Our Daily Bleg

What’s a bleg?

A bleg = blog + beg — i.e., using a blog to beg for information. (This is not to be confused with the Dutch beleg — which is either a sandwich filling or the declaration of martial law.)

We have blegged before on this blog, asking our readers for Vegas travel tips, reading material, and new technologies worth adopting.

And you, the readers, always respond with great generosity, breadth, and insight.

But why should we be the sole beneficiaries of such blegs? Surely our readers, in addition to providing a great reservoir of diverse knowledge, also have bleg requests of their own.

Perhaps you or someone you love has just been diagnosed with a rare disease and you are looking for good data and advice. Maybe you just landed a semester abroad in India and want to arrive fully prepared to take advantage. Maybe you — like me — have finally grown weary of wrestling with all the glitches in a new PC laptop and wonder if it is time to convert to Mac.

So let’s put you, our readership, to work on behalf of you, our readership. You can post your blegs in the comments section below, and/or send them to bleg@freakonomics.com.

It might be helpful to add a bit of contextual information to your bleg (see the examples linked to in the third paragraph, above) rather than just floating a question on its own. We’ll then select blegs and post them one at a time; I am guessing that the response to these blegs will prove to the world that the people who read Freakonomics.com are indeed among the wisest and most thoughtful people in the land.


How does one teach creativity to an old adult like me? I remember in Levitt's video saying he taught his kids rock, paper, scissor to teach creativity, saying it's quite hard to teach creativity.

Steve Jensen

I'm interested in the theories, explanations, and data that relate to why African-Americans have abandoned baseball.


What is the best kind of cat to get?


The Dutch people once declared martial law over a sandwich filling. I would like to know which kind of filling it was and why they did so.

- Posted by Dr. Rob

Accurate in words but not precise in order; it was a citizen of Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands, Marshall Lauw, who declared he was once arrested for selling sandwiches filled with Dutch people.

typing on my computer

#11 I remember hearing radio ads for Ruth's Chris Steak House and wondering what I'd heard. It is a great name because it is difficult to pronounce, seemingly illogical, but mostly because it is effectively advertised!

#18 The farthest seat from the loudest passenger.

#19 If you have a destructive addiction and recognize it as such then STOP IT! Just STOP STOP STOP STOP!




Though I'm a PC Gamers, for most tasks a Mac is where it's at. And with Boot Camp, you can still get your Windows fix (like I do) for those Windows only things.


Maybe this one can be a standing bleg; but I would like your readers to recommend more good general audience economics books. Perhaps, as with Harry Potter and fantasy, Dr Levitt hasn't been able to find other econ books that compare to yours, but I'd imagine the readers can.


What a great idea...

I always wondered if it was worth it to spend hundreds of dollars getting a car serviced and maintenanced at the dealer, or if a local garage will suffice. Thoughts?

Charles D

What an excellent idea!

typing on my computer

your favorite (no more than four) non-news, non-political, non-sports websites

Dr. Rob

The Dutch people once declared martial law over a sandwich filling. I would like to know which kind of filling it was and why they did so.

The Dread Pirate Robert

I cannot recomend enough the book 'Predictably Irrational'. It is 'behavioral' economics, and insightful for everyday life, as well as (provided you have an active imagination) understanding investments.


Try Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan. Another excellent easy to read economics book.


@ #10, re Teaching creativity

A friend and former colleague teaches a Russian methodology called Triz, calling it 'systematic creativity and innovation'. He now even has a workshop for kids ( http://xtriz.blogspot.com/ ).


Oh, I forgot my question on the other post...
What's a better name than Ruth's Chris?

Just Kate

For Michelle, Dear, dear, will the grass always be greener for you? A Nation Deceived? Really? How about a private school, a charter school, a Waldorf school? Too many options to name...Oh. My. Heavens do you need a reality check on which things this nation is being deceived. I wish you only good things and a little perspective.


Which rivers in Peru offer the best Class IV/V whitewater rafting? A friend and I are vacationing there for two weeks in July and want to do something besides the usual.


Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life by Steven E. Landsburg

Probably the best (Alongside Freakonomics of course =P)


I would like to know why teachers are not taught how to teach gifted children. More and more our school systems are spending all of their energies trying to bring the lower levels up. While that is a good thing for those children, the children on the upper end of the spectrum often end up unchallenged and never reach their full potential. Not only that, they are often penalized for knowing more than their classmates. Why has it become socially unacceptable to be intelligent?

A good starting point to learn more about this issue: