Nate Silver

Nate Silver
Born Nathaniel Read Silver
January 13, 1978 (1978-01-13) (age 33)[1]
East Lansing, Michigan
Residence Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Education A.B., Economics (2000)
Alma mater University of Chicago
East Lansing High School
Occupation Statistician, journalist
Known for PECOTA, FiveThirtyEight.com
Website
fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com

Nathaniel Read "Nate" Silver (born January 13, 1978) is an American statistician, psephologist, and writer. Silver first gained public recognition for developing PECOTA,[2] a system for forecasting the performance and career development of Major League Baseball players, which he sold to and then managed for Baseball Prospectus from 2003 to 2009.[3]

In 2007, writing under the pseudonym "Poblano," Silver began to publish analyses and predictions related to the 2008 United States presidential election. At first this work appeared on the political blog Daily Kos, but in March 2008 Silver established his own website, FiveThirtyEight.com. By summer of that year, after he revealed his identity to his readers, he began to appear as an electoral and political analyst in national print, online, and cable news media.

The accuracy of his November 2008 presidential election predictions—he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states—won Silver further attention and commendation. The only state he missed was Indiana, which went for Barack Obama by 0.9%. He also correctly predicted the winner of all 35 Senate races that year.

In April 2009, he was named one of The World's 100 Most Influential People by Time.[4]

In 2010, Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog was licensed for publication by The New York Times.[5][6] The newly renamed blog, FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus,[7] first appeared in The Times on August 25, 2010.

Contents

Early years

Silver was born in East Lansing, Michigan. He was an early math wizard.[8] According to journalist William Hageman, "Silver caught the baseball bug when he was 6.... It was 1984, the year the Detroit Tigers won the World Series. The Tigers became his team and baseball his sport. And if there's anything that goes hand in glove with baseball, it's numbers, another of Silver's childhood interests. ("It's always more interesting to apply it to batting averages than algebra class".[9])

As a student at East Lansing High School, in 1996 Silver won first place in the State of Michigan in the 49th annual John S. Knight Scholarship Contest for senior high school debaters.[10]

Silver learned his journalism skills as a writer and opinion page editor for The Portrait, East Lansing High School's student newspaper, from 1993–1996.

In 2000, Silver graduated with Honors with an A.B. degree in economics from the University of Chicago. He also wrote for the Chicago Weekly News and the Chicago Maroon. He spent his third year at the London School of Economics.[11]

Career synopsis

Economic consultant and baseball statistician

After college graduation in 2000, Silver worked for three and a half years as an economic consultant with KPMG in Chicago. When asked in 2009, "Q: What is your biggest regret in life?" Silver responded "A: Spending four years of my life at a job I didn’t like".[12] While employed at KPMG, however, Silver continued to nurture his life-long interest in baseball and statistics, and on the side he began to work on his PECOTA system for projecting player performance and careers. He quit his job at KPMG in April 2004 and for a time earned his living mainly by playing online poker.[13]

In 2003, Silver became a writer for Baseball Prospectus (BP), after having sold PECOTA to BP in return for a partnership interest. After resigning from KPMG in 2004, he took the position of Executive Vice-President, later renamed Managing Partner of BP. In addition to providing executive functions, Silver maintained and further developed PECOTA as well as wrote a weekly feature column under the heading "Lies, Damned Lies". In this column he applied sabermetric techniques to a broad range of topics in baseball research—including, among others, forecasting the performance of individual players, the economics of baseball, metrics for the valuation of players, and developing an Elo rating system for Major League baseball.[14]

Between 2003 and 2009, Silver was a co-author of the Baseball Prospectus (ISBN 0-7611-3995-8) annual book of Major League Baseball analysis and forecasts as well as a co-author of other books published by Baseball Prospectus, including Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning (New York: Workman Publishers, 2005) (ISBN 0-7611-4018-2), Baseball Between the Numbers (New York: Basic Books, 2006) (ISBN 0-465-00596-9), and It Ain't Over 'til It's Over: The Baseball Prospectus Pennant Race Book (New York: Basic Books, 2007) (ISBN 0-465-00284-6).

He was an occasional contributor of articles about baseball to ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated, Slate, the New York Sun and the New York Times.[15]

Political analyst and blogger

In November 2007, while still working for Baseball Prospectus, Silver began to write about politics, specifically the 2008 U.S. Presidential race. Until the end of May 2008, this writing was under the pseudonym "Poblano" and appeared on Daily Kos or on his blog FiveThirtyEight.com, which he launched in March 2008. Beginning in June he began to publish political analysis under his own name, including in his blog, newspapers, and The New Republic. He first appeared on national television on CNN's American Morning on June 13, 2008.[16] The success of his FiveThirtyEight.com blog and the accuracy of his detailed forecasts of the 2008 U.S. Presidential race marked the effective end of his career as baseball analyst, though he continued to devote some attention to sports statistics and sports economics.

Shortly after the November 4 election, ESPN writer Jim Caple observed, "Forget Cole Hamels and the Phillies. No one in baseball had a more impressive fall than Nate Silver.... [R]ight now Silver is exhausted. He barely slept the last couple weeks of the campaign – 'By the end, it was full-time plus' – and for that matter, he says he couldn't have kept it up had the campaign lasted two days longer. Plus, he has his Baseball Prospectus duties. 'We write our [Baseball Prospectus 2009] book from now through the first of the year,' [Silver] said. 'I have a week to relax and then it gets just as busy again. In February 2009 I will just have to find an island in the Caribbean and throw my BlackBerry in the ocean'".[17]

Later in November 2008, Silver signed a contract with Penguin Group USA to write two books, reportedly for a $700,000 advance.[18] In an intervew, Silver described his first book-in-progress as about "the value and limitations of predictions, looking at such diverse industries as fashion design, hurricane forecasting, and the search for extraterrestrial life".[19][20][21]

He was invited to be a speaker at TED 2009 in February 2009,[22] and keynote speaker at the 2009 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference (March 2009).[23]

While maintaining his FiveThirtyEight.com website, in January 2009 Silver began a monthly feature column, "The Data," in Esquire[24] as well as contributed occasional articles to other media such as the New York Times[25] and the Wall Street Journal.[26] He also tried his luck in the 2009 World Series of Poker.[27]

In March 2009, Silver stepped down as Managing Partner of Baseball Prospectus and announced that he had handed over responsibility for producing future PECOTA projections to other Baseball Prospectus staff members, but that he intended to continue as a writer for BP, including for BP's partner, ESPN.com.[3][28] In April 2009, he appeared as an analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. However, after March 2009, he published only two "Lies, Damned Lies" columns on BaseballProspectus.com.

While continuing to write his FiveThirtyEight.com blog, he took on some freelance statistically oriented projects. In November 2009, ESPN introduced a new Soccer Power Index (SPI), developed by Nate Silver, for predicting the outcome of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[29] He published a post-mortem after the tournament, comparing his predictions to those of alternative rating systems.[30]

In April 2010, Silver took an entirely different assignment for New York Magazine, creating a quantitative index of "The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York".[31]

In June 2010, it was announced that Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com blog would be moving to the New York Times, a platform from which it would begin to be published online in August 2010. In addition, Silver would be contributing content to the print edition of The Times as well as to the Sunday Magazine.[5] This transition occurred on August 25, 2010, with the online publication of Silver's first FiveThirtyEight column in The Times.[32]

Baseball analysis: 2003–2008

Silver uses a wide variety of research methods and statistical tools in his writings about baseball. However, he has developed three tools that are identified with his name. The best known and most enduring is his forecasting system, PECOTA, which remains a signature product of Baseball Prospectus.

PECOTA

PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) is a statistical system that projects the future performance of hitters and pitchers. It is designed primarily for two uses: fans interested in fantasy baseball, and professionals in the baseball business interested in predicting the performance and valuation of major league players. Unlike most other such projection systems, PECOTA relies on matching a given current player to a set of "comparable" players whose past performance can serve as a guide to how the given current player is likely to perform in the future. Unlike most other such systems, PECOTA also calculates a range of probable performance levels rather than a single predicted value on a given measure such as earned run average or batting average.

PECOTA projections were first published by Baseball Prospectus in the 2003 edition of its annual book as well as online by BaseballProspectus.com. The formulae have been updated steadily since then. Silver produced the annual PECOTA forecasts for each Major League Baseball season from 2003 through 2009. Beginning in Spring 2009, Baseball Prospectus took responsibility for future editions and products based on the forecasts.[3]

Other tools

Because of the dependence of earned run average statistics on factors over which a pitcher may have little control, sabermetricians have developed several defense independent pitching statistics, including Defense-Independent ERA. One that Silver has created for quick calculations that do not require detailed adjustments for the park or era in which a pitcher is performing is the "QuikERA" or QERA.[33] It may be useful for early- or mid-season assessments of a pitcher's performance, since it attempts to reduce the effect of luck in summarizing a pitcher's ERA.[34] Silver explains,

I call this toy QuikERA (QERA), which estimates what a pitcher's ERA should be based solely on his strikeout rate, walk rate, and GB/FB ratio. These three components — K rate, BB rate, GB/FB — stabilize very quickly, and they have the strongest predictive relationship with a pitcher’s ERA going forward. What’s more, they are not very dependent on park effects, allowing us to make reasonable comparisons of pitchers across different teams.

The formula for QERA is as follows: QERA =(2.69 + K%*(-3.4) + BB%*3.88 + GB%*(-0.66))2.

Note that everything ends up expressed in terms of percentages: strikeouts per opponent plate appearance, walks per opponent plate appearance, and groundballs as a percentage of all balls hit into play.[35]

Silver has also developed a formula, which he called the "Secret Sauce," to predict whether Major League teams are likely to be successful in the playoffs if they somehow manage to reach them.[36] This formula comes out of research that he initially conducted and published with Dayn Perry.[37] The formula claimed that, although during the regular season having an excellent offense above all else may get a team to the playoffs, once in the playoffs a team's success depends much more on strong defense, including pitching.[38] In other words, teams that prevent the ball from going into play, catch it when it does and preserve late-inning leads are likely to excel in the playoffs".[39]

Notable critics of the "secret sauce" formula include Tom Tango and Mitchel Lichtman, co-authors of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball and the sabermetric blog The Book Blog.[40] Criticism focuses on the formula ignoring logical assumptions and relying too heavily on best-fitting sample data that may not be predictive for out-of-sample data. In September 2010 an analysis by Jesse-Douglas (J-Doug) Mathewson on the website Rational Pastime showed that the "secret sauce" formula had performed considerably worse in predicting postseason outcomes in recent years than in previous years, and that the factors Silver found to be significant do not necessarily fit a different set of postseason data (and that there are major questions about in-sample significance as well).[41]

For a few years Baseball Prospectus published Secret Sauce figures for every Major League team on its statistics page.[42] In the 2010 season, Baseball Prospectus stopped using the Secret Sauce method as an indicator of playoff success because teams that ranked higher in secret sauce than their opponents only won 54% of their playoff series since the formula was put into use.[43]

Political analysis: 2007–present

Silver describes his own partisan orientation as follows in the FAQ on his website: "My state [Illinois] has non-partisan registration, so I am not registered as anything. I vote for Democratic candidates the majority of the time (though by no means always). This year, I have been a supporter of Barack Obama".[44] With respect to the impartiality of his electoral projections, Silver states, "Are [my] results biased toward [my] preferred candidates? I hope not, but that is for you to decide. I have tried to disclose as much about my methodology as possible".[44]

Silver describes his ideological orientation as one of "rational progressivism":

I regard myself as a rational progressive. I believe in intellectual progress – that we, as a species, are gradually becoming smarter. I believe that there are objectively right answers to many political and economic questions.

I believe that economic growth is both a reflection of and a contributor toward societal progress, that economic growth has facilitated a higher standard of living, and that this is empirically indisputable. I also believe, however, that our society is now so exceptionally wealthy – even in the midst of a severe recession – that it has little excuse not to provide for some basic level of dignity for all its citizens.

I believe that answers to questions like these do not always come from the establishment. But I also believe that it is just as important to question one's own assumptions as to question the assumptions of others.[45]

FiveThirtyEight

2008 U.S. elections

On November 1, 2007, Silver began publishing a diary under the pseudonym "Poblano" on the progressive political blog Daily Kos.[46] Silver set out to analyze quantitative aspects of the political game in a manner that would enlighten a broader audience. Silver reports that "he was stranded in a New Orleans airport when the idea of FiveThirtyEight.com came to him. 'I was just frustrated with the analysis.... I saw a lot of discussion about strategy that was not all that sophisticated, especially when it came to quantitative things like polls and demographics'”.[47] His forecasts of the 2008 United States presidential primary elections drew a lot of attention, including being cited by New York Times Op-Ed columnist William Kristol.[48]

In March 2008, still using the pseudonym "Poblano," Silver established his own blog FiveThirtyEight.com, in which he developed a system for tracking polls and forecasting the outcome of the 2008 general election. At the same time, he continued making forecasts of the 2008 Democratic primary elections. That several of his forecasts based on demographic analysis proved to be substantially more accurate than those of the professional pollsters gained visibility and professional credibility for "Poblano".[49]

After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on May 6 the popularity of FiveThirtyEight.com "really exploded. Silver recalls the scenario: 'I know the polls show it’s really tight in NC, but we think Obama is going to win by thirteen, fourteen points, and he did.... Any time you make a prediction like that people give you probably too much credit for it.... But after that [Silver's and the website's popularity] started to really take off. It’s pretty nonlinear, once you get one mention in the mainstream media, other people [quickly follow suit]'".[50]

On May 30, 2008, Poblano revealed his identity to FiveThirtyEight.com readers.[51] On June 1, 2008, Silver published a two-page Op-Ed article in the New York Post outlining the rationale underlying his focus on the statistical aspects of politics.

"My fulltime occupation has been as a writer and analyst for a sports media company called Baseball Prospectus. In baseball, statistics are meaningless without context; hitting 30 home runs in the 1930s is a lot different than hitting 30 today. There is a whole industry in baseball dedicated to the proper understanding and interpretation of statistics. In polling and politics, there is nearly as much data as there is for first basemen. In this year's Democratic primaries, there were statistics for every gender, race, age, occupation and geography – reasons why Clinton won older women, or Obama took college students. But the understanding has lagged behind. Polls are cherry-picked based on their brand name or shock value rather than their track record of accuracy. Demographic variables are misrepresented or misunderstood. (Barack Obama, for instance, is reputed to have problems with white working-class voters, when in fact these issues appear to be more dictated by geography – he has major problems among these voters in Kentucky and West Virginia, but did just fine with them in Wisconsin and Oregon)".[52]

As a CNET reporter wrote on election eve, "Even though Silver launched the site as recently as March, its straightforward approach, daring predictions, and short but impressive track record has put it on the map of political sites to follow. The Washington Post featured Silver in its 14th annual election prediction contest this year, and he'll be reporting on Tuesday night's results with Dan Rather on HDNet".[53]

Silver's final 2008 presidential election forecast accurately predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia (missing only the prediction for Indiana). As his model predicted, the races in Missouri and North Carolina were particularly close. He also correctly predicted the winners of every U.S. Senate race. The accuracy of his predictions won him further acclaim, including abroad,[54] and added to his reputation as a leading political prognosticator.[55]

Transition to The New York Times

On June 3, 2010, Silver announced on FiveThirtyEight.com,

In the near future, the blog will "re-launch" under a NYTimes.com domain. It will retain its own identity (akin to other Times blogs like DealBook), but will be organized under the News:Politics section. Once this occurs, content will no longer be posted at FiveThirtyEight.com on an ongoing basis, and the blog will re-direct to the new URL. In addition, I will be contributing content to the print edition of the New York Times, and to the Sunday Magazine. The partnership agreement, which is structured as a license, has a term of three years.[5]

The transition to the new blog FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus sponsored by the New York Times took place on August 25, 2010, with the publication online of Silver's first article, "New Forecast Shows Democrats Losing 6 to 7 Senate Seats".[56] From then until the mid-term elections of 2010 in November, Silver's blog focused almost exclusively on developing forecasts of the outcomes of the 2010 U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives as well as state gubernatorial contests. Silver's Times Sunday Magazine feature first appeared on November 19, 2010, under the heading "Go Figure".[57] It was later titled "Acts of Mild Subversion".[58]

2010 U.S. elections

Shortly after 538 relocated to The New York Times, Silver introduced his prediction models for the 2010 elections to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and state Governorships. Each of these models relied initially on a combination of electoral history, demographics, and polling. Silver eventually published detailed forecasts and analyses of the results for all three sets of elections.

2012 U.S. elections

Although throughout 2011 Silver devoted a lot of attention on his blog to the 2012 Republican party primaries, his first effort to handicap the 2012 Presidential general election appeared as the cover story in The New York Times Magazine a year prior to the election: "Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election".[59] Accompanying the online release of this article, Silver also published "Choose Obama’s Re-Election Adventure," an interactive toy that allowed readers to predict the outcome of the election based on their assumptions about three variables: President Obama's favorability ratings, the rate of GDP growth, and how conservative the Republican opponent would be.[60] This analysis stimulated a lot of critical discussion.[61]

Mainstream media

Silver's self-unmasking at the end of May 2008 brought him a lot of publicity, much of it focused on his combined skill as both baseball statistician-forecaster and political statistician-forecaster, including articles about him in the Wall Street Journal,[62] Newsweek,[63] Science News,[64] New York Magazine,[65] and his hometown Lansing State Journal.[66]

In early June he began to cross-post his daily "Today's Polls" updates on "The Plank" in The New Republic.[67] Also, Rasmussen Reports began to use the FiveThirtyEight.com poll averages for its own tracking of the 2008 state-by-state races.[68]

This added exposure provided him with opportunities to appear on CNN's American Morning and D.L. Hughley Breaks the News,[69] MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Hardball with Chris Matthews, CNBC's Fast Money,[70] Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, HDNet's Dan Rather Reports, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!,[71] PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Charlie Rose Show,[72] and The Rachel Maddow Shows on both Air America Radio and MSNBC, as well as to contribute essays and op ed columns to The New Republic,[73] the New York Post,[74] the Los Angeles Times,[75] and Newsweek.[76]

New York Magazine, on October 12, 2008, referred to Silver as "The Spreadsheet Psychic": "a number-crunching prodigy who went from correctly forecasting baseball games to correctly forecasting presidential primaries".[77] Other commentators drew a parallel between Silver's baseball prognosticatons and his election forecasting in 2008: "The Tampa Bay Rays and Barack Obama have made 2008 the year of the surprise contender, though one man predicted both successes before nearly anyone else – and he sees a general election landslide for Obama over John McCain on Tuesday".[78]

The celebrity that this attention brought to Silver sometimes took a curious form, including articles on Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip[79] and a Facebook group entitled "There's a 97.3 Percent Chance that Nate Silver Is Totally My Boyfriend".[80]

Throughout 2009, 2010, and 2011 Silver appeared several more times as a political analyst on national television, most frequently on MSNBC but also on CNN[81] as well as Bloomberg Television,[82] PBS,[83] NPR,[84] "Democracy Now!,"[85] and ABC News.[86]

Recognition and awards

  • On the day after the first McCain-Obama Presidential Debate, Time Magazine's Joe Klein observed on the magazine's "Swampland" blog: "If there's been a rookie of the year in this year's presidential campaign coverage, it's Nate Silver—a baseball stats guy who has turned his talents to politics and produced some of the most creative slicing and dicing of polling numbers at his website fivethirtyeight.com. Today's offering is typical Silver: he takes the snap polling results and weights them according to the issues the voters considered most important—and finds that Obama won, according to the cross tabs, on the more important issues, thereby accounting for his snap poll victories".[88]
  • November 9, 2008: the New York Times called Silver "perhaps the most unlikely media star to emerge" out of "an election season of unlikely outcomes" and described FiveThirtyEight with its almost five million page views on Election Day as "one of the breakout online stars of the year".[91]
  • December 2008: Newsweek.com identified Silver's November 3, 2008 article "What to Watch For – An hour-by-hour guide to election night"[92] as the 4th most viewed story on Newsweek.com in 2008.[93]
  • December 2008: Silver was named by Huffington Post writer Jason Linkins as the #1 of the "Ten Things that Managed to Not Suck in 2008, Media Edition". "The uncanny, poll-wrangling, stats-freaking Nate Silver took it upon himself to demonstrate that some level of governable, rational reality could be brought to bear on the confusing world of competing tracking polls, and along the way all but cemented the geek-chic trajectory of this election season".[94]
  • December 2008: named by The Daily Beast as one of the "Breakout Stars of 2008": "Breakout Swami: NATE SILVER. In 2007, Nate Silver was mainly known as a world-class seamhead,[1] a Baseball Prospectus geek who could do sexy things with ERAs. Then he started applying his statfreak principles to presidential politics under the pseudonym Poblano. When he finally outed himself in June 2008, it was clear that Silver and his website www.FiveThirtyEight.com had everyone’s number—his primary projections became gospel. In the end, though, Silver only correctly predicted how 49 of the 50 states would vote. Better luck in 2012".[95]
  • February 2009: named by James Wolcott in Vanity Fair as one of the "Winners of 2008": "No shiny arrow shot swifter and loftier from obscurity to quotable authority than Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight.com site became the expert sensation of the election season.... Not only did his disciplined models and microfine data mining command respect, his prognostications hit the Zen mark on Election Day.... Silver also became an instant cable-news savant, his geek-genius glasses and owlish mien worthy of a Starfleet sub-adjutant whose quadratic equations coolly foil an attack from a Romulan vessel while the senior officers are frantically poking at their touch screens".[96]
  • January 2009: Silver was named by Forbes.com to its third annual "Web Celeb 25," which "track[s] the biggest and brightest stars on the Web, the people who have turned their passions into new-media empires. From stay-at-home moms to geek entrepreneurs, these are the people capturing eyes, influencing opinion and creating the new digital world".[97]
  • April 2009: Silver was named as one of the "Rolling Stone 100: Agents of Change".[98]
  • April 27, 2009: named "Blogger of the Year" by The Week in its 6th annual Opinion Awards. The commendation stated: "Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight.com was arguably the most important blogger of the 2008 presidential election, translating a flood of poll numbers into a narrative that was both compelling and trustworthy. By Election Night — when Fivethirtyeight.com declared the race for Obama at 8:46 p.m., an hour and 14 minutes before the mainstream media did — Silver had already established himself as the most reliable caller of the political horse race".[99]
  • December 2009: Silver was recognized by The New York Times Magazine in its "Ninth Annual Year in Ideas" article for his "Forensic Polling Analysis" of the possible falsification of data by a polling firm.[100]
  • November 2010: John F. Harris, Editor-in-Chief of Politico writing in Forbes Magazine listed Nate Silver as one of seven bloggers among "The Most Powerful People on Earth": "The New York Times recently began hosting Nate Silver's delightfully granular blog about the numbers that underlie politics".[101]

Personal life

Nate Silver is a grandnephew of Leon Silver, geologist.

After residing in Chicago, Illinois for twelve years, Silver moved to New York City in 2009.[105]

Silver has long been interested in fantasy baseball, especially Scoresheet Baseball. While in college he served as an expert on Scoresheet Baseball for BaseballHQ.[106] When he took up political writing, Silver abandoned his blog, The Burrito Bracket,[107] in which he ran a one-and-done competition among the taquerias in his Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago.[108]

In 2010, Out magazine included Silver among their top 100 GLBT people of the year.[109]

In his spare time, Silver uses his analytical approach at the poker table where he plays semi-professionally.[110]

Notes

  1. ^ Nate Silver tweet
  2. ^ Alan Schwarz, "Numbers Suggest Mets Are Gambling on Zambrano", New York Times, August 22, 2004; Alan Schwarz, "Predicting Futures in Baseball, and the Downside of Damon", New York Times, November 13, 2005; Childs Walker, "Baseball Prospectus Makes Predicting Future Thing of Past," Baltimore Sun, February 21, 2006; Rich Lederer, "An Unfiltered Interview with Nate Silver", Baseball Analysts, February 12, 2007; Tim Murphy, "Timeout with Nate Silver: BP’s VP illuminates the sport’s fuzzy numbers", Chicago Maroon, May 11, 2007; Steven D. Levitt, "Freakonomics: More on Roger Clemens", New York Times, February 18, 2008; and Michael Miner, "The Algorithm Method: Hot Type’s coveted Golden BAT award goes to a computer program", Chicago Reader, March 27, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Nate Silver and Kevin Goldstein, "State of the Prospectus: Spring 2009," BaseballProspectus.com, March 24, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Stein, Joel. "The World's Most Influential People – The 2009 TIME 100". TIME. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,1894410,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-08. .
  5. ^ a b c Nate Silver, "FiveThirtyEight to Partner with New York Times," FiveThirtyEight.com, June 3, 2010.
  6. ^ Brian Stelter, "Times to Host Blog on Politics and Polls," New York Times, June 3, 2010.
  7. ^ FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus
  8. ^ Stephanie Clifford, "Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama," New York Times, November 9, 2008.
  9. ^ William Hageman, "Baseball by the Numbers," Chicago Tribune (January 4, 2006).
  10. ^ "East Lansing Debater Wins Scholarship," Detroit Free Press (February 29, 1996).
  11. ^ Nate Silver, "Random, Pretentious Observations from Europe," FiveThirtyEight.com, May 25, 2009.
  12. ^ Stephen J. Dubner, "FREAK-Quently Asked Questions: Nate Silver," New York Times, March 12, 2009.
  13. ^ Rob Kaiser, "Players Place Bets on Poker as Career," Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2004.
  14. ^ Nate Silver, "We are Elo?," BaseballProspectus.com (June 28, 2006) and Nate Silver, "More on Elo," BaseballProspectus.com (July 5, 2006).
  15. ^ Nate Silver, "For Griffey, the Roads Not Taken," New York Times, May 11, 2008.
  16. ^ Nate Silver, "CNN Video," FiveThirtyEight.com, June 13, 2008.
  17. ^ Jim Caple, "In baseball, and in politics, the numbers don't lie," "Page 2", ESPN.com, November 7, 2008.
  18. ^ Leon Neyfakh, "Nate Silver Signs With Penguin In Two Book Deal Worth About $700,000," New York Observer, November 14, 2008.
  19. ^ Jeff Beckham, The Austinist, March 15, 2009.
  20. ^ For more about the content of the book, see Alex Cardno, "Interview with Nate Silver," Financial Times, September 18, 2009.
  21. ^ Numerical Order: Famed statistician Nate Silver discusses the future of his near-flawless forecasting
  22. ^ See TED2009 program and Shanna Carpenter, "Race and the City: An Exclusive Interview with Nate Silver," TED Blog, April 29, 2009.
  23. ^ Daniel Terdiman, "FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver on life post-election," CNET.com, March 15, 2009 and Dan Fost, "SXSW: Statistics guru Nate Silver talks Oscars, Manny Ramirez and President Obama," Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2009. See Video of SXSW Keynote Interview, part 1 and part 2.
  24. ^ Silver, Nate. "The Data". Esquire. http://www.esquire.com/archive/features/data/0/10/. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  25. ^ Nate Silver and Andrew Gelman, "No Country for Close Calls," New York Times, April 18, 2009.
  26. ^ Nate Silver, "Crunching the Risk Numbers," Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2010.
  27. ^ Nate Silver, "This Post Brought to You By Poker," FiveThirtyEight.com, July 2, 2009.
  28. ^ Nate Silver and Kevin Goldstein, "State of the Prospectus," Baseball Prospectus.com, March 24, 2009. Retrieved 2-7-2009.
  29. ^ Nate Silver, "The Purpose of the Soccer Power Index," ESPN.com, November 11, 2009 and Nate Silver, "A Guide to ESPN's SPI Ratings," ESPN.com, November 11, 2009. For a comment see Carl Bialik, "ESPN's New Soccer Rankings," Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2009.
  30. ^ Nate Silver, "SPI in review: How did it do?," ESPN.com, July 19, 2010 [Retrieved July 21, 2010].
  31. ^ Nate Silver, "The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York: a quantitative index of the 50 most satisfying places to live," New York Magazine, April 11, 2010.
  32. ^ Nate Silver, "Welcome (and Welcome Back) To FiveThirtyEight," FiveThirtyEight/NYT, August 25, 2010.
  33. ^ Also see the Baseball Prospectus glossary.
  34. ^ A reference to how it may be used by baseball teams can be found in Peter Greer, "Cheer the players? Nah. Just crunch their numbers", Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 2006.
  35. ^ Nate Silver, "Lies, Damned Lies: Playoff Hurlers", BaseballProspectus.com, September 27, 2006.
  36. ^ Nate Silver, "Lies, Damned Lies: Secret Sauce," BaseballProspectus.com, September 20, 2006 and Nate Silver, "What? The Cubs?" Sports Illustrated, July 16, 2007 (Issue 2): 59.
  37. ^ Nate Silver and Dayn Perry, "Why Doesn't Billy Beane's Shit Work in the Playoffs?" in Jonah Keri, Ed., Baseball Between the Numbers (New York: Basic Books, 2006): 352–368.
  38. ^ For another description of the Secret Sauce, just prior to the 2007 Major League playoffs, see Nate Silver, "Secret Sauce Update," BaseballProspectus.com, September 27, 2007.
  39. ^ Nate Silver in "What? The Cubs?", cited above.
  40. ^ The Book Blog
  41. ^ Jesse-Douglas (J-Doug) Mathewson, "Weak Sauce? Secret Sauce's Predictive Capacity Wanes in Recent Years," Rational Pastime Blog, September 8, 2010.
  42. ^ Baseball Prospectus Sortable Statistics.
  43. ^ Colin Wyers, "BP Unfiltered: Retiring the Sauce," BaseballProspectus.com, September 26, 2010.
  44. ^ a b Nate Silver, "Frequently Asked Questions, Last Revised 8/7/08," FiveThirtyEight.com.
  45. ^ Nate Silver, "The Two Progressivisms", FiveThirtyEight.com, February 15, 2009.
  46. ^ The first diary was titled, "HRC [Hillary Roddam Clinton] Electability in Purple States, DailyKos, November 1, 2007.
  47. ^ Hannah Hayes, "What Will Nate Silver Do Next?," University of Chicago (webpage feature story), January, 2009.
  48. ^ William Kristol, "Obama's Path to Victory", New York Times, February 11, 2008.
  49. ^ See, most notably, Mark Blumenthal, "The Poblano Model," National Journal, May 8, 2008.
  50. ^ Sean Redmond, "Numerical Order: Famed Statistician Nate Silver Discusses the Future of His Near-Flawless Forecasts," Chicago Weekly, January 9, 2009. On this point see also Silver's discussion in Megan Garber, "Talking Shop: Nate Silver," Columbia Journalism Review, November 11, 2008.
  51. ^ Nate Silver, "No I'm Not Chuck Todd," FiveThirtyEight.com, May 30, 2008.
  52. ^ Nate Silver, "Margins of Error," New York Post, June 1, 2008.
  53. ^ Stephanie Condon, "Q & A: The Formula Behind FiveThirtyEight," CNET News, November 3, 2008.
  54. ^ Editorial, "In Praise of . . . Nate Silver," The Guardian, November 6, 2008.
  55. ^ Stephanie Clifford, "Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama," The New York Times, November 10, 2008.
  56. ^ Nate Silver, "New Forecast Shows Democrats Losing 6 to 7 Senate Seats," FiveThirtyEight/NYT, August 25, 2010.
  57. ^ Nate Silver, "Go Figure: Who's No. 1?" NY Times Magazine, November 19, 2010.
  58. ^ For example, Nate Silver, "How to Beat the Salad Bar," The New York Times, March 17, 2011.
  59. ^ Nate Silver, "Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election," The New York Times Magazine, November 6, 2011.
  60. ^ Nate Silver, "Choose Obama’s Re-Election Adventure," The New York Times, November 3, 2012.
  61. ^ For a partial bibliography, see Micah Cohen, "Reads and Reactions," The New York Times," November 19, 2011.
  62. ^ Carl Bialik, "Baseball Analyst Draws Fans by Crunching Election Numbers," Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2008.
  63. ^ Andrew Romano, "Making His Pitches: Nate Silver, an all-star in the world of baseball stats, may be the political arena's next big draw," Newsweek, June 16, 2008,
  64. ^ Julie Rehmeyer, "Scooping the Political Pollsters," Science News, July 11, 2008,
  65. ^ Adam Sternbergh, "The Spreadsheet Psychic," New York Magazine, October 12, 2008
  66. ^ Derek Wallbank, "E.L. native's predictions pitch politics a curveball: Applying baseball stats analysis creates buzz around 30-year-old", Lansing State Journal, July 5, 2008. Also highlighting Silver's dual skills at baseball and political analysis were Alex Altman, "Q & A: Political Pollster Nate Silver," Time, October 6, 2008, Joe Lemire, "The Sports-Politics Connection: FiveThirtyEight," Sports Illustrated, October 13, 2008, James Janega, "Odds are, he knows the score – Chicago statistician Nate Silver has turned from sports to politics, with striking results," Chicago Tribune, October 27, 2008, Ben Heller, "The 2008 Sports Nerd of the Year: Nate Silver," CBSSports.com, November 7, 2008. and Childs Walker, "Projecting politics & baseball with Nate Silver," Baltimore Sun, April 8, 2009.
  67. ^ The first such posting was Nate Silver, "Today's Polls: The Bounce Hits the Badger State," The New Republic, June 12, 2008.
  68. ^ "Rasmussen Reports to Partner with FiveThirtyEight.com," RassmussenReports.com, June 13, 2008.
  69. ^ See D. L. Hughley transcript from November 1, 2008.
  70. ^ Fast Money.
  71. ^ Democracy Now.
  72. ^ "A conversation with Nate Silver". Charlie Rose. 2008-10-31. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9336. Retrieved 2009-05-08. .
  73. ^ Aside from his "Today's Polls" entries, Silver's first general essay in TNR was Nate Silver, "It's the Gas Prices, Stupid," The New Republic, August 14, 2008.
  74. ^ Nate Silver, "Will Young Voters Turn Out for Obama," New York Post, August 10, 2008; and "McCain's (Long) Road to Electoral Win," New York Post, October 26, 2008.
  75. ^ Nate Silver, "Why McCain Is Still In It," Los Angeles Times, (August 4, 2008).
  76. ^ Nate Silver, "Debunking the Bradley Effect," Newsweek (October 28, 2008).
  77. ^ nymag.com, The Spreadsheet Psychic.
  78. ^ Andy Martino, "Baseball stats guru Nate Silver sees election landslide for Barack Obama," New York Daily News, November 1, 2008.
  79. ^ For example,"That FiveThirtyEight Guy on the Colbert Report," Wonkette.com, October 8, 2008; and "Judgment Day: So... Which Pollsters Live, Which Will Be Killed?," Wonkette.com, November 5, 2008.
  80. ^ "There's a 97.3 Percent Chance That Nate Silver Is Totally My Boyfriend". Facebook. 1997-07-26. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=33534290558. Retrieved 2011-03-04. .
  81. ^ For example, a two-part video of an interview by Howard Kurtz on Reliable Sources on September 25, 2011: Part 1Part 2
  82. ^ Video of Nate Silver on Bloomberg, March 8, 2010
  83. ^ Need to Know: Nate Silver on Why Polls Don't Always Add Up, October 15, 2010.
  84. ^ What's the Impact of the Debt Debate, August 2, 2011.
  85. ^ Democracy Now 5-18-2010.
  86. ^ ABC "Topline", 9–28, 2010.
  87. ^ "''Electoral Projections Done Right – Narrative by numbers''". Nieman.harvard.edu. 2008-09-21. http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/narrative/notable.aspx?id=100454. Retrieved 2009-05-08. .
  88. ^ Joe Klein, "Next Day Thoughts," September 27, 2008.
  89. ^ Nate Silver on "Colbert Report".
  90. ^ Mike Colias, "Nate Silver," Chicago Business, November 3, 2008. For a video interview related to this profile, see Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight.com.
  91. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (November 10, 2008). "Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama". nytimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/business/media/10silver.html. Retrieved 2008-11-10. .
  92. ^ Nate Silver, "What to Watch For – An hour-by-hour guide to election night", Newsweek.com, November 3, 2008.
  93. ^ Year in Review: Murder, Politics And Crocs – The top 10 most viewed stories on Newsweek.com in 2008," Newsweek.com, December 23, 2008.
  94. ^ Jason Linkins, "2008: The Year in Media Highlights," HuffingtonPost.com, December 24, 2008.
  95. ^ The Daily Beast, December 21, 2008.
  96. ^ James Wolcott, "The Good, the Bad, and Joe Lieberman," VanityFair.com, February 2009.
  97. ^ "The Web Celeb 25," Forbes.com, January 29, 2009.
  98. ^ Rolling Stone, April 2009.
  99. ^ "THE WEEK Opinion Awards". Theweek.com. http://www.theweek.com/opinionawards/winners.html. Retrieved 2009-05-08. .
  100. ^ NY Times Magazine "Forensic Polling Analysis".
  101. ^ John F. Harris, "The Most Powerful People On Earth: My Picks: Bloggers," Forbes Magazine, November 22, 2010 (retrieved online at Forbes.com).
  102. ^ Henry Pringle Lecture, CSJ
  103. ^ Jim Romenesko, "Silver’s advice to young journalists in the digital age," Poynter, 23 May 2011.
  104. ^ Text of Henry Pringle Lecture, 2011 (.pdf)
  105. ^ Nate Silver, "FiveThirtyEight Joins East Coast Media Elite," FiveThirtyEight.com, March 30, 2009.
  106. ^ Zak Stambor, "Number Cruncher," University of Chicago Magazine, July–August, 2008.
  107. ^ BurritoBracket.com
  108. ^ On the role of The Burrito Bracket in Silver's engagement in blogging see Dan Cohen, "The Ivory Tower and the Open Web: Introduction: Burritos, Browsers, and Books," Dan Cohen's Digital Humanities blog, July 26, 2011. [retrieved 6 August 2011]
  109. ^ Out Magazine
  110. ^ See Hageman, cited previously; Rob Kaiser, "Players Place Bets on Poker as Career," Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2004; and Nate Silver, "This Post Brought to You by Poker," FiveThirtyEight.com, July 2, 2009.

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