Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Econs on Star Trek? Absolutely! They’re called Vulcans.

January 23, 2009

Some faithful readers of the Nudge blog have pointed out that Econs may not exist on Planet Earth, but they are part of the Star Trek universe, specifically on the Planet Vulcan.

In the classic Star Trek episode “Journey to Babel,” the half-Human, half-Vulcan Spock is joined by his Human mother Amanda and his Vulcan father Sarek. A side plot in the episode involves Spock donating blood to save his ill father. At the end, following an exasperated plea by Amanda to be more Human, Spock and his father lightly mock her emotion and their rationality.

Spock: Emotional, isn’t she?
Sarek: She has always been that way.
Spock: Indeed – why did you marry her?
Sarek: At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do.

We can’t embed the video because it is controlled by Viacom on YouTube, but you can watch the scene directly on the site. Fast forward to 47:57. (You’ll have to wait through an advertisement at the beginning of the epsiode – but it’s worth it.)

Nudge-inspired movie script lines

December 11, 2008

Philip Frankenfeld imagines:

Scene: Cafeteria with buffet line called Random Placement Cafeteria.

Frank: “We randomly rotate the place of foods on the line to avoid ‘choice architecture’. We’re ‘nonnudgemental’.”

Nudge cartoons

November 24, 2008

From Dilbert:


From the New Yorker’s caption contest (caption from Philip Frankenfeld):


You play the tough, paternalistic regulator and I’ll play the laissez-faire one named ‘Nacho Daddy’.

An Esquire writer tries to live like homo economicus

October 24, 2008

It doesn’t work out so well.

The writer is A. J. Jacobs. His brother-in-law, behavioral economist Eric Schoenberg of Columbia Business School, offers a phrase for humans who refuse to see themselves as average or mediocre at anything:

He said I was suffering from the Lake Wobegon Effect: Our brains are delusively cocky. We all think we’re better-looking, smarter, and more virtuous than we are. (It’s named for Garrison Keillor’s town, where “all the children are above average.”)

Jacobs writes his own newspaper headlines to compensate for the availability bias that prevents him from remembering much more than what he’s read recently.

Today, there’s an article about salmonella. Eight hundred people have gotten sick from salmonella, possibly from tainted tomatoes–which later will turn out not to be the case. I’m a paranoid bastard, so I would normally purge our house of anything tomato-related: the pint of cherry tomatoes, the ketchup bottles, the Esquire cover of Andy Warhol in tomato soup. Salmonella would climb onto my list of Top Ten Worries.

Instead, I take my first countermeasures. I ask my wife for the newspaper, find a Sharpie, and scribble under the headline: “Meanwhile, millions of people ate tomatoes and did NOT get sick. But thousands did die from obesity.”

Jacobs, familiar with the human tendency to eat whatever is in front of them, tries to fool himself eating cereal.

I pour my MultiGrain Cheerios into a bowl, then cover the bowl with a napkin. I’m not going to let my brain see what’s inside the bowl. That’d be too tempting. I’ll just eat till I feel full. It’s a time-consuming process trying to negotiate the spoon around the napkin. Which is probably a good thing, since it’s healthier to eat slowly.

He realizes he’s been brushing with Crest for 30 years because of the “yeah whatever” heuristic.

That’s not good enough. I need a fully rational toothpaste. I need, first, to expand my dental-hygiene horizons. I go to the drugstore and buy a sample platter of forty tubes of toothpaste…I go home and spend eighty minutes brushing. Pepsodent Smooth Mint. Colgate Luminous Crystal Clean Mint. Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Mint Experience. I never realized how much I hate mint.

Read the rest here.

A theory of celebrity

July 16, 2008

Inspired by Shooting Britney and Indexed, which posted a graph last week that was straight out of a behavioral economics textbook.

A new term we like

July 14, 2008

Nudge uses the term homo economicus to refer to the person in standard economics textbooks, and homo sapien to refer to normal people. Pat Kane of the Independent comes up with another possibility for normal people that we like: Homer economicus.

A pile of $1s

July 9, 2008

Giandelone also points us to this old 3rd Rock from the Sun clip about tipping.

Investing humor

July 3, 2008

The Behavior Gap keeps a log of amusing quotes about our financial frailty including this one from author Jonathan Clements: ““If you want to see the greatest threat to your financial future, go home and take a look in the mirror.”

There are also a few Indexed-esque venn diagrams like this one about when you know if your stock picks are likely to bomb.

Second borns watch out

June 20, 2008