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Freakonomics Radio : December 2012

Freakonomics Radio: Legacy of a Jerk

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dates and times for this program: Wednesdays: 8pm on 93.9FM; Saturdays: 6am on 93.9FM and NJPR, 2pm on AM820 and 4pm on 93.9FM; Sundays: 8pm on AM820 and NJPR

Since the beginning of civilization, we’ve thought that human waste was worthless at best and quite often dangerous. What if it turns out we were wrong? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner explores the power of poop, focusing on an experimental procedure called the fecal transplant. A sort of combination of organ transplant and blood transfusion (one doctor calls it a “transpoosion”), fecal transplants may present a viable way to treat not only intestinal problems but also obesity and a number of neurological disorders.  We’ll talk to two doctors at the vanguard of this procedure and a patient who says it changed his life.

Also: we’ve all heard our share of poignant and loving eulogies. But what if the deceased was (gulp) a real jerk? Ancient wisdom tells us not to speak ill of the dead, but in this very chatty age, which includes online obituaries, what happens to a person’s reputation once they’re no longer around to defend themselves? Stephen Dubner speaks with Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson about the Apple CEO’s well-known proclivity toward jerkitude, and we offer a radical reassessment of baseball’s biggest jerk, Ty Cobb.

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Freakonomics Radio Goes to College

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Dates and times for this program: Wednesdays: 8pm on 93.9FM; Saturdays: 6am on 93.9FM and NJPR, 2pm on AM820 and 4pm on 93.9FM; Sundays: 8pm on AM820 and NJPR

Is a college diploma really worth the paper it’s printed on? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner breaks down the costs and benefits of going to college, especially during an economy that’s leaving a lot of people un- and underemployed. The data say that college graduates make a lot more money in the long run and enjoy a host of other benefits as well.  But does that justify the time and money? We’ll hear from economists David Card, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers, as well as former Bush advisor Karl Rove, who made it to the White House without a college degree. Amherst College president Biddy Martin describes what an education provides beyond facts and figures, while Steve Levitt wonders if the students he teaches at the University of Chicago are actually learning anything.  Finally, a former FBI agent tells us about the very robust market for fake diplomas.

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