The Price of Olympic Competition

There have been a lot of posts here about various wrinkles in Olympic competition: medal count, citizenship flexibility, outlying statistics, etc. Here’s perhaps the smallest wrinkle of all, but one that I found fascinating. It falls under the “citizenship flexibility” category and concerns one Olympic athlete’s name. We wrote in Freakonomics that the name a […]

Why the Obituary Page Is My Favorite

Great reading on The Times‘s obit page today. Not just “Jack A. Weil, 107, the Cowboy’s Dresser” — a cowboy couturier and a centenarian?! — but two other gentlemen, Henry B.R. Brown and L. Rust Hills. Hills was the longtime fiction editor at Esquire, a landmark job that he took very seriously. Brown was a […]

Go Prudents!

Oklahoma City will soon be home to an N.B.A. team, the former Seattle SuperSonics. The new team will probably be called the Thunder, but other name candidates include the Barons, Bison, Energy, Marshalls, and Wind. (Thank goodness the team is being renamed; I still laugh every time I hear the “Utah Jazz.”) I had the […]

The Economics of Teeth, and Other Beauty Premiums

I’ve been thinking a lot about teeth lately. First I read this post by Ian Ayres on the value of getting a tooth cleaning. Then I was out in Salt Lake City to give a lecture at the University of Utah, and the student who drove me around was a very nice guy whose father […]

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Economists’ Version

Justin Lahart at the Wall Street Journal suggests a new party game for economists (or at least something to keep you awake if a conference gets dull): Six Degrees of Joe Stiglitz. He’s suggesting the econ version of the Paul Erdos number in math: If you drew a diagram linking different mathematicians, many of the […]

All Aboard the Gordon Bethune

Here’s a picture I snapped out the window at Newark (Liberty International) Airport not long ago. It’s a Continental Boeing 777 whose nose, as you can see, features the name of former Continental chairman and C.E.O. Gordon Bethune. I wondered: Do all Continental planes from Bethune’s era carry his name? No. According to a Continental […]

Good Communication Skills Have Never Been So Important

I got an email the other day from a blog reader who tells me that there are now more non-native English speakers than native English speakers. That leaves ample opportunities for linguistic subtleties going unnoticed. I suppose it can happen to native English speakers as well. Here is an example: Back in 2006, I wrote […]

This Identity Theft I Can Live With

This week in reader e-mail brings a note from a 46-year-old man in Rockland County, N.Y., a director in a private company that outsources invoicing for telecommunications companies and newspapers. It turns out that he and I have something in common. Here is a tale of identity theft I am happy to report: Hello Stephen, […]

The FREAK-est Links

Tips for naming your successful technology company. Does an oil-based economy hurt women’s rights? Why do more disasters seem to occur in election years? Team of physicists capture and store nothing.

Barack’s Prosody Problem: A Guest Post

Justin Wolfers‘s recent post on “sounding presidential” reminded me that there is another sense in which a candidate might sound presidential. It turns out that almost all presidents have had first names with stressed first syllables – think WILL-iam, or RICH-ard. One-syllable names are also stressed when you say the candidate’s entire name – think […]