Parts of the East Coast are still recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Irene. The storm wreaked havoc, causing more than 40 deaths and billions of dollars in damages. One thing that is striking about hurricanes is that, even after years of study, all we really know how to do is deal with the symptoms; …more
Posts by Suzie Lechtenberg
There’s a natural ratio of men to women for our species, and it is not equal. For every 100 girls, 105 boys are born. But in some places, like India and China, the ratio is skewed. One Chinese city recorded an astounding 163 boys born per 100 girls. So, why is this happening? The ultrasound. The …more
What do Wall Street forecasters and Romanian witches have in common? They usually get away, scot-free, with making bad predictions. Our world is awash in poor prediction — but for some reason, we can’t stop, even though accuracy rates often barely beat a coin toss. But then there’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop forecasting. …more
Another thing to add to the list of things to be paranoid about: your paycheck might kill you. Notre Dame economist William Evans, along with Timothy Moore from the University of Maryland, analyzed more than 75 million deaths in the U.S., and found something interesting. On the first day of each month, the death rate …more
What’s it like to wake up one day and realize Dad is a multi-billionaire? That’s what happened to Warren Buffett’s son Peter — who then started to think about whether or not to join the family business.
Peter Buffett, son of the investment giant Warren Buffett, admits that he won the “ovarian lottery.” But perhaps the best part of this genetic jackpot is that his dad didn’t pressure him to get involved at Berkshire Hathaway. Instead, the Buffett heir was encouraged to pursue his own interests, like composing music and philanthropy. This …more
The top Twitterers — Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Barack Obama — have millions of followers. They also, graciously, follow hundreds of thousands right back. Not everyone is so kind. Different people have different strategies, of course. Conan O’Brien famously follows just one lucky soul. And Freakonomics followed no one on Twitter, until …more
NFL team owners are pitted against NFL players in what could be a $9 billion fight. This looming standoff is no game. The league has decided it wants a larger share of revenues, and the players don’t want to give in. As of this today, there’s a good chance the owners will lock the players …more
Molecular gastronomists are altering and reimagining our food: from flavored foams to dry ice for dessert. But you have to wonder, have the practical applications of science in the kitchen taken a back seat to all this whimsy?
What would motivate you to throw away less trash? Perhaps a healthy dose of environmental guilt would do the trick. Or would it take another kind of green — as in cold, hard cash — to force your hand? In the latest Freakonomics Radio Marketplace segment, host Kai Ryssdal talks with Stephen Dubner about how …more