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?

How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)

Season 6, Episode 41 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks about what gossip is and isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. Plus: what do our online searches say about our true selves? In the real world, everybody lies. […]

Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing): A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest podcast is called “Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing).” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) 

In the show, Stephen Dubner talks about what gossip is, or isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. You'll hear from our usual assortment of professors and theorists but also from TV/movie star Adrian Grenier (talking about what it's like to be the subject of gossip) and Nick Denton, the publisher of Gawker (whose tagline is “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news”).

Who Runs the Internet? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest podcast is called "Who Runs the Internet?" (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

It begins with Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt talking about whether virtual mayhem -- from online ranting to videogame violence -- may help reduce mayhem in the real world. There is no solid data on this, Levitt says, but he hypothesizes: 

LEVITT: Maybe the biggest effect of all of having these violent video games is that they’re super fun for people to play, especially adolescent boys, maybe even adolescent boys who are prone to real violence. And so if you can make video games fun enough, then kids will stop doing everything else. They’ll stop watching TV, they’ll stop doing homework, and they’ll stop going out and creating mayhem on the street. 

This episode then moves on to a bigger question about the Internet itself: who runs it? As Dubner asks: "Who’s in charge of the gazillions of conversations and transactions and character assassinations that happen online every day?"