hydraflap posted Feb 24, 2013 10:53 PM: > There are 25 bicyclists and just 5 bicycles. Of all > these we need to find best 3 cyclists. How many races > should be held to determine top three winners and > why? > http://www.basiccalculator.org > I shall not try to respond to the question, as I shall presume Jim's CDs on "EVERYDAY DECISION MAKING" and "BASIC HIGH SCHOOL MATH REVIEW" will surely contain all the useful and usable math knowledge that 'hydraflap' may require in the way of help that he needs (from the math that is currently in place).
I am only responding to pose a doubt as to the way we in society generally handle certain important issues we regularly confront:
Very regularly (both in the USA and in India, and also in various 'democracies' around the world), we for instance quite 'religiously' conduct certain rituals in democracy called 'free elections'.
In the USA, you elect something called a POTUS (for instance). I believe that for the single post of POTUS, there are some 50 million voters, a (variable) number of candidates, for, as stated, just one available post. I'm certain US citizens at Math-teach know the whole complex process of electing a POTUS far better than I do. I'm just writing to register my doubt that the process seems, to my mind, to be somewhat 'hit or miss', 'dicey', so to speak. To judge by the results you have got in a few specific instances, the process does not work effectively.
In the last two elections for POTUS for instance (conducted in 2012 and 2008), you US citizens (what you incorrectly describe as 'Americans') did manage to elect what appeared to my mind to be the best available candidate for POTUS (though accepted he is not 'perfect' by any means). His record as POTUS has been somewhat mixed, 'comme-ci, comme-sa' as they say in French,
However, in the two elections immediately preceding those (i.e., in the elections of 2000 and 2004) you managed to elect what appeared to my mind to be THE WORST available candidate for POTUS - (in fact, I believe you US citizens could not have selected a worse POTUS had the whole process been designed to get your nation a terrible leader! (Once in power, the POTUS you got through your 'democratic election process' between the years 2000 and 2008 managed to make the worst of all possible decisions in near every decision-making option that he came across. He could not have done worse for the US (and for the world) if he had been put there in the POTUS hot-seat by the 'KGB' of Soviet Russia (which they say wanted to destroy the USA)!!! (I'm aware that some of our members at Math-teach [some of whom do not nowadays appear to be with us] may be uneasy or angry at what I've just stated, but so be it).
Anyway, to judge by your results in elections in the recent past that come readily to my mind, the results of the USA in your 'POTUS-elections' have been rather spotty, to put it mildly: you've had some pretty good POTUSes, and you've had some pretty terrible POTUSes.
Your results in the last 4 elections to POTUS show that what you got was exactly 50-50, i.e., what perhaps you'd get if you had got yourself a POTUS by going through a process of electing one by tossing coins nationwide in 'POTUS Presidential Coin Tosses' instead of 'POTUS Elections'.
We in India have something called a 'Parliamentary Democracy', with the parties winning the largest number of seats in Parliament getting to form our 'government' (instead of the POTUS equivalent, i.e. PORIND 'President of the Republic of India') to make all governance decisions for us.
Being a truly 'democratic' Republic, we also do this election process to find our people to govern us; to put our leaders and governments in place both at the 'Centre' and in all our 20/30-some states, etc. It appears that, using our current processes, we now have some several hundred people representing us Indians in our Parliament and in our State Assemblies who have been charged of various serious crimes, including rape and other crimes against women.
What I wanted to show is the following: In both the US and in India, our processes of electing our leaders appear to be somewhat 'dicey', to say the least.
Question: Can we do better? Is it possible to design processes that will for sure get us better leaders and representatives to make laws, govern us, etc???