Our first installment of our Superfreakonomics podcast series was intended to get more in depth into the extremely interesting topics that this book has to offer. The introduction segment summarizes and discusses the introduction of the book. This prologue chapter (introduction to the book) highlighted a plethora of issues involving statistics and a necessity for a deep understanding of math and how these situations relate to it. Each subject/category that was introduced is pretty much completely unrelated, but each is tied together with statistical comparisons and economics that make the topics alluring and hard to believe. We examined many of the key stories that we think were important to take apart and really understand. Our intended audience should be interested in math and how it relates to things happening over time and what they mean for the populations that are involved.
In the second installment of our podcast series about Superfreakonomics we discussed the first chapter, How Is a Street Prostitute Like a Department-Store Santa?, and the second chapter, Why Should Suicide Bombers Buy Life Insurance?. Though the two chapters covered a plethora of questions, studies, and data, we chose to discuss only a few of the topics that were the most interesting to us. We talked about the significant wage gap between equally qualified, professional men and women. Then, we investigated the critical emergency room procedures that make for the best and worst patient outcomes. Chapter two also showed us that doctor review criteria can be extremely flawed and ought to be taken with a grain of sand when choosing your doctor. Overall, these two chapters showed us a lot of new numbers on interesting subjects and we’ve learned to always investigate the nuances that can affect data results.
The third podcast in the Superfreakonomics series highlights some questions from our teacher, Mr. Miles. He had a few specific questions about prostitution law enforcement and terrorism prediction and prevention. Then we moved on to the third chapter and discussed crime rates and altruism. We challenged the legitimacy of the correlation between TV viewing and increased crime rates. We also debated the idea of true altruism and how incentives and fear play into all of our decisions. Next week we will most likely finish off the book with chapters four and five and answer more listener questions if there are any.
In the fourth and final segment of our Superfreakonomics series, we responded to a listener question about organ donor compensation, discussed the outcomes of cheap and simple fixes in chapter four, The Fix Is In, and it's Cheap and Simple, and debated the clarity and significance of topics and arguments from chapter five What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo Have in Common? We agreed that though there were many contradictions and confusing lines of evidence throughout the entire book, the lesson to be learned is that we ought to take all new data with a bit of healthy skepticism and always deeply examine our data to understand the underlying misconceptions or misrepresentations.