost to "compo" in Liverpool - Insurance fraud rife in UK A man who tried to sue a local council after he soiled his trousers tops a list of spurious public liability claims which cost UK local government and insurance companies an estimated £250m each year, reports the UK Guardian. Publishers of said report, Zurich Municipal are tackling the growing issue of fraudulent insurance claims. They found that "Only 16% of adults questioned said that they would contact the police if they knew someone had submitted a fraudulent claim against a council." Knowsley [Liverpool] Metropolitan Council "saw its claims from slips and trips soar ... to £5m annually." - for a borough of 111,000 adults that's an impressive £45 GBP per person per year. Among other factors, Zurich blames the "claims farmers" decried here by our Citizens Advice Bureau but also intriguingly says they are "continuing our campaign to combat school arson through initiatives such as our school theatre programme, ACT...."
"After watching his computer expert change vote totals this week, Sancho said that he now believes someone on the inside did the same think in Volusia County in 2000." Leon County, FL election supervisor alleges fraud in the Bush/Gore election. "In Volusia County precinct 216, a memory card added more than 200 votes to George W. Bush's total and subtracted 16,000 votes from Al Gore. The mistake was later corrected during a hand count."