Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.

The International Monetary Fund has long been the “lender of last resort” for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would like to prevent those crises from ever happening. She tells us her plans.

Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up?

The public has almost no chance to buy good tickets to the best events. Ticket brokers, meanwhile, make huge profits on the secondary markets. Here’s the story of how this market got so dysfunctional, how it can be fixed – and why it probably won’t be.

Are We Running Out of Ideas?

Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next?

See a random post from our archives:
06 08 2012

Recycling for Songs

Reader Peter Danza tipped us off to the way Sweden is trying to incentivize its citizens to return bottles. The reward: free music:Sweden has a deposit bottle system similar to many other countries - plastic bottles and metal cans carry a deposit value ("pant" in Swedish) of usually 1 or...

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.

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.