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Latest episode: April 26, 2017 | 9:00 pm - There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified?

395 episodes

Displaying episodes 395 through 375
There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified? (45:36) April 26, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it's addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner — and the or
Earth 2.0: Is Income Inequality Inevitable? (40:54) April 19, 2017 | 9:00 pm
In pursuit of a more perfect economy, we discuss the future of work; the toxic remnants of colonization; and whether giving everyone a basic income would be genius -- or maybe the worst idea ever.
Earth 2.0: What Would Our Economy Look Like? (42:50) April 12, 2017 | 9:00 pm
If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, would they be any better than what we've blundered our way into through trial and error? This is the first of a series of episodes that we'll release over several months.
Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others? (35:21) April 05, 2017 | 9:00 pm
The biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. An all-star team of academic researchers thinks it has the solution: perfecting the science
Big Returns from Thinking Small (30:44) March 29, 2017 | 9:00 pm
By day, two leaders of Britain's famous Nudge Unit use behavioral tricks to make better government policy. By night, they repurpose those tricks to improve their personal lives. They want to help you do the same.
BONUS: “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” on the topic of Collections. (53:58) March 27, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Hear live journalism wrapped in a game show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner. In this episode, Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, the comedian and the Brooklyn Museum director talk about brainwaves, su
How Safe Is Your Job? (Rebroadcast) (33:17) March 22, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction become too destructive?
Why Is My Life So Hard? (30:29) March 15, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?
March 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to NYC Contest Rules March 09, 2017 | 2:43 pm


HOW TO ENTER: No purchase or pledge necessary.  Entries may be made by going to, texting our pledge line or by responding to an email between the hours of 12am March 16th, 2017 and 12pm April 16th, 2017 Eastern Standard Time. WNYC, WQXR, and New Jersey Public Radio Monthly Sustainers are automatically entered into the giveaway.

ELIGIBILITY: Anyone 18 years of age or older can enter the 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to New York City contest except employees of New York Public Radio and its related organizations, their immediate family or persons living in the same household.  Void where prohibited by law.


PRIZE: The winner will receive all of the following:

$3,000 in travel vouchers that can be used for booking round trip airfare to New York City for two, and a night's hotel accommodations in New York City. A guided tour of the Freakonomics studios (to be scheduled during a time and date that is approved by New York Public Radio). Lunch with Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics (to be scheduled during a time and date that is approved by New York Public Radio). Approximate value: $75

Total value:  $3,075


SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION OF WINNER:  One winner and three back up names will be selected by random drawing no later than May 1st, 2017. Winner will be notified by telephone or mail.  If the winner is unable to be contacted or to collect their prize, the unawarded prize will go to the first back-up and subsequent back-ups thereof until prize is awarded. Winner must provide their social security number. The chances of winning are dependent upon the number of entries. The winner’s name will be kept on file at New York Public Radio and will be available by writing WNYC Listener Services, 160 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013.


GENERAL:  By participating in the 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to New York City contest, participants agree to these Official Rules, and that New York Public Radio, its agents and employees will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind resulting from their use of the prize or their participation in the giveaway. Prize is nontransferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. There can be no substitutions for a prize. New York Public Radio may use winner’s name for publicity purposes without further compensation.  Taxes and expenses as a result of winning this prize are the responsibility of the winner. Winner will receive a 1099 with the above stated value.


RESTRICTIONS:  Restrictions may apply. By participating in the 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to New York City contest, a participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules, and by all decisions of the contest judges. One entry per person.  Anyone who enters multiple times will be disqualified.

Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Kid Can Learn Price Theory (31:22) March 08, 2017 | 9:00 pm
The pizza-and-gaming emporium prides itself on affordability, which means its arcade games are really cheap to play. Does that lead to kids hogging the best games — and parents starting those infamous YouTube brawls?
The Taboo Trifecta (32:06) March 01, 2017 | 9:00 pm
The serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal loves to talk about the bodily functions that make most people flinch. That's why she's building a business around the three P's: periods, pee, and poop.
No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry (55:41) February 22, 2017 | 9:00 pm
In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay in America. What would it take to bring those jobs back -- and would it be worth it?
Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal (37:04) February 15, 2017 | 9:00 pm
What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn't go very well.
How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast) (42:11) February 08, 2017 | 9:00 pm
The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person's level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn't something you're born with -- it can be learned. Here's how.
An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl (28:25) February 01, 2017 | 9:00 pm
We assembled a panel of smart dudes -- a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of NFL linemen, including one who's getting a math Ph.D. at MIT; and our resident economist -- to tell you what to watch for, whether you're a football fanatic or a total newbie
Did China Eat America’s Jobs? (38:21) January 25, 2017 | 9:00 pm
For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been "traumatic." This has already lead to a political insurrection -- so what's next?
Is the American Dream Really Dead? (39:26) January 18, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Just a few decades ago, more than 90 percent of 30-year-olds earned more than their parents had earned at the same age. Now it's only about 50 percent. What happened -- and what can be done about it?
Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say (35:19) January 11, 2017 | 9:00 pm
The Daily Show host grew up as a poor, mixed-race South African kid going to three churches every Sunday. So he has a sui generis view of America -- especially on race, politics, and religion -- and he's not afraid to speak his mind.
The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (35:07) January 04, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis's new book The Undoing Project explains how the movement they started -- now known as behavioral econ
How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast) (50:07) December 28, 2016 | 9:00 pm
What if the thing we call "talent" is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He te

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