Freakonomics Radio show

Freakonomics Radio

Summary: Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling "Freakonomics” books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his “Freakonomics” co-author Steve Levitt. After just a few episodes, this podcast will have you too thinking like a Freak. Produced by WNYC Studios, home of other great podcasts such as “Radiolab," "Death, Sex & Money," and "On the Media."

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  • Artist: Stephen J. Dubner and WNYC Studios
  • Copyright: Stephen J. Dubner and WNYC


 The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 34:58

Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly tries to predict the future by identifying what's truly inevitable. How worried should we be? Yes, robots will probably take your job -- but the future will still be pretty great.

 Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset? (Rebroadcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 37:46

The gist: we spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?

 Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush (Rebroadcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:25

The comedian, actor -- and now, author -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.

 What Are You Waiting For? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 34:53

Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy - and frustrating - way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven't we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us?

 Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees? (Rebroadcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:55

We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it's served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense -- and is it legal?

 Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 44:48

We Americans may love our democracy -- at least in theory -- but at the moment our feelings toward the federal government lie somewhere between disdain and hatred. Which electoral and political ideas should be killed off to make way for a saner system?

 What Are Gender Barriers Made Of? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 36:29

Overt discrimination in the labor markets may be on the wane, but women are still subtly penalized by all sorts of societal conventions. How can those penalties be removed without burning down the house?

 Is the Internet Being Ruined? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 47:54

It's a remarkable ecosystem that allows each of us to exercise control over our lives. But how much control do we truly have? How many of our decisions are really being made by Google and Facebook and Apple? And, perhaps most importantly: is the Internet's true potential being squandered?

 Confessions of a Pothole Politician | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 43:44

Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, has big ambitions but knows he must first master the small stuff. He's also a polymath who relies heavily on data and new technologies. Could this be what modern politics is supposed to look like?

 The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 57:22

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

 How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:25

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.

 Why Do We Really Follow the News? (Rebroadcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:46

There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it's (gasp) entertaining?

 Are We in a Mattress-Store Bubble? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 34:37

You've seen them -- everywhere! -- and often clustered together, as if central planners across America decided that what every city really needs is a Mattress District. There are now dozens of online rivals too. Why are there so many stores selling something we buy so rarely?

 Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 43:42

Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, answers every question we can throw at him about what really happens up in the air. Just don't get him started on pilotless planes -- or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying.

 The Longest Long Shot | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 42:59

When the uncelebrated Leicester City Football Club won the English Premier League, it wasn't just the biggest underdog story in recent history. It was a sign of changing economics -- and that other impossible, wonderful events might be lurking just around the corner.


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