This Is Your Brain on Pollution (Ep. 472)

Air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths a year and cost the global economy nearly $3 trillion. But is the true cost even higher? Stephen Dubner explores the links between pollution and cognitive function, and enlists two fellow Freakonomics Radio Network hosts in a homegrown experiment.

Mayor Pete and Elaine Chao Hit the Road (Ep. 471)

While other countries seem to build spectacular bridges, dams, and even entire cities with ease, the U.S. is stuck in pothole-fixing mode. We speak with an array of transportation nerds — including the secretary of transportation and his immediate predecessor — to see if a massive federal infrastructure package can put America back in the driver’s seat.

Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet (Ep. 346 Rebroadcast)

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right?

The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism (Ep. 470)

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.

The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not (Ep. 469)

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?

Nap Time for Everyone! (Ep. 468)

The benefits of sleep are by now well established, and yet many people don’t get enough. A new study suggests we should channel our inner toddler and get 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon. But are we ready for a napping revolution?

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Ep. 289 Rebroadcast)

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?

Is the Future of Farming in the Ocean? (Ep. 467)

Bren Smith, who grew up fishing and fighting, is now part of a movement that seeks to feed the planet while putting less environmental stress on it. He makes his argument in a book called Eat Like a Fish; his secret ingredient: kelp. But don’t worry, you won’t have to eat it (not much, at least). An installment of The Freakonomics Radio Book Club.

She’s From the Government, and She’s Here to Help (Ep. 466)

Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, is as cold-blooded as any economist. But she admits that her profession would do well to focus on policy that actually helps people. Rouse explains why President Biden wants to spend trillions of dollars to reshape the economy, and why — as the first Black chair of the C.E.A. — she has a good idea of what needs fixing.

Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast (Ep. 465)

Bapu Jena was already a double threat: a doctor who’s also an economist. Now he’s a podcast host too. In this sneak preview of the Freakonomics Radio Network’s newest show, Bapu discovers that marathons can be deadly — but not for the reasons you may think.