Hello Hal: A Note From Your Editor

Greetings, Freakonomics community! This is your friendly neighborhood web editor, Melissa. Starting today, while Steven and Stephen will continue to post the same high-brow discussions of crack dealing, cheating, gold-digging and online poker that have long graced this site, I’ll also be posting under the eponymous apple/orange. So keep sending your good ideas to levittdubner (at) freakonomics (dot) com. The idea is simply to spread even more Freakonomic love around the blogosphere. Enjoy!


Clearly "Stephen" is best. The English name derives from the Greek "St?fa???" (of which the Latin transliteration is "Stephanos"). The key letter is f (Phi), which is pronounced "f" and is nearly always transliterated in English as "ph" (e.g. telephone, phonetics, photograph)--but NEVER as "v". "Steven" is a retrofit job, tacking an "n" onto the nickname "Steve"; it's the equivalent of Michael>Mike>Mikel. Who spells it "Mikel"? Come to think of it, didn't Freakonomics imply (pp. 179-180) that misspellings and nicknames-as-proper-names are indicators of low education in the parents? (Sorry, Levitt).


I believe the sequel already has a title (at least a tentaive title) - Superfreakonomics!

Maybe Melissa was hired to fill the role in the eponymous Rick James song - Superfreak

She's a very kinky girl
The kind you don't take home to mother
She will never let your spirits down
Once you get her off the street, ow girl

She likes the boys in the band
She says that I'm her all-time favorite
When I make my move to her room it's the right time
She's never hard to please

That girl is pretty wild now
The girl's a super freak
The kind of girl you read about
In new-wave magazine
That girl is pretty kinky
The girl's a super freak
I really love to taste her
Every time we meet
She's all right, she's all right
That girl's all right with me, yeah
She's a super freak, super freak
She's super-freaky, yow

Super freak, super freak


You should post under your own picture - not the apple/orange. After so many pix of the Steves, your visage would be a welcome relief.


Hi, and welcome.

So, I must have gotten behind in my usage. In what sense is the logo here "eponymous"?

I realize that the word is now (wrongly, IMO) used to mean "self-titled", but I don't see how even that usage applies here.

What say the editor? (-;


Could you configure the RSS feed to display the name of the writer in it in the body? That's helpful in blogs with multiple posters since in my reader it doesn't show up at all. Something like BoingBoing.net does would be great where it's just on the RSS feed that the names show up in the body.


I think she just called us mindless robots trying to take over the space station by cutting off her air supply and not letting her back into the air lock.

Sounds about right.


My RSS Reader (Google Reader) shows the author.


Can do Melissa


My first topic for discussion...the spelling of Stephen vs. Steven, which says bad ass the best?


The "v" is way more hardcore, furiousball. "Ph" just says nerd all over.

Josh Millard

On the other hand, collapsing Stephen to 'Steve' has a sort of transformative intimacy to it that just isn't there for the mechanical just-drop-the-n Steven-to-Steve maneuver, so points to Levitt on that.

Plus, there's the essential "Steve-o" question.

Josh Millard

Points to Dubner, even. Bosh.


I think Steven and Stephen should set up a study comparing the number of comments posted when an intelligent and attractive woman elicits them as opposed to a couple of ummm... intelligent guys. Welcome, Melissa :-)


Also, as Steven Levitt told Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, those luckily-named Stephens have a higher earning potential (or something along those lines) than the lowly Stevens.


Tell that to Steven Spielberg!


"So, I must have gotten behind in my usage. In what sense is the logo here “eponymous”?

I realize that the word is now (wrongly, IMO) used to mean “self-titled”, but I don't see how even that usage applies here.

What say the editor? (-;"

I agree with Mark. Melissa's usage of "eponymous" to describe the apple/orange icon under which she is posting:

"I'll also be posting under the eponymous apple/orange."

...is unequivocally wrong.

Given that the intellectual quality of this blog is so high, im surprised that the stephens have been seduced by such an attractive amateur.


Come on guys. Eponymous is just the adjective refering to the eponym. So what you have to decide is if the eponym of apple/orange is correct.

Now, I think you will agree that Freakonomics is a self referential name of the area of economics defined by the two Stev(ph)ens. Clearly "Freak" refers to these two idio...er geniuses. Therefore Freakonomics is an eponym, an area of economics named for these two Freaks.

Ok, so far so good but how does that make the apple/orange an eponym, you ask? Well, a logo is a direct substitute for the "thing". What ever the think is. In this case, it is a direct substitute for "Freakonomics", which as we have seen is an eponym.

Now in higher math, if a=b and b=c then a=c, so that the logo = freakonomics = eponym.


So when Melissa, dear sweet Melissa, says that she will be writing on behalf of the eponym apple/orange, she is writing eponymously.

Whew! Well, that's the best I could do.



Given that the intellectual quality of this blog is so high

Nice snark, BTW.


With apologies to RandyfromCanada,

This whole line of discussion
Might have enormous repercussion
What if the two Steves
Of their minds take leave
Eschewing book titles referring anonymously
And instead choose to speak eponymously
Do we really want our beloved Freakonomics
To be followed by the sequel, Stevonomics?


@16 -

Nice try, have no egrets.

To be tiresomely pedantic, the person came first, then the thing, so eponym refers to the person's name. No person, no eponym.

But whatever. I just wanted to be know if I'd missed some new meaning for 'eponymous'. Judging from the paucity of defense (no offense) so far, I'd say I probably haven't. (-;