Inside the world of modern day magicians, witches and evangelical Christians
Simon Oxenham covers the best and the worst from the world of psychology and neuroscience. Formerly writing with the pseudonym "Neurobonkers", Simon has a history of debunking dodgy scientific research and tearing apart questionable science journalism in an irreverent style. Simon has written and blogged for publishers including: The Psychologist, Nature, Scientific American and The Guardian. His work has been praised in the New York Times and The Guardian and described in Pearson's Textbook of Psychology as "excoriating reviews of bad science/studies”.
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In a fascinating interview Stanford University psychological anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann describes meeting modern day "witches", taking a "magic" course, experiencing bizarre (non-drug-induced) hallucinations and generally "hanging out in the magical world". Luhrmann also shares her thoughts on the biomedical model of psychiatry, her experiences spending time with evangelical Christians and the mechanism through which she believes individuals can enable themselves to have imagined conversations with God. She describes an example of a pastor telling her to pour herself a coffee and "a second cup of coffee for God" and how she believes there is a process where religious people learn to believe their thoughts are not "self authored" but rather they are "other authored". The discussion really starts to get interesting at about 17 minutes in:
Luhrmann's books “When God Talks Back” and "Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England" investigate how rational people come to believe and indeed experience the absurd.
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
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Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
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