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The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

 The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

On any given week, Josh and Chuck read a lot of interesting articles. Check out this post with links to the best articles they've read lately. See more »

The Best Stuff We Read This Week

 The Best Stuff We Read This Week

On any given week, Josh and Chuck read a lot of interesting articles. Check out this post with links to the best articles they've read lately. See more »

How Fear Works

 How Fear Works

Fear results from your brain's reaction to a stressful stimulus, and -- though it may be unpleasant -- it plays a crucial role in the life of every human being. But how does it work (and why)? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the sensation of fear. See more »

 The Demise of the Dictionary; Printed Page: 0, Internet: 3,498,785,994,322,109

It must suck to be old right now. Even during generations with the most modest of cultural change -- say, the 1950s -- the elderly tend to be wary of the younger, at the very least because they can run fast and punch much harder and pay little attention to signs that say things like "Stay off the Grass." Tough-talking youths and robots: They make the aged uneasy. There's a word for it; ephebiphobia -- the irrational fear of young people. Compared to what little the aged had to deal with in the 50s, it must be intensely terrifying to be old today. The 21st century has panned out, so far, to most decidedly be a young person's world. Case in point: The AP rolled out its annual fluff piece about new words that have made it through the editorial gauntlet and into the pages of Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Older people following traditional media had a chance to learn that locavore and frenemy await them when they receive the newest edition of M-W this upcoming holiday season. So now they're in the know. See more »

 5 Horrific Psychological Experiments - #5: Little Albert

Author's note: In my opinion, there are a number of ways something can be funny. There's traditional funny (e.g., "What's the deal with airplane food?"). There's absurd funny (e.g. using coconuts to simulate the sound of a horse for a knight who doesn't have one). And then there's the HolycowIcan'tbelieveyoudidthat funny. The kind of funny that surrounds a situation that's so abominable and horrible that somehow humor emerges from it like teeth and fingernails in a teratoma. I leave it to you, dear reader, to determine if anything in this week's list has any humor to it. I hope, in turn, you'll forgive me if I see it pretty clearly. Back in 1920, which constituted the early days of psychology (Freud had only stopped prescribing cocaine to his patients a couple decades earlier), a guy named John B. Watson wanted to prove that fear was a learned behavior. See more »

 I Can Smell Your Fear. It's Surprisingly Minty

Happy Friday the 13th everybody! Shalala! You know we're right smack dab in the middle of our second Friday the 13th in as many months. We're going to have three Friday the 13ths in total this year, the next coming in November, although I'm not sure what day. The last time we had three Friday the 13ths in one year was 1998. The next will be 2012, which is appropriate since that's the year the world will end. This, of course, has little to do with this post; I just thought it untoward to allow a Friday the 13th to pass unmarked. Seemed wrong. I suppose there's a slight correlation - - the two share the common thread of fear. Our friends at Live Science feature a report on a study out of Rice University that suggests we communicate fear through our sweat. The study used gauze pads to capture... See more »

 Podcast Goodness: Can people really die of fright?

This week on the Stuff You Should Know podcast we discussed a couple of interesting topics. Yesterday's show was about how to stop junk mail, which is something everyone definitely should know. Tuesday's show was a gem called "Can people really die of fright?" It was based on a stellar article by staff writer Molly Edmonds. Josh and I delved a bit into the science of fear and the potential medical issues that could arise if you were really scared -- aka the "Baskerville Effect." We also looked at some interesting studies. One took a look at the death rate of people in China and Japan on the fourth day of the month, four being an unlucky number in much of Asia. They found that there was a 13 percent increase in heart failure on the fourth of each month compared to a Caucasian control group. So there's something to be said for chilling out on the fourth if you're Chinese or Japanese. See more »