Archives for jokes



“Pearls Before Swine” Takes Our Fund-Raising Advice

Yesterday, Freakonomics Radio made an appearance in the Pearls Before Swine comic strip, by Stephan Pastis. The episode he refers to is “How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten.”

(HT: Lots of people — thanks!)



A Wake-Up App That Economists Would Love

Cartoonist Manu Cornet has a simple economic fix for oversleeping.

(HT: Hans van der Drift)



Economics in a Fortune Cookie

A Chinese fortune cookie typically offers homely advice or bland predictions with your dessert.  But a recent one offered a good economics lesson:  “The cost of something is what you give up to get it.”  Nice to see the idea of opportunity cost enshrined between baked bits of dough.  I wonder, though, what one does give up at a Chinese restaurant?  (HT to TW)



A Big Heap of Shining Wit

I love spoonerisms. What’s a spoonerism, you say? It’s a phrase in which letters or syllables are swapped to make a new, punny meaning. The best spoonerism I’ve ever heard, by a long shot, is courtesy of Anu Garg, the editor of Wordsmith.org:

Rev. William Archibald Spooner, the father of spoonerism, not only gave the English language a new word, an eponym, but also an artful device for repartee. The story goes that a member of parliament cut off another calling him a shining wit, and then apologized for making a spoonerism.

In this CNBC interview with Warren Buffett, the interviewer makes a nice (if inadvertent) spoonerism, when she tries to say that “average retail investors feeling that they can’t get a fair shake” in the stock market because the game is weighted toward special interests. But instead of “fair shake,” she says “share fake.” Which pretty perfectly summarizes what those retails investors are afraid of getting.

Do you have any good spoonerisms for us?



When the Economists Arrive, Do the Prostitutes Leave?

I was walking outside the American Economic Association meetings this past Sunday when a man stopped me and asked what all the university professors were doing in one place.  I told him that it was the annual convention of economists, and got a hearty laugh by telling him the old joke that when the economists arrived in town, the prostitutes left.  This joke is a good illustration: the arrival of economists represents a decrease in demand; the prostitutes’ leaving represents a decrease in the amount supplied.  I don’t know the shape of the supply curve, however, so I can’t speculate about the size of the change, if any, in the equilibrium price. But the joke does suggest that the equilibrium quantity transacted decreased.



Etsy for Economists

Economists may think there’s nothing for them on Etsy, the website that sells handmade and vintage arts and crafts items, usually made by grandmas or some overeducated Brooklyn mom. But they would be wrong. Dork out with these statistical distribution pillows: Log Distribution? Continuous Uniform? Even Chi-Square! It’s all here. And it also turns out, Normal Distribution makes a really good doorstop

(HT: Flowing Data)



Possibly the Strangest Freakonomics Video Ever

You have to see this. Read More »



Brookings Scholars Reverse Course on… Everything

With my better half serving in the administration, I’m spending much of this year visiting Brookings.  And every morning, we receive an email, letting us know just what the various Brookings economists are up to.  This morning’s edition (written by Daniel Moskowitz) was priceless: Good enough I thought worth sharing with the wider world. Read More »