Procrastinating on May 11, 2016


Live from Over the Rocky Mountains: I see that the War on Nate Silver has broken out again, with another article less appetizing than bilgewater in_The New York Times_, written by Jim Rutenberg:

Still more recently--as in Tuesday--the data journalist Nate Silver... gave Hillary Clinton a 90 percent chance of beating Bernie Sanders in Indiana. Mr. Sanders won by a comfortable margin of about five percentage points.... The lesson [from Eric Cantor's defeat] in Virginia, as the Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi wrote at the time, was that nothing exceeds the value of shoe-leather reporting, given that politics is an essentially human endeavor and therefore can defy prediction and reason...

Justin Wolfers says:

And Nate has his comment: Nate Silver Being Smart and Bringing the Snark: "Do You Know What 'Polling' Is? It's Talking to Voters in a Structured Way to Reduce Bias"

But rather than talk about the anti-empirical reporters--horse-race journamalists who try to avoid learning about horses, tracks, or jockeys--and their claim to magical expertise via choosing and flattering particular sources, it's more fun to go back into serious and interesting thoughts about chance, uncertainty, and understanding. So go read, in this order:

Read those? Good! What did you think?