World’s Strangest

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A Little Bit of Lotto History (Including Thomas Jefferson’s Take on Lotteries)

EPA/ERIK S. LESSER /LANDOV Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is up over $500 million—the biggest lottery prize ever. Whether you call it the poor man’s dream, a casino without walls, or a tax on the stupid, the lottery has deep and widespread roots. Here’s a look at three quick stories about the numbers game. Lotteries of Yore Lotteries have [...]

Testing Democracy

We are often told we must learn from history, and that we should learn from the experiences of others, but how often do we learn about forms of government from scientific experiments? MIT economist Benjamin Olken got the chance to run a field study on direct democracy in three Indonesian districts: one predominantly Muslim, one [...]