Probably not. But here are some techniques grifters use, courtesy of Maria Konnikova and her new book about con artists.
In November, I came across a story that made absolutely no sense to me. A 33-year-old consultant named Niall Rice gave $718,000, little by little, to two Manhattan psychics who promised to reunite him with an old flame. How could someone be so gullible? Rice himself didn’t even seem to know: “I just got sucked in,” he told The New York Timeslater.
As it turns out, it’s much easier to fall for these types of cons than many people think. As Maria Konnikova, a psychologist and New Yorker contributor, explains in her new book, The Confidence Game, grifters manipulate human emotions in genius (and evil) ways, striking right when we feel lovelorn or otherwise emotionally vulnerable. I recently spoke with Konnikova about cons, why they happen, and if there’s any way to avoid becoming a fraudster’s next target. A lightly edited version of our conversation follows.
In the last few days an alarming article making the rounds on social media has revived the idea that our species might be doing itself in by changing the global climate. The article, by vice.com’s Nathan Curry, minces no words in its title: “Humanity Is Getting Verrrrrrry Close to Extinction,” with the extra rs in the original.
Welcome to the world’s singlemost comprehensive source of writings by Francis E. Dec!Below are housed Mr. Dec’s rants – illustrated by me – along with other correspondence written by the man throughout his life. While rants by Dec have been available online in the past, this web site is unique in that it contains material by Dec available nowhere else and which has never before been seenby his fans! Most, if not all of this new material was graciously donated to the Fanclub in late 2008. Dec’s legal correspondence, also available below, was dug up from various government archives during 2006 and 2007 by dedicated Decologist Ted Torbich!
“frustrated with this global inaction, the World Bank released a report on Sunday saying that without significant emissions reductions, the world’s average temperature could climb by 4°C (7.2°F) by as early as 2060. “
” The idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, “the end of living and the beginning of survival” for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.”
Forgive me if I seem … not myself. I’ve been traveling in dark realms, lurking in shadows, trembling in liminal spaces where the imagination turns on itself and consciousness seems more a burden than a blessing. I have glimpsed, however briefly, the invisible, the unspeakable, the unknowable. In short, I have been reading Thomas Ligotti.
If you haven’t heard of Thomas Ligotti, you’re not alone. Despite winning three Braham Stoker Awards and amassing a devoted following among fans of supernatural horror and weird fiction, the reclusive American author remains a relatively obscure figure in the contemporary literary landscape.