Archives for Iraq



Should the U.S. Merge With Mexico? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

There seem to be two global winds blowing in opposite directions: companies are merging like never before while nation-states from Spain to Iraq to the United Kingdom are threatening to break apart.

What if the United States bucked the trend of nation-states and instead went the way of companies? What if, for instance, the U.S. decided to merge with Mexico? Welcome to Amexico, with a population of nearly half a billion people and the best hamburgers and enchiladas in the world. Is this as crazy as it sounds? That’s the question we explore in our latest Freakonomics Radio episode, “Should the U.S. Merge With Mexico?” (You can download/subscribe 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.) Read More »



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”). Read More »



Forensic Accounting and Al Qaeda

A new RAND study of captured documents from al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) reveals some interesting facts about the organization. It found that “AQI was a hierarchical organization with decentralized decisionmaking; AQI in Anbar was profitable enough to send substantial revenues out of the province in 2006; AQI relied on extortion, theft, and black market sales to fund its operations in Anbar; AQI needed large, regular revenue sources to fund its operations, but its administrative leaders did not hold much cash on hand.” Read More »



The Costs of War

A new paper reviews war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read More »



Inside The Hurt Locker Suits

Foreign Policy’s recent photoessay offers readers a look at life on real Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams. Read More »



The Iraqi Housing Boom

As U.S. home prices continue to fall (down a record 16.6 percent, according to the latest figures), it’s worth considering that in Baghdad, home prices have nearly doubled since last year. That’s partly because the city has become much safer since 2007, as sectarian violence has receded in the Iraqi capital. While people are moving […] Read More »



U.S. Troops to Iraqis: Leave Your Lights on at Night

A fascinating U.C.L.A. study challenges the success of the U.S. troop surge using a creative metric: satellite images capturing the amount of light at night in Iraqi neighborhoods. The idea is simple: lights at night are an indication of activity. According to the article, no lights imply that people have fled or have been ethnically […] Read More »



IraqTheVote.org

My father has a lot of ideas. Some of them are pretty good. Others get me into a lot of trouble. Back in July of 2005, my dad had an idea I thought was interesting enough that I passed it along to the staff of Barack Obama. This is well before Obama was running for […] Read More »