SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
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SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Freakonomics lived on the New York Times bestseller list for an astonishing two years. Now authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with more iconoclastic insights and observations in SuperFreakonomics—the long awaited follow-up to their New York Times Notable blockbuster. Based on revolutionary research and original studies SuperFreakonomics promises to once again challenge our view of the way the world really works.

Book Description

The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.

Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What’s more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it’s so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?

SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:

  • How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?
  • Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?
  • How much good do car seats do?
  • What’s the best way to catch a terrorist?
  • Did TV cause a rise in crime?
  • What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common?
  • Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness?
  • Can eating kangaroo save the planet?
  • Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?

Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else, whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is – good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.

Freakonomics has been imitated many times over – but only now, with SuperFreakonomics, has it met its match.

From Superfreakonomics: Where do you stand on the freak-o-meter?

Four years ago, you were cool. You read Freakonomics when it first came out. You impressed family and friends and dazzled dates with the insights you gleaned. Now Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with Superfreakonomics, a freakquel even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.

Have you been keeping up? Can you call yourself a SuperFreak? Test your Superfreakonomics know-how now:

Question 1: 5 points
According to Superfreakonomics, what has been most helpful in improving the lives of women in rural India?
A. The government ban on dowries and sex-selective abortions
B. The spread of cable and satellite television
C. Projects that pay women to not abort female babies
D. Condoms made specially for the Indian market

Question 2: 3 points
Among Chicago street prostitutes, which night of the week is the most profitable?
A. Saturday
B. Monday
C. Wednesday
D. Friday

Question 3: 5 points
You land in an emergency room with a serious condition and your fate lies in the hands of the doctor you draw. Which characteristic doesn’t seem to matter in terms of doctor skill?
A. Attended a top-ranked medical school and served a residency at a prestigious hospital
B. Is female
C. Gets high ratings from peers
D. Spends more money on treatment

Question 4: 3 points
Which cancer is chemotherapy more likely to be effective for?
A. Lung cancer
B. Melanoma
C. Leukemia
D. Pancreatic cancer

Question 5: 5 points
Half of the decline in deaths from heart disease is mainly attributable to:
A. Inexpensive drugs
B. Angioplasty
C. Grafts
D. Stents

Question 6: 3 points
True or False: Child car seats do a better job of protecting children over the age of 2 from auto fatalities than regular seat belts.

Question 7: 5 points
What’s the best thing a person can do personally to cut greenhouse gas emissions?
A. Drive a hybrid car
B. Eat one less hamburger a week
C. Buy all your food from local sources

Question 8: 3 points
Which is most effective at stopping the greenhouse effect?
A. Public-awareness campaigns to discourage consumption
B. Cap-and-trade agreements on carbon emissions
C. Volcanic explosions
D. Planting lots of trees

Question 9: 5 points
In the 19th century, one of the gravest threats of childbearing was puerperal fever, which was often fatal to mother and child. Its cause was finally determined to be:
A. Tight bindings of petticoats early in the pregnancy
B. Foul air in the delivery wards
C. Doctors not taking sanitary precautions
D. The mother rising too soon in the delivery room

Question 10: 3 points
Which of the following were not aftereffects of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001:
A. The decrease in airline traffic slowed the spread of influenza.
B. Thanks to extra police in Washington, D.C., crime fell in that city.
C. The psychological effects of the attacks caused people to cut back on their consumption of alcohol, which led to a decrease in traffic accidents.
D. The increase in border security was a boon to some California farmers, who, as Mexican and Canadian imports declined, sold so much marijuana that it became one of the states most valuable crops.

Answers and Scoring
Question 1
B, Cable and satellite TV. Women with television were less willing to tolerate wife beating, less likely to admit to having a “son preference,” and more likely to exercise personal autonomy. Plus, the men were perhaps too busy watching cricket.

Question 2
A, Saturday nights are the most profitable. While Friday nights are the busiest, the single greatest determinant of a prostitute’s price is the specific trick she is hired to perform. And for whatever reason, Saturday customers purchase more expensive services.

Question 3
C, One factor that doesn’t seem to matter is whether a doctor is highly rated by his or her colleagues. Those named as best by their colleagues turned out to be no better than average at lowering death rates–although they did spend less money on treatments.

Question 4
C, Leukemia. Chemotherapy has proven effective on some cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and testicular cancer, especially if these cancers are detected early. But in most cases, chemotherapy is remarkably ineffective, often showing zero discernible effect. That said, cancer drugs make up the second-largest category of pharmaceutical sales, with chemotherapy comprising the bulk.

Question 5
A, Inexpensive drugs. Expensive medical procedures, while technologically dazzling, are responsible for a remarkably small share of the improvement in heart disease. Roughly half of the decline has come from reductions in risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both of which are treated with relatively inexpensive drugs. And much of the remaining decline is thanks to ridiculously inexpensive treatments like aspirin, heparin, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers.

Question 6
False. Based on extensive data analysis as well as crash tests paid for by the authors, old-fashioned seat belts do just as well as car seats.

Question 7
B, Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse-gas reduction than buying all locally sourced food, according to a recent study by Christopher Weber and H. Scott Matthews, two Carnegie Mellon researchers. Every time a Prius or other hybrid owner drives to the grocery store, she may be cancelling out its emissions-reducing benefit, at least if she shops in the meat section. Emission from cows, as well as sheep and other ruminants, are 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide released by cars and humans.

Question 8
C, the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines discharged more than 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, which acted like a layer of sunscreen, reducing the amount of solar radiation and cooling off the earth by an average of one degree F.

Question 9
C, doctors not taking sanitary precautions. This was the dawning age of the autopsy, and doctors did not yet know the importance of washing their hands after leaving the autopsy room and entering the delivery room.

Question 10
C, the psychological effect of the attacks caused people to increase their alcohol consumption, and traffic accidents increased as a result.

Scoring
32-40: Certified SuperFreak
25-31: Freak–surprises lay in wait for you
16-24: Wannabe freak–you’ve got some reading to do
1-15: Conventional wisdomer–you’re still thinking in old ways

Child passenger restraints are not an option- it’s the law. Protect your children; they are your most precious cargo. Courtesy of YNN/ Time Warner Cable Aired: 1/10/2013 All children must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle. Each state has their own specific safety laws, but consider this fact: motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children of every age between 2 and 14 in the United States. Additionally, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars. In 2006, motor vehicles crashes claimed the lives of 1794 children under age 15 and injured 208000 more! Everyday in the United States, an average of 5 children aged 14 and younger are killed and 568 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Using a child safety seat properly can make the biggest difference in protecting your child. Based upon the results of child safety seat checks conducted across many states, the “misuse rate” is actually much higher – it is more than 90 percent! The best way to protect your child in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way. There are so many car seat types and models, how do you know which one is right for your child? The right car seat or booster fits your child and your car, and is one you will use correctly every time you travel. Not only will your child ride as safely as possible, you
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Teaching Your Children How To Deal With Bullying At School

The moment that you saw your child for the first time was probably one of the greatest experiences you have ever had. You will never feel such a connection as the one you have with your children. Use the tips about parenting in this article to strengthen and energize that connection, so the bond with your child will flourish.

Take good care of yourself also if you have children. Despite what crazy events occur throughout the day, always take some time alone to be by yourself and relax, step away from the world and its worries. Having more energy will make you feel better, and enable you to give your children the care that they deserve.

Avoid getting angry, it is never helpful. Any anger that parents develop while their children are present must be tightly controlled. Letting anger control reactions to a situation can send a message that lashing out is an acceptable way to handle things and can damage self-esteem as well. It’s especially important to stay calm if your child had good intentions but messed up in some way.

When you provide areas for storing toys and other things, your children are more likely to learn the organizational skills associated with neatness. If your child doesn’t know where to put things, you will end up with his or her toys scattered throughout every room of the house! By showing your child where things go, he will eventually learn to put them away himself.

All you need is a clear kitchen counter and a rolled-up towel. Put the towel on the counter and put your child on it so that his head is under the sink faucet. Then turn on the faucet to run water over his hair. For many toddlers, this method will take the fear out of having their heads dunked or water poured over them.

When administering medicine to your child, try mixing it with a sweet food. You can mix the medicine with orange juice, or stir in a teaspoonful of sugar. To instill eye drops, you should direct your kid to close his or her eyes. Next, drop the medicine onto the child’s eyelid. The drop will fall in when your child opens up their eye.

It’s important to lay the emotional groundwork with your children while they are young, so they still want to share with you during the difficult teenage years. The advice in this article will help you to start on the path to a healthy relationship, or strengthen what you already have.

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What customers say about SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

  1. Rick Wingender says:
    163 of 183 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The idea is to make you THINK!, January 4, 2010
    By 
    Rick Wingender (Knoxville, TN) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    I had to laugh as I read some of the negative reviews. Listen people, it’s not intended to be a TEXTBOOK, nor is it written like one, thankfully. I’ve read both books. Super Freakonomics is a good exercise in critical thinking (something that is becoming sorely lacking in the age of American Idol, thanks to our putrid public schools and Playstation parenting); it makes you think about a lot of “truths” that we take for granted. For example, this book actually made me change some of my thinking about global warming. The book is super-interesting, and full of information that you’d be hard-pressed to find in your typical daily reading; and, it “sexes-up” the fields of microeconomics and behavioral economics. One of the points (relentlessly made) is how we (especially our governments) seem to prefer complex, costly solutions to problems, when cheaper, simpler solutions often exist, and the book does a great job of providing many examples of this. Is it a definitive tome on the many topics it covers? No – again, it’s not a textbook, but it was definitely worth the time I spent reading it – I hated putting it down.

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  2. Carrie Dunham-LaGree "nomadreader" says:
    55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    more of the same, which is great if you liked the first one, January 1, 2010
    By 
    Carrie Dunham-LaGree “nomadreader” (Des Moines, Iowa) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Superfreakonomics is the follow-up to the wildly successful Freakonomics, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This edition is more of the same. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. If you didn’t, then you probably won’t. If you haven’t read either, read the first one. This one is interesting, mostly, but the last chapter was a bit of a drag for me. There are some fascinating theories, statistics and illustrations. For the fans of their New York Times blog, however, there’s not much that’s new. The first book was a novelty, and a fascinating interdisciplinary one. This book is clearly a concerted effort, and it’s enjoyable, but I recall random trivia and interesting points rather than the overarching themes. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. Will I still talk about it at dinner parties in five years as I still talk about some of the theories in the first one? Well, I will reference one specific chapter.

    In short, I loved it, although not quite as much as the first one.

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