Friday, Feb. 13, 2009


Ever since they published their best-selling book Freakonomics in 2005, journalist Stephen Dubner and economics professor Steven Levitt have been telling anyone who'll listen that much of daily life can be explained by economic theory. One massive economic downturn later, it's time to say: okay, we get it. The Freakonomics blog, part of the New York Times blog stable, has taken on added importance in an era when everyone's life is being buffeted by economic storms. Whether it's reporting that more people now are searching Google for "coupons" than for "Britney Spears," speculating on how the downturn could be good for grandparents, or revealing what economists have in common with garbage (neither gets picked up at a party), Freakonomics is a daily reminder that life is essentially a game of supply and demand.

Sample Freakonomics post: When you buy a $1.50 pack of gum at a convenience store, the credit-card company gets 28 cents. Even on big-ticket items like airline tickets, the credit-card company collects nearly 3 percent.

Entry you'll never see: Does a person's height or weight substantially affect their lifetime earning power? Darned if we know.