What is the most effective birth control method in the World?

After an exciting Notre Dame football weekend, it was sometimes difficult early on Monday morning to get my students’ attention in economics class.  In such a circumstance I would simply ask them the question: "What is the most effective birth control method in the world?"  They could hardly believe that a professor at a Catholic school could ask such a question.  While they were recovering from their shock, I would tell them the answer: "per capital income." 


            Even China and Russia are in danger of losing population.  The real economic crisis going forward is a severe shortage of people as the world becomes more affluent.  The Japanese are trying to deal with this problem without large-scale immigration by introducing ever more sophisticated robots.  Just getting a robot to walk turned out to be quite challenging.  It seems unlikely that they will be able to replace highly-skilled people with robots any time soon.  Generally, nations that find themselves losing population may want to reconsider their opposition in immigration if they want their economies to sustain basic services such as social security and medicare.  People are needed to oversee the production of goods and services and contribute to the payroll tax.  Developed nations must accept some significant amount of immigration to avoid sliding backward down the economic ladder.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
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Big Think Edge
  • "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose," Sherlock Holmes famously remarked.
  • In this lesson, Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes, teaches you how to optimize memory, Holmes style.
  • The goal is to expand one's limited "brain attic," so that what used to be a small space can suddenly become much larger because we are using the space more efficiently.

Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
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Big Think Edge
  • Our ability to behave rationally depends not just on our ability to use the facts, but on our ability to give those facts meaning. To be rational, we need both facts and feelings. We need to be subjective.
  • In this lesson, risk communication expert David Ropeik teaches you how human rationality influences our perception of risk.
  • By the end of it, you'll understand the pitfalls of your subjective risk perception system so that you can avoid these traps in the future.