Why I like Nate Silver

There are standard reasons to like Nate Silver, which I do not wish to deny.  But here is what I find striking: whenever he considers political or normative questions, he continues to use his full range of intellect and emotional maturity.

Many other commentators, once they run into normative or philosophical issues, or perhaps issues of political theory, or even political science, pull out arbitrary unsupported dogmatisms and partisan mood affiliation.  Or perhaps they will use correct but shallow truisms they heard on the radio or read in a magazine or newspaper, without realizing that deeper levels of analysis are possible.  Or they may use incorrect but shallow truisms from MSM.  Either way, at some point the analysis simply falls apart, even if many of its constituent parts are well-informed or perhaps even expert.

It seems to me that Nate avoids this.  I now consider this an increasingly important quality in commentators, especially if those commentators are active on social media.

And it is not that I agree with Nate all of the time on politics.  I’m not saying this “because he ends up where I am.”

I will try to think about who else is very good in this regard, and how we might nourish this quality in ourselves.

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Nate is one of the best of the "main narrative" analysts out there, and I applaud the way he tries to run the site. (Other commentators are much less data driven).

The one fundamental weakness I see in Nate is that he is often narrative restricted, unlike someone like Eric Weinstein. I wish that Nate would explore a bit more things like "how much of the interactio or voting of [racial group x] has is due to their economics rather than their skin color?"

Nate is a garbage person who, out of pure partisanship, brushed aside the Dem riots and tried to blame the virus uptick on air conditioners.

I’m glad he’s obviously getting ripped for this, given Tyler finds the need to defend a fellow lefty.

The air conditioner hypothesis is plausible. What's your theory for why the southern half of the US is doing worst right now?

They're seeing cases because they didn't previously have a spike.

Also note that everywhere there were riots/protests they are seeing rises in cases, yes even in the South.

It would be bizarre if we didn't see evidence of Covid-19 spread from the protests-- though they did take place outside and the virus spreads best in crowded indoor spaces (true of pretty much all airborne microbes). A lot of the outbreaks have been associated with bars where people remove masks (if they wear them at all) to drink and socialize and where they may become incautious due to the effects of "liquid courage".

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538 is so named for the prediction of the Obama election. Question: How did 538 predict, and respond to, the 2016 election of Donald Trump? They're roughly 1 or 2 for 3 at best.

Nate Silver, much like Ezra Klein, is a partisan hack who too often dresses up his opinions as facts. This is made worse by being at sites where - even if these particular people were okay - their coworkers are dullards who ruin the overall reputation of the site.

538 has a history - as with the 2016 election - of quietly burying data that shows when he's systematically wrong. Instead of the headline being "we got it wrong", the headline will be "why we spotted the trend earlier than others" or "why people who called us wrong were evil and we're actually right when we rephrase the story in retrospect".

I'm glad Nate Silver is trying to improve statistical methods in reporting.

But his methods missed 2016 just like all other mainstream outlets, when hundreds of YouTubers were calling it almost down to the state as Nate had done with Obama.

He's not nearly good enough. Plenty of other people, peace be upon the name of Slate Star Codex, are better.

Nate put Trump's winning chance at 29% in his final estimate. Things predicted to happen 29% of the time do often happen.

+1

A lot of commentators *coughSamWangcough* got absolutely embarrassed and frankly should not have any credibility left.

Nate is not one of them. He underestimated Trump's chances early on during the primary but fixed it by the time of the general election.

If he had "fixed" it he would have been near 100% Trump on eve of poll. 29% is a lot better than 1%, but its a long way from predictive certainty. In entropy terms, the gain from Silver over the prediction markets is modest.

Few of the final swing states that got Trump elected were THAT close. Silver prides himself on calling similarly tight races for Governorships and Senate etc. with high confidence. So why the low rating? I'm not convinced their model didn't have some bias in it.

You're treating Silver as he was supposed to be the Oracle of Delphi, not a statistical analyst whose work is expressed in probabilities. 30% is a respectable chance in just about any other situation. If the weatherman predicts a 30% chance of a thunderstorm this afternoon we won't complain that he was an idiot for not rating it a 100% chance if, yes, we have a storm.

Re: Few of the final swing states that got Trump elected were THAT close.

Oh, I get it-- you're posting from an alternate universe where Trump won by a large margin in the popular vote. In this world he won (via the electoral college) on the basis of about 80,000 votes in three states, which is just not that many people in an election where over 120 million votes were cast.

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Rasmussen beat him.

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Nate Silver told the lefties what they wanted to hear and he was correct. As a result, the left loves Nate ever since.

I think his "predictions" are carnival Hawking BS, but hey, it works for him.

His book was so boring I had to put it down. I tried, I really did.

You need to bone up on probability, hun.

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+1 Calderra.

Nate is rigorous enough, a little biased, but forgivable. His main problem is he does not permit himself (and his audience certainly does not permit him) to wander "off reservation". Only topics where he is confident of upholding the left-wing narrative will be investigated and upheld! He self-censors, consciously.

Remember when he evinced the slightest scepticism about some AGW claims? Prog apocalypse. He hasn't done that since. He knows his audience and feeds them appropriately.

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I like Silver, too. Here's my largely positive review of his 2012 airport book:

https://www.takimag.com/article/silver_cashes_in_steve_sailer/

Your largely,y positive review of your views. :)

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He connects dots.

I’d like him to take a look at NY’s numbers - https://covidtracking.com/data/state/new-york#historical

Something very fishy is going on. They are reporting no change in hospitalizations since June 3 - stuck at 89,995. They are showing almost a million tests since June 11, but only about 10,000 new cases- 1% of tests. I think they are cooking the books.

Or NY is simply following the path of European countries like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK ....

Yup. Kill enough of the vulnerable, and eventually your numbers improve.

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I have said this before but I will say it again, the jesrey suburbs of NYC are reporting the same test result, so it can not be just NY cooking the books

How many NYC tarts and dinks abandoned the petri dish for the burbs?

No wonder the numbers are similar.

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NY Metro and surrounding areas achieved herd immunity through infection of 20-30% if the population.

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There are books that are easy too cook, and those that are not. I can cook positive test ratios pretty easily, just that we can cook case counts by not testing. But hospitalizations? It'd be really hard to hide them, and it sure looks that they are doing well in that regard.

This doesn't mean they are out of the woods (and neither is Europe), but for one reason or another, they really are doing alright for now. Whether it's because the most vulnerable populations are adequately terrified/already dead, better behaviors, weather, or just dumb luck, we cannot be quite sure just yet. I suspect a factor is superior compliance during lockdowns leading to a much healthier situation: Even iffy practices are probably fine if there are very few cases, and few super-spreading events.

Soft lockdowns that didn't manage to eradicate the virus, followed by low care reopening might have been the worst of both worlds.

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Lol, Nate Silver and not, say, Andrew Sullivan is your bulwark against the new Maoism? Sorry, not potent enough.

Andrew Sullivan is not the "bulwark" against anything

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"He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself." Doesn't pretty much every "fearless truth-seeking resister of dogma" end up embodying exactly the negative qualities Tyler mentions in his post?

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"...he continues to use his full range of intellect and emotional maturity."

what the heck does that mean ??

would Nate Silver use this type of empty rhetoric as support for his analysis of some issue?

No, he wouldn't. That is because Silver is not a poseur.

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It’s pretty plain. You don’t understand, really?

You once were lost but now you're ...

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Instead, we apparently need commentators are active on social media. The fact that actual first hand data is more available than ever in human history is more than counterbalanced by the sad truth that most people simply do not care about information that is not supported by advertising or other forms of sponsorship.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine clickbait holding human eyeballs - forever.

Here is some interesting data analysis:

https://news.psu.edu/story/623797/2020/06/22/research/initial-covid-19-infection-rate-may-be-80-times-greater-originally

One caution about this is that, like so much in pandemic, this paper was written well before it was published (preprint was around in April I think).

So it may refer to things already strongly contra-indicated by more recent evidence, like the serological studies.

This in the interests of being fair handed - it was absolutely laughable that the media treated Imperial College's absolutely laughable "predictions" that lockdowns have saved millions of lives, written in March, as anything close to factual when they were printed in June, and were already contradicted by live data showing that infections did not evolve at all as the models predicted. So while the ILI data is interesting, it's fair to voice the same concerns here.

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It is indeed an interesting data analysis. From your press release link, which only refers to the 80x figure in regards to incorrect counting of early cases, such as in January or February. "The researchers also used this process to estimate infection rates for each state, noting that states showing higher per capita rates of infection also had higher per capita rates of a surge in excess ILI. Their estimates showed rates much higher than initially reported but closer to those found once states began completing antibody testing.

In New York, for example, the researchers’ model suggested that at least 9% of the state’s entire population was infected by the end of March. After the state conducted antibody testing on 3,000 residents, they found a 13.9% infection rate, or 2.7 million New Yorkers." That testing is from later April, three weeks or so after the end of March, according to news reports. And just a few days before a clear (and continuing) decline became apparent in new cases.

Which makes sense, looking at NY. Interestingly, now that testing is much better than in March, we can see how things look in terms of Houston, and whether Texas authorities gravely underestimated by 20x, or 50x, or 80x the extent of community spread in the weeks before reopening.

Actually, no. If you look at the charts estimating the infections by state, Texas is worse than some, much better than NY and NJ. And the current Texas data shows cases and hospitalizations up, but no increase in deaths. This is consistent with the spread in larger, Democrat cities with large protests. Here is a chart showing the effect for Austin. - https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/austinhosp-1.png

After your reply, user name remains fitting.

Houston would provide an excellent example to check the paper's model, based on a (hopefully not yet politicized) indicator. Since American testing is much broader than in March, that 80x figure can likely be much better quantified using Houston's numbers.

What this has to do with politics escapes me, though it is apparently self-evident to you. There are many major metro regions throughout the world, and preventing a NY style catastrophe is important. Since it currently appears that Houston is following much the same path as a number of European and American major cities, being able to better detect early community spread is very important in reducing it.

The first time those words - "Houston is following the same path as a number of European [major cities]" - ever saw print ...

And it likely won't be the last. The disease does not magically disappear like a miracle, it follows a fairly well known course, especially after a certain point is reached in its spread.

A course that Houston is currently on, though possibly, after months of experience to draw from in other places (Detroit or Stockholm, for example), Houston will be able to do better.

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Nate is decent. He, generally caries water for the Democratic Party, but he is extremely even handed for media in the US.

I can’t say anything similar for the other contributors to his site. They are a tragedy.

Free speech I don't agree with a real tragedy, isn't it?

Free speech in a legal sense, as apparently here, tends to leak into analysis of speech in general. It does not belong, and is an analytical tragedy.

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>Nate is decent. He, generally caries water for the Democratic Party

LOL. Which is it?

Is he a decent analyst? Or is he a paid shill for a major political party, pretending to deliver "news" but actually delivering propaganda?

(Rhetorical. We know the answer.)

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He’s in my top 3 of center left-left wing people I’ll actually listen to.

1. Nate Silver
2. Yglesias
3. Klein

Klein? Why not just read Pol Pot? Eliminate the middle man.

Does Pol Pot vocally think through his assumptions, constraints, and rationale for his opinion before stating it?

> Does Pol Pot vocally think through his assumptions, constraints, and rationale for his opinion before stating it?

Klein certainly does not do that.

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Where is Pol Pot's blog? Does he have podcasts set up on ITunes?

Interesting that the NY Times obituary in 1998 called Pol Pot a "brutal dictator": https://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/17/world/death-pol-pot-pol-pot-brutal-dictator-who-forced-cambodians-killing-fields-dies.html

Such a judgmental viewpoint would never be acceptable to today's editors, who regard such language as an expression of white supremacy.

I hope Chomsky's obit mentions his defense of Pol Pot.

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Pol Pot accused academics, upper-middle-class city dwellers and immigrants from a neighboring country of being seditious fifth columnists. That doesn't sound like anything Ezra Klein ever wrote but does resemble some of the far right commentary here...

More like the far left commentary, really (anti-imperialism, anti-bourgeois, anti-petty bourgeois in particular, anti-capitalist; those as the elements to be purged).

Pol Pot was both. Actually, the extreme right and the extreme left often tend to push similar policies when in power being both anti-intellectual, anti-capitalist, and anti-foreign because both tend to want to elevate the nation, represented by the government, above other potentially competing areas of power.

But I’ve not seen any left commentary here calling for anyone to be purged. There is a right commentator on that calls for leftists to be purged and kicked out of the country though.

I suspect we'd find a fair few "heat of the moment" suggestions from the MR lefties (Anon, George, Jan, "Wondering" and so on) that active complete suppression of the right and/or separation of the right to a separate state would be a very good thing for the US, if we looked. I can't remember any specifically of course, as just not the sort of thing I am obsessed with.

Given your stance is supposed to be "No enemies to the Left" (presumably the cultural left, since virtually the entire US is to your economic left, including most of the Republican Party) I kind of don't trust you on either factual recall or honest speech on such, on this one ;).

My stance of no enemies to the left is precisely because I don’t see anybody on the left ever call for purges against people they disagree with, but I do see people on the right call for that. At most, people on the left will call for the censorship of right-wing views, which is bad, but not for things like deporting people they disagree with, which obviously impacts their lives far beyond not being able to express their political views. I feel that even under an extreme-left cancel culture society, you could live a perfectly good life as long as you stay off Twitter. But a far-right xenophobic one would deny people that opportunity based on their immutable characteristics and other lifestyle aspects being too far out of mainstream. I already know several people whose families or careers have been ended by Trump’s immigration policies (and I’m talking about US citizens and highly skilled legal immigrants with professional degrees, not illegals) but no one who has been “cancelled” out of a job by alleged leftists.

You can accuse me of being dishonest, but I was a Republican until 2016. I voted for Ron Paul twice and then John Kasich. I came to my no enemies to the left through my own post-2016 experiences of Trump’s administration doing bad things to real people I knew, all while people on the right insisted that the real threat to liberty was stuff happening on a college campus on the other side of the country.

Yes, you're dishonest. Immigration isn't being used as targeted exclusion of views, etc. And the basic ideology of the left is purge those who are impure in any way. And yes, the real threat to liberty did start in the colleges, now in the streets. You're obviously a troll, no one can be this stupid.

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There are people in this very thread objecting that Steve Sailor is allowed to comment here. As they regularly do.

If you do not notice people on the Left calling for other people to be purged, it is willful blindness.

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And lest you think I’m the only one who has come to this conclusion, see this article by David French, a conservative writer at the National Review, comparing how the far-left reacted to his interracial adoption versus the far-right: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/08/america-soured-on-my-multiracial-family/567994/

Long story short, the far-left was insulting and condescending, but the far-right was malicious and threatening.

I would rather be insulted and looked down upon by the left than threatened by the right.

Also interestingly enough, when I was googling this article, I found another one by the same author in 2013 saying only liberals complained about his interracial family: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/my-family-interracial-and-ive-only-seen-liberals-gag-over-it-david-french/

French thus changed his tune between 2013 and 2018, as I did, because the right-wing elements in the US spurred by Trump simply became way nastier and more threatening during that time period.

So David French has a history of using his adopted daughter as a prop for his posturing and as a stick to beat his enemies?

Personally I think a child should be kept out of political disputes. But that is just me

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So liberals were acting badly because of Trump?? Say it out loud and see if it still makes any sense.

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I know quite well for myself how malicious, threatening and eliminationist the left is, and that it quite matches or exceeds the right, and I know your feelings about migrants and their "rights". I'm simply noting that, should anyone have declared openly that they have "No enemies to the (X)" then they lose all credibility on being able to honestly report them. If I said "Under no circumstances, ever, will I criticize or regard anyone to my Right as a political opponent to be stopped", I doubt you would then place any trust in any statement I made about them.

I criticize the left all the time, including the post I just made. You can criticize people without making them your enemies. In fact, a true friend would criticize you when you are going astray. No enemies to the left means that in a political choice between allying with far-left or far-right, I’d go with the far-left to stop the far-right. Of course, in the ideal world, those would not be the only options. I am only echoing more broadly the views of David French, which is that the right became a lot nastier around 2015 and is more so than the left.

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Also, if the point you are making is that migrants have no rights, I would also add that the same critique would apply to left-wing cancel culture: no one has a right to tenure at a university, getting published in another person’s newspaper, etc., so cancel culture does not take away anyone’s rights.

Of course you can be nasty and malicious without technically violating anyone’s rights.

"cancel culture does not take away anyone’s rights."
b.s.
there are many examples in the last few years of leftist college cancel culture explicitly preventing people from speaking (violently at times) & peacefully assembling

You don’t have the right to speak or assemble in a private venue such as a college. People have been free to speak and assemble, even for openly racist views, in traditional public places such as the Charlottesville rally.

Z this is deliberately misleading. You’re better than this.

Students were/are mobbing any speaker they disagreed with, most of them liberals themselves.

And let’s be clear, the speakers were invited onto campus to give speeches, by official school groups and approved by school administration They used mobs to shut down speech they disagreed with

And anyways, Freedom of speech is a two legged stool. (1) constitutional limitation on government restricting speech (2) a set of social norms which encourages free debate in the marketplace of ideas

Without (2), (1) is a dead letter, a few years away from being reinterpreted into nothingness

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leftists have fubared academic freedom & suppressed legitimate research. this is a good example of how that is
gonhttps://spectator.org/silenced-whole-friend-groups-of-teen-girls-are-transitioning/na do harm.

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many colleges where moderate academics speech & research have been suppressed are public not private colleges.

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Zaua is right. So much of the conservative culture war consists of conservatives complaining about colleges and the media. You know what? It's still a free country - send your kid to Liberty University and watch OANN if those views float your boat. No one is stopping you.
The real reason conservatives complain is because the "cool" kids despise their views and too many conservatives (including POTUS) are still desperate for their social approval. Hollywood doesn't like me! Horrors! Yes, Fox News doesn't have the cachet that the NYT does and Hillsdale and Pepperdine are not regarded the same way that Harvard and Princeton are. But that is a status issue, not a free speech issue. The market has spoken, and most people want what Harvard is offering, not what Hillsdale is offering. Conservatives would be a lot better off taking a hard look at how market economics consistently undermine the conservative message and traditional culture and less time crying about cultural marxism.

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"More like the far left commentary, really (anti-imperialism, anti-bourgeois, anti-petty bourgeois in particular, anti-capitalist; those as the elements to be purged)."

Zaua is right, of course, and I was having a bit of fun with the obviously trollish comment above. Pol Pot was a man of the extreme left, as was Stalin, but both used ethnic nationalism and unhinged, paranoid suspicion of "elites" and foreigners to achieve their goals. In Stalin's case, this mutated into anti-Semitism while Pol Pot directed it toward Chinese and Vietnamese minorities.

I love the people who claim far left and far right basically meet, as a way of excusing the obvious ruthlessness of the left. Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, all leftists, under any meaningful definition of the term and analysis of relevant history. (But but but they didn't do it right, or even those they were "socialists" they were fascists, etc.) The funny thing is that the left really owns fascism, too, we've just bought into the silliness the commies used to justify their failures on various fronts.

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Remember when Yglesias said that there obviously couldn't be any truth to the rumors about John Edwards' love child, because the major media outlets have teams of investigative reporters who check out every rumor, and they hadn't published any stories confirming the rumor? Perfect, totally insular, Dalton grad. I stopped reading him at that point. The National Enquirer is, strangely, more accurate

Yglesias reminds me of Chomsky -- says lots of trolling things, then evades ever acknowledging what he said.

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I don't remember anything about that episode but a quick perusal of the wikipedia page does indeed say that the National Enquirer published a story based on anonymous sources in late 2007 and then the mainstream media picked up on the allegations in July 2008.

It's not clear what your operating principle is here. Are tabloid news stories based on anonymous sources, on average, more reliable than mainstream news stories based on anonymous sources? Based on what data? It is well-known that tabloid news sources pay sources to talk to them which poses an obvious moral hazard problem. Mainstream media has its own problem with political insiders pursuing vendettas -- but what does the evidence say?

y81 gave an elegant example of yglesias using some circular reasoning

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I generally like and trust Nate Silver, and agree about his even handed and sober approach, but I wish he’d be more transparent with his methods for aggregating and weighting different survey sources. It makes it hard for political scientists and other pollsters to fully examine his work. I was also very displeased with his response to the recent paper that argues that reporting on the probability that a candidate wins can significantly lower turnout, at least enough to possibly explain Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election. I.e., if Silver and others had focused more on reporting Clinton’s polling in those states (which was a slight majority of the two party vote) instead of the probability that Clinton would win (which was estimated to be around 60 to 70% in some of these swing states), it’s possible (according to this paper and several experiments testing the mechanism) that more Clinton supporters would have turned out to vote.

There's no methods to be transparent about. He just makes a nudge, based on intuition. Often he's right, sure. In 2016 he was sharply wrong, and he had to argue that he was a genius because he was less wildly wrong than most others. And trying to suggest Silver as the latest in the long series of ridiculous extrinsic excuses for Trump's victory is just laughable

anybody who starts out with "reality has a liberal bias" has got their
thumb on the scale.

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Because of their appreciation of probability, they can distinguish the signal from the noise.
Says the book.
----
Equivalent to estimating the information content of an integer stream. I can speculate without having read the book. The whole key to prediction is to estimate the complete sequence, how much of the stream of numbers constitutes a complete set of possible messages. Betters who get this win, computing the uncertainty is a formula operating on the sequence..

Some other example.
The double peak theory of gas prices says that when consumers see another record breaking peak in prices then they can gem the sequence of actions in between and smooth volatility.
When see see the regularly scheduled recessions then we know the Fed will be raising siegniorage taxes.

When millennials say 'OK Boomer' that means they have seen the complete Boomer cycle recorded for posterity.

We see semi-complete cycles in the way we rotate the presidency between regions, and we been doing that since the founding. Rebellion of the small states is a regular, usually piled onto the presidential recession cycle. Regime changer at the Fed, on a regular basis, 'This time is different' always predictable.

They pile on to the basic three. The recession cycle, generational cycle and small state rebellion cycle. Two thirds of it driven by unstable government structure in the Law. We will, and should, default on about a third of our debt about twice a generation. Stay abreast of the inevitable rather then risk our mental health in denial.

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Scott Alexander.

Neither Alexander nor Silver engage in what Robert Nozick jokingly called 'Normative Sociology' -- the study of what the causes of societal problems should be. (The linked Joseph Health piece in Alex's post is well worth the 're-read the whole thing' treatment). But, yes, public intellectuals who refuse to engage in normative sociology are a rare breed who should be appreciated.

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Morality is a heuristic.

If you appreciate that fact then you are fine with frequently sitting down and thinking about what may be the best thing to do.

When dealing with a quasi-organism like a virus, morality is often a trap, because the virus is not human, and does not act in a normative fashion.

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All I can see is Tyler going straight to the middle of Playstats magazine and unfolding horizontally a pic of a nude Nate on a bear skin rug holding a copy of "Average is Over" in front of his privates.

ykinmkbykiok

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You wins da interwebz today.

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Such a vision would clearly be artistic, and thus the more appropriate title is "In Praise of Commercial Culture." Though if it were NEA funded, maybe the title should be "Good and Plenty: The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding"

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"Or they may use incorrect but shallow truisms from MSM. Either way, at some point the analysis simply falls apart..."

If only Tyler had used the same judgment in his decision to interview Annie Duke. Duke can most charitably be called a crooked carney barker and at worst, a grifter and white collar criminal. She must have an excellent publicist. Interviewing Michael Josem would have been far more enlightening.

Thanks, but I'm not nearly smart enough or educated enough to be interviewed by Tyler.

You are exactly the right person to interview if Tyler wishes to have an unvarnished view of online poker. Despite your Manxian modesty, you are whip smart and your unwavering moral compass would make for compelling listening.

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A different view: the Very Online Blowhard. https://newrepublic.com/article/155761/fall-nate-silver

Silver says he goes where the data take him (i.e., he is entirely neutral), a position that I often hear expressed by economists. Cowen once gave a TED talk cautioning his listeners to be suspicious of simple stories. I'd caution readers to be suspicious of anyone claiming she is just following the data: she is either (a) a liar or (b) an idiot.

Why I like Tyler Cowen: https://www.ted.com/talks/tyler_cowen_be_suspicious_of_simple_stories

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Thanks to fhe correct leadership of Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Laos has been able to deal successfully with the COVID-19 crisis.

Thiago
now black lives matter marxists gonna shut a business down if they call the police. wonder if the lumpy intelligentsia at the washingon post
& newwoketimes.con gonna cover this in their narrative. we are betting not.
what part of this isn't organized crime?
https://www.theblaze.com/news/video-black-lives-matter-mob-storms-target-threatens-to-shut-down-business-if-they-cooperate-with-police

somebody should tell comrade houseplant biden

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Silver tends to speak about empirical, horse-race type topics where he has data as an anchor against the various intellectual passions mentioned. Maintaining objectivity and deep analysis is a lot harder on topics when you don’t have data to use as an objective guidepost and all you have to go on are anecdotes from personal experience or that you heard from like-minded media. If we want more people to think like Silver, trying to have more reliable data in more areas of life is probably the most effective method.

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Silver as every one knows came to people’s attentions during Obama’s run for the presidency.

The way his data was presented gave those on the Left a lot of hope that Obama was going to win and and I think Silver was largely embraced as the messenger of that fact. And when his analysis turned out to be largely correct, he was swept up in their overall elation. I think the Left largely assumed he was “one of us” based the fact that his predicted outcomes largely aligned with their desires.

He tends to get savaged when the opposite is true. A certain segment of the population has seemed downright hostile to his noticing that the Covid death numbers in the US had been dropping steadily.

He probably pretty much was "one of us" to the Left, then, for better or worse. But then the Great Awokening post 2008 surge has required allegiance to increasingly ludicruous positions and there is of course some change of what "one of us" for the Left is. So that may have changed a bit and may continue to do so (perhaps Biden will get in and they'll calm down, perhaps not - since the trends seem to have continued linearly since 2008, with no change due to change of political leadership, I suspect not).

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'has seemed downright hostile to his noticing that the Covid death numbers in the US had been dropping steadily'

Italy (population - 60 million)
March 15 - 367
Note - peak in daily deaths was between these dates
April 15 - 601
May 15 - 242
June 15 - 26
Yesterday - 8
It would seem fair to say that Italy's death numbers have been dropping steadily, and are two orders of magnitude less than at peak.

US (population - 330 million)
March 15 - 15
April 15 - 2690
Note - peak in daily deaths was between these dates
May 15 - 1636
June 15 - 432
Yesterday - 512
There is not even a drop of single order of magnitude, and the current number is higher than one two weeks ago. This is not a customary use of declining when talking about a highly contagious disease, though one can fervently hope that yesterday's fatality number is the highest the U.S. will see, after the June 23 number of 823 deaths, basically double the June 15 number (with all caveats necessary to encompass the fact that daily numbers are choppy).

A plateau is not a decline, especially if one uses the idea that one or two orders of magnitude convincingly demonstrates a decline. At best - and it is an unalloyed good thing - we can say that America's daily death rate has been under 1000 since June 10. Meaning that 11,000 Americans have died between June 10 and June 27. (In comparison in that same time span, around 750 Italians have died, more than an order of magnitude less.)

Yes, we can play around with various methods and terms, but the sad fact remains that in comparison to Europe, the U.S. still faces a major challenge in achieving a truly declining death rate, where only 400 Americans die in a week, not 4000 as in the last couple of weeks.

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For anyone interested in an honest look at this topic (and selecting a bunch of random dates and then sampling them, without regard to the actual differential progression of disease is not really honest... in fact it's easy to describe as dishonest), simply have a look at these plots per million by Washburne - https://twitter.com/Alex_Washburne/status/1276937801972346881 .

Spain did not have a massive spike of deaths in mid-June. Something seems not really accurate in that graph, at least. Though honesty is a given, quality control is always nice. Anybody even the least familiar with the course of the pandemic would instantly track down why the Spanish graph looks like that. Much like the tweet concerning 60% infected, which the author immediately noted was incorrect, halving his estimate to 30%.

Still seems like ignoring twitter is by far the best policy, honestly.

Um.... Spain did have a death report spike mid-June - https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/spain-reports-585-new-covid-19-cases-deaths-rise/1882002.

See also - https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus/country/spain?country=~ESP - where reported deaths increased by 1,000 on 18/06.

There are of data quality issues with all countries on these these, which are based on date of report, and death reports tend to show some variance in how smooth their curves are between countries due to reporting quality and regimes -e.g. UK and US depress on weekends then spike on Mondays, due to something systematic to their reporting regimes at weekends where reported deaths are down, but other countries often smoother. Spain is spikier than most, as they've had a few more "Oh, loads of deaths actually happened which we're recording suddenly"

But the overall trends accounting for noise are still what they are, and much more accurately characterized than by your (misleading) effort. The US does indeed show a trend down in /million deaths. We'll see if the recent, regionally restricted increases in case counts effect that or not.

(The advice to ignore twitter because it's not reporting what you want to hear....)

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Same with Scott Alexander. Solve for the equilibrium?

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In case he's reading all these bouquets, I'll reiterate my request for 538 to give some context to the daily Covid numbers (I tune in faithfully late every afternoon, as though checking the box scores) with the number of deaths of all causes on a given day, and the number last year on this day, for various age cohorts, so as to reassure the public that Covid is not being applied to the deaths of virtually all elderly people. Or a trustworthy piece in this vein.

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Nate's treatment of Roger Pielke was incredibly shabby and spineless.

Yes. He should have fired him earlier. See Siberia.

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He's great, but too left-wing (as a centrist) for the readership here, which embraces Steve Sailer, but can't name 4 centrist or left pundits without screaming Pol Pot.

-10, One troll does not equal “the readership”

Otherwise it would simultaneously be too liberal, too conservative, too communist, too Trumpy, too anti-Trump, and most importantly too pseudo-Brazilian

See the whole board. Mention Sailer, a published race hater, and nobody even twitches. Mention a left or centre pundit and people go off the rails.

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This post could be improved with an illustrative example or two.

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The glaring exception is Nate silver as a pundit commenting on ANYTHING related to the NYT. At least that’s an honest personal grudge from 2012

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The hot new name in the electon quant business is Dr. Rachel Bitecofer who is now with the Niskanen Center. She was better than Silver in predicting the 2018 midterm.

Also, Dr Bitecofer has come up with the idea that if the Democrats win the White House and the Senate in 2020 then they would implement as much of their agenda as possible with no consideration for the 2022 election. Why? because the majority party always loses seats in the first midterm after winning total control and it does not matter if they try to be moderate or not.

Everyone since FDR seems to waste their first hundred days. It's going to take a lot of youthful energy from Biden to do better. We'll see.

No. No we won’t.

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He is not political, which is good.
Did he come from sports?

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I only recently started reading some of his stuff, which is interesting. His book is nearly ten years old now though. So my question is, who are the new Nate Silvers? Who else is worth a read - any good up and coming data driven journalisters/writers?

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Tyler: What prompted you to write this praise of Nate?

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Silver falls prey to all those things Cowen claims that he doesn't fall prey to, but here is the real point- Silver makes falsifiable predictions in the most public way possible, and he doesn't hide from the mistakes- that is his real strength. And more than any other person working in political polling, he does try to understand and correct those errors.

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I liked Nate Silver better when he was more willing to expose popular consensus views to scrutiny. His chapter on global warming in The Signal and the Noise was brave. Then he almost got "cancelled" by the left over that, and I thought he's been more cautious about leftist sacred cows ever since. I bet there are unpleasant data on race and policing counter to recent consensus that he nor his more-liberal-than-him team will even consider analyzing or publishing.

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THE IMPOLITIC - Detecting Heaping of Undue Praise
The Abrahamic method relies upon Baiting into a Hazard, by False promise of freedom from physical (scarcity), natural (reciprocity), and evolutionary (competitive, innovative, evolutionary, and red queen) laws. Using Selective Accounting (Cherry picking), Pilpul (sophistry), Critique( undermining), Lionizing (Heaping of Undue Praise), by Unwarrantable speech, and Plausible Deniability of Malicious Intent.

Whenever you see or hear Heaping of Undo Praise you know it's false, but you're stuck with the forensics of discovering the reason for it. Heaping of Undue Praise is the opposite of Undermining by Critique (straw manning, and outraging, gossiping, shaming, ridiculing, rallying, psychologizing, and moralizing). Once you learn the method you see it everywhere. It's as asophisticated a method of deceit as aristotelian reason is truthfulness.

I never would have expected that by devoting my work to testimonial truth that I would master the methodology of deceit. (It's the institutionalization of the female means of seduction and undermining).

(Ward's answer above is correct. Silver admits when he's wrong. Aside from the fact that he absolutely positively does attempt to support the de-civilizational narrative isn't offset by it.)

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Great post. Increasingly the scarce treat isn’t peak intelligence so much as operating intelligence. Politics is the mind-killer, so simply not dumbing down makes one functionally smarter than most. On this metric, there are two journalists who’ve stood out to me over the last 4 years:
1. Josh Barro
2. Matt Yglesias

I was deeply gratified that they risked social & professional consequences to criticize the health experts who expediently sided with the BLM protests. This was a test that many failed.

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The air-conditioning hypothesis is probably wrong. There is no spike in flu deaths in Florida in summer months.

I think the most likely explanation for the surge in cases is that people who live in states that were hard hit by Covid-19 in March and April are much more risk adverse now than those who live in states like Florida, that did really well on a relative basis back then.

covid 19 notta the flu

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Tyler, specific to the pandemic, pay attention to Marc Lipstich. If you listen to have, his discussions of Covid are peppered with statements of where he was wrong which is the most telling thing. He is pretty skeptical of contact tracing (though he now allows that Singapore and SK have shown it might be able to work) and was in favor of travel restrictions. He has been very helpful to me.

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There are standard reasons to like Nate Silver, which I do not wish to deny. But here is what I find striking: whenever he considers political or normative questions, he continues to use his full range of intellect and emotional maturity.

*slow clap*

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I'd recommend Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert cartoons. @ScottAdamsSays
He and Nate are similar in their approaches.

I like Scott Adams (yet another Scott A with a blog, yet another glitch in the Matrix). I find him to be often very insightful and always original. Sometimes he does kind of go completely off the rails, but it's a small price to pay for hearing a (persuasive) perspective nobody else seems to have.

But really, what do he and Silver have in common? Like at all?

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Hello,

If you accept guest posts, how much would you charge? What kind of content would you accept?

Stephen

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