5 smart people who did stupid things

Even the smartest people flinch every now and then, and for some reason it's a little disappointing when that happens. For example, company presidents who divert millions thinking no one will find out. Or certain presidents of countries who had cases with interns, thinking, too, that no one would ever know.

The truth is that even great intelligence does not make people perfect. In fact, smart people seem even more prone to spectacular failures, which leads to even greater judgment by society than “ordinary” people. But why?

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology provided logic problems for people to solve and found that smart ones tend to make more mistakes than those of average intelligence. According to the researchers, this is because smart people are more likely to make decisions (right or wrong) due to overconfidence. This is called blind spot bias.

Of course, overconfidence is not the only way to make a stupid decision. Many of the stupid choices you'll see on this list have been motivated by greed, pride, stress, and even sheer laziness. Let's take a look at five memorable moments of "what the hell were you thinking?":

1 - Bill Clinton had affair with intern and lied under oath

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After two terms in the most powerful position in the United States (and perhaps in the world), President Bill Clinton started the Clinton Foundation to address some of the problems affecting today's world, from childhood obesity to climate change to global health. . So how did such a dedicated and intelligent guy become part of one of the most notorious presidential sex scandals?

In 1999, Bill Clinton struggled and nearly lost his presidency after leaking details of a case with 21-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. While the case itself was already very dumb (don't choose someone who works for you, especially if you're the president of the United States), even worse was that Clinton lied about it under oath.

The case surfaced in 1998, when Bill's bar was no longer very clean, as part of a Paula Jones sexual harassment investigation against him. Paula was a civil servant in the state of Arkansas and had worked with Clinton when he was governor, and investigations into this also revealed the intern's case. What a blunder huh, you Clinton?


In January 1998, Clinton was formally questioned by Jones's lawyers and lied, saying the Lewinsky affair had never happened. He managed to fool everyone until August of that year, when Moniquinha's famous blue dress - stained with "presidential" semen - was revealed. Then, in the girl's testimony, she told more details of the meetings, one of which even involved a cigar.

Clinton later said that what happened between him and Monica had been just oral sex, claiming that he had not lied when he said he had no sex. If Clinton had not lied under oath about his case with Monica Lewinsky, he would not have been referred to an impeachment case (of which he was acquitted).

But Clinton was acting out of fear and stress that the revelation could hurt his political career. It really hurt at the time, but his other effective future acts as president helped save his reputation. In fact, he left the post with the highest approval rating of any postwar US president.

2 - Gary Hart challenges the media to follow him

Gary Hart was a married American politician, lawyer, writer, and college professor whose arrogance led him to make an incredibly stupid move: tease the media. He declared himself smarter than the reporters and defied their intelligence while keeping a case (which he thought was secret) with a model named Donna Rice.

Hart was a famous political campaign advisor and in 1987 became a favorite for Democratic presidential nomination. Journalists already suspected a case between Hart and Rice, but when rumors surfaced that he was cheating on his wife, he simply used his arrogance rather than shirking questions. He denied the case and asked the media to follow him wherever he went to prove he had nothing to do with the model.

Of course, reporters did just that, and on the first day they saw the model leaving Hart's house. Then they even found out that Hart had taken a romantic cruise with Rice on a boat called "Monkey Business" - a term often used as "monkey business." Macaquice or stupidity?

The fact is that journalists got information from a model friend named Lynn Armandt, who told more about Hart and Rice's relationship. The scandal shook Hart's presidential candidacy and he withdrew from the presidential race in May 1988.

3 - Robert McCormick used company card to pay strippers

Robert McCormick was CEO of a technology and internet company called Savvis, but that position did not stop him from making colossal nonsense in the common sense department. One night McCormick went to an exclusive "gentlemen's club" called Scores and spent $ 241, 000 on the company's credit card.

The adult amusement house is known for its high prices on services such as the famous "lap dances" and bottles of champagne that cost thousands of dollars. However, upon receiving the card bill days later, McCormick claimed that the amount was a scam (that well-known "I didn't spend it all" scam after a Night If You Don't Drink case ).

McCormick disputed almost all of his bill charges, telling American Express that he had spent no more than $ 20, 000 (which is also plenty). Robert declined to pay, and after 2 years without payment, he was unable to produce any documentation that actually attested to an account fraud.

As a result, American Express sued McCormick, and then he, Savvis, and the credit company finally settled the case confidentially and out of court, but not before McCormick resigned from the company because of the scandal.

4 - Andrew Wakefield and the vaccine scam

In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a leading scientist, published an article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, saying that there was a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (the triple viral). The big problem was that Wakefield falsified most of the data in this document.

Investigative reporters and the medical community found that his article was a complete fraud. He faked his patients' medical history and published the results of his fraudulent study - all in the name of money.

The British Medical Journal found that Wakefield had received $ 674, 000 from lawyers expecting to sue vaccine companies. In order to get the results the lawyers wanted, Wakefield falsified his data in different ways: he chose some patients in his study of 12 people who already had signs of autism and lied about others saying they developed the disease after receiving the vaccine. triple viral.

In 2004, some of his fellow researchers discovered the research support law firm and withdrew their names as co-authors of the study. The Lancet medical journal retracted the article in 2010 and Wakefield had his medical license revoked.

Worse, Wakefield and some of his fellow scientists continue to defend the study to this day, saying there was a scheme to cover up the link between vaccines and autism, but no study has been able to attest to Wakefield's results.

This forgery has effects on public health to this day. Some parents - fearing for their children's health - are still choosing not to vaccinate them with the triple virus. There is even a movement against vaccines in the United States. But this drop in vaccination rates has caused an increase in measles cases, a dangerous childhood disease.

5 - Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant

Thomas Edison was a genius par excellence, but even the smartest in the world sometimes mess things up. Around the turn of the last century, Edison researched and developed electrical energy, specifically direct current. There are two types of electricity we use today: alternating current and direct current.

In the United States (and Brazil), alternating current is the standard, but it has not always been so. In the early 1900s, the debate between the two currents was similar to the VHS or Beta video system of the 1980s. What kind would win? Scientists were very competitive with this subject.

Edison was making a lot of money from his DC patents, since it was the US standard at the time. So when George Westinghouse and inventor Nikola Tesla discovered a new form of electricity (AC) - which became more efficient and less expensive - Edison's situation got complicated and he felt threatened.

In an effort to discredit Westinghouse and Tesla about alternating current, Edison did what any balanced scientist would not do: he electrocuted a flock of animals to show that alternating current was more dangerous than continuous. What do you mean, Edison ?!

He began these shock experiments on small animals such as dogs and cats, but when he discovered that Luna Park Zoo on Coney Island had an elephant named Topsy they were planning to retire, Edison took the chance to electrocute him. He even recorded the cruelty, and you can see in the images below, somewhat weathered but clearly enough to see the situation.

All these cruel animal deaths turned out to be in vain. Because of some complications with direct current, the United States has adopted alternating current as the electrical standard, despite Edison's misguided efforts.

* Posted on 29/05/2014