Skip to main content

2012, The Year of Prediction Geeks

Well, the election is now in the past and your phone should stop ringing a little and the Pillow Pets advertisements can return to your television.  I must admit, I am a politics geek.  I was up until 2:00 A.M. early Wednesday morning flipping around through all of the networks as the results trickled in and states where filled in red or blue.  I was not surprised by the results of the election.  It pretty much fell together how I had thought.  I am not going to lie and say I am some great prognosticator, the truth is, I have been following The FiveThiryEight Blog since early 2012 and that is what prepared me for election night.

If you have never heard of the 538 Blog, or Nate Silver (the geek behind the blog) you should really take some time and check out what it has to offer.  Silver is a Michigan guy (East Lansing High School) and started in the world of baseball stats before jumping into elections.  For the election, Silver took into account polls and numbers from across the country.  He simply looked at the election as numbers, and who has the better chance to hit 270 Electoral College Votes.  Really when it comes down to it, that is all the presidential election is, a race to hit 270.  He avoided pundits that would try to add elements like voter excitement, crowd size at rallies and historic voting trends (undecideds moving toward the challenger at the end of an election) while updating his projections.  Silver used a simple method, he stuck to actual poll numbers in the states to determine the likelihood a state would vote for either candidate.  He also had a model to help predict the national popular vote.

Nate Silver, 2012 Geek of the Year?

On the morning of the election, Silver updated his blog, giving President Obama a 90.9% chance of winning the Electoral College based upon his data.  He was taking quite a bit of heat from national pundits on election day, but Silver stood by his numbers.  It turns out, besides President Obama, Silver may have had the best night on election night 2012.  His numbers were spot on, including predicting Florida and Virgina for President Obama.  He has been all over the news as of late, including this piece proclaiming 2012 the Year of Prediction Geeks.  Of course he is using his fame to plug his new book, The Signal and the Noise: Why so Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't, which jumped to #2 on the Amazon.com best seller list after the election.  I may have to check it out for my December 2012 Read of the Month.

Did you follow the election closely?  Did you follow Silver's 538 blog, or any other daily prediction sites?  I personally love to see a Geek succeed, and Nate Silver's story is a great success story.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your Own Personal Library Catalog

So, how many of you have remember using an old style, card catalog?  You know, you want to find a book in your local library, so you pull out the long drawers flipping through cards.  Well those days are long gone of course (thankfully) and nearly all libraries use an electronic catalog system to keep track of their collections.  Many of the school districts in Wayne County are using a system developed by Follett .  It is a great system for school age children and prepares them for many of the advanced catalogs available in public and university libraries. Catalog software is quite expensive and really impractical for home libraries.  Some book lovers may create their own spreadsheet or database to keep track of their books, however there is a great (free) tool online to not only catalog your books, but also meet and communicate with other book lovers online.  The site  librarything.com is a wonderful site that lets you catalog your own home library.  Think of it as a "Facebook

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Event

Back in November I wrote about what I believe to be the best part of my job; running into Carlson High School graduates that are success stories and hearing about how well they are doing in the "real world."  Carlson High School graduate Nathan Matatall is clearly one of these success stories.  After graduating from Carlson High School and Michigan State University Nathan has gone on to very successful career at Dell Computers.  The News Herald even published a feature piece on Nathan a few years ago.  This past week, Nathan provided my family with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.   Nathan, my former public speaking student, contacted me via email a few weeks ago and inquired about taking my kids on a tour of Marine One (one of the helicopters used to transport The President of the United States and other dignitaries) and to possibly attend the landing of Air Force One when President Obama was scheduled to arrive in Detroit.  I was very excited a

A Little R & R

I decided to take a little R & R before things get crazy with back to school.  I wanted to spend some time with my family for these final weeks of summer, so I decided a break from writing was in order.  A trip to Kalahari and fun times with friends and family made August fly by.  So, what does school year 2014 bring for me?  Quite a bit, as always: Back to teaching two courses at Wayne County Community College.  Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings I head to Northline Road to teach college level English.  I really love this second job! Tuesday, I start my 17th year at O.A. Carlson High School.  While public education continues to face challenges, there is no other job for me at this time.  I love my co-workers and students.  Gibraltar is a great place to work. I will be running my kids all over as usual.  Gymnastics, religious education, flag football (which I coach as well), and others events "to be determined."  I would not have it any other way.  I love watch