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Gay Statistician Nate Silver Launches 'Data Journalism' Site

Fox

Yesterday, gay statistician Nate Silver unveiled his new “data journalism” site FiveThirtyEight which promises to apply a scientific and quantitative approach to news analysis by questioning the numbers and variables present in most news stories.

In an essay outlining his new site’s aims, Silver calls his correct prediction of all 50 states in the last U.S. presidential election, “a tremendously overrated accomplishment” and explains the gap FiveThirtyEight hopes to fill in the traditionally narrative media cycle:

“In conventional journalism, predictions are often treated as a parlor game, involving little effort and less accountability… while individual facts are rigorously scrutinized and checked for accuracy in traditional newsrooms, attempts to infer causality sometimes are not, even when they are eminently falsifiable… Predictions are usually outsourced to opinion journalists, who may have less subject-matter knowledge than reporters do.”

"No matter how well you understand a discrete event, it can be difficult to tell how much of it was unique to the circumstances, and how many of its lessons are generalizable into principles… [Thus] The problem is not the failure to cite quantitative evidence. It’s doing so in a way that can be anecdotal and ad-hoc, rather than rigorous and empirical, and failing to ask the right questions of the data.

"Narrative accounts of individual news events can be informative and pleasurable to read, and they can have a lot of intrinsic value whether or not they reveal some larger truth. But it can be extraordinarily hard to make generalizations about news events unless you stop to classify their most essential details according to some numbering or ordering system, turning anecdote into data.”

Nate_silverHowever, Silver also acknowledges that he and his staff have “the utmost admiration for journalists who gather original information and report original stories” and that “using numbers is neither necessary nor sufficient to produce good works of journalism.”

His site will operate under the patronage of ESPN with 20-plus full-time journalists covering politics, economics, science, life and sports:

“In addition to written stories, we’ll have interactive graphics and features. Within a couple of months we’ll launch a podcast, and we’ll be collaborating with ESPN Films and Grantland to produce original documentary films. You’ll find us on television and radio, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We’ll share data and code on Github.”

In the past, Mr. Silver has also looked at the data surrounding gun policy rhetoric, Hilary Clinton’s chances in 2016 and openly discussed his “sexual gayness and ethnic straightness.”


'The Daily Show' Sends Stunt Gay Couple to Test Mississippi and Alabama's Homophobia: VIDEO

Alabama_mississippi

After consulting with Nate Silver about which states will be the last to get gay marriage, The Daily Show's Al Madrigal brought a stunt gay couple to Alabama and Mississippi to see "which one of these backwoods, inbred, homophobic states will swim the longest against the tide of history."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "'The Daily Show' Sends Stunt Gay Couple to Test Mississippi and Alabama's Homophobia: VIDEO" »


New York Times Editorial Gossips About Statistician Nate Silver's Departure

Nate Silver

Margaret Sullivan at The New York Times posted an editorial yesterday ruminating on the departure of statistician and FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver, whose predictions for the 2012 election bordered on prescient. The whole thing reads like extended water cooler chat about a colleague one is kinda sorta familiar with, but doesn't actually know really well. Her suspicions for his reasons for leaving for ESPN/ABC include:

I don’t think Nate Silver ever really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that. He was, in a word, disruptive.

His entire probability-based way of looking at politics ran against the kind of political journalism that The Times specializes in.

A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. 

The deciding elements more likely were money, a broader variety of platforms and the opportunity to concentrate on sports and entertainment, as well as politics.

Time Magazine has their own editorialized rundown of the story.


News: Outfest, James Duke Mason, Nate Silver, GaymerX, Space

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi This year's big winners at Outfest include Bridegroom, Reaching for the Moon, and Test. See full list here.

James Duke Mason6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi James Duke Mason no longer a part of the development of the film Disappear Here: "The owners of the screenplay, they have decided to go ahead with the project without my involvement."

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Geraldo Rivera posted an almost nude photo of himself on Twitter.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Nate Silver ditches the New York Times for ESPN.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi GaymerX debuts next month in San Francisco: "GaymerX represents the commonplace social segregation of LGBTs in the world and in gaming. But it's a necessary development. It's taken thirty-odd years for video games to seriously face issues about homophobia in online communities, and the lack of gay characters in games. But they are now being addressed at GaymerX."

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Helen Mirren would totally be okay with her hypothetical daughter dropping f-bombs.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi The Conjuring comes manages to scare up a big win at the box office this weekend.

Apollo6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Marking this weekend's 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Wired gives you the best space images ever taken by Apollo astronauts.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi GLSEN study shows that LGBT youth are harassed online more often than their straight peers: "A national survey of 5,680 students in grades 6-12, indicates LGBT teens were three times more likely to be cyberbullied (42% vs. 15%) and more than a quarter (27%) generally felt unsafe online."

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Apple has apparently purchased HopStop.com.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Watch HBO's In Memoriam video which honors all of the characters who have died during the first three seasons Game of Thrones.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac18ea06970d-800wi Ian McKellen flirts with Michael Fassbender at Comc-Con: "I just want to say it's great to be back in California. I feel safe here now that you've gotten rid of Proposition 8. I'm looking for a husband."


Nate Silver Predicts the Oscars

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Yes, it's Oscar weekend and NYT numbercruncher Nate Silver has turned his attention to the Academy Awards based on statistics of the overall awards season.

Silver predicts Argo in a landslide, with Steven Spielberg having a slight edge over Ang Lee as Best Director. Affleck, of course, was snubbed.

He gives the Best Actor trophy to Daniel Day-Lewis, the Best Actress trophy to Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor to Tommy Lee Jones, and Best Supporting Actress to Anne Hathaway, whom he calls "as safe a bet to win for 'Les Misérables' as Mitt Romney was to win Utah."

See how he came up with his numbers here.

Do you agree with Silver's picks? Why or why not?


News: Robbie Rogers, Nate Silver, Meteor, Joan Rivers

1NewsIcon Nate Silver and Politico reporter Ken Vogel got into a Twitter war over the use of "clarification" versus "correction."

Robbie1NewsIcon The New York Times found wide support for recently out soccer player Robbie Rogers: "Rogers was similarly embraced throughout the soccer community. Numerous players took to social media to support him, including Eddie Pope, a former United States defender, who wrote on Twitter, 'Brave men like you will make it so that one day there is no need for an announcement.' Benny Feilhaber, who played with Rogers on the 2008 United States Olympic team, wrote to Rogers on Twitter that he was 'proud to call you my friend.'"

1NewsIcon "Are gay-centered churches relevant anymore?"

1NewsIcon Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean team up for "Brimmer."

1NewsIcon Andrew Keegan and his face are all over the place.

1NewsIcon Richard Socarides on why the Justice Department will likely take a strong stand for marriage equality before the Supreme Court starts hearing cases: "If it doesn't, the Court will wonder why [President Obama] is reluctant to back up his policy ideas with legal arguments to match. It will likely send a message that the President questions whether the country is ready for gay marriage, and send a signal that a more cautious approach by the Court is acceptable to the White House."

MeteorR1NewsIcon The post-meteor clean-up begins in Russia: "Gov. Mikhail Yurevich on Saturday said that damage from the high-altitude explosion -believed to have been as powerful as 20 Hiroshima bombs — is estimated at 1 billion rubles ($33 million). He promised to have all the broken windows replaced within a week. But that is a long wait in a frigid region. The midday temperature in Chelyabinsk was 10 F..."

1NewsIcon Joan Rivers tells Jimmy Fallon that Abraham Lincoln was gay.

1NewsIcon Four gay men stranded with 4,000 others on the Carnival cruise adrift in the Gulf of Mexico have made it back home to Dallas.

1NewsIcon Blue Ivy looks a lot like mother Beyonce.

1NewsIcon Anti-gay Boy Scout protesters sure know how to exploit children.

1NewsIcon I literally gasped: Texas and Maine lawmakers want to include gun training in high school curricula.

1NewsIcon Meanwhile, in Washington State, authorities say two-fifth grade kids brought a knife and a gun to school to kill one of their classmates.

1NewsIcon Remember Pepsi AM?

1NewsIcon Hoping to counter Indiana school teacher Diana Medley's anti-gay hate, a coalition of parents, students and activists are telling LGBT teens "You Have a Purpose."

1NewsIcon Sarah Michelle Gellar, a gay favorite since her Buffy days, will co-star alongside Robin Williams on a new CBS sitcom.

Dogfriends11NewsIcon Dogs can distinguish their species from other critters. "For the study, a team of French researchers put nine pet dogs in front of two side-by-side computer screens that showed images of faces. In each pair of pictures, one showed a dog's face (various breeds and cross-breeds were featured) and the other showed non-dog animals, including cows, horses, cats, birds and humans... Over the course of dozens of trials, the dogs showed a preference for the dog faces, and they seemed to lump all dogs into the same category, regardless of whether they were looking at a Chihuahua or a mastiff, the researchers said."

1NewsIcon From The Guardian: "The number of gay and bisexual men contracting HIV rose over the past 20 years because of an increase in numbers having unprotected sex, researchers have found. The number of UK men who have sex with men and having intercourse without a condom rose by 26% between 1990 and 2010, the study by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and University College London showed."


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