Do you believe that the government is keeping secrets from us? That the military is hiding evidence of alien visitations? Maybe you have a hard line to the truth -- or maybe you're a sucker for conspiracy theories. Today, we explore why we love conspiracy theories and why we believe them.
Conspiracy theories are like mushrooms. They pop up everywhere -- from celebrity Twitter feeds to the campaign trail. They can be crazy, hilarious, and weirdly convincing. But even the most wacko conspiracy theories are worth taking serious. To explain why, here's Steve Paulson talking with Jesse Walker, author of "The United States of Paranoia."
There's a short story about a guy who's so afraid of other people reading his mind that he wears a tin foil hat to protect his thoughts. The tin foil part is crazy, but protecting your mind is maybe not such a bad idea. Academic psychologist Rob Brotherton says there are certain psychological traits that predispose people to believe in conspiracy theories. For example, there's an experiment done by a group of psychologists in Amsterdam. It involves a group of subjects and a messy desk.
Some of the most famous conspiracy theories involve aliens and UFOs. Remember the Roswell incident? An Air Force surveillance balloon crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, back in 1947. Some people claimed it was actually an extraterrestrial spaceship. By the late 70s, thousands of people believed that all kinds of flying saucers had landed and that the U.S. military was holding actual aliens. So what's with our obsession with UFO conspiracies. David G. Robertson is the guy to ask. He's the author of "UFOs, Conspiracy Theories, and the New Age." He spoke with Rehman Tungekar.
In March of 2000, the conceptual artist Mark Lombardi was found hanged in his studio. In the art world, speculation swirled about whether his death was suicide or murder? Why would anyone want to murder Lombardi? Maybe because his intricate drawings revealed connections between George W. Bush and the bin Laden family, as well as other connections between banking, organized crime and intelligence agencies. Patricia Goldstone is the author of "Interlock: Art, Conspiracy, and the Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi." She talks about Lombardi's work and the mystery behind his death.
If you think about it, every day we receive countless services from complete strangers — the newspaper delivered to your door, the trash picked up at the crack of dawn, the fresh fruit for sale at the supermarket. There's a whole army of invisible workers powering our economy who we rarely get to hear about. From the warehouse workers who fill out our online orders, to the migrant laborers who pick our food, even down to the unpaid office intern, this hour we're talking about the hidden workers who make it all happen.
A few years ago, journalist Mac McClelland went undercover to find out what really happens when you order something online from a site like Amazon. As it turns out, all that ecommerce is still largely driven by humans, many of whom work backbreaking temporary jobs in massive warehouses.
For two years, medical anthropologist Seth Holmes followed and worked alongside migrant farm laborers all along the west coast. As part of his research, he even snuck in to the U.S. from Mexico, all in order to find out what life is like for an agricultural worker.
In 2009, Eric Glatt did the unthinkable for an unpaid intern — he sued his employer, Fox Searchlight Pictures, alleging that they violated the Labor Department's standards for internships. He describes why he believes unpaid internships threaten workers everywhere.
There was a time when others bagged your groceries, planned your trips and pumped your gas, but now they're just another part of our daily routines. Craig Lambert says these are a few examples of the "shadow work" we've unwittingly taken on in service of companies and other organizations. He warns that it's chipping away at our leisure time, and turning us all into middle class serfs.
Christie Watson's latest novel, "Where Women Are Kings," tells the story of a couple who adopt a seven-year old Nigerian boy named Elijah. The young child has a history of child abuse and violent behavior, and also believes he's possessed by a wizard.