[MUSIC: The Diplomats of Solid Sound, “Plenty Nasty” (from Plenty Nasty)] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners. Our new book, Think Like a Freak, is out on May 12. Visit Freakonomics.com to learn more or pre-order a copy – or 100 copies, if you need them. And – happy news here – we are bringing […] Read More »
Our latest podcast compared the costs of marijuana use to the costs of alcohol use. A new study in the current issue of The Journal of Neuroscience argues that casual use of marijuana affects the developing brain. Jason Koebler, writing for Vice, summarizes the findings:
High-resolution MRI scans of the brains of adults between the ages of 18-25 who reported smoking weed at least once a week were structurally different than a control group: They showed greater grey matter density in the left amygdala, an area of the brain associated with addiction and showed alterations in the hypothalamus and subcallosal cortex. The study also notes that marijuana use “may be associated with a disruption of neural organization.” The more weed a person reported smoking, the more altered their brain appeared, according to the Northwestern University and Harvard Medical School study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The finding already has the study’s authors calling for states to reconsider legalizing the drug. Hans Breiter, the lead author, said he’s “developed a severe worry about whether we should be allowing anybody under age 30 to use pot unless they have a terminal illness and need it for pain.
(HT: The Daily Dish)
[MUSIC: Brilliantes del Vuelo, “Drunken Heroics”] Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners, don’t forget our new book Think Like a Freak will be published on May 12th. So if you think you need to set aside a little bit of time on that day for some light reading, maybe you want to go ahead and […] Read More »
We have blogged and written extensively about the gender pay gap, much of which is not attributable to discrimination, as is commonly invoked. President Obama has taken up the cause; he recently signed two executive orders aimed at closing the gap. Business Insider recently posted a state-by-state breakdown of the gender wage gap. It is interesting to look at but keep in mind the non-discriminatory factors that contribute to the gap, and therefore consider these numbers with some skepticism:
Wyoming has the biggest pay gap — the median male full-time worker made $51,932, and the median female full-time worker made $33,152. The male worker thus made 56.6% more than the female worker.
Washington, D.C. had the smallest gap — there, men make 11.0% more than women. Among the states, Maryland and Nevada had the smallest gaps, both at 17.2%.
[MUSIC: The Jaguars; “Jaguar Soul” (from My Generation)] Hey podcast listeners. Our new book, Think Like a Freak, will be published on May 12 — as a hardcover, e-book, audio book, large-print, you name it. And if you pre-order it in any format, from any store, you can get the first chapter now, delivered to […] Read More »
BBC News reports the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a school dropout in rural India who invented a technology that could vastly improve reproductive health for women. The user-friendly technology relies on simple machines to produce sanitary pads at a low cost, a boon for women unwilling or unable to pay for the higher-priced sanitary pads in stores.
Read More »
[Muruganantham] discovered that hardly any women in the surrounding villages used sanitary pads – fewer than one in 10. His findings were echoed by a 2011 survey by AC Nielsen, commissioned by the Indian government, which found that only 12% of women across India use sanitary pads.
Muruganantham says that in rural areas, the take-up is far less than that. He was shocked to learn that women don’t just use old rags, but other unhygienic substances such as sand, sawdust, leaves and even ash.
Women who do use cloths are often too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, which means they don’t get disinfected. Approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene – it can also affect maternal mortality.
A new working paper (abstract; PDF) by Eli Berman, Michael Callen, Clark Gibson, and James D. Long looks at the effects of election interventions in fragile states, specifically Afghanistan. The results are encouraging:
International development agencies invest heavily in institution building in fragile states, including expensive interventions to support democratic elections. Yet little evidence exists on whether elections enhance the domestic legitimacy of governments. Using the random assignment of an innovative election fraud-reducing intervention in Afghanistan, we find that decreasing electoral misconduct improves multiple survey measures of attitudes toward government, including: (1) whether Afghanistan is a democracy; (2) whether the police should resolve disputes; (3) whether members of parliament provide services; and (4) willingness to report insurgent behavior to security forces.
Racked interviews entrepreneur and professional line-sitter Robert Samuel. Samuels started his line-sitting venture, Same Old Line Dudes (SOLD Inc.), as the iPhone 5 was launched:
Read More »
I was an employee at AT&T, and I lost my job. I wanted to supplement my income because I used to sell iPhones, and this time I wasn’t going to be able to sell them and make a big commission check. I live a few blocks from the Apple store on 14th Street, so I said, “Let me wait in line for somebody else and make them happy.”
The guy that hired me cancelled and said he wasn’t going to use me—he was just going to get it online but that he was still going to pay me. He paid me $100 and I resold the spot and made another $100, and then I called my friends and told them to come on down, because I just made $200 standing in one spot on a weekday afternoon.