10 Reasons Humans Are Naturally Evil

Take a cursory glance at the news headlines for any random day, and it’s not hard to develop a pessimistic attitude towards your fellow man. The endless reports of thieves, bombers, murderers, bigots, racists, and bullies is enough to make you lose all hope humans are capable of one day living in complete peace and harmony. Are we genetically predisposed towards “evil” behaviors like selfishness, violence, and cruelty? Or, is it an unfortunate side effect of our society? Not even those who make a living studying human behavior (psychologists, anthropologists, etc.) can come to a consensus on our inherent nature, but here are 10 facts that suggest we’re naturally a bit more naughty than nice.

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In 2012, author and Harvard professor Steven Pinker wrote a book explaining that, contrary to popular belief, modern people are much less violent than their ancestors. Among other things, he cites the decline in murder rates, a drop in capital punishment, and lower war deaths (proportionally speaking). However, others call the 20th Century the bloodiest, cruelest time in history, fraught with endless wars and unprecedented cases of genocide. According to the Polynational War Memorial there were an astounding 237 wars between 1900 and today, starting with the Boxer Rebellion and continuing to the current war in Afghanistan. So, even if Pinker is right and things are better than they used to be, we still have a craving for war that we just can’t shake.

After watching any of the military training documentaries on the Discovery Channel, it indeed appears like some men were born for battle. They absolutely thrive under the high-pressure, aggression-filled environment of war. Not to mention, they really, really like their weapons. It makes you wonder what these men would do if there was no need to fight—could they even survive a desk job?

Essentially, the question boils down to—are we warring because we have to or because deep down we like it?

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It doesn’t take much online exposure to realize people on the internet are inexplicably mean. Skim through any comment board on any site to see some of the most hate-spewed, dialogue around. What’s weirder is it’s usually unprovoked and over inconsequential stuff that logically shouldn’t trigger so much vehemence. You can’t even post a picture of a cute puppy without someone calling you a douchebag or saying only brainless liberals/republicans post pictures of puppies.

So, what gives? Why are people so stinkin’ mean online?

Many say it has to do with anonymity, which allows us to say things without fear of getting punched in the face. Others theorize many folks have a lot of pent up anger and the internet is a “safe” place to unleash it, and Scientific America claims it’s a result of lack of eye contact. Regardless of how we get away with it or why we do it, it’s evident that in unbridled, anonymous situations many people resort to cruelty.

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If we want to analyze this issue from a genetic point of view, it makes sense to look at our closest living animal relatives for some insight. Unfortunately, this kind of complicates the matter since we are equally related (share 99% DNA) to both chimpanzees and bonobos, and while chimps have a propensity for violence, bonobos follow more of a ‘make love not war’ philosophy (literally). So, what kind of ape are we? Dr. Christopher Ryan, author of Sex at Dawn, tends to think we have more in common with bonobos and would be happiest in a non-competitive, sexually open society.

However, when you watch footage like the violent chimpanzee attack shown in Planet Earth, it’s easy to see the similarities between an organized chimp ambush and our own guerrilla warfare practices. In some cases, the chimps will cannibalize their victims—and any regular reader of Listverse knows humans have their own history with cannibalism.

Some argue we might be more relaxed and free lovin’ too if, like bonobos, we evolved in an environment where we didn’t have to compete for food. Still, we have to consider that today there’s plenty of food to go around if we were all willing to share, yet we continue to fight for resources and power as if it’s a lot more fun than making sure everyone has what they need. That being said, we all know humans are capable of living peaceably and, as scientist Dr. Christopher Boehm points out, it wasn’t until the emergence of human hunter-gatherers that primates started resolving conflicts through truces, trades, and peace pacts. So, while we all have the genetics for peace, it’s unclear whether it’s stronger than our penchant for violence?

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Many of us have a romanticized perception of hunter gatherers, envisioning them as “noble savages” spending most of their days picking berries, hanging out by the fire, and having no concept of jealousy or personal property. There’s a common notion that if it wasn’t for agriculture and industrialization we’d all be stress free and hanging out in hammocks too. Of course, while it is true that hunter gatherers needed an extreme amount of cooperation and sharing to survive, their communal lifestyle didn’t mean there was never bloodshed.

For instance, things aren’t all smiles and rainbows (from a social perspective) in the few remaining hunter gatherer societies left in the world. The Sentinelese people in the Bay of Bengal, for example, have welcomed any would-be visitors to their island with a barrage of arrows and spears. In an incident in 2006, a couple of inebriated fisherman accidentally drifted too close to the island and were promptly killed and buried by the inhabitants. All outside attempts to recover the bodies proved too dangerous, so the island remains the men’s final resting place.

The Sentinelese aren’t the only ones who prefer fighting over negotiation. Anthropologists say two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of nearly constant tribal warfare, and 90% go to war once a year where they lose about 0.5% of their population. What’s worse is their high homicide rate, which results in the deaths of 25-30% of adult males.

Thus, it appears our modern lifestyle isn’t to blame for our violent tendencies, since people who have clearly avoided the industrial and technological revolutions are just as brutal as the rest of us (possibly more so).

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The most convincing evidence that at least some of us are inherently violent is the existence of the so called “warrior gene.” This gene is technically known as monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), and while everyone has it, in a certain percentage of the population this gene exhibits low or no activity. Interestingly, those who have a low-performing MAOA gene are more prone to aggression and violent behavior—hence, the name “warrior gene.”

Just having the gene doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a violent person, yet it does mean you are predisposed towards aggression and impulsive decisions. Researchers have found those who have both troubled upbringings and the warrior gene are most likely to act out negatively. For instance, in a 2009 murder trial, a man was facing the death penalty for sadistically carving up and murdering his wife and her friend. The lawyer cited the warrior gene and an abusive childhood as the man’s defense, and apparently the man’s bad luck in both the nature and nurture departments convinced the jury to give him 32 years in prison instead of death.

It turns out, around one-third of people in the Western world have the warrior gene, and it’s present in as much as two-thirds of people in other, especially tribal, populations. Incidentally, women are less likely to have the gene since women have two copies of the X chromosome (where MAOA is carried), and it’s suspected the availability of two MAOAs would counteract any deficiency.

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In some ways we aren’t much different than the ancient Romans with their gladiator games and fascination with blood and gore. For instance, prime time TV is full of shoot em’ up cop shows and gruesome crime scenes, most news agencies stick with the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ philosophy, and one of the most violent sports in existence, mixed martial arts fighting, has been dubbed the fastest growing sport in the world. Without a doubt, we have a definite attraction to violence.

While most of the research regarding violence in entertainment has to do with how viewing it affects our behavior, perhaps the bigger question is why we like watching it in the first place? Maybe we’re drawn to it as a way to vicariously live out our savage instincts, or possibly we’re not so much attracted to the violence as we are the excitement. Some scientists argue our humdrum, civilized lives lack sensation and the thrill of conflict and danger provides a type of escape. The only problem with that theory is it doesn’t explain why native people also have ritual violence—unless it breaks up the monotony of their days too.

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Towards the end of his life, Freud became largely disenchanted with the human species and considered us one of the worst types of animals. Granted, a lot of his feelings were based on the tumultuous time period in which he lived, as he witnessed World War I and died just as another major war, World War II, was getting started.

In his 1930 book, Civilizations and its Discontents, he wrote “…men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness.”

Hundreds of years before Freud, philosopher Thomas Hobbes had a similarly pessimistic view of humanity and famously wrote that the life of man in his natural state is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Essentially, he believed all men were equally capable of killing, and when two people want the same thing the inevitable outcome is war. In his mind, government and civil society were the only ways to curb the brutishness, yet he admitted even governments and the elite were full of corruption.

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So, if we ignore Freud and Hobbes for the moment and assume other thinkers are correct, like Jean Jacques Rousseau who thought humans were naturally good or John Locke who believed we all started as a blank slate. Then it makes sense to presume babies—people who have been influenced the least by the world—would lean towards goodness or neutrality. But, is that really the case?

It’s difficult to say because, if you’ve spent any time with a toddler, you know at one point in the day he might be smashing his brother on the head with a wooden block and then five minutes later he’s generously offering you the soggy portion of his half-eaten cookie. Also, we have to teach them how to behave in a socially acceptable manner (i.e. don’t hit, bite, steal, and always, always share). If humans are naturally good, why do we have to spend so much time teaching children how to behave?

Despite all the social instruction that goes on during people’s formative years, researcher Arber Tasimi at Yale University believes his studies prove babies are naturally altruistic. The majority of his tests involve putting toddlers in various situations where they can choose to be selfish or helpful without reward. Surprisingly, in many instances the toddlers went out of their way to help others even when it was inconvenient and offered no incentive.

Regrettably, Tasimi’s theories go out the window when a mere cracker enters the equation. Yes, the toddlers in the study would quickly side with a “bad guy” or be unhelpful if it meant getting three graham crackers as opposed to one. Evidently, like most adults, children can be convinced to do wrong if the price is high enough.

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The simple fact that we have any type of government suggests we believe society would spiral into absolute mayhem if there wasn’t someone making and enforcing laws. Essentially, we have very little trust in our fellow man to not kill or steal from us, so we willingly give up many of our own personal freedoms for the sake of protection. This in itself is pretty strong evidence that we believe a large portion of people aren’t innately good.

But would pandemonium actually ensue if we abolished government and lived in an anarchist state? It’s hard to say since hardly any major anarchist groups have existed throughout history—and perhaps that’s proof enough they don’t work. Even most hunter gatherer and tribal people, like the Australian Aborigines, rely on a group of elders to guide their community.

However, there was at least one significant anarchist society in history, which existed in the Ukraine between 1918 and 1921. It was named the Free Territory and consisted of around 7 million people who lived and worked communally to meet their collective needs. Still, even the Free Territory ended up having a leader of sorts in Nestor Makhno who served as the group’s main military strategist and advisor during the Ukrainian Revolution battles. In the end, the Bolsheviks branded the Free Territory as a warlord regime and forcibly overtook their land. Who knows what would have happened if this Ukrainian enclave was left to its own devices for the long term.

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Apparently, our instinct to stay alive and compete for resources starts early… really early. Recently, high-clarity MRIs have shown twins fighting for space in the womb by kicking and pushing their sibling out of the way. Doctors initially planned to use the MRIs to study a different “selfish” condition, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where one identical twin siphons blood away from the other. If stealing blood wasn’t bad enough, in cases of vanishing twin syndrome, a fetus will absorb their weaker uterine companion until it miscarries or simply “vanishes”—a legitimate survival of the fittest situation.

In truth, the twin who’s making off with the extra blood or nutrients isn’t consciously choosing to “steal” from his womb-mate, yet it’s interesting to see how even as fetuses we have to properly balance the available resources if everyone is to survive.

When it comes down to it, all our seemingly violent or egocentric impulses may be ingrained survival instincts. In other words, we’ll do what’s necessary to stay alive and make conditions more comfortable for ourselves. In our modern world some of these self-centered instincts are likely unnecessary, yet it’s quite a challenge to suppress millions of years of evolution.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/05/23/10-reasons-humans-are-naturally-evil/

10 Depressing Experiments About Sex And Gender

We’ve covered a lot of depressing experiments in the past, and because the world isn’t a nice place, we’ve found a lot more. Today, we’re talking about experiments conducted by scientists and even curious members of the public that reveal uncomfortable truths about sexism and how it rears its ugly head in everyday life.

10Being Blonde Instantly Changes How Women Are Treated By Men

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The idea that we’re morally obligated to help other people when they’re in trouble is deeply ingrained in our society, though in practice, it rarely works out that way. Our inclination to help another person can be influenced by everything from whether we think people are watching to how busy we are.

In 2010, New Zealand Star reporter Celeste Gorrell Antiss performed an experiment to see if people would be more inclined to help a blonde or brunette stranger carry some heavy boxes or assist her with car trouble. Though her sample size was small, limited to only a few encounters over a few days, the results showed that as a blonde, Celeste received help four times as often as she did as a brunette.

In another social experiment, brunette student Elyssa Goodman found that when she donned a blonde wig, it only took about 30 minutes for someone to call her a whore to her face. Goodman was wearing exactly the same clothes she’d worn the previous week—the only change was her hair color.

These aren’t cherry-picked examples, either. The so-called “blonde effect”—that is, the phenomenon of men openly treating women differently based on hair color—has been noted by many female bloggers. It’s even been studied by scientists, who have observed that blonde women, along with being far more likely to receive help from men, are paid more than other women in the same positions.

9Benevolent Sexism Is No Better Than Hostile Sexism

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Benevolent sexism is defined as “a set of interrelated attitudes toward women that are sexist in terms of viewing women stereotypically and in restricted roles but that are subjectively positive in feeling tone (for the perceiver) and also tend to elicit behaviors typically categorized as prosocial (e.g., helping) or intimacy-seeking (e.g., self-disclosure).” Though it seems less immediately problematic than overtly hateful sentiments, it has been called the “real barrier holding women back,” and numerous studies have shown that it has a profound negative effect on women.

For example, one study found that men who held benevolently sexist attitudes invariably chose to give women less-challenging tasks than men, robbing them of the chance to prove their competence. In 2007, another study found that women who were exposed to benevolent sexism prior to completing a series of logic puzzles performed worse than women exposed to both hostile sexism and no sexism at all. In 2011, researchers found that when women politely declined an offer to help set up a computer system by a colleague because the task was “too frustrating for a woman,” she was invariably seen as distant and cold. When the experiment was conducted with the genders reversed, the men weren’t viewed negatively at all for declining the offer.

8Sexist Jokes Make People More Sexist

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Sexists jokes are annoyingly common in our culture, but they’re not hurting anyone, right? In actual fact, they may be a lot more harmful than they appear. In an experiment by psychologist Thomas Ford, it was observed that the simple act of telling a sexist joke could influence men’s attitudes toward women. After watching a sexist comedy skit, men were more inclined to agree with cutting funding to a women’s student organization. Even men who previously reported solidly progressive attitudes were more susceptible to sexist behavior after being exposed to sexist humor.

The researchers believe that this effect can be attributed to humor’s tendency to defang a subject and make certain behavior seem acceptable. “We believe this shows that humorous disparagement creates the perception of a shared standard of tolerance of discrimination that may guide behavior when people believe others feel the same way,” Ford concluded. You may think your sexist buddy’s joke is offensive, but it’s likely making you think more offensively.

7Yoga Pants And Homophobia

Women have a dilemma when it comes to comfortable clothes like leggings. While the less-restrictive fit is more practical for everyday life than rough denim or other fabrics, the clingy drape tends to highlight their assets. When YouTube prankster Youseff Saleh Erakat heard from one of his female friends that she couldn’t wear yoga pants without men staring at her, he decided to see how the other half lives. He donned some ladies’ sportswear and spent an afternoon bent over the trunk of his car in a parking lot, filming the reactions of male passersby.

The results were an eye-opening depiction of the current state of casual sexism in the world. Several men did indeed mistake Erakat for a woman and openly check him out, after which Erakat revealed himself and asked “Did you just look at my butt?” While many were happy to laugh at themselves, though, some reacted with outright anger. Upon revealing his identity, Erakat was greeted with everything from homophobic slurs to real threats of violence. It would seem that gay panic is alive and well in these supposedly progressive times.

6Scientists Offer Qualified Women Less Money And Fewer Jobs

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The last few years have seen a huge push to get women into the world of science, and it certainly needs them. In the UK, only 9 percent of hard science academics are women, and the numbers are similar in most developed countries. However, the reason women are in such short supply may not be their fault. A 2012 study showed that female scientists and researchers with the exact same qualifications as their male peers are consistently offered lower salaries and fewer jobs in the world of science.

In this study, several dozen resumes were sent to professors across the country. The resumes were identical except for the name. In almost every case, applicants with female names were seen as less competent, and the professor was less likely to offer them a job. When they did, they offered the female applicants lower salaries. Every professor, “old and young, male and female alike” showed a preference for male applicants.

5Women Are Given Less Money To Fight Disease

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Without research grants, scientists and researchers would be incapable of doing their jobs, and scientific progress would grind to a halt. With that in mind, you’d hope that when it comes to deciding which scientists get money to study something important, like a highly infectious disease, the decision is influenced by more relevant factors than their gender.

Unfortunately, in a study published in late 2013, analyses of 6,000 grant applications in the field of epidemiology found that women were massively less likely to receive funding than men. When they did, the amount awarded was almost always less than that awarded to a male with a similar proposal. These were scientists studying some of the deadliest diseases on Earth, and it’s nothing less than a tragedy that their progress toward kicking those diseases to death was needlessly impeded by something as trivial as gender.

4Feminine Usernames Instantly Increase Harassment

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It is almost a statistical guarantee that if you are a woman, you have been harassed online purely because of your gender. Researchers at the University of Maryland who set up fake online profiles with conspicuously male and female usernames found that the female accounts received around 163 malicious or sexually explicit messages per day, 25 times more than male accounts did. They even determined that these messages didn’t come from “bots” but real men who specifically targeted women online.

A less reliable but equally telling experiment was conducted by female members of Reddit. These women reported that instances of abuse, harassment, and just plain unpleasantness plummeted if they used a gender-neutral username.

3Discrimination Against Women In Classical Music

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Like the world of science, classical music has struggled with deeply ingrained sexism. A study by economist Cecilia Rouse found that auditioning from behind a screen increased a female musician’s chance of being hired by a professional orchestra by as much as 50 percent.

Since blind auditions have become more commonplace, the number of women in symphony orchestras has increased from just 10 percent to around 35 percent. As late as the 1980s, it wasn’t uncommon for a performer to walk to the stage wearing no shoes, just in case the people behind the screen heard her high heels and realized that she was a woman.

2University Faculty Show Overwhelming Preference To White Men

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In early 2014, a group of researchers conducted an experiment to discern whether university faculty showed preference toward students of different races and genders. They sent 6,500 emails to professors at some of the finest schools in America. With the exception of the name at the bottom of each email, they were all identical, containing a simple message asking to meet with the professor to discuss their chosen field.

It was found that in almost every case, white male students were far more likely to receive a reply than any other group. Even professors from the same background were less likely to respond to a minority student than the same email from a white male student. Even more worryingly, faculty in more lucrative fields, such as business and the natural sciences, were especially likely to discriminate against minorities.

1Entitled Equals Sexism

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In a recent study by researchers from Case Western Reserve University and San Diego State University, a link between entitlement and sexism was observed in subjects of both genders. To evaluate attitudes of entitlement, the participants were asked to review a series of statements like “If I were on the Titanic, I would deserve to be on the first lifeboat” and rate how much they agreed with each one. These responses were then compared to responses to sexist statements like “Women seek to gain power by getting control over men” and “Women should be cherished and protected by men.”

In general, entitled men tended to display high levels of hostile sexism, which manifested as a highly critical view of women as manipulative and dangerous. Entitled women, on the other hand, displayed higher levels of benevolent sexism, which invariably manifested as an idealization of their gender bordering on narcissistic. Hopefully, those two sets of people find each other, fight it out, and leave the rest of us alone.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/06/27/10-depressing-experiments-about-sex-and-gender/

10 People Who Got Exactly What They Deserved

Most of us learn at a young age that real life sucks. There are no guardian angels; no one cares if bad things happen to you, and the biggest jerks are usually the ones who become the biggest successes. In short, nature laughs in the face of justice . . . most of the time. Yet no matter how cold and unfriendly the world usually seems, just every once in a while the fates smile down on us and teach some stuck-up fool a lesson they’ll never forget.

10The BBC Trolls The Troll

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Darren Burton is kind of a turd. A 41-year-old committed grief troll, he dedicated a good part of his life to leaving messages like “Rot in Piss” on the Facebook pages of murdered children, justifying his actions by claiming Facebook is “an open forum,” because he doesn’t know what the word “justification” means. For most of us, the obvious response is to ignore such an annoyance and get on with our lives—but the BBC decided a change of tactics was in order. Weirdly, brilliantly, amazingly, one of the most respected news organizations in the world decided to troll the troll.

The ordeal started when journalists “doorstepped” Burton for an unscheduled interview. This resulted in him being unmasked in front of his wife and child in broad daylight. Then, when Burton gave a grudging, unrepentant interview, the BBC broadcast it with his name and location included. What happened next was nothing short of sweet, sweet justice. Burton’s Facebook page was deluged with the exact same sort of abuse he’d been handing out to dead kids, ultimately causing him to delete his account and run away like a scared child. Because the “it’s an open forum” defense only counts when you’re doing the abusing, apparently.

9The Misogynists Forced To Play “Dress Up”

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In the eyes of certain jerks, having ovaries immediately disqualifies you from being human. Jason Householder and his nitwit pal John Stockum were two such jerks. After getting drunk in their tiny Ohio town one day, the pair decided to show their affection toward a nearby woman by hurling beer bottles and abuse at her car. Unfortunately for them, and very fortunately for the rest of us, the local jail was overcrowded when cops brought them in for sentencing. So a local judge came up with a much more fitting punishment.

Householder and Stockum were both forced to put on dresses, wigs, and makeup and parade down Main Street for an hour, in full view of a crowd who taunted them, wolf-whistled, and even chucked a soda bottle. In other words, the two jerks got to experience exactly what they put their victim through—in stereo.

8Guy Turns Tables On Cold Callers

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If you’re still stuck in the 20th-century world of landlines, you’ll know what a pain cold calling can be. Lee Beaumont shares that pain. In 2011, he was getting an average of 30 calls a month from idiots trying to sell him double glazing and whatnot. Then one day, Beaumont decided to turn the tables on his anonymous harassers—and to do it in the simplest, most polite way possible.

Starting in late November 2011, Beaumont changed his home phone into a premium line number. From that point on, any company that rang him was charged 10p (about 16 cents) per minute to conduct its business. And you better believe Beaumont let them talk away. By July this year, Beaumont had made £300 ($470) from nothing more than sitting on his butt—paid for by call centers across the country. Since his story first broke, the amount has gotten even bigger. According to The Guardian, Beaumont is now also raking it in from eager journalists desperate to talk to him about his scheme. Beaumont: 1, Life: 0.

7 Young Bullies Discover Justice Hurts

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As anyone who has ever been in the same room as one can testify, kids are awful. Take the case of 13-year-old Kaytlen. Last year, she and an 11-year-old friend lured a three-year-old girl from a Utah McDonald’s and chopped all her hair off with blunt scissors. Now, obviously this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a three-year-old lured from McDonald’s (for example, she could’ve eaten some of the food), but it’s a pretty rotten thing to do. And you’ll be pleased to hear the punishment fit the crime.

When Kaytlen and her friend wound up in juvenile court, Judge Johansen decided to strike right where it would most hurt a self-conscious adolescent and ordered Kaytlen’s father to cut off her hair.

Yep, nearly all of it. Right there in court, Kaytlen and her friend got to experience the same impromptu hairdressing session as their victim, with the added bonus that it was in front of dozens of people. Oh, and in case you’re thinking this is a little harsh on poor Kaytlen, bear in mind that she had previously spent eight months terrorizing another kid with anonymous telephone calls threatening to rape and mutilate her. So yeah, she basically got everything she deserved.

6 Immature Guy Gets Legally Owned

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One of the hardest things about being a parent must be discovering that you’ve accidentally raised a jerkwad. In 2011, an unidentified Spanish couple had this forcibly rammed home when their unemployed, live-at-home son sued them to get his allowance increased. Just to be clear, the son was 25 years old and the parents only stopped his allowance because he refused to find a job. In other words, he was probably the most punchable man in the whole of Spain—and fortunately, the country’s legal system recognized this.

When it came to trial, the judge not only threw the case out, he issued a court order giving the guy 30 days to get his act together and get out his parents’ house. Even better, he was legally required to find a job and (presumably) stop being such a crying baby.

5Homophobes Pick The Wrong Battle

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In October 2009, two Welsh thugs—Dean Gardener and Jason Fender—were out on the streets of Swansea, looking for trouble. Tanked up on 10 pints of cider, the two thought they’d found their ideal victims when they spotted a pair of transvestites walking down the street in full, garish drag. Thanks to a combination of being drunk and being awful human beings, Gardener and Fender proceeded to launch a verbal and physical assault on the pair. And that’s when things got real.

The two transvestites just happened to be cage fighters on a fancy-dress night out. When Gardener and Fender came at them, they sidestepped the first punches, before handing out a brutal smackdown. What followed was a deeply gratifying beating that saw the thugs reduced to—well, exactly the sort of sobbing, unconscious mess you’d expect from someone who just took on a trained cage fighter. When the dust had settled, the two transvestites simply shouldered their bags and strutted off into the Welsh night, leaving Gardener and Fender to be booked by some highly amused policemen.

4Putting Adultery On eBay

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In 2008, an unnamed Australian woman came home to find her husband looking awkward in his underwear, the back door hanging slightly open and—most incriminating of all—a pair of lacy knickers stuffed under the pillow. Whereas most of us would probably either chuck our cheating spouse out or simply break down and cry at this point, the Aussie woman did something far more awesome. She set up an eBay account and began flogging off the evidence of her husband’s affair.

First up were the knickers, listed as “Tart’s Knickers” and coming with a description that noted they were big enough to use as a Halloween shawl. Second was the condom wrapper: “size small.” Third, and most-hilariously, was the husband’s Harley Davidson motorcycle—sold for 99 cents with no reserve. In no time at all, the scorned woman showed her unnamed husband who was the undisputed boss of bitter, hilarious revenge; and she did it without ever once stooping so low as to publicly name and shame her rival. Now that’s classy.

3Gym Bully Gets Owned By Internet

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If you’re a flabby weakling, going to the gym can be a dispiriting experience (trust me on this one). Aside from being forced to accept you’ll probably never lift anything heavier than your laptop, you’ve also got to deal with meatheads making comments about your less-than-impressive physique—or even taking mocking pictures. Unless, that is, Reddit happen to gets involved.

Last month, some Australian jock made the mistake of photographing other gym users and uploading the pictures to Facebook with insulting commentary. Somehow, both Reddit and 4chan’s “fit” board got wind of it and decided to harness their collective nerd rage to teach this punk a lesson.

First, they got his personal information. Then they used it to call his mother and explain to her what a doofus her son was. Then they tracked down the guy’s gym and explained the same thing to the manager. Finally, they sat back and watched as the bully saw his life crumble around him. In quick succession, his mother cut him off financially, his friends all decided he wasn’t much of a friend, and the gym owner banned him from the entire chain of gyms. What was that about revenge being a dish best served cold?

2Acid Thrower Feels Victim’s Pain

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In 2004, Iranian jerkmuncher Majid Movahedi showed the world what a terrible person he was by throwing acid over Ameneh Bahrami as she walked home from work, blinding her. Bahrami had previously turned down his offer of marriage, and in Movahedi’s disturbed little mind, that slight apparently demanded a face full of acid. But here’s where things get interesting. Iran operates under strict sharia law, and sharia law allows “eye for an eye” style punishments. In Bahrami’s case, she took this literally. When Movahedi came to trial, she asked the court for a special favor. She wanted Movahedi blinded by acid.

And the court said yes.

For the next three years, Movahedi lived knowing he was going to feel the exact same pain and fear that his victim had. In 2011, he was taken into Tehran hospital and sedated, knowing he’d be blind when he woke up. Before you think I’ve gone totally mad and started advocating cruel and unusual punishment, I should add that Bahrami called off the procedure at the last second, saying she’d never intended to actually go through with it and would rather forgive her attacker. Movahedi got to keep his sight, but crucially he got to understand exactly the sort of fear and misery his victim must have felt all those years before. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

1The Premature Bomber

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In winter 2010, a terrorist cell in Russia was preparing to commit one heck of an atrocity. With the year coming to an end, the three unnamed women were planning to strap on suicide belts, wander into the partying crowds of Moscow and detonate. The result would have been carnage on an unprecedented scale—a slaughter comparable to the 7/7 attacks in London. Only something went wrong. Hilariously wrong.

See, Russian suicide bombers are often sent out with a cell phone wired to their belts. If someone texts the number, the bomb detonates—meaning their recruiters can remotely explode them if the bombers fail to carry out an attack. It’s a darkly impressive system, but one that can backfire if used by particularly stupid people—the kind of people who turn the phones on before they leave the safe house, say. (In an era when companies are sending out spam texts by the thousands, no less.)

An hour or so before the attack was supposed to be carried out, one of the women received an automated text wishing her a happy New Year. Her belt instantly detonated, killing her and wiping out the safe house, causing the other would-be terrorists to flee into the night, unarmed and harmless. Not a single civilian was hurt in the explosion, and the blast alerted Russian authorities to a possible attack. In other words, it was divine intervention at its absolute, hilarious best—and saved countless lives in the process. Now that’s justice.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/09/19/10-people-who-got-exactly-what-they-deserved/

Another 10 Moral Dilemmas

Some people have hypothetical minds that like to debate what is right and wrong. Sometimes, however, what is right and wrong is not so clear, as is the case in a moral dilemma. Three years ago, Jamie Frater created a list of 10 agonizing moral dilemmas. Now that it’s so old, I think it’s time for 10 more. Be sure to tell us what you would do in each case.

Titanic-Lifeboats-5

You are stranded with thirty people on a lifeboat that is intended to hold only seven. No one can paddle this heavy boat and it is definitely going to sink, drowning everyone inside it. It occurs to you that you can save some of the people in the lifeboat by throwing all but the strongest rowers overboard. Do you think it would be morally permissible to save some people by throwing others overboard, especially seeing that, otherwise, everyone, including those thrown overboard, would have drowned anyway?

Sick-Woman-In-Bed

Your wife is suffering from a debilitating disease that has put her in constant and permanent pain and agony. Finally, one day, she decides that she really wants to die. However, her condition is such that she cannot die on her own. She is begging and pleading with you to help her commit suicide. This would, of course, be illegal. What would you do?

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You are a child slave in Africa, laboring away 18 hours a day making rugs. One night, you have a dream: God comes down from heaven and tells you that no one, not one person in the world, is buying your rugs. Would you feel:

a. Disappointed and anguished because you truly are going through all this slavery for nothing, or
b. Pleased because no one is benefiting from your cruel treatment.

Stock Traintracks Close

Slightly based on the trolley dilemma; there is a train that, much to your horror, is about to run over your own son, who has been tied to its track. It just so happens that you have only enough time to pull a lever which will send the train down an alternate track saving your son. However, you see that, tied to the other track, is your best friend, who recently saved your life and you have yet to repay him for doing so. What would you do?

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You are living with your family in a scarce, poverty-stricken country. Where you live, there is no food bank, and you and your family are starving to death. One day, you are out trying to find some sort of food to nourish your family, when something miraculous (or problematic) occurs. You find a huge sack full of money that has fallen off the back of a truck. You realize this would be a fortune to your family, but there is one obvious catch. This money has to belong to someone else, and to take it and use it for your family would be stealing. You could explain your situation to the rightful owner of the money, but how can you know he’ll be a generous person? Would you:

a. Return the money to its rightful owner or
b. Take the money and use it to help your family.

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One month ago, your 14-year-old daughter had a sleepover with her best female friend, which went very well and both girls had a good time. However, now, she is telling you that she is inviting her male friend over to do the same thing. Neither you, nor her, have ever viewed him as a boyfriend or an intimate partner of any kind, just a friend who happens to be male. He has agreed to come and stay with your daughter overnight, but you are worried that the event could escalate into teen sexuality and consider forbidding him to stay overnight, or telling your daughter not to invite him. Yet, you don’t want to be unfair to your daughter or her friend. She insists to you that he is just a casual friend and no sexual activity will occur. What would you do?

Antibiotics

You and your friend are stranded on an island. Unfortunately, you are both fatally ill. It just so happens that you have an antibiotic that can cure your illness. Sadly enough, there is just enough antibiotic to save only one person. How could you and your friend choose which one of you will take the antibiotic? Do you think that either person who takes it will, or should, feel guilty for the other person dying, although if neither of you take it, you will both die?

Judge

You are a Judge presiding over the trial of an alleged bank robber, who you know is innocent. However, something terrible in your life has happened: The enemies of the robber have kidnapped your 9-year-old daughter and have held her hostage. You don’t know where she is. The police have tried to locate her to no avail. The kidnappers have left you an anonymous note saying that if you convict the robber, they will set your daughter free. You fear the kidnappers could be abusing or even torturing your child. What would you do?

Paramedic-With-Casualty-Ajhd

You are a paramedic and you have been called to help a young boy who was in a car accident. On the way to the emergency, you get in an accident with your elderly uncle, who you know and love dearly. He is knocked out, but you are able to determine that he is probably not terribly injured and is likely to survive without immediate medical attention. However, if you stop to help your uncle, or even call backup, you know for sure that the boy will die. The only way you can save the boy is if you drive away immediately. Would you:

a. Stop for your uncle or
b. Leave and help the boy.

Spiderman Crossing Road

You are speeding in your car on a one-way street, through very thick woods with a mad gunman chasing you and shooting at you from behind. Up ahead, you see a pedestrian crossing the street. You figure you have enough time to stop to let him cross, but with the thick woods, you cannot drive around him. Would you:

a. Stop to let the pedestrian cross, even though you are being shot at or
b. Hit the pedestrian and continue speeding away from the gunman.

Sophies-Choice

This is a true story that happened in World War 2. You are an inmate, imprisoned in a concentration camp. A guard tells you that you must choose one of your two children for him to take to the gas chamber. If you choose neither, he will take them both. What would you do? (Apparently, Sophie told him to take her younger daughter, she lost track of her older son, and she later committed suicide from the guilt of having chosen between her children).

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/12/26/another-10-moral-dilemmas/

10 Notorious Cases of the Bystander Effect

The bystander effect is the somewhat controversial name given to a social psychological phenomenon in cases where individuals do not offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help has in the past been thought to be inversely proportional to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. This list describes the prototype of the effect and cites nine particularly heinous examples.

Good Samaritan Poster

First, the prototype of the bystander effect. Jesus tells a story to a lawyer, who, in all other ways, is blameless and upright in God’s eyes. He obeys the Ten Commandments, and loves his neighbor as himself. But he asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus then explains, with the following parable, that everyone is everyone’s neighbor, and that help should be offered to anyone in need of it, regardless of who or what that person is.

A Jew is going along the road, and is beset by bandits, who beat him severely, strip his clothes, and rob him. They leave him for dead. Later, a priest walks by. He sees the Jew, moves to the other side of the road, and walks by without helping. Later, a Levite goes by, sees him, and gives him a wide berth, going on without helping.

Later, a Samaritan (considered by the Jews to be outcasts) comes by, sees him, and immediately helps him, taking him to a nearby inn, caring for him, and paying the innkeeper.

“Which of these is the neighbor of the Jew who is beaten by robbers?” Jesus asked.

“The merciful one,” replied the lawyer.

“Go and do likewise.”

In the following nine examples, no one goes and does likewise.

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From the 10th to the 11th of Janury, 1992, 12-year-old Shanda Sharer was abducted and tortured by four teenage girls, Laurie Tackett, Melinda Loveless (a propo), Hope Rippey, and Toni Lawrence. Tackett was more or less the leader of the four, and interested the others in the Goth lifestyle, punk rock, vampirism, witchcraft, Satanism, lesbianism, and such, and devised the plan for abducting Sharer and stabbing her to death, out of revenge for stealing Loveless’s girlfriend.

They abducted Sharer from her house just after midnight, pretending to take her to see their mutual friend, Amanda Heavrin, the girlfriend Loveless believed Sharer to have stolen. As soon as she was in the car, Loveless put a knife to her throat and interrogated her about Heavrin, until they arrived at “the Witch’s Castle,” a local run-down house where teenagers liked to hang out.

They took her inside, tied her up and discuss how they would kill her, at which point Sharer started crying. They claim to have been frightened by passing headlights, so they took her to a nearby landfill in thick woods, where Loveless beat her savagely with her fists. Lawrence and Rippey claim to have wanted out of the situation by this point, but did not dare try to run and call the police.

Loveless then tried to cut Sharer’s throat but the knife was too dull. Rippey then got out, had Loveless and Tackett hold her down, and strangled her with a rope. They thought she was dead and threw in the trunk, then went to Tackett’s home to wash up. They heard Sharer screaming, and Tackett went out with a kitchen knife and returned covered in blood. The screaming had stopped.

She then took out her runes, part of the Wicca lifestyle, and told the girls’ futures. They then Tackett and Loveless went joyriding from 2:30 AM, while Lawrence and Rippey stayed at her home. Sharer began struggling to get out of the trunk, so Tackett stopped, and beat her unconscious with a tire iron.

They returned a little before dawn, washed up again, and Tackett laughed as she told what she had done. They left and went to a neighborhood burning area, where leaves and limbs, etc., are disposed of, and showed Sharer, nearly dead in the trunk to the others. Lawrence claimed to have been so disgusted that she turned away. She still refused to rat out her friends. Tackett sprayed Sharer with Windex, probably to exacerbate her wounds, and taunted her, “You’re not looking so hot, now, are you?”

They then filled a 2-liter Pepsi bottle with gasoline at a nearby station, drove to a secluded field, laid Sharer, alive, in a blanket in the grass, doused and set her afire. Loveless returned a moment later and poured the rest of the gasoline on her, to be sure.

Lawrence was scared to death by this point, and finally called a friend of the same age, and told her what had happened. She refused to call the police, now out of fear as an accomplice. Loveless strangled became hysterical, sorry about what she had done, and called Amanda Heavrin to tell her. Heavrin did not believe them, until she and another friend saw the trunk of Tackett’s car with blood and Sharer’s socks.

None of them called the police. Sharer’s body as discovered by two hunters earlier that morning, the 11th, and reported. By 8:00 PM that night, the whole community knew, and Loveless finally confessed in a fit of hysteria to the police. Tackett, Loveless, and Rippey were sentenced to 60 years in prison, Lawrence 20 years. Lawrence was released on good behavior in 2000, Rippey in 2006.

Ilan-Halimi

Ilan Halimi was a French Jew who was kidnapped in Paris by Moroccan “barbarians,” as they like to be called, on Janury 21, 2006, and tortured for 24 days, finally dying on February 13. During this time, his kidnappers, at least 20 of them, beat him all over his body, especially his testicles, completely wrapped his head in duct tape, except for his mouth, so he could breathe and eat, stabbed him, burned his body and face with lighters and cigarettes, and broke his fingers in order to extract a ransom of 450,000 Euros from his family. They stripped him, they scratched him, they cut him with knives, and finally poured gasoline on him and set him afire.

During these three weeks, neighbors in the apartment block where his kidnappers had taken him (and where they lived) heard the commotion and came to watch. No one ever called the police. 27 people have so far been charged with joining in. 19 people have been convicted and given long prison sentences. One of the torturer’s fathers knew what was happening and did nothing to stop them. This man, Alcino Ribeiro, was sentenced to 8 months, but this sentence was suspended. He has served no time.

Those neighbors known only to have watched were not convicted, most not even indicted. Halimi was found handcuffed and bound with nylon rope, naked, to a tree about 40 yards inside a woodlot from a railway outside Paris, on February 13. More than 80% of his body had been burned with acid, as well as gasoline, to the point that he was difficult to recognize. He had severe contusions, blood blisters, and hematomas covering most of his body, to the point that he was more blue than flesh-colored, multiple broken bones, one ear and one big toe missing, and his testicles looked like “blackened oranges.”
Halimi died en route to a hospital.

Topsy2

Not just Topsy the Elephant, but a rather long series of animals, all of which had shown themselves to be a danger to humans. This included horses, lions, tigers, and bears. Edison was happy to oblige the state of NY in executing these “menaces to society,” by employing alternating current, but his ulterior motive was merely to show the world the danger of alternating current, invented by Nikola Tesla, his arch-rival. Edison’s direct current didn’t have the strength to electrocute an elephant, and he considered it safer.

So, on January 4, 1903, at Luna Park Zoo, Coney Island, Topsy was hooked up to Edison’s lighting plant, and electrocuted with 6,600 volts of AC. But this was after they fed her carrots that had been soaked in cyanide, just to be sure. They deemed Topsy to be a permanent threat to humans, as she had killed three handlers in three incidents, one of which involved a handler, who regularly whipped her, trying to feed her a lighted cigarette just to watch her suffer. She stomped on him.

1,500 people watched, and no one said a word in complaint. Edison filmed it, and the film is available on YouTube, if you feel like being outraged. The funny thing is that the ASPCA, which is supposed to protect the rights of animals, considered hanging to be cruel, as it would cause strangulation, not a snap of the neck, and yet had no problem with cyanide poisoning and electrocution.

Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter was a South African Photojournalist who, in March 1993, took the most infamous photograph, so far, of the brutality and disregard for human suffering in sub-Saharan Africa. The photo shows a female Sudanese toddler, alone and severely emaciated, attempting to crawl to an aid station for food. A vulture is standing on the ground behind her, waiting for her to die so it can eat her.

Carter claimed that he waited 20 minutes for the vulture to spread its wings, which he thought would make a better picture, and when it didn’t, he took the picture as is. For those 20 minutes, the toddler had to rest before resuming its trip. She whimpered and panted, and Carter did nothing to help her.

He took the picture, scared the vulture away, then left the girl to continue crawling on her own. No one knows what became of her, but it very likely that she starved to death. This account is denied by Joao Silva, a journalist friend of Carter, who stated that the child’s parents left for only a moment to take food from a plane. Either way, Carter claimed later that he just “didn’t want to get involved.” He killed himself the next year, after winning the Pulitzer for this photograph, by carbon monoxide poisoning, in his truck in Johannesburg.

Historicindians Large

This was not a single incident, but all the major crimes against the Indians were perpetrated for the same reason. European settlers and their descendants wanted more land. They thus drove the Indians westward, killing hundreds of thousands over the centuries, in order to make way for themselves. Unfortunately, no land is ever enough land. They wanted more, and the Indians continued being deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The most astonishing aspect of this crime is that many notable Americans, especially Andrew Jackson, considered it righteous, as the Indians did not have the military strength to defend themselves, and thus deserved to lose their rights. Survival of the fittest, so to speak. Jackson is the man most directly responsible for the “Trail of Tears” relocation of the Cherokee. Later, the Navajo and Sioux, to name just two large tribes, were slaughtered in outright warfare.

Very few Europeans or their descendants, from 1585 with the Lost Colony, to the turn of the 20th Century, ever raised much of a fuss, if any at all, over this disgustingly awesome mistreatment of an entire race of humans.

Kkk-Crystalpool

If you’ve seen the film “Mississippi Burning” you’re familiar with the murders of James Chaney (black), Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman (both white, Jewish). The White Knights of the KKK shot them dead and buried them in an earthen dam in 1964. The outrage in the northern half or so of the United States was immediate and fierce, as it should have been.

But there was no public outcry of any kind in the South. Very few black people, especially in Mississippi, had anything to say about the crime, as they didn’t dare incur the wrath of the white authorities. But the truly astonishing aspect is the absence of an outcry by many white people, if any, as they either agreed with the crime, or just didn’t care about the plight of blacks (and Jews, and anyone other than “WASPs”) in the South.

Racial hatred had become so rampant and impudent that the Judges who presided over the various criminals of this sort of case rarely convicted them, and then imposed the lightest sentences. The culprits of the three 1964 murders, 17 of them, were tried, and only 7 were convicted, not of murder, but of “civil rights violations,” because the prosecution didn’t believe they could be convicted, in Mississippi, of murder, which was probably true. The harshest sentences were 10 years each to two culprits. Others received 7 years, or 3 years. No one served more than 6.

2866829171 Kitty Genovesex

The most infamous example of the bystander effect took place on March 13, 1964, in Kew Gardens, Queens, NY, when Catherine Genovese was entering her apartment building at about 3:15 AM, from work. She was stabbed twice in the back by Winston Moseley, a heavy machine operator, who later explained that he simply “wanted to kill a woman.”

Genovese screamed, “Oh, my God! He stabbed me! Help me!” and collapsed. Several neighbors in surrounding buildings reported hearing her voice, but decided it was probably just a drunken brawl or lovers’ spat. One man shouted from his window, “Let that girl alone!” which scared Moseley away.

This neighbor was sure to have seen Genovese crawling across the street, under a streetlight, to her apartment, but did nothing to help her. Witnesses saw Moseley drive away, then return about 10 minutes later. He had put on a wider-rimmed hat to hide his face, and searched for Genovese in the parking lot, the train station, and the apartment complex, for 10 minutes, before finding her prone in the external hallway at the rear of the building, where the door was locked. She could not get in.

Moseley proceeded to stab her to death, inflicting multiple wounds in her hands and forearms, indicating that she tried to fight him off. She finally succumbed and he raped her as she lay dying. He then stole around $50 from her and fled. The whole incident spanned 30 minutes.

A newspaper blasted it the next day as “Thirty-eight Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call Police,” but this is inaccurate. There were approximately 12 people who claimed to have seen the first attack. Many of them later stated that they “just didn’t want to get involved.” A simple phone call to the police would have sufficed, but everyone assumed someone else would do it.

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The events that transpired on the night of October 27, 2009 inspired me to compile this list and I admit that it has caused me to reconsider the crime of the #1 entry.

The girl’s name has not been released to date, as she is 15 years old, but the accounts of the crime all agree, and it is beyond belief. For 2 and a half hours, while the High School Homecoming Dance was taking place inside the gymnasium, approximately 10 men gang-raped the 15-year-old student, beating her savagely the whole time, all the while 10 others stood around laughing and taking pictures with their cell phones.

The crowd eventually numbered more than 20, and no one called the police. No one went inside to tell a security guard or a policeman, several of which were on campus at the time. A little earlier, the assistant principal looked out his office window and saw 12 to 15 grown men sitting around near the scene of the crime, none of whom had identification badges, as is required, and none of whom appeared to be a teenager, and the assistant principal did not call the police, or alert any teachers or students. He returned to his job and ignored them.

The girl is still in critical condition at a hospital, having been found later by someone leaving the dance.

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The most repugnant, globally violent disgrace of the reputation of humanity gave rise to the equally infamous use of the phrase “diffusion of responsibility,” as the Nazi officers tried at Nuremberg all claimed the same defense, “We were just following orders.”

They argued that if the Holocaust really was as bad as journalists were saying, then someone else must surely have known of it, and thus it was not necessarily their responsibility to report it to the authorities.

They also argued that the only authorities in Continental Europe at the time were German, and thus, they would only have killed themselves by attempting to inform the outside world, and would have accomplished nothing. This is not true. Most of the German population knew nothing of it, but had they, they could easily have banded together and demanded that the Holocaust be stopped. The Nazis would have been reluctant to exterminate their own “master race,” and by that point, the Allies would have heard news of it. So the Nazis wisely concealed the concentration and death camps from all but the small villages nearest to them.

The Holocaust achieves #1, however, because the populations of the villages near these camps, Dachau, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen, and Ravensbruck, to name a few, knew perfectly well of the atrocities and horror inside the camps. The camps were established near fairly large towns and cities, the inhabitants of which could not have ignored the stench coming from them. Allied soldiers all reported smelling camps before finding them, from as far as 20 miles if the wind blew right.

The Allies accused the German citizens of these towns of knowing full well what was happening to Jews and other “undesirables” and yet making no effort to save one life. These German populations were thus forced to clean up the emaciated corpses and bury them in mass graves, as punishment for their passivity.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/11/02/10-notorious-cases-of-the-bystander-effect/

10 Titillating Facts About Nipples

Nipples are mysterious things. We all have them, and they provided the first nourishment many of us received in our lives, yet they remain taboo. How much do we really know about nipples? The answer may surprise you.

10Look Ma, No Nipples!

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We’re so accustomed to seeing nipples on people’s chests that we hardly give a second thought to what it would be like without them. However, this is a reality for people who have athelia, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the development of nipples in the womb. Those with the disease are born with only one nipple or none at all.

Athelia can be benign on its own, but for most, it is a symptom of a medical condition like ectodermal dysplasia (ED) or Yunis-Varon syndrome (YVS). ED is a genetic condition that can interfere with the development or function of the teeth, hair, nails, and sweat glands. There are about 7,000 diagnosed cases around the world.

Those who suffer from YVS are even less fortunate. In addition to the ectodermal tissue problems caused by ED, the disease also affects their skeletal system, respiratory system, and heart. It was first recognized in the 1980s, and fewer than 15 cases have been reported since then. While ED sufferers can live relatively normal lives if their condition is properly managed, many of those who have YVS do not survive infancy.

9Prosthetic Nipples

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For those not in the know, wooden peg legs and iron hooks are not the only prostheses available on the market. For those who desire to augment their nipples, there are a wide variety of options available. But nipple prostheses were created for a far nobler cause than pirate fashion: the emotional and psychological relief of breast cancer patients.

The most surefire way to eliminate breast cancer and prevent it from coming back is a surgery called mastectomy, the complete or partial removal of one or both breasts, which often means the loss of nipples. Women who have undergone mastectomy have been shown to suffer severe psychological distress after the loss of their breasts and nipples, including a decreased desire for sex. Prostheses are a cheap, risk-free alternative to expensive, painful reconstruction for these women, and they have seen a surge of popularity in recent years. Since stress can be detrimental to proper recovery and may even encourage cancer cell growth, fake nipples could even be a lifesaver.

8Nipple Makeup

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Japan is home to some pretty bizarre subcultures and fashion trends, the latest of which is an obsession with pink nipples. Since permanent methods of altering nipple color, such as tattooing, can be painful and expensive, some have turned to nipple makeup. As an added bonus, users can choose among a variety of colors to suit their specific preferences or even their mood. You can have a new nipple color every day if you want, just like facial makeup.

But Japan doesn’t have a monopoly on nipple cosmetics—they are not even the first to invent them. The quest for perfectly plush and rosy tips dates back centuries, all the way to the Renaissance. During those times of chivalry and romance, Venetian courtiers had a few tricks up their sleeves to delight their knights in shining armor. One of those tricks was called pezzuola di Levante, a small piece of cloth dyed with pigment and used to add a beautiful reddish tint to their lips, cheeks, and nipples.

In the modern age, one of the companies that pioneered the production of nipple cosmetics hails from the United States. In 1977, a San Francisco cosmetic company called Benefit decided to answer the call of an exotic dancer who wanted a product to “make her nipples pop out and seem rosier.” The result was a product called Benetint, which is normally used to stain the lips and cheeks but was created for use on any body part the user wants to be a bit redder.

7Female Koro

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As we’ve previously mentioned, koro is a cultural psychological disorder affecting mostly Southeast Asian males that is characterized by intense paranoia that their penis is retreating into their bodies. But koro can affect women as well, although it is much rarer. Female koro sufferers are convinced that their nipples are being sucked into their breasts, which may or may not also be accompanied by the sudden retraction of their labia.

Traditionally, possession by a malevolent female ghost or a fox spirit is believed to be the cause of female koro. The recommended treatment is to make loud noises, usually with a gong or fireworks, to frighten the ghost away. If scaring the ghost does not work, the next course of action is to exorcise it through pain. The sufferer’s head is first covered in fishnet before she is severely beaten with branches. Her nipples will be pulled while the exorcism is taking place to ensure that they don’t disappear, which is believed to cause instant death.

It might seem strange to think that shrinking unmentionables could be fatal, but it all boils down to yin and yang, the respective negative feminine and positive masculine forces of Chinese philosophy. An imbalance of these forces in the body is believed to result in numerous ailments depending on which part of the body is affected by the imbalance, possibly leading to death. Koro is thought to be one such condition that results from an imbalance of yin and yang.

6Nipple Orgasms

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Orgasms caused solely by nipple stimulation may seem ludicrous to most of us, but a brain-mapping study recently revealed its wondrous possibilities. Researchers from Rutgers University used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to view the brain activity of women touching themselves in various places. When the women were asked to stimulate their nipples, the data gathered revealed that nipple stimulation lights up the same part of the brain connected with genital stimulation, leading researchers to postulate that it has the same effect.

Before you boys start feeling cheated, there’s good news for you, too. Initial data from the study indicated that men were capable of the same response.

5The World’s Strongest Nipples

Anyone unfortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of a “purple nurple” is painfully familiar with the sensitivity of nipples, but that’s no concern for Sage Werbock. More famously known by his stage name, “The Great Nippulini,” Werbock built a career as a nipple strongman, lifting or pulling heavy objects with his nipples.

Werbock was inspired to make money with his herculean nipples when he saw videos of performers lifting things with their chests. He noticed that he had bigger nipples than they did and wondered if he could use his nipples instead of his chest to lift weights. He was right: The Great Nippulini is able to lift 32 kilograms (70 lb) on each side, earning him the world record for the most weight lifted by the nipples in 2009. Apparently unsatisfied with only one world record under his belt, he earned another in 2011 for pulling a nearly 1,000-kilogram (2,200 lb) vehicle across a distance of 20 meters (66 ft). Werbock achieved these feats even though he had suffered an accident in 2004 in which one of his nipples was partially ripped off during a performance. As horrifying as his act may sound, he claims that it does not cause him pain.

4Fashionably Exposed Nipples

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When we picture women from centuries past, we always think of tightly laced gowns, modest dress, and definitely not nipples bandied about freely. However, recent studies on medieval fashion have shed new light on the subject. It looks like our venerable ancestors might not have been that different from modern people—in some ways, they were even more daring. For example, bare breasts with nipples in full view was a trend among the fashionably inclined between the 14th and 18th centuries.

It all began with Agnes Sorel, the mistress of King Charles the VII of France. Since King Charles’s wife preferred staying home to take care of her children to prancing around in court, Agnes soon took over such queenly duties, acting as the king’s consort during public ceremonies and functions. With her influence over the king and her constant presence at court, Agnes wielded great influence over the nobility, especially the women. Being one of the most beautiful women of her age, she liked to show off her womanly charms, particularly by flaunting her marvelous breasts. She was known to order her gowns intentionally designed to allow either one or both of her breasts to be displayed, and many noblewomen followed her lead. Agnes’s nipple-baring antics became so troubling for the Church that a bishop lodged a complaint with the king to stop her sinful ways.

Several decades after Agnes’s death, an influential noblewoman from Mantua named Isabella d’Este revived the fashion in the Italian and French courts. She was so successful that even the queen of France joined in on the nipple-baring fun. The noblewomen during this period were so concerned with keeping their breasts pert and their nipples in perfect shape that they hired wet nurses to suckle their offspring, saving them from the disfiguring effects of breastfeeding.

3Drugged Nipples

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Thailand is a beautiful country, rich with magnificent natural wonders and spicy cultural heritage that will entrance any traveler. The country has become one of the most visited destinations in recent years, making the tourism industry one of its biggest moneymakers. A sizable part of this industry caters to the sexual appetites of foreigners, thanks to the country’s liberal prostitution laws. Thai gangs soon shifted their attention to fleecing these well-heeled tourists out of their money.

These gangs have a bizarre modus operandi, discovered in 1997 after several gang members at a Pattaya beach resort were busted during the investigation of the deaths of more than a dozen tourists by drug overdose. Their strategy is both simple and irresistible: A female or kathoey (transgender) member of the gang applies drugs to her nipples, lures an unsuspecting tourist to a hotel room or other secluded spot, and encourages him to lick her nipples, knocking him out within minutes. When the victim wakes up, nothing is left for him but the clothes on his back. Thai police have denied that this is still going on, but if you’re thinking of taking an Asian vacation, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to pretty strangers.

2Supernumerary Nipples

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Human nipples usually grow in pairs, but thanks to some quirks of nature, about 1–5 percent of the population have more than two. The extra nipples that signify a condition called polythelia usually appear along the milk lines of the torso, an evolutionary leftover from our multi-nippled ancestors. But they can also grow on other parts of the body—one woman even had a well-formed nipple, complete with an aureola and nipple hair, growing on her foot. Since most supernumerary nipples are not fully formed, they are often mistaken for moles or warts, which means that some people are not even aware they have them.

During medieval times, extra nipples were called “witches’ teats” or “witches’ marks” and considered to be a sign that the bearer was consorting with diabolical forces. Demonologists of the period believed that an extra nipple was used by witches to suckle imps or their familiars with their blood. Nowadays, there is no longer any negative stigma attached to having extra nipples. Some famous personalities have even admitted to having them in recent years.

1Sucking The King’s Nipples

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Royal ceremonies are splendid things to watch. However, if modern monarchies followed the same rituals and traditions as the ancient Irish, the whole affair would have at least a PG-13 rating. To the ancient Celtic inhabitants, the king’s nipples were considered sacred, and they showed their obedience by ritually sucking his nipples during royal ceremonies.

Ancient Ireland wasn’t always such a safe place for a king’s nipples, however. Scientists researching bodies found in Irish bogs have speculated that the ritual mutilation of those nipples are signs that they were high-ranking royals. This is because the king’s nipples were such a big deal that cunning claimants to the throne often devised dastardly schemes to cut off their rivals’ nipples, and when a king conceded defeat in war or his people overthrew him, his nipples were cut off before he was killed.

It was also thought that the king served as the consort of the Celtic fertility goddess, which meant that famine or pestilence were the result of her displeasure with him, necessitating a sacrifice to appease her and bring bounty back to the land. As a result, any time misfortune befell the kingdom, the nipples had to go.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/07/14/10-titillating-facts-about-nipples/

25 Examples of Body Language

They say a picture paints a thousand words – and the same can certainly be said for gestures. We all subconsciously give away hints as to our true feelings, through our movements and gestures. This is a list of 25 examples of body language.

Gestures 1 – 5

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Gesture: Brisk, erect walk
Meaning: Confidence

Gesture: Standing with hands on hips
Meaning: Readiness, aggression

Gesture: Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking slightly
Meaning: Boredom

Gesture: Sitting, legs apart
Meaning: Open, relaxed

Gesture: Arms crossed on chest
Meaning: Defensiveness

Gestures 6 – 10

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Gesture: Walking with hands in pockets, shoulders hunched
Meaning: Dejection

Gesture: Hand to cheek
Meaning: Evaluation, thinking

Gesture: Touching, slightly rubbing nose
Meaning: Rejection, doubt, lying

Gesture: Rubbing the eye
Meaning: Doubt, disbelief

Gesture: Hands clasped behind back
Meaning: Anger, frustration, apprehension

Gestures 11 – 15

Eriksson Rubs Hands

Gesture: Locked ankles
Meaning: Apprehension

Gesture: Head resting in hand, eyes downcast
Meaning: Boredom

Gesture: Rubbing hands
Meaning: Anticipation

Gesture: Sitting with hands clasped behind head, legs crossed
Meaning: Confidence, superiority

Gesture: Open palm
Meaning: Sincerity, openness, innocence

Gestures 16 – 20

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Gesture: Pinching bridge of nose, eyes closed
Meaning: Negative evaluation

Gesture: Tapping or drumming fingers
Meaning: Impatience

Gesture: Steepling fingers
Meaning: Authoritative

Gesture: Patting/fondling hair
Meaning: Lack of self-confidence; insecurity

Gesture: Quickly tilted head
Meaning: Interest

Gestures 21 – 25

Fingernails

Gesture: Stroking chin
Meaning: Trying to make a decision

Gesture: Looking down, face turned away
Meaning: Disbelief

Gesture: Biting nails
Meaning: Insecurity, nervousness

Gesture: Pulling or tugging at ear
Meaning: Indecision

Gesture: Prolonged tilted head
Meaning: Boredom

Source: SPARC

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/11/08/25-examples-of-body-language/

10 Astonishing Near-Death Experiences

A feeling of weightlessness. A bright light at the end of a warm tunnel. The ability to see your own body below you, and friends or loved ones—who passed away years ago—now surrounding you in absolute peace. These are just a few of the things described by people who have had a near-death experience. And not all of them are as positive. Some recount a visit to hell, where they were overcome with fear and hopelessness, and even tortured by demons.

While many in the scientific community are skeptical of these accounts, others believe they offer the most definitive proof of life after death we might ever encounter. And though the debate continues, one thing is for certain: These people insist what they went through was life-altering. But by all means, feel free to judge for yourself.

10 Veronika-Ulrike Barthel

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Veronika Barthel says that, after being struck by lightning while driving her car one day in 1981, she was instantly transported into hell, where she found demons escorting her into a big waiting room.

“The creatures that I saw there were more terrifying than anything I even saw in a horror movie. Today I know that they were demons. As soldiers they where marching past me, and in the middle of them were people that were screaming with pain. It was very difficult to breathe down there, because of the terrible smell of this place. I saw a lake, which looked like the inner part of a volcano, where people were cursing because of great pain.”

She says that she saw people being thrown into caves, which were guarded by demons, who threw spears at them as they screamed. She also recalled snakes being present all over the ground, which were there to frighten and intimidate the people in hell.

After her experience, Veronika found herself transported back into her car, where for a moment, she saw her own burning hands gripping the steering wheel.

9 Howard Storm

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Once a self-described “double atheist” and “know-it all college professor,” Howard Storm was leading a three-week European art tour with his students when he retired to his hotel room in France on the last day of the trip. Without warning, he suddenly screamed and dropped to the floor, prompting his wife to call for help. At the hospital, the news was grim: Howard had a perforated stomach that required surgery, and if he didn’t get it soon, he would die.

The wait for a doctor to arrive at the hospital was lengthy—so much so, that Howard turned to his wife at one point and said his final farewell to her, insisting that he was moments from death. That’s when he recalled finding himself standing next to his own body (which was still on the hospital bed) and feeling more alive than ever, with no more stomach pain. Soon after, he heard unfamiliar voices calling to him.

“Come with us,” they said. “Hurry up, let’s go. We’ve been waiting for you.”

After calling out to his wife and getting no response, he began to follow the voices, which led him out of the room and down a long, dark hallway. He followed them for so long, and became so increasingly terrified, that he told the voices he wasn’t going any further. Then they attacked him.

“We had a big fight and the fight turned into them annihilating me, which they did slowly and with much relish,” he says. “Mostly they were biting and tearing at me. This went on for a long time. They did other things to humiliate and violate me which I don’t talk about.”

Collapsed on the ground, Howard began reciting The Lord’s Prayer, after hearing a soft voice tell him to “Pray to God.” After saying a few other other prayers, he said that Jesus personally saved him from the demons, and sent him back to Earth, telling him to live his life differently. Storm’s book, My Descent Into Death, was published in 2000.

8 Dr. Mary Neal

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During a kayaking trip in 1999, Dr. Mary Neal became pinned under the water when her kayak capsized, making it impossible for her to breathe for anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes. That’s when she says she experienced a near-death experience that brought her into the presence of God, Jesus, and angels.

During the experience, God told her that her family would be facing an upcoming tragedy and would need her to help them through. Specifically, her nine-year-old son Willie was going to die—but she wasn’t told when, where, or how. Ten years later, at age 19, Willie was killed in a car accident in Maine by a driver who was on his cell phone.

Mary is convinced Jesus helped her under the water, making it possible for rescue workers to revive her following the kayaking accident. She awoke with two broken legs and lung complications, and spent a month in the hospital, followed by six weeks in a wheelchair. She wrote a book called, To Heaven And Back, which was published in May 2012.

7 Ben Breedlove

When 18-year-old Ben Breedlove of Austin, Texas began posting a series of videos on YouTube telling the world about his rare heart condition, they instantly went viral, attracting millions of viewers. In one of them, he tells the story of being wheeled down a dark hall by nurses to the surgery room, and seeing a bright, peaceful light near the ceiling. He was four at the time it happened.

Through a series of index cards in the video, he wrote: “There were no lights on in this hall. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, and I couldn’t help but smile. I had no worries at all, like nothing else in the world mattered.” He talks of different times when he “cheated death,” including an incident where he fainted in the hallway at school.

“While I was still unconscious, I was in this white room; no walls, it just went on and on. There was no sound, but that same peaceful feeling I had when I was four. I was wearing a really nice suit, and so was my favorite rapper, Kid Cudi. I then looked at myself in the mirror—I was proud of myself, of my entire life, everything I have done. It was the best feeling. I didn’t want to leave that place. I wish I never woke up.”

Ben’s videos attracted the attention of rapper Kid Cudi, who apparently “broke down” after viewing them. He responded: “I broke down, I am to tears [sic] because I hate how life is so unfair. This has really touched my heart in a way I can’t describe, this is why I do what I do. Why I write my life, and why I love you all so much.”

On Christmas Day 2011, one week after posting the videos, Ben Breedlove suffered a heart attack and died. A family friend stated, “There are times that [the family is] overwhelmed by the pain and the loss of Ben, but then it’s replaced with knowing that he was at peace with what was going to happen.” The final index cards in Ben’s last video stated, “Do you believe in angels or God? I do.”

6 Colton Burpo

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Colton Burpo wasn’t quite four years old when his appendix burst, landing him in a hospital for emergency surgery. And when he awoke two hours later, he had an amazing story to tell. He said he had been to heaven, where he met Jesus, John The Baptist, God, and even family members who had passed away previously—including a baby sister that his mother had lost due to a miscarriage. Neither of his parents had ever mentioned the miscarriage to him.

He also met an old man he called “Pop,” whom he had seen as a young man. Later, he was able to identify Pop in a family photograph as the man he had seen in heaven. It was his paternal grandfather. And while the surgery was taking place, Colton told his father that he had seen him in another room, where he had gone to pray.

His father, Todd Burpo, said, “We knew he wasn’t making it up, because he was able to tell us what we were doing in another part of the hospital. Not even Sonja had seen me in that little room, having my meltdown with God.”

Todd wrote a book called Heaven Is For Real that recounts the entire story of his son’s incredible experience in detail. Colton Burpo now travels the country with his parents, sharing his story with others.

5 Betty J. Eadie

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In November 1973, Betty Eadie underwent a partial hysterectomy, after which she says she floated out of her body and passed through a tunnel to heaven. She said she was guided by three hooded, monk-like figures who claimed to have always been her guardian angels and informed her that she had died prematurely.

In an excerpt from her book, Embraced By The Light, she recalls:

“I saw a pinpoint of light in the distance. The black mass around me began to take on more of the shape of a tunnel, and I felt myself traveling through it at an even greater speed, rushing toward the light. I was instinctively attracted to it, although again, I felt that others might not be. As I approached it, I noticed the figure of a man standing in it, with the light radiating all around him. There was no questioning who he was, I knew that he was my savior, and friend, and God. He was Jesus Christ, who had always loved me, even when I thought he hated me.”

Following its publication in September 1994, her book became a No. 1 best seller and remains in print today.

4 Don Piper

Don Piper

Following a pastor’s conference in January 1989, Don Piper was driving over a bridge when a Texas Department of Corrections tractor-trailer truck crossed the center line and ran into him head-on. He said he was “instantly transported to Heaven,” where he found himself surrounded by dead relatives and friends, and a large pearl gate.

“The gate of heaven was a magnificent edifice, the one that I saw. It looked no less like a giant gate that had been sculpted from mother-of-pearl,” he said. “Behind that portal was such a light that I don’t conceive of how you could see it in an earthly body. It could only be envisioned in a heavenly body because it was too bright.”

As he lay there crushed in his vehicle on the bridge, a pastor came by, who prayed over him. The EMS staff had told him that Don was deceased. After the pastor prayed, he instantly found himself back in his vehicle, staring up at a tarp that had been draped over him. At the hospital, it was revealed that, although he suffered no major head trauma, nearly every bone in his body had been broken or shattered. Don wrote a book called 90 Minutes In Heaven after his recovery.

3 Bill Wiese

Bill Wiese

In his book 23 Minutes In Hell, author Bill Wiese tells the story of laying in bed at 3:00 AM and being suddenly thrown into the depths of hell, where he was tormented by demons. He said he was placed in a small cell with vicious “beasts” who looked like reptiles. He recalls understanding that they had been assigned to torment him, which they did, throwing him against the walls and piercing his flesh with their claws. The pain became so bad that he wished for death but was not obliged. He said that he heard the cries of millions, who were either burning in hell, or being tortured as he was.

When he awoke, his wife noted that the clock read 3:23, so his book is titled 23 Minutes In Hell.

2 Crystal McVea

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Following a simple medical procedure for pancreatitis in 2009, Crystal McVea of Oklahoma went into full respiratory arrest on the operating table. When that happened, she says she experienced a trip to heaven that renewed her faith in God, whom she met in person. She described him as “an immense brightness,” one that she could “feel, taste, touch, hear, and smell,” and recalled having 500 senses while in heaven, as opposed to the traditional human five.

“I had angels, I had God, and I fell to my knees in front of him,” she said, adding that she’d always been a doubter prior to the experience. When she was asked twice by God if she’d like to return to Earth, she chose to stay both times. But despite her insistence, God sent her back—though not before relieving her of her guilt and shame.

McVea released a book about her experience called Waking Up In Heaven in April 2013.

1 Ian McCormack

Ian McCormack

While diving for lobster one day on the island of Mauritius, Ian McCormack was stung on the arm by a box jellyfish. He says that, by the time the ambulance arrived, he already felt completely paralyzed and necrosis had begun to set in. As he lay dying, Ian saw a vision of his mother praying for him, and after he made it to the hospital, he was clinically dead for a period of 15–20 minutes. That’s when he found himself in a very dark place and began to hear people screaming.

“From the darkness I began to hear men’s voices screaming at me telling me to ‘shut up’—that I ‘deserved to be there’—-that I was ‘in Hell.’ I couldn’t believe it, but as I stood there a radiant beam of light shone through the darkness and immediately began to lift me upward. I found myself being translated up into an incredibly brilliant beam of pure white light—it seemed to be emanating from a circular opening far above me (I felt like a speck of dust being drawn up into a beam of sunlight).”

As he walked toward the light, Ian says he could feel it giving off a “living emotion,” and that God then spoke to him. McCormack hasn’t written a book but has shared his story with several news outlets and talk shows.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/09/15/10-astonishing-near-death-experiences/

10 Reasons You Aren’t In Control Of Your Own Decisions

If there’s anything in the world that should be ours and ours alone, it should be our thoughts. They’re in our heads, after all, and if there’s any place that should be sacred and private, it’s there. Turns out that’s not exactly true, though, and there are so many outside influences shaping your thoughts that you might be left wondering just how many of your emotions, beliefs, and feelings are actually yours.

10 Your News Feed Can Change Your Mood

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For all its popularity, Facebook isn’t without its share of scandals. In the latest one, details came out of an experiment conducted on 700,000 Facebook users over the period of a single week in 2012. News feeds were manipulated to contain positive or negative news and content, then users were monitored to see if the change made them use more positive or negative words in their status updates. And it worked—people’s status updates showed a change in emotion that went along with the kind of news that they were exposed to. The term used was “emotional contagion,” and it confirms something pretty frightening.

According to the study, people don’t even have to be physically around another person in a bad mood to absorb the negativity into themselves—negativity can be “caught” just from looking at a computer screen. There doesn’t need to be a personal, emotional connection for emotional contagion to happen. Not surprisingly, the study has brought up a number of disturbing questions, and it’s now being investigated by organizations like the Information Commissioner’s Office in Dublin. Those questioning the ethics of the study state that it’s nothing less than psychological manipulation. As if that’s not shady enough, Facebook users were unaware that they were having their emotions and moods manipulated through another party controlling just what was popping up in their news feeds.

9 Facts In Story Form Are Much More Effective

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You’re sitting in a sales meeting, and you’re presented with a first-person story about how the boss locked down the first tough sale of his career. You’re also presented with a bullet-point list of all sorts of statistics, facts, and numbers. Which are you more likely to remember? Even if the bullet-point list contains all the same information as the story, you’ll be able to remember more details more accurately from the story. That’s because storytelling is an insanely powerful thing, and there’s some pretty amazing science behind just why we find a story a much more interesting way to receive information.

When we’re looking at a list, the parts of the brain called Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area are activated and receive the information—and that’s all that happens. A good story activates all different parts of the brain, from the parts that interpret language to the parts that relate to our own sensory perception. Storytelling establishes something that a plain list doesn’t—a connection with the speaker. And that connection can make all the difference in the world when it comes to remembering what a presentation was about. More than that, we become invested in the story. We see characters instead of dry facts, and we want to know how it all ends.

This craving for closure has another effect, too: It lowers some of our inhibitions. We become less critical of the information, we allow for improbabilities for the sake of storytelling, and we suspend skepticism without even realizing that we’re doing it. If it’s a good story, we’ll excuse a little bit more. If it’s a dry assortment of facts, we’re left picking it apart if only for some way to entertain the parts of our brain that are getting bored. So great is the power of storytelling that some researchers put forth the idea that fiction is more effective at completely changing our views and belief systems than data dumps of scientific facts.

8 Subliminal Messaging Works

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In the 1950s, a man named James Vicary was the first to experiment with subliminal messaging, flashing “Drink Coca-Cola” on movie screens while films were playing in a few theaters. While he claimed that it worked and that sales increased in those theaters, science has long been doubtful about just how effective the use of subliminal messaging is. Researchers at the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research have shown that, in spite of the later finding that Vicary’s results were bogus, subliminal messaging does work.

Volunteers in the Netherlands study were exposed to the subliminal messages “drinking” and “thirsty,” and then researchers measured how likely the volunteers were to accept a drink. Variations in the study led researchers to the conclusion that subliminal messaging really only works as long as a handful of conditions are present: There needs to be a pleasurable reward for giving in to the subliminal message, thoughts need to be planted ahead of the chance for fulfillment, and there needs to be a pre-existing association with the reward that makes it pleasant. Other studies, including one by University College London, supports the idea that the human brain is subconsciously aware of things that happen too fast for us to consciously register—especially negative emotions. Volunteers in a study were exposed to a variety of subliminal messages, then asked to indicate whether the message was neutral or emotionally charged. Volunteers were surprisingly accurate, and they were most accurate when the words were negative.

7 We’re Programmed To Be Gullible—Especially If We’re Smart

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It seems contradictory, we know. But how many times have we heard of the most intelligent among the human population being taken in by some scam that, in retrospect, seems so obviously fake that it’s painful? Today, we cringe at the gullibility of an entire army dragging the gift of a Trojan Horse inside their gates, and we shake our heads at people who lost millions investing in the welfare of a Nigerian prince. But psychologists suggest that we can’t help but believe the hoaxes. In fact, the smarter we are, the more gullible we might be, and many hoaxes are designed to play off these weaknesses in our defense system.

Part of it has something to do with ego; the smarter we are, the less likely we are to believe that we can be fooled. We assume we’ll see it coming a mile away, and that overconfidence means we might just outright miss it instead. Another part of it is that we’re programmed to trust sources that have always been reliable, and put our faith in people with titles like “Professor” and “Doctor”—that’s why we believe the priest who found Heaven on Earth or the astronomer who told us gravity was going to go away for a bit.

There’s also the idea that there are different types of intelligence—the intelligence that has allowed a person to create a successful career for themselves might not be the same type of intelligence that allows them to see through a scam. According to psychologist and author Stephen Greenspan, intelligence can often bow in the face of the social pressure exploited by many scams, or when the person is confronted with the possibility of an outcome that either seems too good to be true or just modest enough to be reasonable. Intelligence can also lose out to another factor: kindness. No matter how smart a person may be, they also might be too kind to outright shut down a personable scam artist, or decline an offer after they’ve been sitting in a meeting for several hours. And intelligence is certainly no match for emotion, either, especially the emotion that comes with promises of riches.

6 We’ll Believe Some Fonts Over Others

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Comic Sans. The mere mention of it is enough to conjure images of a child’s birthday party invitation or an announcement for the local garden club. It’s not used in academic journals or in reputable newspapers, and there’s a reason for that (aside from aesthetics). The font used for any given news story, blog, or essay influences how likely we are to believe it. In 2012, New York Times columnist Errol Morris tried an experiment. He took a passage from a book on the likelihood of a cataclysmic event happening on Earth, had people read it, and then asked how many of them believed the passage (under the guise of an optimism vs. pessimism questionnaire). The questionnaire was programmed to display in one of six random fonts: Trebuchet, Computer Modern, Baskerville, Georgia, Comic Sans, or Helvetica. At the end of the sample period, 45,524 people had taken the quiz.

Numbers and data were crunched, and in the end, Baskerville had about a 1.5 percent advantage over the other fonts in getting people to agree with the passage. It also out-performed other fonts in terms of strength of agreement. The quiz was weighted (from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”), and once those numbers were factored in, it was found that Baskerville also had the highest rate of agreement and the lowest rate of disagreement. And while 1.5 percent might not seem like much, the results could be potentially staggering when they’re viewed in the context of elections or sales. The psychologists that analyzed the study, including Cornell University’s David Dunning, believe that it happens because we lend more credibility to something that looks formal, and we unconsciously process that information. Or, in the case of people around the world flaming CERN for releasing earth-shattering news about the Higgs boson particle in Comic Sans, sometimes it can be a conscious thing, too.

5 We’re More Likely To Commit A Crime In A Questionable Neighborhood

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No matter how moral you think you are, it turns out that you can be influenced by your surroundings into some less-than-honorable acts. It’s called the “Broken Windows” theory, developed by psychologists James Wilson and George Kelling. The theory states that the more run-down an area is, the more lawless it will be perceived as being, and, in turn, the more likely people are to assume that breaking the law is at least somewhat acceptable. An experiment conducted in the Netherlands supported the idea, finding that people were twice as likely to take money out of a mailbox if there were signs of neglect in the surrounding property.

Other studies, such as one done by a Stanford psychologist in Palo Alto, California and the Bronx in New York, also substantiated the theory. Untouched cars were left alone, but a car that had already been vandalized and left to sit was stripped within a day. Even the car that had sat untouched and undisturbed was destroyed within hours after researchers smashed it once with a sledgehammer. As a result of the theory, many police departments have made literally cleaning up the streets a part of their duties. In many places, increasing foot patrols has made a significant difference, not so much in crime rate, but in how safe people feel.

4 Our Plate Size Changes How We Eat

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It’s called the Delboeuf illusion, and it’s been well documented since 1865. The principle is most effectively measured now in relationship to how much we pile on our plates in a single serving. Take two portions of equal size. Put one on a large plate and one on a small plate, and the serving on the small plate will look bigger. When studies have asked people to portion out a serving size for themselves, those who are given bigger plates will pile on 13 percent more food on average than those who are given smaller plates. The same thing happens when we’re pouring ourselves a drink. Pour yourself a shot, then try to pour the same amount of liquid into a pint glass—it’s difficult to do, because our brains can’t overcome the illusion of relative size and amounts. And it’s extra difficult for the human brain to judge vertical lengths; even longtime bartenders will generally think that a narrow, tall glass holds more liquid than it actually does. Interestingly, the size of the average dinner plate in America has increased almost 25 percent in the last century, coinciding with a slowly progressing obesity epidemic.

3 Colors Can Change Everything

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Interior decorators say that we’re supposed to choose room colors based on the feelings we want the room to have, but there’s considerably more to it than that. According to an article in Forbes magazine, business owners can influence a lot more than the moods of their customers by careful color selection. Warm colors, such as browns and reds, can actually make a person feel warmer, while cool colors like blues can make them feel cooler—which can actually mean saving on heating and cooling bills. And colors can cause the above-mentioned Delboeuf’s illusion as well. When plate color contrasts with food color, you’re more likely to think you’re eating more and, in turn, take smaller portion sizes. When the plates are the same color as the food, you’ll eat more.

It’s also been hypothesized that lighting color can have an even more drastic effect on influencing people’s actions. In 2000, the city of Glasgow, Scotland changed some of their streetlights to emit blue light, a color that’s traditionally been thought to have a calming effect. According to city officials, crime in the areas of the blue lights dropped dramatically. Japan followed suit. Crime was reported down 9 percent after blue lighting was installed in Nara, and the Keihin Electric Express Railway Company later installed blue lights on a railway platform that was a notorious suicide spot. According to the station, there was a significant reduction in suicide attempts at the Gumyoji Station after the lighting was installed.

2 Advertising Works, Even When We Don’t Think It Does

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Of course advertising works: Companies wouldn’t spend huge amounts of money on it if it didn’t. They also know what works best, and that’s why we see so many random commercials with messages seemingly unrelated to the product they’re trying to sell. A study done by George Washington University and the University of California, Los Angeles presented volunteers with advertisements that used actual facts about a product as well as commercials that used feel-good ideas or random images that seemed to have nothing to do with the actual product. When viewing the list of facts, the amount of electrical activity in the brain was significantly lower than it was when the person was looking at the advertisement with more fun imagery. Feel-good imagery, no matter how nonsensical it might be, ended up eliciting more of a response from the brains of the target audience.

Advertising is also designed to work even if you fast-forward through most of it. With the invention of digital video recorders, it was originally thought that television ads were going to lose their effectiveness because people were skipping over them. Studies by the Harvard Business Review have shown that’s absolutely not true—while you might think you’re skipping the ads, you’re still being influenced by them. In order to fast-forward, you need to be looking at the screen to know when to stop again. And that means you’re paying attention to the advertisement, even more than you would be if you simply left the room or did something else during the break. When you’re fast-forwarding, your brain sees a Big Mac flash up on the screen, and even though you’re not watching the whole thing, thoughts of a Big Mac are still planted in your mind. And because we’re likely to still watch television shows as they’re broadcast, we still have some exposure to advertisements. Once we’ve seen something once, our brains can recognize it from seeing only snippets as we think we’re skipping over it. Nielsen ratings from 2009 found that only about 68 percent of commercials are fast-forwarded through, leaving plenty of raw advertising materials to be stored in our brains for a later nudge.

1 Some People Physically Can’t Resist Peer Pressure

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Peer pressure is more commonly thought of as a bad thing than a good thing. It can be good, encouraging people to learn from each other and explore new ideas and hobbies. Yet the connotation remains bad, and we tend to think of friends encouraging friends to try a new drug or shoplift. And as much as we think we can guard against peer pressure, it’s still an influence, usually without us even realizing it. It turns out that peer pressure taps into a specific part of the brain—the part that signals a reward.

According to a study by Temple University, brain scans conducted on teens who knew their friends were watching them carry out rebellious actions—in this case, running yellow lights in a driving game—show that the act of breaking the law ignites the pleasure and reward centers in the brain. The same study conducted with adults found that there was no corresponding trigger, suggesting that peer pressure is a bigger factor for teens. The trigger happened with the knowledge that someone else was watching; there was no reward center activation when the volunteer was just playing, and there was also no need for the watcher to interact directly with the teen being studied.

It also suggests that when teens are aware that they’re being watched by others, their behavior changes drastically—whether they know it or not. There is a way to help make the brain more prepared to fight the effects of peer pressure, though, and that’s to teach your teen to argue. Teens who are prepped at home to be able to stand up for themselves and express their own opinions are more likely to be able to resist—and recognize—peer pressure.

+ Background Music Affects How Much We Buy

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At first listen, the background music that’s being played in a store might seem like an arbitrary choice at best, and certainly one that doesn’t have much of an impact on shoppers. But studies have shown that that’s absolutely not the case—there are a number of different ways that the music being played is changing your behavior. Part of the effect comes from your perception of time. Songs with faster beats and tempos will make you think you’ve spent less time shopping that you actually have, and in turn, you’ll spend more time browsing and finding things to buy. The same thing works when you’re on the phone and on hold—faster songs make people report shorter wait times. Part of the phenomenon is that listening to music, even in the background, takes a little bit of brainpower. That’s less of your brain to focus on how much time you’re spending in the store or on whether or not you should make a purchase, and it makes you more susceptible to the pitch of a salesperson.

Other studies have found that the type of music played also has a significant impact on shopper’s habits. One in particular measured the types of wines that customers bought when different types of music were being played. On days when French music was broadcast, sales for French wines increased. When German music was played? The sales of German wine increased. Interestingly, customers in the study didn’t remember the music at all, and some even denied that it was a factor in the choices that they made, suggesting that music is one of the best types of subliminal messages that can be broadcast.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/07/08/10-reasons-you-arent-in-control-of-your-own-decisions/

10 Of The Most Mysteriously Talented People In The World

Most people have basic talents like singing, dancing, and so on. But some people can do much more than that, and most of them can’t even control it themselves.

10Orlando Serrell

As sad as brain damage is, a tiny percentage of people who suffer from it come out the other end with an unusual new ability. People who gain special abilities through a form of head trauma are called “acquired savants.” In general, savants have extreme mathematical capabilities or can, say, draw the entire city of Rome in striking detail.

In 1979, Orlando Serrell was playing a baseball game in elementary school when a stray ball slammed into the side of his head. However, this didn’t faze him, and he kept playing. For one year, Serrell experienced headaches that would last for hours. By the end of that year, he realized that he could perform superb calendar calculations, such as knowing how many Mondays there were in 1980. Along with this incredible skill, he could remember every detail of every day, much like a hyperthymesia sufferer. In Serrell’s case, this was obviously a much less severe form of brain damage, yet it was still head trauma.

When it comes to savants, regular people are often jealous of their skills. In reality, the reason savants are able to have such great brains is because they take everything literally and look at the tiny details that we don’t focus on. This is why savants have great difficulty in taking tests, like the ones in school. Those tests ask much broader questions and don’t reflect the focused way savants think.

9Thai Ngoc

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Vietnamese farmer Thai Ngoc suffered a fever in 1973, which seemed like nothing much at first. When the fever cleared up, he had developed a bad case of insomnia. Thinking it would go away in a week, he didn’t give it much thought. Now, over 40 years later, he hasn’t slept since the night of the fever. After over 12,000 nights of no sleep, you would think he’d be dead. However, after examinations, the only thing wrong with him were minor liver problems. The only complaint from Ngoc was that he’s a little grumpy from not experiencing sleep for over three decades. He tried countless home remedies and even tried drowning himself in alcohol. Nothing seems to work. So why is his insomnia persisting for so long?

One of the explanations could be a phenomenon called “microsleep.” Micro naps occur when a part of your brain gets tired and decides to quickly take a few seconds to nap. Most everyone has probably experienced these when tired—our brain temporarily shuts off and then goes back on again. Falling asleep while driving is a good example of microsleep. This could be how Ngoc has been getting by for so long.

8Most Tibetans

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Sherpas are known for guiding people up Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. The Sherpas of Nepal and most Tibetans have traits that allow them to survive up in the mountains at around 4 kilometers (13,000 ft) above sea level. Just a few years ago, researchers had no idea why they were able to do this. Now, they know that 87 percent of Tibetans have a specific gene that allows them to use up to 40 percent less oxygen than the average human.

The EPAS1 gene is responsible for Tibetans being able to live at such high altitudes for so long. For most people, going up as high as 3 kilometers (10,000 ft) causes their hemoglobin levels to rise. Hemoglobin is the substance in our blood that helps carry oxygen throughout the body. The EPAS1 gene doesn’t let Tibetans’ hemoglobin levels rise beyond a certain extent, which prevents heart-related problems that normal people would experience.

According to researchers, Tibetans gain this ability from now-extinct beings called the Denisovans. The Denisovans lived around the area where Tibetans live now, and their fossils have been found to contain the same EPAS1 gene. Tibetans (along with some Pacific Islanders) seem to be the only ones with this gene, because the Denisovans interbred, forming a pool of the same genes over and over until extinction.

7Elisabeth Sulser

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By now, most people know about the incredibly strange condition called “synesthesia,” which is when someone’s senses are crossed. For instance, when they eat a red skittle, it may taste like cherry, even if it didn’t actually have a flavor. Some people can feel colors with their eyes closed. For Elisabeth Sulser, her sight, hearing, and taste have been mixed, allowing her to see colorful sound waves and taste music. Assuming that this was a normal thing, she had been living her entire life thinking other people could also taste and see music and sounds. However, when Sulser realized no one else had these capabilities, she felt alone because she couldn’t share what she was feeling with anyone. Synesthesia isn’t all good, though. People who can see sounds are constantly distracted in noisy areas and—as you can imagine—get headaches quite frequently.

Luckily, Sulser is a musician, so these abilities help her out significantly, letting her form symphonies and melodies out of colors. While still a mysterious condition, Sulser’s synesthesia doesn’t seem to have any adverse affects, especially since she only sees music (instead of regular sounds).

6SM

Known anonymously as “SM,” this woman suffers from an unknown disease that has caused her amygdala (part of the brain that controls fear) to completely deteriorate. Now a mother of three, SM is not able to feel fear, no matter how scary the situation is. In a study that tested her fearing abilities, SM watched the scariest of scary movies and touched a snake’s tongue.

When SM was a child, however, she remembers being afraid of the dark, but by the time she’d reached early adolescence, her amygdala was already destroyed. In fact, she even describes an encounter with a man when she was walking through a park at night. He ran up to her and put a knife to her throat. Instead of being terrified, she calmly told him he would have to go through her guardian angel first, which scared him off. Today, she describes the experience as “strange.”

5Dean Karnazes

Anyone who has ever taken part in a marathon knows that at some points you have to take a quick break. Yet for Dean Karnazes, something about his muscles allows him to run forever.

Normally, the human body gets energy from glucose, which also produces lactate. If the lactate buildup gets to be too much, the body will produce lactic acid, which causes it to shut down. Dean’s body isn’t affected by the lactate buildup, allowing him to never get tired. Dean started running in high school when he joined a track team. While the rest of his team could only do 15 laps, he did 105 before he was told to stop. Since then, he had stopped running completely until he turned 30.

Obviously interested, some scientists in Colorado tested his endurance. They said the test would take maximum 15 minutes, but he kept going on a treadmill for over an hour. Because of this unique ability, he once ran 50 marathons in 50 days.

4Tibetan Monks

In Southern Asia, specifically Tibet, monks claim to have learned how to control their body temperatures using an ancient form of meditation called “Tum-mo.” According to Buddhism, the life we live is not all there is; there is a sort of alternate reality. By practicing Tum-mo, these monks are supposedly reaching that other world. When they do Tum-mo, they generate a significant amount of heat.

When tested for this weird phenomenon, scientists were astounded to find the temperature of the monks’ fingers and toes rising by an incredible 8 degrees Celsius (17 °F). Tum-mo is not the only form of meditation Tibetan monks practice. Other types of meditation allow the monks to lower their metabolism. Metabolism controls how fast the body breaks down calories. People with a slow metabolism gain weight faster, because their body can’t break down the calories quickly enough. Through meditation, the monks can lower their metabolism by around 64 percent. This allows them to conserve their energy, unlike regular people. In comparison, average humans lower their metabolism by only 15 percent when asleep.

3Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson woke up one day after an extraordinarily vivid dream in which he saw two planes crash in midair. Since that day, he has allegedly been able to see the future in his dreams. Robinson can also wake up exactly when he wants and record his dreams in a dream journal he keeps.

Stan Lee himself (with the help of Daniel Browning Smith) tested Robinson by setting up an experiment. He told Robinson that they would take him to 10 places the following day, and his job was to dream about the locations they were going to visit. The next day, Robinson wrote down each of the locations he dreamed about and put them in envelopes. As they drove to each location, they opened the corresponding envelope and sure enough, Robinson had gotten everything right.

This seems incredibly suspicious, and it may just be. Robinson was tested again. This time, he had to guess what item was placed inside a box. Over the course of 12 days, Robinson took 12 separate guesses about as many different items. He only got 2 out of 12 right, which wasn’t significant enough to prove the existence of psychic powers.

2Eskil Ronningsbakken

One of the most death-defying and incredible performance artists in the world, Ronningsbakken first got into the art of balancing when he was just five years old. His interest was sparked when he saw a person do one-of-a-kind feats on TV. When Ronningsbakken was 18, he ran away to a circus and performed there for 11 years. He knew that balancing was exactly what he wanted to do.

Now in his early thirties, Ronningsbakken puts his life on the line by riding a bicycle upside down on a tightrope over a canyon and doing handstands on a bar that hangs under a flying hot-air balloon. In the video above, you can see him ride a bicycle backward down one of the curviest roads in Norway. Ronningsbakken isn’t fearless, however, admitting that he gets anxiety before some stunts. He claims that fear is part of what makes us human and that if he ever lost his sense of fear, he’d immediately quit; he’d be afraid of not being fully human.

1Natalya Demkina

In Saransk, Russia, a young girl named Natalya Demkina suddenly began seeing inside people’s bodies. Since a young age, Demkina had people come to her apartment to have her look inside of them and figure out their sicknesses.

Interested in this “X-ray girl,” Dr. Ray Hyman decided to fly her to New York City and run some tests. One of the tests involved six patients who had various conditions—like a removed appendix or a metal plate in the skull from a brain tumor—and one control patient who didn’t have any medical conditions. They gave Demkina six cards with all the different conditions on them and then sent the patients in one by one. She got four of them right, which sounds fairly impressive (even though she claims to be able to see down to a cellular level).

Interestingly, however, she mixed up the metal-plated skull and the appendix, which are pretty bad mistakes for someone who can allegedly see inside of people. In the end, the choice is yours as to whether you prefer to see a doctor or someone with supposed X-ray vision.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/09/07/10-of-the-most-unique-people-in-the-world/