Introducing Bullsh*t Hunting
The mailing list for journalists, activists, shortsellers, investigators & podcasters.
I have a nose for bullshit. Always did.
I am naturally skeptical, and curious and want to find things out for myself. Over years of working with community activists, journalists, activist short-sellers and human rights researchers globally, I found that I generally loved finding, attacking and burning down those that bullshit others for power, money or worse.
Hence the name: Bullshit Hunting. That’s what I do.
I have fielded hundreds, if not thousands of emails, DM’s, Signal messages and calls from folks worldwide asking to teach them my process, how I approach difficult cases and think about investigations. I hope that I can capture this here in this list and that it will bring value, and a smile and perhaps help you undo a harm that’s been done.
My Simple Mind
Too often investigators and analysts are watching presentations, or attending conference talks that are fancy-schmancy, advanced techniques that are either too hard to replicate or require a massive budget just to access the underlying data or tools that are being presented. I’ve been guilty of creating presentations like this myself.
This list will help demonstrate my continued commitment to accessibility, by showing how the most complex cases can be broken down with three simple tools: a web browser, a note-taking application and a spreadsheet. There is no better suite of tools to work with than the ones produced by Google: Google Chrome and Google Drive. It is here that I have broken industrial espionage cases, worked to undo wrongful convictions, fought for survivors of sexual violence and collaborated with people in countless countries. It is a toolchain that can be used by anyone, for free.
Bullsh*t Hunting is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The Art of Bullsh*t Hunting: The Book
Yeah, you read it here first. I am writing my third book and it’s very much about how to methodically apply many of the techniques and tactics contained within this very site. It teaches you how to take a complex subject or case, break it down, organize it and then investigate it using freely available tools. Whether you want to analyze a Netflix series for yourself (looking at you Making a Murderer), you’re performing financial analysis or you are a community activist trying to affect real change. The process works the same because I’ve used it in countless ways with some success.
You will learn how to measure the distance you can throw a human body with Google Earth. I’ll teach you how to “walk” a crime scene to look for oddities (such as someone inexplicably blurring the location of a murder, in a wrongful conviction no less). Tactics for learning your way around internal government, policing and regulatory systems using FOIA requests and a whole bunch of other fun things. All real-world examples that you can go off and try yourself. To go make a difference.
This Substack will offer chapter previews, supporting content and hopefully a lot more that you’ll find valuable.
What Can You Expect Here?
We have weekly instalments that will teach you investigative techniques, blended with humour, interesting side quests, human stories and even a guest post here and there from other experts I trust and respect. Sometimes you might even find these stories in podcasts, documentaries or other media. Stay tuned for that, as impactful content is in my veins and I can’t wait to share more with you.
Here are some special instalments that you’ll see in between my rantings, ramblings and general thoughts on investigative work:
UPC - Yeah You Know Me
An unscheduled instalment that follows me through a product deep dive, starting only with the UPC code on the back of the package and a lot of curiosity. My first post will be on how much voodoo is involved in reading a UPC, something I had really taken for granted.
Freak in the Google Sheets
An unscheduled instalment for the more technically minded. You’ll learn how to unleash the power of Google Sheets to analyze data, scrape websites and prepare visualizations. It’s pretty easy and if you don’t find it that way? I’ll keep writing posts until it is for you!
Unscheduled, unscripted and always unplanned. Side quests are exactly that; posts that I run that are just me constantly scratching my curiosity itch. Stay tuned for whenever the next one comes out. No rhyme, no reason. Likely fueled by my ADHD.
There are multi-chapter, evolving, stories that I will write myself, including behind-the-scenes looks at how I worked a case, audio interviews and other case materials. The first instalment is how a case in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada took me to California instead. Look for this starting November 22nd, 2023.
For the Weekend Warriors, Weirdos and Whack Jobs
I love weird stuff, horror movies and the unexplained. Every Friday, I toss whatever weird, macabre or whacky thing I am watching, reading or listening to into your inbox. It might include weird stories I ran across that week, small investigative challenges or any number of random things that might entertain, horrify or make you laugh. If nothing else you’ll have something to do for the weekend.
I am a big fan of customer feedback and I always want to hear more from you. What would you like to learn? What are some ideas or topics you’d maybe like me to cover? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Or is there a story you think should be told? Email me and let me know! This is, after all, for you.