When the White House Got Into the Nudge Business

Season 7, Episode 6 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a tiny behavioral-sciences startup in the Obama White House tried to improve the way federal agencies did their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, it wasn’t so simple. Plus: a terrorism summit. Stephen Dubner reviews what we do and don’t know about terrorism; what’s […]

Is There a Better Way to Fight Terrorism? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Next week, the White House is hosting a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (known to most laypeople as "terrorism"). It was originally scheduled for last year but got delayed – and then put back on the calendar after the Paris attacks in January. What should we expect from a summit like this? "Alas, I’m expecting very little of a positive nature," Col. (Ret.) Jack Jacobs tells us. "I view this principally as a media event. I hope I’m wrong."

Just in case the summit does turn out to be primarily a media event, we thought we’d take our podcast – which technically, is a media event – and turn it into a terrorism summit. This week's episode is called "Is There a Better Way to Fight Terrorism?" (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?

Season 3, Episode 3

Until not so long ago, chicken feet were essentially waste material.  Now they provide enough money to keep U.S. chicken producers in the black -- by exporting 300,000 metric tons of chicken “paws” to China and Hong Kong each year. In the first part of this hour-long episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner explores this and other examples of weird recycling. We hear the story of a Cleveland non-profit called MedWish, which ships unused or outdated hospital equipment to hospitals in poor countries around the world. We also hear Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold describe a new nuclear-power reactor that runs on radioactive waste.

Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup, Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of our "Waiter, There's a Physicist in My Soup!" podcast, we looked at the movement to bring more science into the kitchen, embodied by the efforts of physicist/chef/inventor Nathan Myhrvold and his forthcoming cookbook Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. We also heard from Alice Waters, the champion of organic and slow food, who thinks we need to get back to basics, with less technology in our food.

In Part 2, we get out of the kitchen and take a broader look at the past, present and future of food science.

Waiter, There’s a Physicist In My Soup, Part I

Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast (you can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen live via the link in box at right or read a transcript here) is called "Waiter, There's a Physicist in My Soup." It's the first segment of a two-parter about food and food science; it's also about why we eat what we eat, and how that may change in the future. The first episode takes a look at the "molecular gastronomy" movement, which gets a big bump in visibility next month with the publication of a mammoth cookbook called Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Its principal author is Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft who now runs an invention company called Intellectual Ventures.