Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Ep. 183 Rebroadcast)

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This week’s Freakonomics Radio episode is a rebroadcast of the episode “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

“Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” host Stephen Dubner with, from left, judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and former New York governor David Paterson. (Photo: Janice Yi)

“Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” host Stephen Dubner with, from left, judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and former New York governor David Paterson. (Photo: Janice Yi)


A few years ago, I developed a habit. If the person sitting next to me on an airplane seemed like they wanted to have a conversation, I’d ask them a bit about themselves — let’s say they worked in civil engineering — and I’d say “Tell me something I don’t know about civil engineering.” The habit became an addiction. I loved learning stuff I didn’t know, and most people loved to talk about their passions, work-related or otherwise.

Soon this addiction fueled a dream: I imagined turning it into some kind of a live game show/talk show. It would be called “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” There’d be a host (me), some smart judges, and we’d invite the audience members to come onstage and tell us something we didn’t know. We’d learn a bit, laugh a lot, and take advantage of all the amazing information that’s floating around in the world.

It took a while to make this dream happen but finally it did, a few weeks, ago, at WNYC’s Greene Space.

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Lynn Gay

I listen to your podcast every week. I am a fan. I would listen to this every week as well - if it were available. I think what made it great for me were the judges. They were ALL really funny.

Thanks for all of the hard work you put in to your shows.


Bonnie V

I think that is a great idea and will try to listen. I,too like to learn about anything ! Cool idea!


I've said this before and I'll say it again. This is the worst episode of the show you've ever produced. It's lazy and it uses audiences to circumvent proper attribution for interesting stories. You should be ashamed.

none here

The first story about pinball machines is a ripoff of 99% invisible.

Brian S

Tell "Tom" to take a pill. This is highly entertaining (as much so as any of the NPR weekend broadcast shows IMO). I'd love to see this become a regular thing no more that once every other month, or once per season, or something like that.

Special thanks to Fred Armisen, who I could not stop visualizing as I listened to Gov Patterson on the show.


If you breathe faster/more when resting you don't loos more weight.
If you conduct an energy consuming action you end up breathing more becaus you have to intake more oxygen ant get rid of CO2.


I'm with Ziv.

Energy can cannot be created or destroyed; it just changes form (1st law of thermodynamics). People loose weight when they consume less energy than they expend. Energy consuming actions (e.g., exercise) changes chemical energy (fat) to kinetic energy. Also, energy conversions are always accompanied by heat (that's why you get hot and sweat with intense exercise). Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of our energy conversion (respiration) not the cause of our energy consumption.

Weight loss during sleep is more a function of dehydration than weight loss.


Love Freakonomics. This show was hilarious and educative. Good job!

Peter C

My favorite fact about the Civil War is the story of Edwin Booth saving the life of Robert Lincoln. Yes, that's right. The brother of John Wilkes Booth saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son. Check out Edwin Booth on Wikipedia.

Al Hibberd

Losing weight by breathing does have some proof. And you lose weight every night while sleeping, in part because of breathing out CO2.


Amazing episode. Stephen Dubner, you are great with the audience! Well done and looking forward to the next one!