Friday, April 22, 2022

Pickles, Popcorn, and More Food Science

Like many four-year-old children, one of my daughters is a picky eater. Cucumbers are one of the only vegetables that she'll eat these days. She'll also eat pickles. In fact, she loves pickles! That's why I was happy to see SciShow Kids release a new video all about pickles.  

What Are Pickles? is the latest food science video produced by SciShow Kids. They've previously released others about the science of popcorn, the science of cake, and where bananas come from. They also have a compilation video called You Are What You Eat.

What Are Pickles? explains the process of creating pickles with cucumbers and what happens to the cucumber as a result of the pickling process. 



Like all SciShow Kids videos, the videos about food science are great for introducing a new topic to elementary school students in a way that they can understand. I like to read the transcript of the video and ask students some of the questions before playing the video for them. If you're not sure how to get a transcript of a YouTube video, here's a short demonstration of the process.

An Update to Unraveling an Email Scam

About a month ago I published a video and blog post in which I explained the process that I used to unravel an email scam in which someone claimed to be an intellectual property attorney pursuing a case against me. That blog post turned out to be one the most popular things that I've published this year so I thought that I would provide an update on what has happened since then. 

I replied to the email with an explanation of why the claim was bogus and that they could get lost. I never heard back after that. But since the website was still saved my Chrome profile and predicted whenever I entered URLs beginning with the letter A, I kept an eye on the site. Yesterday morning the site went dead. 

Other People Who Exposed the Scam

After seeing that the site had gone offline my curiosity got the best of me and I went down a rabbit hole of looking to see if there are other people like me who got the same scam email and decided to eviscerate the scammers. I did a search on Twitter and quickly found a few others who came to the same conclusion that I did. 

Shawna Newman was the recipient of the same scam email back in February. Apparently, when she called them out on it they changed the address on their website from New York to Boston. Here's her Tweet about it

Ray Alexander got the same scam email and took the approach that I did. He wrote a lengthy blog post detailing how he unraveled the scam. Here's his Tweet and here's his blog post

Ben Dickson also received the email and decided to publish an unraveling of the scam. Here's his Twitter thread on the topic

Lessons for Everyone

1. Don't be a lame SEO backlink scammer.
 
2. If you do get an email from someone claiming to be an attorney (or similarly tries to appear authoritative) and it doesn't seem right, look at all of the context clues. In this case there were a lot of context clues that made it fairly obvious that there was a scam at play. The first of those clues being that the email was addressed to "owner of website" and not to any particular person.
 
3. Don't click on links in emails that you weren't expecting.