About Josh Clark

Josh Clark has wanted to be a professional writer since his third-grade teacher told him a short story he wrote was kind of good. He's written ever since. At HowStuffWorks.com, he's a senior writer and co-host of the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Josh lives with his wife, Umi. The pair really, really enjoys traveling, solving mysteries, having pizza parties and visiting museums (both renowned and obscure). Josh has been to the real-life house that served as the Robin's Nest on "Magnum, P.I." and is on an indefinite hiatus from being a jerk. You can find Josh on Facebook at the official Stuff You Should Know page and on Twitter at @SYSKPodcast.

Most Recent: Josh Clark Postings

Let’s just carry right along with the child abuse theme established yesterday by the Little Albert experiment, shall we? How about orphans; why not?

The 1939 experiment conducted in Davenport, Iowa on a group of kids at an orphanage that came to be known as the Monster Study, wasn’t conducted by a psychologist. Dr. Wendell Johnson was a speech pathologist who wanted to get to the bottom of the underlying cause of stuttering. Johnson didn’t subscribe to the prevailing belief that stuttering was an inborn (and thus uncorrectable) trait. Admirable enough; he wanted to help. It was just the whole experiment that puts Johnson somewhere between Gomer Pyle and Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros.

Johnson requisitioned 22 orphans and split them into two groups — stutterers and non stutterers. Not all of the kids (only half) in the stuttering group actually had stutters. The non stutterers received praise for their normal speech patterns…

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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.

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Yeah, man, I’ve been hitting the tech stuff pretty hard lately, between this post and yesterday’s. Despite finding the severed head of a Jellofox on my desk this morning — a warning, I suspect, from J-Strick and Pollette to watch my back — I will press on. Not only will I press on, I will write about a topic that Strickland already posted on. How you like me now?

At issue is a bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 1966 would make it a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, for using electronic communication “to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person,” reports Network World. You’ve likely guessed that the bill came out of a case in Missouri where a woman made up a fake MySpace page to humiliate a teenager after she chose to no longer be BFF with the woman’s daughter.

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I thought maybe I should mention that France is taking steps toward plummeting us into a new extragovernmental reality where big business acts as law enforcement against copyright pirates.

Just a few years ago, people who traded music and movies illegally tended to be savvy users who populated bit torrent sites and newsgroups. That’s changed dramatically…

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Holy cow! I read a story in the Post-Chronicle about a hapless family from Tennessee who got a bit of a nasty surprise after the aged paternal matriarch died at her nursing home in March. The family received a check for their security deposit for grandmother’s room, but it was a bit short.

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Until I’m writing about where the distress signals broadcast on nearly-dead radio stations after the human population on Earth suddenly drops to 32,845 are coming from, I won’t mention swine flu again, alright?

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Thanks to News in Science for posting an article that I would say goes under the “cool; maybe we should get back to work now” tag. University of Central Florida theoretical physics grad student, Sohang Ghandi, and his mentor and professor, Costas Efthimiou put their combined IQs of 780 together and set about proving lore and fiction utterly wrong. The target: ghosts and vampires. The motive: to poo-poo the supernatural for unknown reasons.

Costas and Sohang came up with a paper entitled, “Cinema Fiction vs. Physical Reality.” In it, they take on the concept of ghosts walking through walls. False, stupid person. To move forward, a ghost would have to be capable of producing force (downward, in this case, through the foot).

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The dearhearts at Weird World mentioned yesterday that over in Goa, India, former home of Jason Bourne and tropical paradise, there something in the air. We call this something the stench of rotting whale flesh. As you may know, once an organism dies its cells undergo a form of cannibalism called autolysis…

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I drove my hobbled Volvo into work today and along Moreland Ave. in East Atlanta I noticed something that caught my attention. The ornate 50s-era stone building tucked between a Long John Silver’s and a Bank of America (and where, on weekends, one can find some really good barbecue for sale in the parking lot) that formerly bore an AIG sign now bears a new one.

“Huh,” I thought to myself. “I know the Fed and the Treasury have rendered it statistically impossible for AIG to go belly up. And I know that I definitely would have heard the pitter-patter of riots in the streets if the nearly $200 billion in taxpayer money had simply disappeared upon the company’s failing. What gives?”

Turns out the business inside was still AIG, they’d just changed the name. So AIG — those three little letters that have become emblematic of the concept of rewarding bad behavior, black holes and vacuums that don’t lose suction…

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Chuck and I just pulled off the first half of our second week of the live streaming SYSK webcast. If you missed it (for whatever reason, you don’t need an excuse with us), you can check out round two at 1 p.m. EDT today. This is not a shameless plug, though, I promise.

I mention the webcast because of a story we covered in the news segment. The Supreme Court heard a case last week on “fleeting expletives,” profanity uttered on live TV between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when little ears are tuned in. For decades, the FCC maintained a one-freebie policy, allowing networks to get away with a single errant curse word during a broadcast before levying hefty fines. In 2004, however, the commission changed the rule, fining networks on a single occurrence. Fox led a suit against the FCC and a lower court ruled that the regulatory agency should explain the change of heart.

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