Search the Site

A Creative Application of Incentives …

Actually, two examples in today’s New York Times*, and in the Arts section of all places.

1. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt solve a big problem — the illicit distribution of photos of their new baby — by distributing the pictures themselves and donating the proceeds to charity, thereby thwarting the paparazzi free market and potentially setting a new model for future celebrity photo ops.

2. City officials in Sydney, Australia have found a way to clear out the hooligans who gather at night in parking lots and discourage solid citizens from frequenting restaurants: they’re going to play Barry Manilow music, really loud. This may attract an undue collection of “Fanilows,” the worldwide guild of women who love Barry, but they are presumably better customers than the existing hooligans.

Also in today’s Times, the most entertaining lead paragraph I’ve read in years, by Nicholas Wade: The first American to be able to claim descent from Genghis Khan has been discovered. He is Thomas R. Robinson, an associate professor of accounting at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

*Both of these stories were first reported yesterday by Reuters.