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Steve Levitt, the iconoclastic University of Chicago economist and co-author of the Freakonomics book series, tracks down other high achievers and asks questions that only he would think to ask. Guests include all-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, WNBA champion Sue Bird, Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui, and neuroscientist/actress Mayim Bialik. People I (Mostly) Admire is a production of the Freakonomics Radio Network.
 
The Columbia University sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh studies exclusive worlds by embedding himself — with a crack-selling gang, sex workers, the teenage children of billionaires, and most recently, at the highest levels of companies at the vanguard of the digital revolution, including Facebook and Twitter. And now he’s hosting a podcast. In each episode, Venkatesh will reveal what he learned in Silicon Valley and talk with the people he met along the way who are building and running the digi ...
 
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Candle thoughts. Candle meditation. Making smores with candles. Over 4,700 candle facts and stories. Plus: Artificial fragrance, why you don’t need to give notice when you quit your job, why people are never happy, and why the unenlightened hate Ohio. Please consider, at this point, on episode 218 of this podcast that you’ve been listening to for o…
 
When we try to improve things, our first thought is often: What can we add to make this better? But Leidy, a professor of engineering, says we tend to overlook the fact that a better solution might be to take something away. He and Steve talk about examples from Leidy’s book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less, and from their own lives.…
 
An expert on urban economics and co-author of the new book Survival of the City, Ed says cities have faced far worse than Covid. Steve talks with the Harvard professor about why the slums of Mumbai function so well, high-quality housing in China sits empty, and declining cities hang on for so long.By Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
 
Former U.S. Secretary of Education, 3x3 basketball champion, and leader of an anti-gun violence organization are all on Arne’s resume. He’s also Steve’s neighbor. The two talk about teachers caught cheating in Chicago public schools and Steve shares a story he’s never told Arne, about a defining moment in the educator’s life.…
 
It turns out you’re mostly fluid. A juice box, really. It’s an indignity, and we’re talking about it today. Venture inside the human body’s fluids with Drew and Natalie. This episode was suggested by hromi on Discord - if you’re not a Discord member, and you want to suggest future episodes to us or just join to chat, subscribe now! You’ll also hear…
 
A special episode: Steve reports on a passion of his. Most high-school math classes are still preparing students for the Sputnik era. Steve wants to get rid of the “geometry sandwich” and instead have kids learn what they really need in the modern era: data fluency. Originally broadcast on Freakonomics Radio, this episode includes an update from St…
 
What did kids do before Mindcraft and T-Pose? Natalie & Drew take a look at the bizarre world of antiquated childrens’ games, such as Duck On A Rock, British Bulldogs, Conkers, Dandy Shandy, Don’t Lick The Chalice, Jackin Balls, and thousands more. Not a subscriber? Please do that now so we can keep podcasting. Thank you. natalie & drew This is a p…
 
He’s a Harvard physician and economist who just started a third job: host of the new podcast Freakonomics, M.D. He’s also Steve’s former student. The two discuss why medicine should embrace econ-style research, the ethics of human-challenge trials, and Bapu’s role in one of Steve’s, ahem, less-than-successful experiments.…
 
Natalie & Drew go deep on animals that eat people. Snakes, birds, fish, cats, and even people eat people. Plus: the bizarre world of Peter Caine, what Bigfoot tastes like, and how to develop a taste for human flesh. Not a subscriber? That’s almost as stupid as not getting vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus which has killed 623,000 Ame…
 
He argues that personal finance is so simple all you need to know can fit on an index card. How will he deal with Steve’s suggestion that Harold’s nine rules for managing money are overly complicated? Harold and Steve also talk about gun violence — a topic Harold researches as a public-policy professor at the University of Chicago — and they propos…
 
Natalie explains how she won a national dance competition! Drew tells you why disco is, despite what your parents told you, great music. And we also talked square dancing, cowboy dancing, dervishes, bullying, ballet, school dances, and Drew’s high-concept ballet that might not be worth a million dollars, but would be worth watching, for once. Plus:…
 
Steve continues his conversation with his good friend, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, and fellow University of Chicago economist. Sendhil breaks down the hypothesis of his book Scarcity, explains why machines aren’t competition for human intelligence, and tells Steve why it’s important to appreciate other people’s good ideas before developing …
 
How does anything live in the desert? And why? We tackle these difficult subjects, as well as the weird looking kid, Drew’s doppelgänger, triscuits, hobbits, and our first quiz in a long time. Play along while you listen, if you dare. Not subscribed? That’s a horrible mistake, because you can’t hear half of our episodes, or join our Discord chat ro…
 
He’s a professor of computation and behavioral science at the University of Chicago, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, and author. Steve and Sendhil laugh their way through a conversation about the importance of play, the benefits of change, and why we remember so little about the books we’ve read — and how Sendhil’s new app solves this problem.…
 
Elevators, escalators, eleskaters, and everything in between. Natalie & Drew explore the bizarre world of indoor human transportation, and what you should (and shouldn't) be scared of, awake or not. Also, how to control reality and tell if you're still in it. (You're probably not.) Not a subscriber? Please subscribe so we can continue to write and …
 
In this interview, first heard on Freakonomics Radio last year, Steve talks with the former top adviser to presidents Clinton and Obama, about his record — and his reputation. And Rahm explains that while he believes in the power of the federal government, as former mayor of Chicago, he says that cities are where problems really get solved.…
 
Why you can’t study wild parrots! Why parrots keep their boyfriends forever! Why they crap out little hard balls that contain baby parrots! And at least a couple more parrot facts await you in this, the 204th episode of Garbage Brain University. Subscribe now please (you’ll get over 100 episodes you’ve never heard, and we need your help to keep mak…
 
He’s been an Arctic scientist, a sports journalist, and is now a best-selling author of science books. His latest, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, makes the argument that early specialization does not give you a head start in life. David and Steve talk about why frustration is a good sign, and why the 10,000-hour rule is defi…
 
How much do deer eat? What is our family group chat like? What is Drew’s favorite bible verse? Do deer do oral? How conscious are deer? And what the fuck is a moose? Natalie & Drew answer these and dozens of other questions in today’s deer-based episode. Not a subscriber? Fix that now to hear the other 100 (ONE HUNDRED!) episodes that are for subsc…
 
She used to run a behavioral unit in the Obama administration, and now has a similar role at Google. Maya and Steve talk about the power (and limits) of behavioral economics and also how people respond to change — the topic of her new podcast A Slight Change of Plans.By Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
 
Scourging yourself! Hermitry! The daily life of a monk! Dropping out of society! Convents! Asceticism! And dozens more monk facts. It’s the two hundredth episode of GBU and it’s here now. Haven’t been sure that we would keep writing and recording these? Hopefully, seeing that we’ve done this two hundred times should convince you that we’re in it to…
 
He’s the C.E.O. of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which, under his charge, exposed the most celebrated American cyclist as a cheater. And Steve’s been studying cheaters for the last 25 years, so he’s also excited to talk to Travis about the incentives to cheat and the advances in testing technology — and offers his services as an ant…
 
She’s the author of the bestselling book Grit, and a University of Pennsylvania professor of psychology — a field Steve says he knows nothing about. But once Angela gives Steve a quick tutorial on “goal conflict,” he is suddenly a fan. They also talk parenting, self-esteem, and how easy it is to learn econometrics if you feel like it.…
 
Letter People! Finger puppets! Garfield Goose! Sock Puppets! Significant Puppets Of History! All of these, plus a puppet quiz, and thousands more puppet facts, right here, right now. natalie & drew This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.garbagebrainuniversity.com/subscribeBy drew toothpaste
 
Who invented the North Pole? What is it like to live in the Arctic? Why do end-times prophecies never shake out? And what’s the problem with toadaso? We address none of these, but instead, a thousand other facts, in today’s North Pole-based episode. Not a subscriber? Press the subscription button please, or continue to miss every odd-numbered episo…
 
The African-born economist has written four bestselling books, including Dead Aid, which Bill Gates described as “promoting evil.” In her new book about corporate boards, Dambisa uses her experience with global corporations to explore how they can better meet society’s demands. And she explains to Steve why, even as a Harvard and Oxford-educated ec…
 
Later this month, the Pentagon and US Department of Defense are dropping a report about the information they have on UFO/UAPs in America. Natalie & Drew dug into what we know already, what will likely be in the report, how the top-secret UFO knowledge got secretly declassified, who belongs to the Galactic Federation, the different alien crafts we k…
 
Frogs, from the makers of Dogs! Natalie & Drew talk about what frogs eat, eating frogs, and why frogs take the enormousest shits of any animal proportional to their body size. We also talk about mediocre experiences, how to calculate your high jump, what tadpoles are for, Martha Speaks, and why frogs deactivate themselves. Not a subscriber? Figure …
 
Levitt rarely interviews advocates, but the founder of the Good Food Institute is different. Once an outspoken — and sometimes outlandish — animal-rights activist, Bruce has come to believe that market-driven innovation and scientific advancement are the best ways to reduce global meat consumption. Steve and Bruce talk about the negative externalit…
 
In this groundbreaking episode, Natalie & Drew expose the sick truth behind The Beach Boys, as well as the hidden dirt on pneumatic bank tubes, macadamia nuts, volcanos, and exactly how you get between all of the islands in Hawaii. What are Rhode Islanders up to? Where did the people in Hawaii come from? And, finally, what is the Hawaiian Death Tri…
 
As a neuroscientist and psychology professor at Columbia University who studies the immediate and long-term effects of illicit substances, Carl Hart believes that all drugs — including heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine — should be legalized. Steve talks to Carl about his new book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups, and Carl tells Steve why decriminalizing…
 
BECOME CLEAN. Quit social media. Rescue an egg from the park. Ride a unicycle. Join a foreign exchange program to play basketball. Throw everything you own in the trash and don’t put anything more in your home. Plus, a million dollar idea. Not a subscriber yet? Remedy that immediately by paying us five dollars. Until Friday (subscribers) or next we…
 
How has activism evolved in our digital society? In this episode, Sudhir talks to Jade Magnus Ogunnaike about the intersection of big tech and civil rights. She is a senior campaign director for Color of Change. It’s a racial justice organization that blends traditional organizing efforts with an updated playbook for how to make change.…
 
Nobel laureate, best-selling author, and groundbreaking psychologist Daniel Kahneman is also a friend and former business partner of Steve’s. In discussing Danny’s new book Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment, the two spar over inconsistencies in criminal sentencing and Danny tells Steve that “Your attitude is unusual” — no surprise there.…
 
Pirates! Or as Natalie calls them, Bad Guys Gone Wet. The real pirate lore on Obra Dinn, Johnny Depp, Blackbeard, Grace O’Malley, eyepatches, guns, and The Official Rules Of The Pirate Boat. Plus, kleptocracy, vandalizing Wikipedia, stealing a FedEx plane, and why humans have been the Pokémon all along. Not a subscriber? You’re outta water and the …
 
Last week, the board upheld the ban of former President Donald Trump’s social media accounts. Sudhir talks to Noah Feldman, the constitutional law scholar who helped design this “supreme court” for content moderation. They reveal the inside story of how the idea came about, how the court was built, and ask big questions, like … will anyone trust it…
 
He’s one of the world’s leading competitors, having won four U.S. memory tournaments and holding the record for most names memorized in 15 minutes (235!). But Nelson Dellis claims he was born with an average memory and that anyone can learn his tricks. Steve gives Nelson’s techniques a shot, without much hope — and is surprised by the result.…
 
He’s a cognitive neuroscientist and philosopher who has written five best-selling books. Sam Harris also hosts the Making Sense podcast and helps people discover meditation through his Waking Up app. Sam explains to Steve how to become spiritual as a skeptic and commit to never lying again.By Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
 
Natalie & Drew talk about why the stomach is nature’s purse, why Drew hangs out in storm drains, different types of containers, Natalie’s jerky wallet, simulation theory, how to subdue a wild deer, and, finally, why a man is nothing but a container for a big mess. Plus, alternate gravities, why we aren’t on “a bad timeline,” and why everything, ult…
 
If the big social-media companies are unable or unwilling to make major changes from within, it may be up to outsiders to create better, healthier digital communities. Whether it’s smaller platforms for like-minded people, a publicly owned social network, self-policing by user groups, or activist campaigns to pressure Twitter and Facebook to improv…
 
He graduated high school at 14, and by 23 had several graduate degrees and was a research assistant with Stephen Hawking. He became the first chief technology officer at Microsoft (without having ever studied computer science) and then started a company focused on big questions — like how to provide the world with clean energy and how to optimize p…
 
Natalie & Drew talked about the sun, Sunn O))) and a million other things, like: Sabbath and Iron Man! The history of The Sun! Why the sun makes us mad! Why Natalie cries for no robot. Why there’s no surface of the sun. Sunburns, sunscreen, sun gods, sungazing, Ghostface Killah, and Copernicus’s dick. You’ll have to listen. Also, if you haven’t fol…
 
She spent nearly a decade as an undercover C.I.A. operative working to prevent terrorism. More recently, she hosted The Business of Drugs on Netflix. Amaryllis Fox — now Kennedy — explains why intelligence work requires empathy, and she soothes Steve’s fears about weapons of mass destruction.By Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
 
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