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December 17, 2007


Dave Cole

Does this apply, then, to presidential elections?


Possibly, because of the entrenched power of the main parties. Because everyone expects a Democrat or Republican to win, they have little incentive to set up third parties, or engage in political activity outside the party system. The upshot is an under-supply of political activity (perhaps).

Backword Dave

But is the X-Factor purely about the singing? If they all sang the same songs, it might be, but they don't. Contra Messrs Cowell and Walsh, I think Danni Minogue did a great job with Rhyd: songs like 'Go West', which he clearly would not have picked himself, suited his talent. However, I think he blew the final with a dull religious number and by singing with Catherine Jenkins (who I thought had an appalling, screechy voice). I love 'Somewhere' and he sang it very well, but I don't think it was what that audience wanted to hear.

It's what you do, not the way that you do it.


second and third prizes

But how can you work this into job applications, where it's first past the post?

Roger Thornhill

Surely the lesson is to surround people with those who are almost their equal, i.e. success is within range, then all will try harder.

If you put the less able into a room with the very able, the less able are likely to give up, as you suggest, and so out the window goes potential opportunity an in comes poverty of ambition as they give up on themselves.

This is why I believe streaming/setting helps people and mixed ability classes (not neccessarily schools) less so.


«But how can you work this into job applications, where it's first past the post?»

In some countries jobs in large scale organisations are advertised in batches of N, and the first (according to some point metric) N of the M applicants are hired.

However let's not joke with theory -- in practice nowadays all (those few) non-entry-level positions the hiring decision is made by the affected manager, and many of these will hire the least qualified candidate who still meets the job specs exactly.

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