Some interesting "everyday economics" articles and blog entries by the author of "The Undercover Economist", Tim Harford. 1. "Starbucks Economics" <http://www.slate.com/id/2133754> "Here's a little secret that Starbucks doesn't want you to know: They will serve you a better, stronger cappuccino if you want one, and they will charge you less for it. Ask for it in any Starbucks and the barista will comply without batting an eye. The puzzle is to work out why." 2. "Beauty and the Geek" <http://www.slate.com/id/2160481/> "Economists have found evidence that voters prefer a pretty face in the United Kingdom, Australia, Finland, Germany, and the United States." 3. "Desperate for a Wii" <http://blogs.ft.com/undercover/2007/11/desperate-for-a.html> "The economists' question, of course, is why on earth Nintendo doesn't raise the price until supply equals demand?" "The Great Xbox Shortage of 2005" <http://www.slate.com/id/2132071/> "Why you can't buy the one present you really need." "Xbox Economics, Part 2" <http://www.slate.com/id/2132988/> "More reasons Microsoft isn't charging enough for the season's hot game console." 4. "The Renter's Manifesto" <http://www.slate.com/id/2161834/> "Wherever people seem particularly keen to own their own homes - as in the United Kingdom, Spain, and some U.S. states - employment suffers as a result... Renting your home and staying flexible do wonders for your chances of always finding an interesting job to do." 5. "Why the Stock Market Rises in January - and why it shouldn't" <http://www.slate.com/id/2156844/> "The January effect is a challenge to the efficient markets hypothesis. A reasonably bold version of that hypothesis is that you can't beat the market without inside information. All publicly available information - including corporate accounts, price history, and what month of the year it is - is already taken into account in the market price. A rule that says 'buy on Dec. 31 and sell on Jan. 31' just shouldn't yield spectacular returns. Yet it has." 6. "The Conjurer's Dilemma - how magicians protect their tricks" <http://www.slate.com/id/2175616/> "Intellectual property law does not protect magical tricks very well, and it does not help much in high fashion or in haute cuisine, either - all areas that Loshin describes as a 'negative space' for intellect- ual property ... For the fashion industry, a lack of intellectual property protection may not be a problem: The trickle-down of high-end fashion helps create obsolescence and the demand for more high-end fashion. But chefs and conjurers need a little help protecting their ideas. Lacking legal protection, they resort to professional norms." 7. "Match-fixing" <http://blogs.ft.com/undercover/2007/11/match-fixing.html> "[G]ambling should only be allowed on results that really matter. That might help, and although some players have been accused of match-fixing in a more dramatic way, such a rule would certainly reduce the temptation." 8. "Price fighters" <http://timharford.com/2007/08/price-fighters/> "[W]hy do central bankers aim to keep it above zero, rather than trying to eradicate it?"