Ranks or … whatever

The last Good & Bad post already dealt with using ranks and certain related problems, but the thing Udo pointed me to is really of extraordinary absurdity.

The Daily Mail has a feature about the most popular names:

The problem is already explained in the footnote such that I don’t need to comment any further – who would ever consider publishing statistics like this?

Even better is the list of the most powerful people in Forbes:

According to Forbes, the list is created along four dimensions:

  1. “First, we asked if a person has influence over a lot of people?”
  2. “Second, we checked to see if they have significant financial resources relative to their peers”
  3. “Then we determined if they were powerful in multiple spheres”
  4. “Finally, we insisted that they actively wield their power”

Now, just find a way to measure these dimensions – which is quite subjective for at least 3. and 4., but already hard for 2. . Then define some weights for the four dimensions, and finally make an (arbitrary) selection of candidates: almost anything goes!

PS: If we do not include variant spellings for ‘Mohammed’ the name would end up on rank 16 …

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