Everyone seems weirdly eager to discount Floyd Landis’ increasingly vivid stories of doping by Lance Armstrong and the rest of the US Postal Service team. But not Steven Levitt, of the New York Times’ Freakonomics blog. “I’ve never studied lying academically,” he writes, “but I have thought a lot about creativity.” His conclusion? “People—virtually all people, including me—are really bad at coming up with new ideas.”
Landis’ stories, which include blood-filled refrigerators hidden in closets and fake bus breakdowns designed to give Lance a chance for a transfusion, are so rich in specificity and detail that they must contain at least a grain of truth. What’s more, Levitt says he’s had “personal conversations with a former Tour de France champion” that convince him that doping is prevalent in cycling, and that one of his undergraduates has found “suggestive, but not completely persuasive” statistical evidence to back that up.