A Dad-or-Daughter Songwriting Contest

My daughter, Anna, spent a bunch of time this past summer writing songs. One thing led to another and we ended up coauthoring a song together. I have more than 50 academic coauthors, but this is the first time I’ve ever tried writing music with someone.

Is it easy for people to tell the difference between songs she wrote by herself and a song where I wrote most of the lyrics? Is it possible for a 52-year-old lawyer/economist to emulate the lyrics of a 14-year-old Gleek? I think a lot of people would have a surprisingly hard time. But the question is testable.

So today I’m announcing a contest where you could earn a chance of winning an iTunes gift card worth somewhere between $50-$500. To play, just click through and listen to these three songs – Friend Zone, Longer, & Your Way, and then leave a comment to this post or as a YouTube comment to one of the three songs saying: i) which of the three songs you think I coauthored; ii) identifying a line in that song you believe I wrote; and iii) identifying a line in that song you believe Anna wrote. Here they are:

A Good Jobs-Policy Idea Could Be Worth $15,000

The Brooking Institution's Hamilton Project has announced a competition to "identify new and innovative thinking about policies to create jobs in the United States and enhance productivity." The contest winner will receive a $15,000 prize, while the runners-up will share $10,000.

Here's the Steelers-Packers Contest Answer

We ran a contest yesterday with a simple question: what do the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers have in common? There are many correct answers, but there was one in particular I was looking for. I was worried it might be hard, and I was ready to step in and give a clue. But I was wrong to be worried. The post went up at 10:30 a.m.; the first correct answer came in at 10:31 a.m., in the very first comment.

Contest: What Do the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers Have in Common?

I mean beside the fact they're both playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday, or that they've both won a bunch of NFL championships, or that they've both reached the Super Bowl in recent years as a No. 6 seed. There may be lots of other commonalities I'm not thinking of, but whoever is first to give the answer I am thinking of will get his/her choice of Freakonomics swag, which now includes the just-released Freakonomics movie DVD and a movie poster.

The Latest in Freakonomics Swag

When we run a contest or quiz on this blog, we generally offer the winner/s some kind of prize. We've recently updated the old offerings. So here's the current assortment. And remember: you can always get a free signed bookplate for either book any time you want. If you're really feeling the spirit, you can even get some SuperFreakonomics pants, but you have to buy them yourself. (Sadly, they do nothing to stop you from walking home drunk.)

The Friendly Skies: Freakonomics Contest Semifinalists

Last post, I asked you to regale us with your most memorable air travel stories, good, bad or just plain weird. Here are the semifinalists.

Algorithm Needed; $25,000 Reward

It's not quite the Netflix Prize -- which paid $1 million to whoever could improve that company's Cinematch recommendation algorithm by 10 percent -- but there's a new competition designed to predict magazine sales at newsstands.

Puzzler on Prom Dresses and Textbooks

Why can buying a prom dress be legally similar to buying a textbook?

Roald Dahl and the Word Redunculus

A Freakonomics contest winner.

Contest Answer: What Was That Yellow Object?

Sulfur at the Athabasca oil sands mining facility.