An Ounce

The Explosive Scam Spawned by a Lethal Lust for Money

October 13, 2023 Jim Fugate Season 5 Episode 41
An Ounce
The Explosive Scam Spawned by a Lethal Lust for Money
Show Notes

 On occasion, society celebrates the Anti-Hero. You know, the one who catches the imagination as a romantic rebel, or the scam artist that takes advantage of the ‘evil’ rich. Characters like the noble Robin Hood or the affable scoundrel who sold the Eiffel Tower (twice). 

This is not one of those stories. 

The story begins with a novelty item, the Golf Ball Finder, called the “Gopher”. The item has a plastic pistol grip with a telescoping metal antenna sticking out in front of it, which swiveled to-and-fro… it even had a small battery powered electronics board inside. 

It was claimed to work like a dowsing rod – only better. Their ad states, “It is tuned to home into the elements found in all golf balls”. The pitch jokingly continues, “Please don’t ask us for the theory of its operation. That’s the main reason we have not applied for patents which would expose this technology. It’s also a great novelty item that you should have fun with, especially for the golfer who has everything.” 

Unfortunately, from the 1990s to as late as 2018, including recent Middle East conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, somebody thought, “I bet they are going to need a way to detect bombs! Let sell them this useless novelty item – the Gopher Golf Ball Finder – we can repackage it as the ADE-651, or Magic Wand as the terrorist began to call it, we’ll pretend it will detect bombs! 

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