Could you do the firewalk?

You’ve probably seen performers doing the ancient firewalk routine – they get a bed of coals burning hot, then stroll over it like it’s nothing. It’s one of those tropes that turns up everywhere and has almost become a corporate team-building cliche. Remember this, on The (US) Office?

 

It was an empowering experience from Pam, just as it’s still a rite of passage for dozens of cultures around the globe.

But what’s really going on? There’s quite a lot of debate about how firewalking works. Some scientists say it’s all about water: if your feet are wetted before the walk, you could get ash building up to create a protective barrier. Or maybe years of practice just make for hard calloused feet that can’t feel pain. However it works, it’s definitely not one to try at home! Look at this Mythbusters clip – and weep! Continue reading

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Could you be a psychopath?

A really good book came out last year called The Psychopath Test. It’s the journalist Jon Ronson‘s investigation into madness. You learn loads about personality disorders, but it’s quite difficult to come away from it without diagnosing yourself with a few of them!

The book talks about Bob Hare’s checklist, the criteria that psychopaths usually meet. They tend to be cunning, manipulative, lacking in guilt or empathy, narcissistic, abusive – and very charming. So it’s obvious why you tend to find these people at the top of professions. Ronson suspects there are lots of psychopaths in positions of power (but then by the end of the book, he does start to see them everywhere. And so will you.)

Before Dexter, the amazing US series about “the serial killer with a heart” there was a show called Profit, about a psychopath who manipulated his way to the top in a big corporation. Have a look at how deviously he cheats the lie detector in this clip!

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