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Daphne Chen

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Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”? (Replay)

That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.

9/1/21
40:25

How to Fix the Incentives in Cancer Research

For all the progress made in fighting cancer, it still kills 10 million people a year, and some types remain especially hard to detect and treat. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is nearly always fatal. A new clinical-trial platform could change that by aligning institutions that typically compete against one another.

1/27/21
44:55

The Downside of Disgust

It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down on some delicious insects.

1/20/21
45:39

A Sneak Peek at Biden’s Top Economist

The incoming president argues that the economy and the environment are deeply connected. This is reflected in his choice for National Economic Council director — Brian Deese, a climate-policy wonk and veteran of the no-drama-Obama era. But don’t mistake Deese’s lack of drama for a lack of intensity.

12/9/20
43:16

Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital)

Google and Facebook are worth a combined $2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble.

11/25/20
51:19

Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV)

Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story.

11/18/20
40:18

Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears

The modern world overwhelms us with sounds we didn’t ask for, like car alarms and cell-phone “halfalogues.” What does all this noise cost us in terms of productivity, health, and basic sanity?

11/11/20
52:53

Will a Covid-19 Vaccine Change the Future of Medical Research?

We explore the science, scalability, and (of course) economics surrounding the global vaccine race. Guests include the chief medical officer of the first U.S. firm to go to Phase 3 trials with a vaccine candidate; a former F.D.A. commissioner who’s been warning of a pandemic for years; and an economist who thinks Covid-19 may finally change how diseases are cured.

8/26/20
60:31

Remembrance of Economic Crises Past

Christina Romer was a top White House economist during the Great Recession. As a researcher, she specializes in the Great Depression. She tells us what those disasters can (and can’t) teach us about the Covid crash.

7/8/20
52:01

68 Ways to Be Better at Life

The accidental futurist Kevin Kelly on why enthusiasm beats intelligence, how to really listen, and why the solution to bad technology is more technology.

5/20/20
39:35

Season 9, Episode 37

Three university presidents try to answer our listeners’ questions about college in the age of Covid-19. The result? Not much pomp and a whole lot of circumstance. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “What Will College Look Like in the Fall (and Beyond)?”

5/14/20

What Will College Look Like in the Fall (and Beyond)?

Three university presidents try to answer our listeners’ questions. The result? Not much pomp and a whole lot of circumstance.

5/13/20
58:16

Season 9, Episode 36

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Reasons to Be Cheerful.”

5/7/20

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?

5/6/20
54:05

Season 9, Episode 34

The U.S. spent the past few decades waiting for China to act like the global citizen it said it wanted to be. The waiting may be over. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Will Covid-19 Spark a Cold War (or Worse) With China?”

4/23/20

Will Covid-19 Spark a Cold War (or Worse) With China?

The U.S. spent the past few decades waiting for China to act like the global citizen it said it wanted to be. The waiting may be over.

4/22/20
57:43

Season 9, Episode 30

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: past experiments with a universal basic income. And: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Side Effects of Social Distancing” and “Is the . . .

3/26/20

What Does Covid-19 Mean for Cities (and Marriages)?

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. And: how to help your neighbor.

3/25/20
42:23

The Side Effects of Social Distancing

In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus has undone a century’s worth of our economic and social habits. What consequences will this have on our future — and is there a silver lining in this very black pandemic cloud?

3/18/20
49:27

Season 9, Episode 26

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to . . .

2/27/20

Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”?

That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.

2/26/20
34:06

Can You Hear Me Now?

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to the war on robocalls.

2/19/20
48:01

The Zero-Minute Workout (Replay)

There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?

1/1/20
38:42

Season 9, Episode 17

Research shows that having a distinctively black name doesn’t affect your economic future. But what is the day-to-day reality of living with such a name? Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, a newly-minted Ph.D., is well-qualified to answer this question. Her verdict: the data don’t tell the whole story. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .

12/26/19

Season 9, Episode 14

For decades, there’s been a huge gender disparity both on-screen and behind the scenes. But it seems like cold, hard data — with an assist from the actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?” and “Why . . .

12/5/19

Season 9, Episode 10

Continuing our conversation with Girl Scouts C.E.O. Sylvia Acevedo. Then: There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

11/7/19

Season 9, Episode 9

Aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, cheap meat, and sugary cereal — a delicious embodiment of free-market capitalism, right? Not quite. The supermarket was in fact the endpoint of the U.S. government’s battle for agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences. Plus: Sylvia . . .

10/31/19

Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?

For decades, there’s been a huge gender disparity both on-screen and behind the scenes. But it seems like cold, hard data — with an assist from the actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle.

10/23/19
50:03

Season 9, Episode 7

In 2016, David Cameron held a referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union. A longtime Euroskeptic, he nevertheless led the Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. . . .

10/17/19

The Prime Minister Who Cried Brexit

In 2016, David Cameron held a referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union. A longtime Euroskeptic, he nevertheless led the Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. (Hint: not much.)

10/9/19
52:10

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