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Are children’s carseats necessary? Steven Levitt on TED.com


Economist Steven Levitt shares provocative data that shows carseats are no more effective than seatbelts in protecting kids from dying in cars. However, during the Q&A, he makes one crucial caveat. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 19:04.)   Watch Steven Levitt’s talk on TED.com, where you can download it, rate it, comment on []

Vote for your favorite public intellectuals


Not to be outdone by the Time 100, the journals Foreign Policy and Prospect have together released a list of the Top 100 public intellectuals — with voting. Many TEDTalks favorites appear on the list, and you can help choose the eventual top 20 by voting for your very own top 5. From Foreign Policy‘s []

"Crack economics" researcher tells his story


Stephen Levitt calls him the “main character” in his TEDTalk on crack economics: Sudhir Venkatesh, the young grad student who infiltrated a Chicago crack-dealing gang. His research brought back reams of sociological data — and offers an unfiltered glimpse into gang life. In his new book, Gang Leader for a Day, Venkatesh writes about his []

A freak blog migrates into an institution


After over two years at freakonomics.com, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner — co-authors of the 3-million-copies "Freakonomics" — last week moved their blog under a bigger and more institutional brand, that of the Opinion section of the New York Times’ website. Levitt spoke at TED2004 offering a preview of a chapter of "Freakonomics" titled "Why []

Malcolm Gladwell & Steven Levitt: It started at a TED salon …


A great TED tidbit we missed the first time around: In TIME Magazine last month, Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell (TED04) wrote a tribute to Freakonomics author Steven Levitt (TED04, TEDGlobal), who was honored as one of the TIME 100. It starts like this: Not long after Freakonomics came out, Steven Levitt and I had []

Gladwell v. Levitt, Round 2


At a landmark TED salon last spring, economist Steven Levitt and author Malcolm Gladwell crossed swords over the real reason New York City crime dropped in the 90s. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell credited the innovative policing tactics adopted under NYC Mayor Giuliani (which focused on softer “lifestyle crimes,” like subway graffiti and zoning violations) []