You may be relieved to discover, as I was, that there is a mathematical reason for why you don’t have to always buy the latest and greatest gadget. The principle doesn’t have a name, but it’s common to any number of human-made phenomena, including baseball batting averages, the stock market, and the relative performance of economy and luxury automobiles.

Take Ted Williams, who in 1941 became the last hitter in Major League Baseball to bat over .400 in a season. As observed by the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay