Green Noise

Reusable grocery bags may be unsanitary but at least they're quiet. The same cannot be said for Frito Lay's new environmentally friendly SunChips bag. The bag is so noisy that the company, after lots of consumer backlash (including Facebook campaigns), is ditching the effort.

The Downside of Reusable Grocery Bags

You know those reusable cloth bags that environmentally-conscious shoppers proudly tote to the grocery store? It turns out they may be making you sick.

Does Driver's Ed. Lead to More Car Crashes?

The conclusion couldn't be any starker: "Indiana lawmakers say the state's driver education program isn't working, citing a fractured system administered by three separate agencies and statistics that put the program's usefulness in doubt."

More Unintended Trash Consequences

A family in Sharon Township, Ohio (where residents are charged for their trash), left behind a big mess when they moved out of their home.

Methadone and Infant Vision

Infants exposed to this heroin substitute in utero experience vision problems.

The Dangers of a Live Twitter Feed

It seems to make all the sense in the world. You are WPMI-TV, the NBC affiliate that covers southern Alabama and some of the Florida Panhandle, and you rent a big electronic billboard to promote your nightly news and weather team.

More Money, More Fishing

The island of Kiribati began to subsidize coconut harvesting in the hopes of encouraging fishermen to switch to the coconut trade and thereby help preserve Kiribati's reefs from the ravages of overfishing.

What's Your Best Externality?

The last two years I've run an “externality” contest in my giant intro class, offering $5 to the student who comes up with the best example.

When You're Paying Per Bone Fragment, Expect More Fragments

We tell quite a few stories about unintended consequences in SuperFreakonomics, including what happens when governments add or increase a trash-collection tax — like this one and this one.

But I don't think any stories we tell are quite as interesting as the following one, sent in by a reader named Jack Crichton in British Columbia:

Unintended Consequences for Children

International children's rights advocates focus significant resources on eliminating child labor in developing countries, often advocating consumer boycotts and international regulation. Despite all these efforts, however, child labor is still prevalent throughout the developing world. Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti think all that international pressure may actually be worsening the child labor problem.