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Can We Add Carmen and Gang Signs to the “Formerly Repugnant” List?

I have probably seen and listened to more opera than the median American, but that’s not saying much. In other words, I am not very knowledgeable about opera itself, or its history and mores, etc. If I were, what I’m about to tell you probably wouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Not long ago, in an airport far from home, I met a nice fellow who turned out to be a Spanish-born tenor now living in the States, named Alvaro Rodriguez. We kept in touch and he let me know that he’d be performing with the New York Lyric Opera, playing Don Jose in Carmen. So I bought my tickets and decided to read up on Carmen since: a) I didn’t know the story all that well; and b) my French is spotty at best; and c) this would be a scaled-down production, with no subtitles, etc. Read More »

You Say Repugnant, I Say … Let’s Do It!: Full Transcript

[Female Voice 1]: Healthy 23-year-old female … [Female Voice 2]: Healthy 23-year-old female … [Female Voice 1]: No smoking, no drinking, no drugs … [Female Voice 2]: No smoking, no drinking, no drugs … [Female Voice 1]: No mental-health issues. [Female Voice 2]: No mental-health issues. [Female Voice 1]: Interested in becoming an egg donor. [Female Voice 2]: Interested in becoming a kidney […] Read More »

You Say Repugnant, I Say … Let’s Do It!

Some ideas are downright repugnant. Like … paying for human organs.

On the other hand, is it any less repugnant to let thousands of people die every year for want of a kidney that a lot of people might be willing to give up if they were able to be compensated? Read More »

Bring Us Your Repugnant Ideas

We just did a Marketplace radio piece on “The Year in Repugnant Ideas,” and tomorrow we’ll release a podcast on a similar theme. We plan to revisit this theme in future radio shows and on the blog — as long as we don’t run out of repugnant ideas to talk about. Read More »

The Year in Repugnant Ideas

We here at Freakonomics Radio are connoisseurs of the repugnant idea. When the timid turn away in disgust, we inch closer. Why? Because hidden in the muck of repugnant ideas, sometimes at least, are brilliant solutions (and also, frankly, because we just can’t help ourselves). On the Freakonomics Radio year-end Marketplace segment, Stephen Dubner reports […] Read More »

Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset? Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?” [MUSIC: Brotherun, “Wishful Thinking” (from Brotherun EP)] Stephen J. DUBNER: In our previous episode, we talked about a set of TV commercials that use behavioral research to sell financial products like life insurance. Daniel GILBERT: It’s great to think optimistically […] Read More »

Israel’s New Organ Donation Nudge

Israel, which has a history of creatively incentivizing organ donation, will soon be implementing yet another organ “nudge.”  Al Roth shared a recent email from Israeli transplant surgeon (and Freakonomics podcast guestJay Lavee explaining the new policy (which is based on unpublished research by Roth and Judd Kessler): 

Just a short note to let you know that the Israeli Minister of Health has adopted this week my recommendation to establish by law the modified mandated choice model based upon your work, whereby the issuing or renewal of an ID, passport or driving license will be conditional upon answering the question of becoming a registered donor to which only a positive answer will be given as an option or else the “Continue” button will be selected. It seems that, contrary to my previous worries, the entire registration for these documents is currently being done online and therefore there should be no technical issues to implement this model.

Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions.“ [MUSIC: Tallboy 7, “Robot Lover”]   Stephen DUBNER: Steve Levitt is my Freakonomics friend and co-author. He’s an economist at the University of Chicago. One of the most unusual things about Levitt is that he doesn’t […] Read More »