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FREAK Shots: How’s Your Riot Insurance?

Chris Markl Chris Markl Reader Chris Markl emailed us these photos of signs from Nairobi offering insurance against political violence, terrorism, and riots. If Sudhir Venkatesh is right, we probably won’t be seeing similar insurance pitches in the U.S., though maybe London could use them. Markl wonders why another type of insurance isn’t offered in […] Read More »

Better Off Dead: A Q&A With the Author of The Tyranny of Dead Ideas

Matt Miller It isn’t hard to think of ideas that were once considered conventional wisdom — “Women shouldn’t vote,” “People should be segregated by race” — but were eventually laid to rest. In his book The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash A New Prosperity, Matt Miller […] Read More »

What Do Truckers Have to Do With Country Music, Food Prices, and Politics?

Since the first trucks began carrying freight in the early 1900’s, the U.S. trucking industry has had an influence on politics, food prices, and even music. Read More »

FREAK Shots: Who Wins for Best Recession Cover?

Since the recession was made official, and even before, magazine covers brought out a host of recession-related imagery: downward-slanting arrows, roller coasters, and even (groan) the passé bear or bull. Back in October, Vanessa Voltolina, writing for Folio magazine’s blog, asked BusinessWeek‘s art director Andrew Horton what makes a good or bad recession cover. “There […] Read More »

Who Survives a Plane Crash?

When a jetliner made a water landing on the Hudson River last week and all 155 passengers survived, Levitt wrote that maybe airplane safety briefings aren’t entirely useless after all. Read More »

What's the Point of an Apology?

In the last few years, institutions have been issuing more apologies, according to an Economist article. And lately there have been calls for quite a few more (from institutions and individuals), including Wall Street to American citizens and Bernard Madoff to the people he allegedly swindled (rather than just his co-op neighbors). But aside from […] Read More »

The Tennessee Coal-Ash Spill, in Pictures

I was stirring the syrup for a pecan pie when the phone rang. My friend Brenda Boozer called to tell me there had been a massive environmental disaster close to home, and could I possibly get away to take photographs? Read More »

FREAK Shots: The Upside of Cooking Dangerously

Turkey fryers are fixtures at southern holiday parties. As I watched my friend’s husband gleefully fry his turkey in a big vat of boiling oil this Christmas, I became a bit concerned for his and my safety … and rightly so. Underwriters Laboratories has refused to put its label of approval on turkey fryers out […] Read More »