Paul Krugman on Meeting President Bush and Going into Government

Question: What was it like meeting President Bush?

Paul Krugman: Everyone was on their best behavior. No, this is not the point to make a scene. He knew that, I knew that, so it was just a slightly awkward occasion. My wife went to the great job of making small talk. Question: Did you have much of a conversation? Krugman: No. Not much. I was grateful to her for doing better at it than I did. Question: Why don’t you go into government Krugman: I think… Well, two things. One is, temperamentally, I’m really unsuited. I mean, you really have to ask yourself, you know, would you deal well with this and I’m, you know, I’m not tactful, I’m not very good at negotiating bureaucratic stuff, and I’m the world’s worst organizer, so I don’t want to do that. And, look, I’ve got, courtesy of the New York Times, I’ve got a pretty good bully pulpit of my own there. I think I probably have as much ability to weigh in on the issues and indirectly effect the policy debate from where I am, as I would in anything short of being Secretary of Treasury, and I would be a disastrous Secretary of the Treasury, so I think I like where I am right now.

Krugman talks about meeting President Bush after winning the Nobel and why he has decided not to go into government.

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Heatwaves significantly impact male fertility, says huge study

As the world gets hotter, men may have fewer and fewer viable sperm

Surprising Science
  • New research on beetles shows that successive exposure to heatwaves reduces male fertility, sometimes to the point of sterility.
  • The research has implications both for how the insect population will sustain itself as well as how human fertility may work on an increasingly hotter Earth.
  • With this and other evidence, it is becoming clear that more common and more extreme heatwaves may be the most dangerous aspect of climate change.
Keep reading Show less