First the Bagel, Now the Mohel

The Jewish Daily Forward is reporting that more and more non-Jews are calling in the mohel, or ritual circumciser, to have their sons circumcised. The reasons for this include a desire for cleanliness (mohels operate outside of hospitals) and adding a bit of spiritual pizazz, even if the pizazz comes from outside a family’s own […]

Lost: $720 Billion. If Found, Please Return to Owner, Preferably in Cash

According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of housing prices, home prices have fallen by about 6 percent in the United States on average over the last twelve months. By my rough calculations, that means that home owners have lost about $720 billion in wealth as a consequence. That is about $2,400 for every person in America, […]

Economics and New Year’s Resolutions

In recent days, we’ve introduced a pair of regular guest bloggers, Ian Ayres and Sudhir Venkatesh. We are happy and proud to now introduce a third, a terrific addition and no stranger to readers of this blog: Justin Wolfers, an economist at Wharton and a great explorer of everything from racial bias in N.B.A. refereeing […]

Seeing With Tongues

We use our eyes to see, so it seems logical to conjecture that if you didn’t have eyes, you couldn’t see. What I love about science is that these sorts of limiting beliefs routinely get blasted out of the water. A fascinating series of experiments points out that we see with our brains, not our […]

Crime Falls and It Actually Makes the Newspaper

I have blogged repeatedly about the propensity of the media to distort official crime reports to make it appear as if things are getting inexorably worse. (You can see past examples here, here, and here.) Crime has more or less been treading water in the United States over the last few years, although you would […]

The FREAK-est Links

A financial markets outlook for 2008. The newest trend in Romanian business: eBay scams. (Earlier) What would Earth look like to aliens? Want to keep your Web surfing, e-mail and IMs private? Here’s how.

Is the U.S. High School Graduation Rate Worse Than We Thought?

That’s the assertion made by James Heckman and Paul LaFontaine in a new working paper called “The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels.” Here is their abstract: This paper uses multiple data sources and a unified methodology to estimate the trends and levels of the U.S. high school graduation rate. Correcting for important […]

The Truth About Salvadoran Gangs: A Guest Post

Please say hello to a new guest blogger, Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology and African-American studies at Columbia. You may remember him as the grad student who embedded himself with a Chicago crack gang, which we wrote about in “Freakonomics,” and you may also remember this blog Q&A. On Jan. 10, Venkatesh will publish […]

Eat By the Numbers

A friend of mine went through Naval Officer Candidate School a while back, and I recently stumbled upon an old e-mail he’d sent me that included the following: It has been eight weeks, and my training class is about to become the “senior class on deck,” which means that we are responsible for running the […]

The FREAK-est Links

The art and practice of political data mining. (Hat tip: Chris Masse) CalTech scientist works to develop more efficient, less costly fuel cell. (Earlier) Spam made up 90% of e-mails delivered to big companies in November. (Earlier) offers increased options for gift card recipients. (Earlier)