FREAK-est Links

  1. German startup “Schimpf-los” (“swear away”) provides telephone therapy for those who want to blow off steam by cursing. (HT: V. Brenner)
  2. The “left-digit” effects for cigarettes.
  3. Tim Harford‘s book Undercover Economist has an updated chapter on the financial crisis. You can download it for free if you have the book.
  4. China rounds up 2,000 people for fake pharmaceuticals.
  5. Major League Soccer set to create a “smart league” with a microchip on each player that records “more than 200 data records per second.” (HT: Michael Kesterton)
  6. Nice new blog called Spreadsheet Journalism from Abbott Katz.


#1 Reminds me of the classic Monty Python sketch


Yes. Someone with a pack a day habit is going to be dissuaded by $7 per week extra. Right......


The rather naive tobacco piece covers the concerns of tax revenue and the laudable effect of declining consumption, but ignores the single most powerful influence -- tobacco growers. Georgia is somewhere between the third and sixth largest producing state. a drop of 20 percent in consumption would deeply effect that industry (even accounting for the fact that most product is exported). It also ignores the second largest influence -- smokers, who are over 20 percent in many southern states. And they vote.

These two reasons are why an addictive carcinogen is still legal. Any analysis should lead with that, not ignore it.


Al Norman's 'Occupy Walmart' is a great read. I forwarded it to everyone. I do not shop Walmart, because of it's unwillingness to advance it's woman employees at the same rate as it's men. There are lots of other places to shop.