Why Learn Esperanto? (Special Feature)

A language invented in the 19th century, and meant to be universal, it never really caught on. So why does a group of Esperantists from around the world gather once a year to celebrate their bond?

What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

We explore votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve that?

“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

Season 7, Episode 2 This week on Freakonomics Radio: John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. also getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Stephen J. Dubner brings you the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions […]

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. simultaneously getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Here’s the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk versus uncertainty.

Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis (Rebroadcast)

By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations (Rebroadcast)

How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on “dream patients” who aren’t representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.

Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6 (Rebroadcast)

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

When Helping Hurts

Season 6, Episode 47 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner investigates one of the most fascinating and troubling research findings in the history of social science. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “When Helping Hurts.” You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple […]

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

Season 6, Episode 46 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It’s an easy narrative to swallow. But, Stephen J. Dubner asks, is it true? Plus: a lot of ideas about how to successfully raise money — using good old-fashioned guilt, for instance. […]