Ever heard of Wigner energy? It caused the worst nuclear disaster in British history. That's because it works much better in fiction than in reality.
You don't always have to be a subtly master manipulator in order to change people's minds and make them your obedient puppets. Sometimes, brute force can be just as persuasive in making people change their own minds for you.
Does someone in your life not want to do something? Do you not care, even the slightest bit, about their wishes? Here's how to force them to complete a task they don't care about, and even feel superior while you're doing it.
Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Are you willing to take money from those who aren't comfortable with it? Then I have just the rigged game for you! Make money from people's uncertainties with the Ambiguity Effect.
Say you want to swindle people. You want to force them to take your bad deals, and give you the minimum amount of lip in return. There's an easy way to sway them. And scientists have demonstrated it with a simple game.
When we are choosing which action to take, one of the most basic calculations which guide us is, "How likely is it to lead to one option or another." We need to think of all possible outcomes, and the rough probability of each one occurring. There is a problem with this. We are not great at assessing probability. …
So, you've decided to be an evil puppet-master. That makes sense, you seem like the type. If you want to turn your fellow human beings into automatons following your direction, all you have to do is scoot over to a bar. Then you need to apply the Drinking Principle.
Every day of our lives, there is the potential for us to learn new and wonderful things. Today I learned that there is such an invention as fart spray. I also learned that I can use it to manipulate people!
The answer is no right now, but soon it will be yes: "Within a few decades, small groups—and even single individuals—will be able to get their hands on any number of extinction-inducing technologies." George Dvorsky explains how in this bone-chilling article.
There's a simple bias that seems to endure. Anyone may accidentally fall into its trap. Once they do, they make it impossible for others to avoid doing the same thing. It's called the Survivorship Bias, and it can be used to convince people of nearly anything.
Hell exists, and it's right here on earth. Or at least, it does in name. Designer Jonathan Hull has made a map of all the places with names derived from the devil.
Do you hear a scritch-scritch-scritch sound coming from under your bed? Don't worry. It's just a scientists down there, recording your uninteresting, "egocentric" chatter and preserving it forever.
So you've taken over the world. Good for you! But how are you going to make the most of your newfound kingdom? By wringing all the money you can out of the oppressed poor using Giffen goods.
Think you've seen the worst that mad science has to offer? How about an experiment in which scientists rendered kittens essentially sightless? And that's not the worst of it. Learn about harnessed kittens, yoked kittens, kittens going over a visual cliff, and researchers fake-punching a kitten.
The past contains lot of objectionable experiments. There was the famous Milgram Experiment, in which participants were made to believe that they were murdering someone. There was the Stanford Prison Experiment, during which students acting as guards or prisoners turned sadistic or masochistic just to see how far…
Want to change someone's mind while pretending to encourage them? All you need to do is set a high standard for something and give them a little time. Even if they reach your standards, they've already self-sabotaged.
Want to find a way to psychologically crush your enemies? There's an easy way to do it. All it takes is a quick question to make them think of the worst aspect of their life, and then asking them, directly, what they think of their life.
We took a trip to Hasbro's toy factory, which you can read about here, but there the most indelible image we came away with was this animatronic Elmo, without his plush skin, laughing us into a shallow grave.
So I'm riding through the post-apocalyptic American northwest when it suddenly hits me — stamps. No one is putting stamps on their mail. I'm missing a gold mine of opportunity here. Seriously, I charge everybody a quarter per letter, and I could retire in like five years. The only question is what do I put on the…
The internet has done a lot for the rise of cats. With the deluge of feline videos and gifs, you'd think the four-legged furballs actually ran the world wide web. But what are cats really like? Answer all your burning questions with Wolfram Alpha's Cat Breeds Reference App.