Did Derek Jeter Really Retire?

Yesterday at Fenway Park the famous New York Yankee baseball player Derek Jeter played his last game (see video here).  Jeter announced his “retirement” last February during Yankee pre-season training.  He felt after playing professional baseball for 20 years that it “was the right time” to leave.  Media around the world focused on how sad people felt about his “retirement” at age 40.  While watching his final at bat the thought occurred to me that while Derek Jeter might be leaving the active roster of the NY Yankees, there is little chance that he is actually retiring.  Why isn’t Derek Jeter really retiring? Continue reading

Would You Accept A Negative Interest Rate?

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “The yield on the U.S. Treasury bill maturing on Oct. 2 traded at negative-0.01%.”  The negative rate means that the USA’s government is paid to take out loans and buyers of the treasury bills are charged for saving money.   This situation is similar to someone asking you if they could borrow $10 today with the promise that they will pay you back $9 tomorrow.  You know ahead of time it is a bad deal that will cost you money.  While some professional traders knowingly made money losing trades yesterday, would you ever accept a negative interest rate?

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Does Adrian Peterson Represent a New Trend in Child Abuse?

Adrian Peterson, a star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, is currently facing child abuse charges for using a switch (a tree branch) to discipline his 4 year old child.  The personal lives of professional athletes, famous actors and important politicians are intensely scrutinized today and often provide glimpses into new trends that are starting in the general population.  Almost all the media reports have focused on this particular case but little attention has been paid to the bigger question, “Is child abuse increasing in the USA?”

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Should We Trust the Polls on Whether Scotland Should Leave the U.K.?

On Thursday (Sept. 18th) residents of Scotland will vote on whether they should break away from the United Kingdom.  Today polls show the vote is too close to call. Moreover, the polls are much less accurate than usual.  Why are these particular polls so untrustworthy? Continue reading

Why Would Olive Garden Offer People the Chance to Eat Unlimited Pasta for 7 Weeks?

This past Monday Olive Garden, a chain of 800+ locations that that serves Italian food began offering passes that gave 1,000 people the chance to eat as much pasta as they wanted for seven weeks.  The passes cost only $100 and entitled the holder to any kind of pasta dish.   Plus, the pass holder and everyone who ate with the pass holder got unlimited soda.  A few days before the promotion I gave a lecture that emphasized well- run companies focused on making a profit.  One of my students asked “Why would any business do something this crazy, since Olive Garden was going to make a loss, not a profit, on every pass sold?” Continue reading

Will the Napa Earthquake Really Result in Wineries Losing Millions of Dollars of Sales?

Two weeks ago a 6.0 earthquake hit Napa Valley, the California region famous for making red wine.  On Saturday morning the Wall Street Journal published an article stating “About 120 wineries in Napa Valley suffered an estimated $50 million in damage from the magnitude 6.0 earthquake.”  This $50 million figure is wrong. Continue reading

Advice for First Time College Students

Summer is over and another college year is starting.  The campus is full of eager first time students.  Unfortunately, some of these new scholars will drop out, be asked to leave or simply disappear before the academic year is over.  I have noticed that students who do three simple things have a much better chance of academic success. Continue reading