With all of the partisan bickering going on in our country, we sometimes overlook the good news that is happening. Thus, it is our duty to relay some of this to our readers.
• Police officer deaths are down.
The number of police officers killed in 2017 was the second lowest in 58 years, USA Today reported last week. Some 128 officers died in the line of duty in 2017, down from 135 in 2016. Since 1959, only 2013 saw fewer officers die while on duty when 116 were killed, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The leading cause of death for officers in 2017 was traffic crashes, which killed 47 police officers. Forty-four officers were shot and killed in 2017.
Better training, improved safety gear and new police strategies were cited by law enforcement officials as being the reasons for the decrease. Part of the “police strategies,” though, might be less patrolling in the most dangerous neighborhoods of our nation’s largest cities. At least that’s my analysis.
• Older kindergartners become better mutual-fund managers.
According to the Feb. 5 issue of The Wall Street Journal, a new study suggests there is a relation between mutual-fund managers’ performance and how old they were when they were in kindergarten.
In an article titled, “Why Older Kindergartners Should Run Your Mutual Fund (Someday),” it was reported that a sample of 4,081 managers was used between 1980 and 2015, and researchers found that those who were among the oldest quarter of their kindergarten class outperformed those in the youngest quarter by an average of a 0.48 percentage point per year.
You might wonder why University of Alabama researchers spent so much time and money on this project as opposed to, say, finding out new ways to bring about world peace or how to beat Auburn. In fact, I wonder that myself, especially because there was less than half a percentage point difference between older and younger kindergartners.
But there is a reason fund managers who were older in kindergarten have tended to generate better returns. It’s because they are more confident, according to Kevin Mullally, a co-author of the paper and a professor of economics at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce in Tuscaloosa. Researchers at Northeastern University and Boston College also helped on the project.
Mullally stressed that such self-confidence is a result of the “relative-age effect,” which says children who are older than their peers in kindergarten are more likely to perform better in school and have higher self-esteem.
I can relate to that. When I was 5 years old, the school administration wanted my mother to teach the fourth grade, but she was reluctant because I was still preschool age. Well, Miss Cora, the first-grade teacher, offered to put me in her class and say I was in kindergarten. If I did well, I would be promoted to the second grade, and if I had problems, I would repeat the first grade. I had just turned 5 on Aug. 27, so even if there had actually been a kindergarten, I would have been the youngest one in there. By the way, I was promoted to the second grade the next year and ultimately graduated from high school when I was 16.
However, I always had a confidence problem in school and was always the youngest member of my class. Plus, I would have made a lousy mutual-funds manager.
• If you receive too many emails from a certain company, politician or entity, you can unsubscribe ... or maybe not.
As you might imagine, being editor of a newspaper means I receive a large number of emails from across the country. These include news releases about everything from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, advertisements to halt toe-nail fungus and two or three emails a day from Claire McCaskill, most of them wanting money.
Most of the emails have a way to unsubscribe, at least theoretically. But now I’m wondering “why bother,” because they seem to come back eventually anyway. I end up spending more time trying to unsubscribe than it takes to simply delete them.
By the way, why is it that when I punch the “unsubscribe” button, they always ask for my email address. Think about that a minute. They already have been sending me tons of emails for months, so they obviously have my email address.
Maybe they have figured out that most people are like me and don’t have the patience to go through the procedure of unsubscribing.