Global Passport Power Rank 2017

Fareed Zakaria just mentioned in his GPS at CNN  a list of countries ranked by their passport index.  Countries  ranked by their total visa-free score:

Singapore becomes most powerful passport in the world.

“Paraguay helps Singapore overtake Germany for the top spot. Montreal, October 24, 2017 – Paraguay removed visa requirements for Singaporeans, propelling Singapore’s passport to the top of Passport Index’ most powerful ranking with a visa-free score of 159. Historically, the Top 10 most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years. Since early 2017, the number one position was shared with Singapore, which was steadily going up. Other Asian passports in the Top 20 include those of South Korea, Japan and Malaysia. According to The Hon. Philippe May, Managing Director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office, “For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world.” “It is a testament of Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy,” shared May. …”





Rating and ranking of soccer players: the illusion of objectivity

I must have been maybe ten, eleven years old, still remember well to a paradoxical title of a journal article : ‘Let the objective numbers speak!” I enlighten you, why was it paradoxical. At the ends of the soccer seasons the sport newspaper evaluated the performance of the players for each of the eleven positions, from goalkeepers to left wingers. The article, in addition to the verbal appraisal, contained eleven ranked lists, one for each position; players from each team were ranked based on their seasonal scores, Fig.  shows. How these scores were constructed? Please note: soccer is not baseball, there is no objective measure to score the players. A journalist apprentice was delegated to every game, and he (surely he) gave a score to each player after each game. Any player, who was sending off from the field, got a score ”one”. A very few players in each season received a score ”ten” for their extraordinary performances. The majority of the scores was in the ”five” to ”eight” interval. More or less the meaning of ”five” was ”somewhat below average”, and ”eight” indicated ”excellent” (but not brilliant). After each game as we walked with my Dad, to the tram stop to get a ride from the suburb called Újpest, where our stadium has been located, to our apartment in ”Újlipótváros”, we also gave our own scores to each players of our team. I was impatiently waiting the morning paper to compare their scores with mines. At the end of the season, when I read about ”objective numbers”, I knew well that they reflected ranks on the objective average of their subjective grades. This observation suggested, that ranking based on subjective rating generates the illusion of objectivity only. The scores were not random, they reflected the best estimations of the journalists, but beyond dispute they were subjective.



The Ranking Game

The only guy who seems to have escaped the rankings game is Adam. He got into the record books without trying: Before him there was nobody. Eve had to settle for runner-up, and look what happened when she tried to get ahead by snacking on a piece of fruit…”

I am reading about what people wrote about the ranking game.  Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is president emeritus  of George Washington University published in 2011 a witty article .

“The ancient Greeks picked up the game, fashioning bits of gold, silver and bronze to represent win, place and show. Earning an Olympic medal meant, and still means, you are the best of the best, the top dog in your chosen category of competition. It is absolute and objective, not relative and subjective. The best sprinter gets the gold because she is fast, not because she is popular…”

Thank you, Prof. Trachtenberg!

Emerging Europe and Central Asia University Rankings

Here is the new QS World University Rankings (thanks for Gyuri Bazsa for writing me).

if you click to Methodology, you see again the magic numbers  and categories.

Academic reputation (30%)

Employer reputation (20%)

Faculty/student ratio (15%)

Papers per faculty (10%)

Web impact (10%)

Staff with a PhD (5%)

Citations per paper (5%)

International faculty (2.5%) and international students (2.5%).

Lomonosov is still the first. Written on ~ November 7th, 2017.

A new model for efficient ranking in networks

Caterina De BaccoDaniel B. LarremoreCristopher Moore  published a new algorithm with the title A physical model for efficient ranking in networks.  The model is based on binary interactions among the entities. As often in  physical models, interactions via edges are considered as mechanical springs, and the optimal rankings of the nodes are minimizes the total energy (or “energy”) of the system. They show some examples for identifying  prestige, dominance, and social hierarchies in human and animal communities.

Further studies will tell how efficient is the new algorithm.