Advancements in Panhandling: Don't Forget to Feed the Meter

Back in 2006, I wrote a Newsweek article about the problems that warm-weather cities like Orlando and Las Vegas were having with their homeless populations, and the rather creative methods they were using to control them -- namely banning public feedings and consigning all panhandling to 3-by-15-foot "panhandling zones" painted on sidewalks.

Turns out the solutions have only gotten more creative in the last few years. The newest innovation are "homeless meters," repurposed parking meters — painted a different color and set back from the street — that people can deposit coins into rather than give spare change to panhandlers. Cities then donate the collected money to nonprofit groups, which in turn use the funds to buy things like bus tickets. Advocates say this cuts down on the abuse of funds, and ensures that donations are put to the best use.

Viva Las Vegas, Seriously

Last week, I requested your suggestions for things to do with 24 spare hours in Las Vegas. This is what’s known as a bleg — i.e., using your blog to beg for something. You were so smart and generous with your suggestions that we’ve decided to try out the bleg as a regular feature, though […]

Wanted: Vegas Travel Tips

My travel schedule has me plunking down in Las Vegas this week with 24 hours to kill. I’m looking for advice: what should I do? I’ve been to Vegas probably 8 or 10 times in the last 5 years, but it’s always been for one kind of work or another, and I’ve never had much […]

Holy Toledo! The Vegas Sportsbooks Actually Get Some Favorable Press

Tamara Audi and Adam Thompson write in the Wall Street Journal about how the Las Vegas casinos helped authorities catch point-shaving football players at the University of Toledo. It is no surprise that the sportsbooks take an active role in this endeavor: when cheating happens, the sportsbook is the party from which money gets stolen. […]

I Hope Phil Gordon Wins the World Series of Poker

The main event of the World Series of Poker gets underway today at the Rio in Las Vegas. Why do I want Phil Gordon to win? It’s not just because he’s such a nice guy, or because he’s so smart, or because of his philanthropic endeavors, or even because he’s so tall. It has to […]

Poker or Bridge?

What group of people do you think is more likely to have heard of Freakonomics, top bridge players or top poker players? Far and away it is bridge players. We ran some experiments at a big bridge tournament last week and used the Freakonomics name to help recruit volunteers. Many of the bridge players had […]