Stephen Colbert has more on the Tony Robbins fire-walking fiasco in which many people got burned while trying to show the power of mind over body. I had no idea that people pay thousands of dollars to attend his programs. These things seem to be quasi-religious in nature and it is curious the kinds of things that people put their faith in.
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(This clip appeared on July 30, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)
Francisco Bacopa says
There used to be a professor at Rice University who was into fire walking. He stuck his hands into molten metal and opened his physics class by aiming a bowling ball pendulum at his head.
He did this to demonstrate confidence based on an understanding of physical laws vs. faith in woo.
Mano Singham says
Jearl Walker, professor of physics at Cleveland State University and author of the book The Flying Circle of Physics, also did things like that.
Sergio Sider says
Just to report that they may have dropped the geographical block for the videos. I’ve been able to watch them without any trick. (At least from Brazil).
Mano Singham says
I am really glad to hear that.
The video is unavailable in the UK. Regarding firewalking, the people who do it properly are using the laws of physics without letting their audience in on the secret. If the bed of coals is propely prepared, unskilled people can perform the trick thinking that they are doing something amazing. Of course if the bed is not properly prepared it doesn’t work and people get burned. To use a well worn cliche, it’s not rocket science. My hope is that the internet will lead to people being better and better informed so that incidents like this become rarer and rarer. Probably not in my lifetime though.
Well, that’s the funny thing — if mind over matter is really what it’s about, why are they walking on coals with poor thermal conductivity and, not, say, a sheet of steel over a fire?