Hits and Misses

1-2-3-ribbonResearch suggests that in the Olympics, those who finish third are likely to be a lot happierĀ than those who finish second.

Something I bet you didn’t know: The father of affirmative action (in the sense of racial preferences and quotas) was Richard Nixon.

There are almost 11 million Health Savings Accounts with well over $20 billion in assets.

Under EU rules Britain will add illegal drug sales and prostitution to its calculations of GDP.

Comments (16)

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  1. Karl says:

    “If you finish second, you tend to think that with a little good luck, or maybe a bit of extra effort or skill, you might have gotten the prize of a lifetime: Olympic gold. But if you finish third, you tend to think that with a little bad luck, or without that extra effort or skill, you wouldn’t have gotten the prize of a lifetime: an Olympic medal.”

    Sounds reasonable. Since Olympic gold medal is highly competitive, people need both real strength and luck to gain it.

  2. John R. Graham says:

    I think I’d rather be 4th, and not have to get on the podium. But I am probably overreacting.

    I was an alpine ski racer through my teens. Nowhere near good enough to compete for my country, but I had friends who got pretty high up on the national squad.

    The racers all compete against each other throughout the season and the result that really matters is who came first in the standings at the end of the season.

    Each race is won by a fraction of a second. It would be absurd to think that the winner of one single race is the “best”. So, the Olympic result is not really that important.

    Ice hockey is the same. Canadians are intensely focused on Olympic ice-hockey success, especially since professionals can play on the men’s team. They especially dread the thought of losing to USA in the gold-medal match.

    In the National Hockey League, play-offs (including the Stanley Cup final) area series of seven games. I think has happened in history that one team has swept four games to win the series, but very seldom. (Like the World Series of baseball, I suppose.)

    It would be lunacy to give the Stanley Cup to the winner of one, final, game, like they do the Olympic gold medal.

    • Trent says:

      But who would be willing to change it? I for one would rather watch 7 games of hockey than some of the other miserable vacation sports.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    I’m sure it varies by sport, but I read an article the other day that in figure skating, the national teams are accused of taking looks into consideration. It was suggested that appearance (rather than athleticism) can make the difference in who’s selected to represent a country; attractive skaters are (supposedly) even scored slightly higher by judges.

    Of course, readers were aghast at the thought that looks (i.e. genetics) could impact whether a person goes to the Olympics. But then again, I suspect the whole process favors the genetically gifted in the first place. Why do we care whether it’s muscles, balance or looks that wins the medal?

  4. PJ says:

    Affirmative action is one of the most infuriating policies I can think of. It implies that what is important about a person is not his talents or skills or character but the color of his skin. How on earth does that represent the civil rights movement?

  5. Lucas says:

    “Is It Better to Win Bronze Than Silver?”

    I would much rather win nothing. Who is ever known for winning bronze? I would rather just compete.

  6. Trent says:

    “According to the 7th semi-annual Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) survey and resulting research report conducted by Devenir, HSAs have grown to an estimated $19.3 billion in assets and 10.7 million accounts at year-end 2013 and have grown to well over $20 billion in assets during the month of January.”

    This is outstanding!

    • John R. Graham says:

      Yes, it is outstanding, but more needs to be done. If you look at the average account size, even for accounts opened in 2005, the average balance is only a little more than $5,000.

      So, HSAs are expensive, with respect to administrative fees. Financial institutions don’t view them as a profit center like 401(k)s or IRAs because people do not really store assets in them. Money flows in and out.

      Financial institutions are not making money on HSA balances so they charge high fees. This nut has to be cracked to increase uptake.

  7. Connor says:

    “45 years down the line, liberals like Jealous are still so fervently devoted to a program so plainly inadequate and ill-conceived from the start”

    Why can’t we strive for policy and integration programs that naturally create unity rather than forcing it?

  8. Wally says:

    The winter olympics is horrible. It’s all about resort sports