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In this bonus episode of EconTalk, economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Romer discusses the coronavirus pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Romer argues that the status quo of shutdown and fear of infection is unsustainable. Returning to normal requires an inexpensive, quick, and relatively painless test. Such tests are now available. The challenge is in relaxing certain regulations and then creating a supply chain of production and availability. Romer then explains how such a test could ease a return to something like normalcy for many sectors of the economy. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the dynamics of the labor market in the current situation.

Updated on May 28

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In this episode, Dr. Jessica Mason, Dr. Melvis Herbert, and, well, just Dave, cut through the Corona craziness and bring you the latest in COVID-19 news, medical science, and cocktail recipes. Wash your hands, grab your headphones, and enjoy.

Updated on March 23

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What happens if you get infected with the coronavirus? Who's most at risk? How can you protect yourself? Public health expert David Heymann, who led the global response to the SARS outbreak in 2003, shares the latest findings about COVID-19 and what the future may hold.

Updated on March 08

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Skin in the Game, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. This is the third episode of EconTalk with Taleb related to the general topic of skin in the game and how it affects decision-making and policy in an uncertain world. This episode focuses on rationality, religion, and the challenge of thinking about probability and risk correctly in a dynamic world.

Updated on March 25

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Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk, does a monologue this week on the economics of trade and specialization. Economists have focused on David Ricardo's idea of comparative advantage as the source of specialization and wealth creation from trade. Drawing on Adam Smith and the work of James Buchanan, Yong Yoon, and Paul Romer, Roberts argues that we've neglected the role of the size of the market in creating incentives for specialization and wealth creation via trade. Simply put, the more people we trade with, the greater the opportunity to specialize and innovate, even when people are identical. The Ricardian insight masks the power of market size in driving innovation and the transformation of our standard of living over the last few centuries in the developed world.

Updated on April 01

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A new virus showed up in China late last year, and it’s making its way to other countries too. So what do scientists know about the virus so far? And how worried should we be? To find out we talk to infectious disease researchers Dr. Kristian Andersen and Dr. Catharine Paules, physician Dr. Hui, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci.

We did an episode on a *fictional* pandemic, which you can find here: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/49hok3/pandemic 

Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/2S7JwXN

Selected references:

The WHO and the CDC are maintaining information centers that update regularly: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html 

Scientific journals The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine have taken down the paywall for papers related to the outbreak: https://www.thelancet.com/coronavirus and https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus 

This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler and Michelle Dang. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Lexi Krupp. Mix and sound design by Sam Bair. Music written by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. A big thanks to Dr. Paul Delamater, Dr. Vittoria Colizza, and Shan Li. Recording assistance from Margot Wohl and Randy Scott Carroll. Translation by Yuan Xue, John Deng, and Chiung H Chuang. And special thanks to Bobby Lord, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.

Updated on March 01

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Journalist and author Beth Gardiner talks about her new book Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution. And CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna talks about gene editing.  

Updated on February 06

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As a sex educator, Emily Nagoski is often asked: How do couples sustain a strong sexual connection over the long term? In this funny, insightful talk, she shares her answer -- drawing on (somewhat surprising) research to reveal why some couples stop having sex while others keep up a connection for a lifetime.

Updated on April 25

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Today, Y Combinator is a household name in Silicon Valley. It is not only the most successful startup incubator, but also a hybrid venture firm that redefined the rules of the game. It's funded companies like Dropbox, Stripe, Weebly, Airbnb, Cruise and Doordash, Coinbase and Flexport, Weblow, Docker, Plangird, Zapier, Twitch and thousands more. Whatever you do in life, you are most likely using at least one Y Combinator backed company every day. How is it possible that a firm that did not even exist 15 years ago is now responsible for countless runaway success? To answer this question, lets take a look into the past.

Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, is a philosopher, mathematician, programmer and an investor. By now, there is no question that Y Combinator is a success and Paul Graham a genius, but back in 2009 it was not at all clear. Today, we take a look into history, into this wonderful interview Paul Graham did with @Econtalker about his vision and early successes. Most startups that grow massive had never planned it this way, interestingly enough, same applies to Y Combinator.

Updated on September 02

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