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Freakonomics [10 May 2005|10:54am]

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing --- the statistics of the everyday. I'll probably have to pick up this book eventually. This interview wasn't as good as I would have hoped, but here are some interesting tidbits.

Notes from NPR, Motley Fool, Talking 'Freakonomics' with Steven Levitt

Author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything.

  • Freakonomics takes the tools of economics and applies them in places where people don't look.
  • Realtors, when they sell their own houses, get about 2-3% more for them, and take longer to do it.
  • When realtors say things like "spacious" or "great neighborhood", those are empty words that don't mean anything. When they actually describe things about the house, that's a good sign. "well-maintained" is code word for "crappy house."
  • A lot of drug dealers live with their parents. Much like a modern corporation, the guys at the top are making big salaries, but the guys at the bottom are living with their parents.
  • When a day care in Israel instituted fines for late pickups, the number of late pickups went up! Because it turned showing up late into something that was somewhat acceptable --- the fine was low --- where previously it was an informal/moral wrong.
  • Paul Feldman's (sp?) bagels --- put a lock box with a box of bagels near offices, and asked people to put money in the box on the honor system. People by and large are pretty honest. About 90% of the money he expects to get shows up in the lockbox. After 9/11, people became much more honest. The big offices tend to steal more. Bad weather is bad for payment. Stressful holidays are bad for payment.
  • If you're going to bet on horses, do it in Hong Kong.
  • The markets are 99.9% efficient, but that 0.1% that is inefficient might allow you to make some money. But, overall, it's hard to beat the market and is best thought of as an enjoyable pastime.
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We have a word for this? [10 May 2005|10:56am]

Courtesy of Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day list. Ice Cube and Dr. Dre should get together and redo a certain song using this word. Or, maybe not.

The Word of the Day for May 10 is:

campanologist \kam-puh-NAH-luh-jist\ noun
: one that practices or is skilled in the art of bell ringing
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