We’re addicted to rankings

But what do they really mean?

By The Mercury

Everyone loves rankings, even though in almost every case, they mean just about nothing at all except a reason to argue.

Some fans were delirious, matter of fact, that K-State was ranked 25th in the last Associated Press college basketball poll.

Before you get too giddy over that number, consider that another hoops rankings system called the RPI pegged the Cats at No. 54.

And what does it matter, anyhow?

Well, it matters because we’re just addicted to rankings.

In this era of the Internet, you can find a ranking of anything — toll roads, vacuum cleaners, parking garages, perhaps even a ranking of the best ranking systems.

We ran a story on the front page when an obscure real estate blog ranked Manhattan as the sixth-most exciting small town in America.

Talk about subjective measurements — that one was a classic.

How do you define exciting? Or a small town, now that we think about it?

(The first had to do with percentage of the population under 30, along with available bars and restaurants, suggesting that a city with a lot of college-age partiers probably would rank fairly high. But the size of the town…who knows?)

Do you dream of holidays during the winter? Hey, step right up — there are rankings in every travel category imaginable.

One site offers up something called the Global Peace Index — which annually ranks the 15 most peaceful countries in the world.

All four Scandinavian nations — plus Iceland — made that list of 15, and no wonder. For seven months of the year, no one bothers to venture outside. And why should they, since it’s not only cold but dark about 20 hours a day in winter?

By the way, that same web site provided other incredibly helpful rankings — like the 10 best sushi bars in Chicago, the top 10 vegetarian restaurants in the Philippines (we’re not making this up), the top 10 most haunted hotels in the world, and the 20 most dangerous vacation destinations.

Hey, put THAT one on your bucket list?

Detroit was No. 1, incidentally, ahead of places like Afghanistan and Somalia.

It’s all a little wacky, but here’s one we like…

In a poll done by The Daily Beast, K-State was voted the 10th-happiest university campus in America.

At least that rank had some numbers to back it up — full-time freshman retention rate is 82 percent, the student health center scored 9.2 (out of 10), overall student expectation hit 9.8 and to the question, “Would you do it all over again?”...

K-State students checked in at 9.9 out of 10.

Why not?

At least they aren’t in Detroit. Or Iceland.

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