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Richard Thaler, a professor at Chicago University, suggests that groups of three or more should set up a tab to be split at the end of the evening to stop each member of a party feeling obligated to buy a round for everyone.

Prof Thaler…said of buying rounds: “It is just a tradition and it has this unintended consequence. So if I was giving advice, I would say if there were more than three of you I would run a tab. These are the kinds of things that policy makers and publicans should be thinking about.”

Full story in the Daily Telegraph.

When you speed, the music slows down. When you really speed, the music stops.

Hat tips: Herbert Samuel and Cheryl Longinotti.


Food manufacturer Kashi participates in a rewards program that gives points to consumers who recycle their cereal box. Of course, giving rewards after the box has been recycled would be unwieldy – Just imagine trying to verify which Kashi boxes got recycled and which didn’t. So Kashi directs people to enter a code on the inside of the cardboard box and then recycle it, a strategy straight out of behavioral research on voting that finds asking people to pledge to vote (or tell someone when and where they plan to vote) increases their odds of voting. So even if you could just enter the cereal box code and throw the box away, Kashi thinks you won’t, especially after you’ve already committed to recycling it.

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“Monsters vs. Aliens” won’t end up in the pantheon of great animated films. But it’s got some funny moments. One is part of a running joke where the presidential war room buttons for firing nuclear missiles and making hot coffee are exactly the same. The dialogue goes like this.

[President Hathaway goes to push a huge red button; all the advisors shout for him not to]

Advisor Cole: That button launches all of our nuclear missiles!
President Hathaway: Well, then which button gets me a latte?!
Advisor Wedgie: Err, that would be the other one, sir.

[The camera zips back to show an identical button next to the first one; the President pushes it and serves himself a cup of coffee]

President Hathaway: What idiot designed this thing?
Advisor Wedgie: You did, sir.
President Hathaway: Fair enough. Wilson, fire somebody!
Wilson: Right away, sir.

Hat tip: Michael Albert.

A clock that tells you how much your office meeting is costing (number of people in the meeting x average hourly wage). Yes, it tells time too…

Hat tip: David de Souza


From Freakonomics:

Karan Talwar, a blogger and Freakonomics reader, writes about an interesting traffic nudge near Shimla, India. The roads into Shimla are notoriously dangerous, and traffic signs have done little to lessen the problem. So local authorities began constructing temple shrines at hot spots. The nudge worked like a charm: “Turns out even though the average Indian has no respect for traffic laws and signs, they will slow down before any place of worship and take a moment to ask for blessings!”