Fans of JRR Tolkien are familiar with “Orcs,” the monstrous humanoid thugs of Sauron and Saruman. And fans of a host of lesser fantasies and role-playing games are familiar with them too, often in rather silly permutations. If you've read “The Hobbit” as well as “Lord of the Rings,” you know that Tolkien's Orcs were originally referred to as goblins. But what is a goblin, exactly?
As reported in the BBC News, five people have been arrested in China after a teenager there sold his kidney for $3,000, enough to purchase an iPad and iPhone. The teenage boy, a youth from the Hunan province of southern China, was reported to the authorities by his mother, who noticed the new electronics. When she asked where he got the money for them, he said he had sold his kidney. The teenager is now reportedly in renal failure, in a Hunan hospital. The group that has been detained, which includes the surgeon that performed the operation, earned an estimated $35,000 for the kidney, according to state-run Xin-Hua News.
We've all heard of brainwashing, but is it actually real? Can people be hypnotized or manipulated into acting against their own core values or best interests? The whole concept of brainwashing comes from the Korean War, when some American POWs made pro-communist statements or even refused to come home after the war was over. Of course, there were several reasonable explanations for this. Some of them could already have been communists- communism had a lot of American adherents at one point. Or the soldiers could have been tortured or starved or intimidated into making those statements. Or a few soldiers could honestly have been “converted” to communism through conversations with their guards.