Archives for self experimentation



Outsiders by Design: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast


What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else think is nuts? And what does it take to succeed? That’s what this week’s episode is about. It’s called “Outsiders By Design.”  (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, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

You’ll hear about three radical thinkers whose lives didn’t proceed in a perfectly straight line. In each case, their work was ridiculed or ignored — but ultimately, they triumphed. This podcast was inspired by the recent death of the economist Gary Becker, whose firm belief in the rational choice model led him to publish works like “Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach” and “A Theory on the Allocation of Time.” Read More »



The Plague of Medical Research

There is nothing conclusive in this report, but it is nevertheless sad and remarkable: Malcolm Casadaban, a University of Chicago medical researcher working on a better vaccine for the plague (Yersinia pestis), has died at the age of 60 and was found to have Yersinia pestis in his bloodstream. Read More »



Experimenting with milkshakes?

I have been on a mission to convince firms to do simple experiments that will give them feedback regarding the decisions that they make. Just as with people (as Anders Ericsson studies), firms cannot learn without feedback. It turns out, however, that it is not easy for people in companies to see the wisdom in […] Read More »



Shangri-La Diet, Revisited

Stephen Dubner was on Good Morning America this morning to talk about Seth Roberts, self-experimentation, and the Shangri-La Diet. Those of you seeking more information can read the original Times column here, background info here, and Roberts’s own contributions to the Freakonomics blog here and here and here and here and here and here. If […] Read More »



Seth Roberts, Guest Blogger: Finale?

Here is the latest (and maybe final) post from our guest blogger, Seth Roberts. If you need to get up to speed on Seth’s unorthodox research with weight-loss, mood, acne, and sleep, click here (our N.Y. Times article about him), here (research extras and pix), here (the first round of reader comments), and here, here, […] Read More »



Seth Roberts on Acne: Guest Blog, Pt. IV

Here is the latest post from our guest blogger, Seth Roberts. If you need to get up to speed on Seth’s unorthodox research with weight-loss, mood, and sleep, click here (our N.Y. Times article about him), here (research extras and pix), here (the first round of reader comments), and here, here, and here for his […] Read More »



Seth Roberts, Guest Blogger (Part III)

Here’s a third post from our guest blogger, Seth Roberts, a psychology professor at Berkeley and, apparently, the next American diet guru. If you need to get up to speed on Seth’s unorthodox research with weight-loss, mood, and sleep, click here (our N.Y. Times article about him), here (research extras and pix), here (the first […] Read More »



Seth Roberts, Guest Blogger (Part II)

Here’s another post from Seth Roberts, our guest blogger. If you need to get up to speed on Seth’s unorthodox research with weight-loss, mood, and sleep, click here (our N.Y. Times article about Seth), here (research extras and pix), here (the first round of reader comments), and here (for Seth’s first guest-blog, including comments and […] Read More »