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More than one American in five thinks that buying lottery tickets constitutes a sound retirement plan, according to a Tax Foundation study. And research carried out by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis in seven American states found that much of the money spent on lottery tickets came from some form of government assistance (such as social security, unemployment or disability benefit).

From the Economist. Hat tip: Simoleon Sense.

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Speeding wastes gas, causes accidents, and generally diminishes the driving experience of other drivers. Most nudges to cut down on speeding have come from traffic planners. Now a car maker, Nissan, comes along with a nudge of its own: ECO Pedal. From the Associated Press:

Nissan’s “ECO Pedal” system — promoted as being both green and safe — makes the gas pedal press upward when it senses motorists are speeding up too quickly. Nissan said in a news release Monday the system, which will be available next year, can help drivers improve fuel efficiency 5 to 10 percent.

The system calculates the most efficient rate of acceleration in a vehicle based on how fast fuel is being burned and other factors and causes the gas pedal to push back to alert overzealous drivers. A special meter on the dashboard flashes and changes colors to help drive the message home.

Nissan plans to offer the pedal beginning in 2009. In true libertarian paternalism form, drivers can opt to turn the system off. Nissan’s press release has a graphic on how a drivers acceleration is altered by ECO Pedal.

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