Archives for SuperFreakonomics



The Silver Lining of More Cancer Deaths

A National Post graphic does a good job showing causes of death across Canada by percentage, and notes that, for the first time, cancer is the leading cause in every province, responsible for about 30 percent of all deaths. That is a heartbreaking number, not least because cancer is a disease (or set of diseases, really) about which so much is still unknown.

As we wrote in a section of SuperFreakonomics called “We’re still getting our butts kicked by cancer,” seeing cancer statistics like this might naturally lead one to conclude that the “war on cancer” has been a dismal failure. That, however, would be an overstatement. While it’s true that we are, as one oncologist told us, “still getting our butts kicked,” there is somewhat of a silver lining in the cancer death rate. Read More »



Finally: A Garden Hose to the Sky

Well, it’s actually happening. An idea reported on extensively in SuperFreakonomics has come to fruition, and some mad scientists are getting their way (and a little government funding) to build a garden hose to the sky – and save the world by cooling it down.

A team of British researchers called SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering), is attempting to pump particles of water into the atmosphere as a test run before moving onto sulfates and aerosols that would reflect sunlight away from earth, mimicking a volcano effect. SPICE is building the garden hose at an undisclosed location, with £1.6 million in UK government funding and the backing of the Royal Society. Read More »



SuperFreakonomics Back on the Times Best-Seller List

We just got word that the new paperback edition of SuperFreakonomics will land on the 6/12 New York Times best-seller list. Freakonomics is still on the list too (88 weeks on paperback list after >100 on hardcover), and it’ll be fun to see if baby brother can hang in as long as the original. Thanks to all for reading!



A SuperFreakonomics Contest: Underappreciated Complements?

Iced tea and lemonade are hardly perfect complements — they can each be happily consumed individually — but more and more I see them being served together. I have always known this combo as an “Arnold Palmer”; increasingly, however, as in this ad at the New York chain drugstore Duane Reade, it is known simply as “half-iced tea, half-lemonade.”

I like an Arnold Palmer just fine, but to my taste the best combo drink of all time is a cranberry juice and Fresca. What? You’ve never tried it?! Thank me later.

This has gotten me thinking about other wonderful complements in life. Surely many of them are in the realm of food and drink. But there’s also driving a convertible in cold weather with the heat on, e.g.

What are some of your favorite — especially underappreciated — complements? Tell us in the comments section and we’ll take five of the best and vote for the favorite. Winner gets a free copy of new SuperFreakonomics paperback.



Another Chance to Win a Free Copy of SuperFreakonomics

Yesterday, we ran a contest to give away five copies of the new paperback edition of SuperFreakonomics (which can be bought on Amazon and elsewhere). There were more than 640 entries! Thanks for all the support, and for betraying your thirst for free stuff.

So let’s have another contest right now. Last week, when we asked the best way to give away books, your second preference was “really hard contests on blog.” Okay then. But instead of having a quiz here on the blog, we’ve put it on our new Facebook page. So go ahead and “like” our page (if indeed you like it), and try your hand at the quiz. We’ll send a free SuperFreakonomics paperback to the first five people who receive perfect scores. (The tricky part is that you’ll do much better on the quiz if you’ve read the book but hey, the world’s not perfect is it?) Good luck!



Announcing the Winners of the SuperFreakonomics Paperback Giveaway

Yesterday, the paperback edition of SuperFreakonomics was published in the U.S. (only $10.54 at Amazon!). And we used a random-ish contest to give away five copies. If I had known there would be so many respondents — more than 600 as of this writing — I would have had the winning comments correspond to higher values! Anyway: thanks to all for playing, and congratulations to the winners, who are:

Michael Mehrotra: comment No. 9, which corresponds to the episode number of our “Power of Poop” podcast.

Paulius Ambrazevicius: comment No. 10, which corresponds to our publisher’s street address.

Wade P.: comment No. 22, which corresponds to Hungary’s suicide rate (per 100,000).

“Power Pooper” (do we sense a theme here?): comment No. 32, which corresponds to the jersey number of my favorite football player, Franco Harris.

Pat Long: comment No. 43, which corresponds to Steve Levitt‘s age (at least for another few days).

Note: we counted the order of original comments, not replies, so as not to skew results.

Also: this was fun. We should do it again sometime soon, yeah?



Who Wants a Free Copy of New SuperFreakonomics Paperback?

The paperback is published in the U.S. today. Here’s what the cover looks like.

You can buy it on Amazon (and elsewhere).

There is a Facebook quiz forthcoming.

It includes lots of bonus material.

And just for kicks, we’ll give away five copies right here and now. Earlier, we asked your preferred method of giveaway and your strong preference was “random.” So why don’t we do things the way radio stations used to give away free records (maybe they still do this?) — you know, “The 28th caller will receive …” All you have to do is post a comment below. We’ll pick five comments from the lot, including the numbers represented by:

1. Steve Levitt’s age
2. Our publisher’s street address
3. The uniform number of my all-time favorite football player
4. The suicide rate (per 100,000) in Hungary
5. The episode number of our “Power of Poop” podcast

Good luck!



Free Sample No. 1 From SuperFreakonomics Paperback

SuperFreakonomics comes out in paperback in the U.S. tomorrow. It includes a 16-page color insert with material from the Illustrated Edition of the book. Here’s an example, detailing the clever experimental variations the economist John List worked through on the Dictator Game:

(Click through to see a bigger version)