The Domain-Name Shakedown

Here’s an e-mail I received the other day: I own a manufacturing company and have been a successful investor and equity trader for 20 years. I have an in-depth understanding of the current O.T.C. derivative crisis that is infecting the global financial system. This led me to the acquisition of [REDACTED] as I saw the […]

How Many Twittering Politicians Does It Take to Threaten National Security?

Just one, as we learned a few weeks ago in Congressional Quarterly, which reported that Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, regularly Twittered details of his congressional delegation’s visit to Iraq, details that were supposed to be kept secret. With Twittering politicians on the rise, should we be […]

Awards Are Meaningless Except When They're Not

Despite charges that it simply wants to grab web traffic, has bravely gone ahead with its second annual list of the Top 25 blogs on the web. And guess who made the list? Yep. For the second straight year. We’d like to thank the Academy … Seriously, we are flattered and thankful. Thanks especially […]

A Menstrual Site for Men

That’s how pitches itself. To wit: is a free service created with a single goal in mind: to keep you aware of when your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, or any other women in your life are closing in on “that time of the month” – when things can get intense for what […]

Lotto Is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens

The Powerball lottery jackpot, which now stands at $20 million, is tough to win — and sometimes, nobody wins it. It’s incredibly hard to match all six numbers drawn for the game. To get an idea of just how long the odds are, software engineer Andrew Arrow built a clever little program that randomly generates […]

What's in a Name? Four Thousand and Fifty Dollars

It may be a gag, but from the looks of this eBay page, someone just sold the naming rights for her unborn baby — and two pairs of Nike Air baby booties — for $4,050. She doesn’t care what name the buyer chooses, but hopes it’s not one that will get her child’s “butt kicked.” […]

The Poptropica Puzzle

The one question I ask most often about the internet is the following: why do people make such great stuff and then give it away for free? The website Poptropica is a perfect example. Poptropica is a virtual online world in which children take part in adventures that require creativity, persistence, logic, and coordination to […]

Comment, Comment on the Wall, Are You Community or Not at All

One of the coolest things about posting at Freakonomics is the chance to be educated by your high-quality comments, which add to our posts and sometimes correct our mistakes. But to be honest, every once in a while I have been depressed by the harsh general tone of criticism. (For example, the comments here got […]

Year-End Clearance: All Medical Myths Must Go!

Sorry, moms: it turns out that reading in low light won’t make you go blind; going hatless in the winter won’t make you freeze to death; and you could eat poinsettias all day and not be poisoned. All this holiday medical myth-busting and more is courtesy of our somber friends at the British Medical Journal […]

Puzzling Over the Invisible Economy

Last week I did something that felt very 1990's: I purchased a compact disc. The CD wasn't for me; it was a Christmas present.

As I wrapped the CD, I pondered the silliness of the whole enterprise. After all, the recipient -- like most of us these days -- listens almost exclusively to MP3 files. In fact, I'm not even sure if he has a CD player beyond his laptop, which he will use to convert his disc-shaped gift into a more useful set of MP3 files.