A Beet Paradox

Photo: Darwin Bell Beets are the new broccoli. Or at least they will be after Obama takes office on January 20, as the president-elect recently revealed his distaste for this vitamin-laden root vegetable. And Obama is not alone: Even as beet salads have become popular in trendy eateries, most American kids I know also reject […]

Who Are the Outlaws? A Freakonomics Quorum

Photo: soundfromwayout By now it’s a common phrase: “When X are outlawed, only outlaws will have X.” The X has been filled in by, among others: guns, perfume bottles, and Wonderbras. But who are the modern-day outlaws? Do we still have outlaws or did they die off with the last of the frontier towns — […]

The Economic Consequences of My Dislike for Blutwurst

Blutwurst was on the menu last night at the local restaurant where we ate. Yuck! And I imagine most Americans would agree. They would also agree about Vegemite, Scotch eggs (probably the single worst food I ever made the mistake of eating), and gusanos fritos. No doubt we can think of examples from many countries’ […]

“We Are a Great Nation of Pie Eaters”

Pity the poor pasty. As if it weren’t bad enough that Anglo-illiterate writers don’t know the thing exists (and need to be set straight by proper stewards of the mother tongue), the traditional Cornish pasty has suffered because of copycats and counterfeiters. Photo taken from The Cornish Pasty Association According to the BBC, pasty makers […]

Keep the Cheap Wine Flowing

I blogged last week about blind wine tastings — my own casual experiments as well as some more serious academic ones. The bottom line is that in blind wine tastings, there is a zero or even slightly negative correlation between the ratings of regular people and the price of the wine they are drinking; for […]

Cheap Wine

I spent three years at Harvard in the Society of Fellows. I had no obligations there except to spend my Monday nights eating fancy meals in the company of some of the world’s most brilliant thinkers: Nobel Prize-winning scientist Amartya Sen, philosopher Robert Nozick, etc. Dinner was always accompanied by expensive wine from the society’s […]

Purim and Penelope

My son and I recently returned from Israel where we had the chance to spend Purim in Jerusalem. Purim is a bit like Halloween — kids and parents dress up in costumes. And while there aren’t door-to-door “trick-or-treats,” there is a tradition of giving kids candies. Our cab driver even offered us Purim chocolate. So […]

The FREAK-est Links

Can big businesses lead us to a cultural revolution? Does the human “inactivity bias” make economic sense? (Earlier) Michael Shermer discusses The Mind of the Market. (Earlier) A guide to betting on the Oscars.

The FREAK-est Links

Personal unhappiness may boost spending. New Web site lets users create their own carbon tax. (Earlier) Artificial sweeteners may cause more weight gain than sugar. (Earlier) Does all corporate culture have to be evil?

FREAK-TV: An Economic History of … Abs?

Video Today’s installment of FREAK-TV traces the history of male abs in culture and media, from the unveiling of Michelangelo’s “David” to James Dean‘s shirtless pose in Rebel Without a Cause to the Calvin Klein abs bonanza of the 1990s that made “six-packs” the norm (and turned an often-unattainable level of fitness into an anti-fat […]