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We’ve got new schwag.
Yesterday, and for much of the past year, I regularly did something that was perfectly legal.
Starting today, if I do the same thing, I am breaking a New York State law.
What is it that I’m doing?
The first correct answer earns a signed copy of SuperFreakonomics or a piece of Freakonomics schwag.
If you’d like to turn your garden-variety copy of SuperFreakonomics (or Freakonomics) into a nifty autographed copy that suddenly seems much more gift-appropriate, you can sign up here for a free bookplate that is hand-signed by Levitt and Dubner. If all goes well, the Freakonomics elves will dispatch your bookplate via mail in plenty of time for the holidays. It’ll look something like this:
I ran into someone the other day whom I had never met and who fit the following five criteria:
1. He/she attended the University of Chicago.
2. He/she is still alive.
3. He/she is a whole lot smarter than I am.
4. He/she is a whole lot more famous than I am.
5. He/she is even more controversial/notorious than I am.
Here a pretty simple puzzler. Find a mistake in Alex’s logic?
The mother of all deadlines fast approaches: our new book, SuperFreakonomics, is due to be published on October 20. In the meantime, how about a little contest?
Think of it as a guess-the-number-of-jelly-beans-in-a-jar contest except in this case the jar is infinitely expandable, and the jelly beans don’t yet exist.
It was an extremely close race, but t paciello, come on up and thank the academy. The readers voted your ode to the horrors of the Cross Bronx Expressway as the best description of the worst in American transportation. For your victory, you will receive a piece of Freakonomics schwag.
I could find nine people from my class who are famous/semi-famous/infamous. Interestingly, not one of them sent in an entry to be published in the book. Overall, about 40 percent of the people in the class sent in updates. What was most surprising about the famous people not writing in is that many of them are famous because they are writers.
The other thing that struck me as interesting and somewhat surprising was the geographic distribution of my former classmates. Let’s see whether the distribution is surprising to the blog readers by running a contest.
In recent months, we’ve posted a few examples of music written about the current recession. Now it’s time to see just how sharp you are with a pop-music quiz. This song is called “The Final Day”: Click Below to Listen Caution: it is very loud. The lyrics are nowhere near as straightforward as, say, “Hey Paul Krugman.” It might be . . .
Photo: wili_hybrid It’s been a while since we did a Freakonomics quiz. Here is an easy one. The first correct comment wins Freakonomics schwag: Today, the park near my house was cleaner than I have ever seen it. Why?
We are hard at work on SuperFreakonomics, which will be published as soon as it finishes simmering in our computers. This may well occur before the end of the year. In the meantime, how about some pants? A company named Bonobos makes what it calls “awesome fitting trousers.” New York magazine agrees, as does The Times; their pants have even . . .
We recently solicited your suggestions for a new six-word motto for the U.S. (Yes, this is a reprise of last year’s contest.) As always, you came through brilliantly, with more than 300 submissions. Here are our choices for the six finalists: 1. Consumption’s the Cure That Ails Us. (Submitted by Quin.) 2. We Will Get It Right, Eventually. (Herb) 3. . . .
One year ago, we ran a simple contest on this blog: come up with a new six-word motto for the U.S. There were more than 1,000 submissions, a heated runoff between the finalists, and eventually a winner: “Our worst critics prefer to stay.” The year that followed has been dramatic to say the least: the historic presidential election, a train . . .
We’ve invited a special guest to judge our Bernie Madoff limerick contest: Chris J. Strolin, founder and editor-in-chief of The OEDILF, The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form. The OEDILF is an international online dictionary-writing project, the goal of which is to write at least one limerick for every definition of every word in the English language. Not quite five . . .
Blog readers did not get nearly as worked up about economists and garbage as they did about prostitutes and rice, at least as measured by hate mail. I received not a single piece of hate mail from an economist (although, in fairness, none of the hate mail I got on the prostitutes post was actually from a prostitute either). We . . .
A reader named Van Brenner wrote to let us know about an online dictionary in which every definition is written in the form of a limerick. One of our favorites is the following one on bear markets by Robert Holland: Gentle Ben this bear market is not, Especially for bulls who are caught Unawares by his raid On the profits . . .
Image: cambodia4kidsorg Economists are notorious for making bad predictions. There are endless examples, but the first one that comes to mind is a book written by economist Kevin Hassett and co-authors entitled Dow 36,000. The title was their prediction of where the Dow Jones Industrial Index should be based on fundamentals. The book came out in the year 2000 with . . .
If you believe what you read, then the answer to that question is that they are both examples of one of economics’ most illusive objects: Giffen goods. But don’t always believe what you read.
A Giffen good is a product or service for which demand rises with price. In other words, if you hold everything else constant, but the good gets more expensive, the quantity consumed will increase.
Who will buy the movie rights for this charming article about a 73-year-old college basketball player, and when, and for how much, and what will the eventual movie be titled? A piece of Freakonomics schwag goes to the person whose guess is most entertaining or, failing that, most accurate. Photo: Shawn Poynter for The New York Times
What was Paul Krugman thinking when he met President Bush last week? Here’s a list of over 300 photo captions from readers of this blog, and another couple hundred from Marginal Revolution here (with others here and Tyler Cowen‘s favorites here). Krugman, who graciously agreed to judge our Freako-versus-MR caption-that-photo contest, has spoken: Actually, I think it’s a tie — . . .
Yesterday, I asked Tyler Cowen if he’s willing to bet his Marginal Revolution readers against Freakonomics readers in the caption-that-photo contest we announced earlier this week. I’m pleased to report that Cowen is a betting man after all. Yes Tyler, your bet is accepted — and it’s dinner on the loser. I remain confident that the winning caption will be . . .
Yesterday, President Bush invited the most recent round of Nobel laureates to the White House to accept his congratulations. And yes, this included his trenchant critic and economics prize-winner, Paul Krugman. Photo from Economist.com This photo posted on Economist.com (from Agence France-Presse) makes me wish I were better at reading body language. I’m going to shamelessly rip off The New . . .
This is the time of year when we like to announce that if you are planning to give a copy of Freakonomics as a holiday gift, whether via Amazon.com, at a Barnes & Noble, or from a street vendor in India, we will send you a free autographed bookplate to stick in that book for your extra-special someone. Just follow . . .
I was reading a bedtime story to my daughter Sophie when I stumbled upon the following haiku by Jack Prelutsky, told from the perspective of a mouse: If not for the cat, And the scarcity of cheese, I could be content. Perhaps I am just a sucker for the word scarcity, but there was something in this haiku that really . . .
We ran a contest asking readers to submit the one question they’d ask to help pick a partner for the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Then we had a special treat: the University of Chicago economist John List (whose writings, by the way, were the inspiration for the contest) agreed to comb through the 350+ entries and choose the Top 5. He did . . .
We recently posted a contest, asking readers to choose the one question they’d ask if picking a partner to play the Prisoner’s Dilemma. I did not expect this contest to generate more than 350 replies. Picking the single best out of 350 seemed impossible, so I thought we should winnow it down to the Top 5 and ask you to . . .
I’ve been reading through some economics literature on fairness, altruism, and the like — much of it centered on game-playing that is meant to represent how we make decisions in the real world. One common early game was an adaptation of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Here, courtesy of Wikipedia (excerpted from this book, I think), is a description of the Prisoner’s . . .
In a recent post revealing the answer to our latest pop quiz, commenter “nemo” asked, “Do you have stats regarding the average [number] of comments per post versus the average number of comments per post that promises schwag?” Excellent question. Over the past few months, for typical posts (i.e., not including “FREAK-est Links” or other similar short posts), here is . . .
Last week, we asked for your vote to decide the best of the top five entries to our “6-word motto for the U.S.” contest. As promised, we tallied the votes received in the first 48 hours after posting. There was a clear winner: Our Worst Critics Prefer to Stay (194 votes) Here are the runners-up: Caution! Experiment in Progress Since . . .