Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”? (Update)

Most people don’t enjoy the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. But we do love to play the lottery. So what if you combine the two, creating a new kind of savings account with a lottery payout?

An Astronaut, a Catalan, and Two Linguists Walk Into a Bar…: TMSIDK Episode 36

Why New York has skinny skyscrapers, how to weaponize water, and what astronauts talk about in space. John McWhorter is co-host; Bari Weiss is live fact-checker.

Nurses to the Rescue!

They are the most-trusted profession in America (and with good reason). They are critical to patient outcomes (especially in primary care). Could the growing army of nurse practitioners be an answer to the doctor shortage? The data say yes but — big surprise — doctors’ associations say no.

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11 12 2012

How to Get the Best out of College? Bring Your Questions

We recently put out a two-part podcast called "Freakonomics Goes to College" (Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and together as an hour-long special). The main question we tried to answer was if, and on what dimensions, a college education is "worth it" -- i.e., whether the returns to education are as robust as we've been led to think. (Short answer: yes.) Along the way, we talked...

Farming Without Sun or Soil and Eating Manna From Heaven: TMSIDK Episode 35

This week, we work on our survival skills: in the desert, on the tundra, and growing food in abandoned warehouses. Actress Sas Goldberg is co-host; A.J. Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) is live fact-checker.

How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.

Mind Games: TMSIDK Episode 34

This is not a riddle: Why would water run uphill in Antarctica? According to researcher Robin Bell from Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, some Antarctic ice sheets sit two miles above rivers, squishing everything below them and squeezing water up the side of mountains — against gravity — for 60 to 70 miles. When the water gets […]

Thinking Is Expensive. Who’s Supposed to Pay for It?

Corporations and rich people donate billions to their favorite think tanks and foundations. Should we be grateful for their generosity — or suspicious of their motives?

Jon Batiste, Gail Simmons, and Strange Smells: TMSIDK Episode 33

Things we learn this week: dogs aren't so great at sniffing, men aren't so lazy, and New York doesn't smell so bad (anymore). Gail Simmons (Top Chef) is co-host; Jon Batiste plays his melodica for us; the live fact-checker is Mike Maughan.

How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

Academic studies are nice, and so are Nobel Prizes. But to truly prove the value of a new idea, you have to unleash it to the masses. That’s what a dream team of social scientists is doing — and we sat in as they drew up their game plan.

All About Bugs (of the Animal and Computer Varieties): TMSIDK Episode 32

Musical crickets, crop-saving wasps — and why you should pre-bug your software. John McWhorter is co-host; the live fact-checker is Bari Weiss.

The Demonization of Gluten

Celiac disease is thought to affect roughly one percent of the population. The good news: it can be treated by quitting gluten. The bad news: many celiac patients haven’t been diagnosed. The weird news: millions of people without celiac disease have quit gluten – which may be a big mistake.