Unexpectedly Intriguing!
01 July 2009

Confronting Math Phil Miller is happy that Mizzou ranks low in a new poll based on the likelihood of the school's athletic programs being sanctioned for NCAA rule violations, which is based on odds set by online gambling site BetUS.com. We wonder if the NCAA itself is behind the poll, given that it would provide an financial incentive for members of a cheating athletic department to bet that their schools would get caught cheating, which they could then ensure happens. Phil thinks they'll just continue pursuing the traditional approach of jumping ship to another ethically-challenged athletic program before their old school officially gets caught....

Having run the numbers, there's nothing really out there to either drive U.S. stock prices significantly higher or lower during the month of July. Without investors shifting their forward-looking focus past the end of the year (where it's at now), and absent any significant changes to the level of what companies are planning to pay out in dividends at that time, we would expect that the S&P 500 in July 2009 will mainly fall in the same average range between 925 and 945 as it did in June.

One of the main arguments made supporting "Obamacare" is that too much money is wasted trying to keep people alive longer in the last six months of their lives. The same people also point to, in our view, poorly constructed statistical studies that would seem to indicate that people live longer in countries that spend less on health care than the U.S. (In reality, people in the United States have the highest natural life expectancy of all countries.) We wonder though: if the U.S government starts "rationalizing" health spending at the expense of these life-extending efforts, what might we reasonably expect to happen to the U.S.' ranking within those poorly constructed international life expectancy comparisons? And tell us again why that's a good idea?

Of all the recent deaths of well-known people, Billy Mays' passing is the one that will truly affect the greatest number of people. He was the very rare man who could see the American dream happening all around him, who came into his own success because he discovered his place within it, and who could really appreciate it all. The future will be different because he's no longer with us.


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