Hope and Ye Shall Find

I am not an avid runner but I do it pretty regularly because it is good, cheap, easy exercise. I often run in Central Park. The other day on my run there, it was hotter than usual and I ran further than usual, maybe 5 miles. So I really, really wanted to buy an iced coffee when this ordeal was over. I usually tuck a $5 or $10 bill into my running shorts but I'd forgotten. Oh well.

But then, just a few hundred yards from the end of my run I saw on the ground directly in front of me a suspicious little lump of green paper. I stopped. It was money. Three single dollar bills, crisply folded. Just enough for an iced coffee. I was grateful to whoever dropped it and I hoped it didn't represent their last three dollars.

What Can Cricket Data Tell Us About Labor Luck?

Your first job luck can follow you for years.

"This Is No Picnic for Me Either, Buster": Obama and Outliers

My favorite Obama quotation is not one of his most poetic: My mother [would] … wake me up at 4:30 in the morning, and we’d sit there and go through my lessons. And I used to complain and grumble. And she’d say, “Well this is no picnic for me either, buster.” He had me at […]

The FREAK-est Links

Female economist works to found Ethiopian commodities market. (Earlier) Nintendo decides against Wii price cut. (Earlier) Sports fans convinced their actions can bring good luck to their teams. Stanford professor to lecture on “a world without agriculture.”

Indexed: What Do Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a Border Fence Have in Common?

It isn’t easy to convey the intricacies of class warfare, housecleaning, immigration, a sci-fi classic, and the lottery in a couple of index cards. But Jessica Hagy, the proprietor of Indexed, has done it. (You can find her previous Freakonomics entries here.)

The FREAKest Links: Luck Be A Hot Dog Edition

We’ve written about the power of “lucky 8s” to influence stock decisions. Now, with 7/7/07 approaching, LiveScience takes a look at the many people planning major life events for that signal day. In a dose of bad luck, the Japanese man who holds the world record for hot dog eating has severely injured his jaw […]

Mark Cuban Isn’t the Only Clear-Thinking NBA Owner in Texas

An article in the current Sports Illustrated about the underappreciated San Antonio Spurs, by Jack McCallum, includes a brief profile of the Spurs’ principal owner, Peter Holt. A son of privilege, he was a drinker and a hell-raiser who joined the Army to straighten himself out and was sent to Vietnam in 1967. He tells […]

Casino to Winner: Drop Dead

Richard Brodie, a poker player best known as the original author of Microsoft Word, had a string of obscenely good luck on some video poker machines at Caesars Palace — and then, Brodie writes, he was asked by Caesars parent company Harrah’s to never again darken the door of any Harrah’s property. Yikes. Brodie is […]

“Lucky 8s” Extend to Stock Trading in China

Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article by James T. Areddy about the influence of numerology on Chinese stock trading. As we’ve blogged about before, belief in lucky numbers is a huge aspect of Chinese culture. The article highlights how the value of a stock can hinge on the presence of “lucky […]

Incentivized Potter-ing: Amazon Runs Harry Potter Pre-Order Contest

The final installment in the Harry Potter series is near (much to the dismay of its profiting publisher), and the release date for lucky No. 7 is fast approaching. Meanwhile, Amazon.com is marking the occasion by running a contest called “The Harry-est Town in America.” Whichever town pre-orders the most copies of Harry Potter and […]