How Reverse Psychology Works

You have very likely used reverse psychology before, trying to persuade someone to do something you want by suggesting they do the opposite. What's behind the bizarre reaction this elicits?

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

How Hot Wheels Work

If you're an American who had a childhood, you probably have some nostalgia for Hot Wheels. Get your engines revved for this trip down memory lane as we discuss these fun and iconic toys.

Chuck delves into an opinion piece from The Daily Beast.

How young is too young to be an addict? Probably two or three

The concept of addiction is a relatively new thing. As recently as colonial America, people drank because they wanted to, there was nothing else to it, certainly not some biological drive that pushed their decisions beyond their own willpower. Over time, people began reporting feeling overcome by the urge to drink or smoke opium or do cocaine, possibly the work of the devil, and the idea that an object like a mug of beer could have an intangible hold over a human being grew into common knowledge. Initially, it was the addict's character that was considered at fault. Only a person of poor moral fiber could become addicted to a substance (this idea has always continued to hang around in the shadows of the collective psyche to some extent).

Homeless Schoolchildren Arguably the Most Depressing Type of Schoolchildren On Record

There was a bit of bad news that I overlooked last summer. The rate of homeless children enrolled in American schools during the 2008-09 school year increased by 41 percent over the 2006-2007 school year. A few states saw even more dramatic rises in homeless schoolchildren: Texas (139%), Iowa (136%), New Mexico (91%), Kansas (88%), and New Jersey (84%) all experienced more than double the national increase that year, so reported the Associated Press. The hard numbers are that about 300,000 more schoolkids were enrolled that year than had been in the comparison year, which added up to about 1 million homeless schoolchildren across the country. As if the stark reality of a kid waking up in a homeless camp in time to catch the bus to school isn't enough, studies of homeless kids have concluded that 40 percent of homeless children under age five have emotional and behavioral problems and a full 75 percent of those same kids have developmental delays, ostensibly from malnourishment, hunger, stress and myriad emotional trauma.

There are a few things I definitely wouldn't want to be the last thing I saw before I went under general anesthesia for an operation. I would say seeing Satan muttering behind his hand to his minions who then look at me and laugh scoffingly would really suck, especially if Satan says "See you soon," real casually as I am wheeled past on a gurney and I say, "What did you say?" and he says, "Nothing. Nothing." I wouldn't like that at all.

Thank you, American Journal of Epidemiology, for alerting the world to the dangers of bugs burrowed in the sand of beaches we love. That's just what we needed -- something else to worry about. A study published in said journal found that digging in the sand raised your child's chances of having diarrhea by a whopping 44 percent. Kids under eleven who are buried in the sand have a 27 percent chance of some loose stools. They surveyed 27,000 people over a four year period to obtain the results. After folks went to the beach, the recorded their activity and then received follow up calls several weeks later for a series of health questions - presumably starting with, "does your child have diarrhea?"