Jell-O, Gillette, and the Kindle Fire

At first no one wanted to buy Jell-O. The year was 1902, the product was jiggly, and people had no idea how to serve it. Then, its producers went door-to-door with free cookbooks. And the rest of the story is…

The Rent-A-Ship Market

Knowing the price to rent a Handysize can come in handy if you want to measure economic activity. A Handysize is a small cargo ship. The very biggest vessels, called Capes because of the routes they have to take, are…

Happy Pecan Farmers

With soaring demand from China and less supply in the U.S., you have some very happy pecan farmers. However, they have one big problem. Theft. Armed with ladders, pecan snatchers are shaking the trees in Georgia’s pecan groves, catching the…

A Thanksgiving Mystery

Although supply and demand should increase turkey prices at Thanksgiving, supermarkets discount turkeys.

Presidential Wagers

 Looking at the University of Iowa GOP Iowa Caucus Market, you could create these headlines: “Gingrich gains.” “Cain crashes.” Perry plummets. Romney remains. With quotes indicated every 15 minutes, the University of Iowa prediction market for the Republican presidential nomination…

The Future of Oil

When will we run out of oil? A room full of pistachios might have the answer. In the first several pages of The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance, a teacher says you have been given a room filled 5 feet…

Frozen Jeans

Being a responsible citizen of the earth might mean freezing your jeans. According to Levi’s, one pair of jeans, from its inception in the cotton field to its demise in the recycling bin, uses over 900 gallons of water. To…

More Sole Rights

Should a musician be happy with file-sharing and piracy? Maybe. According to a recent study of counterfeits, certain businesses should welcome “fakes.” The study looked at counterfeit footwear from China. Sold in the U.S., the fakes affected the real thing…

Will We Have Enough Food in 2050?

The world is getting richer. And richer people eat more meat. And the animals they eat consume more food. Also, everyday, the world has more people. The bottom line? According to a study from Nature, we have to double the…

Peanuts or Cotton?

Farmers decided to plant fewer peanuts when cotton prices soared. The result? Now peanut prices are skyrocketing. Here is the story. Perhaps it all began with higher cotton prices. Responding, peanut farmers switched some acreage to cotton. Combine that decision…