Africa’s Genital-Stealing Crime Wave Hits the Countryside

Reports of genital theft have spread like an epidemic across West and Central Africa over the past two decades, in tandem with what appears to be a general resurgence of witchcraft on the continent. Anthropologists have explained this rise as a response to an increasingly mystifying and capricious global economy. Which is to say that when the workings of capital are as genuinely obscure as they are in today’s Africa, proceeding behind a veil of complexity and corruption, rumors of “occult economies”—often involving a trade in human organs—offer a less mystifying explanation for the radical disparities in wealth on display.
In Africa today, scholars who study penis snatching understand it mainly as an urban phenomenon—an extreme expression of the anxieties that pervade a city when villagers become urbanites en masse, living among throngs of unfamiliar people.
Penis snatching, they said, was a means of supplying an illicit and lucrative trade in organs. Cameroonians and Nigerians—people from places “where they have multistory buildings”—were seen as particularly well versed in the business. “You see how advanced Cameroon is?” someone said. “It’s because they are so strong in commerce of all kinds, including in genitals and scalps.” The stolen organs, my companions said, are sold to occult healers for use in ceremonies, or else they are quickly fenced back to victims of penis snatching for a price. But the real money was to be made in Europe. One man who had spent some time living in Cameroon said he had heard of a woman there who was nabbed by airport security while trying to smuggle several penises to the Continent inside a baguette.

Using Psychology to Make Your Curses Actually Work

A study at Queen Mary University of London gave people the task of either predicting or maintaining the health of a baby (fortunately not a real baby). People who were given constant advice and updates, even if those updates were praise, tended to do worse than people who were left alone. The idea is that, in order to do a good job at anything, people need to focus and make the right decision. Listening to other people’s opinions made them lose focus and screw up. The more complex the task, the more warm and loving encouragement seems to ruin people.
The key to a psychologically devastating curse is helplessness. Helplessness cultivates a condition called diastolic flaccidity, which is an extreme drop in blood pressure. It’s been linked to the deaths of seemingly healthy people who believe they are cursed.
Among people from China and Japan, including those who emigrated to new countries, the rate of heart attacks goes up on the fourth of every month. The number four is considered unlucky in China and Japan. In many Eastern countries, people skip the fourth floor of buildings instead of the thirteenth the way people do in the West. Given the number of heart attacks, they’d probably be happy to skip the fourth of the month, too, but it’s not practical. So the fourth comes up every month, no matter what anyone does. That sets up the combination necessary to kill someone: fear, awareness, and helplessness.

Sursa: Curse Me Like You Mean It: Using Psychology to Make Your Curses Actually Work


Our schools are better than China’s because ours don’t work as well as theirs

The short answer is that American education has not been as good as the Chinese at killing creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit. In the most fundamental ways, American education operates under the same paradigm as the Chinese. … In a nutshell, both American education and Chinese education are designed to turn a group of children into products with similar specifications indicated by how much they have mastered the curriculum, that is, what the adult decides they should know and be able to do, regardless of their backgrounds, interests, and differences.
Zhao goes on to explain that the advantage of the American system is that it fails to do very well what it wants to do; it fails to bring American kids into line.

Sursa: Be Glad for Our Failure to Catch Up with China in Education | Psychology Today