Contests and no contests

So much of human existence is sprinkled with contests. Some are relatively benign—the rivalry over who will get the date with the most popular girl for the high-school prom. Other contests are invigorating. Who hasn't felt at least a little passion over finals for soccer's World Cup, football's Super Bowl, baseball's World Series, or basketball's NBA playoffs!

Still other contests carry a different kind of intensity. Consider business competition. Sometimes there are fierce battles among community discount stores. Or global combat may erupt between multinational corporations. And then there are contests between nations. Even tragic conflicts.

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