StarTalk’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen J Dubner, and James Altucher.
StarTalk’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen J Dubner, and James Altucher.

Freakonomics, with Stephen J. Dubner

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen J Dubner, and James Altucher. Credit: StarTalk.
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StarTalk’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen J Dubner, and James Altucher.

About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with first-time comic co-host James Altucher, host of The James Altucher Show, and Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics and host of Freakonomics Radio, to answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about the stochastic world of economics. 

We discuss the economics of asteroid mining: would resources brought back from an asteroid completely de-stabilize global markets? How feasible is asteroid mining as an economic solution? What would happen if you brought back water from an asteroid? You’ll learn why an influx of resources from an asteroid might create industries we haven’t seen before. Also, Neil explains why weight is the most important thing when moving things in space.   

Next, dive into the trends of a recession. You’ll hear whether recessions happen in cycles and if they’re easy for economists to predict. Stephen and James give their assessment of our current economic climate. We debate private vs public space exploration and how space exploration serves as an engine for future economic growth. Neil weighs in on whether we should send people to the Moon or to Mars and Stephen wonders how concerned we should be about an Earth-ending asteroid.

Find out why Stephen says you have to set aside your moral compass when studying analytics. Discover what the most important thing to look for is when using statistics. We also discuss why the United States healthcare system is “bizarre.” Stephen gets to ask Neil his own Cosmic Query about the dangers of contaminating our solar system with Earthly microbes. All that, plus, we look towards the future and investigate the use of artificial intelligence in the world of economics. 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Freakonomics, with Stephen J. Dubner.

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