Saturday 20 July 2013

Captain Flint

Regular readers will be familiar with Nate Silver and his best seller The Signal and The Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't. 

After three years at the New York Times which featured his excellent FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver is now headed to ESPN, as the New York Times itself reports. 

As I have written before, Silver started with baseball statistics, so he has a sports background. It will be interesting to see how how ESPN uses his talents. His political expertise has certainly been lucrative, much to Al's chagrin as I recall, although his foray into NFL predictions earlier in the year was a little less successful.

One old post that I was just looking at has a picture of my little bird Winston. Unfortunately the poor little chap had a mishap last weekend, and fractured his ankle, and after several hundreds in vet bills, here is how he looks now and for the next five to six weeks as he 'heals'...
Wounded Warrior Winston
Mrs. Cassini wishes to allay any concerns readers may have that the accident was the result of a trade gone wrong. It was completely trading unrelated, and the result of butting heads (literally) with one of my dogs. 

One rather amusing story arising from this incident surrounds him not being too happy with his first splint and trying to destroy it by chewing on it. Concerned that he might be doing some harm, Mrs. Cassini ordered me to take a day off work, and take him back to be checked. The earnest young man on duty decided that Winston needed a protective cone to stop him from being able to reach his splint, and took Winston away to a back room for the fitting. 

After about 30 minutes together, the vet emerged sweating quite profusely, hair somewhat dishevelled, tie askew, and shirt no longer neatly tucked in - and little Winston with no cone. In a rather frustrated tone, the vet announced that Winston (all of 25grams) had a "bit of an attitude", wouldn't allow him to fit the cone, and could I please take him somewhere else. He handed me a card for a 'specialist' avian vet, and hurried off while taking rapid and repeated sips out of a hip flask. I was quite proud of my boy.   

Here is the New York Times article on Nate Silver - can you tell it's a quiet morning?
Nate Silver, the statistician who attained national fame for his accurate projections about the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, is parting ways with The New York Times and moving his FiveThirtyEight franchise to ESPN, the sports empire controlled by the Walt Disney Company, according to ESPN employees with direct knowledge of his plans.
At ESPN, Mr. Silver is expected to have a wide-ranging portfolio. Along with his writing and number-crunching, he will most likely be a regular contributor to “Olbermann,” the late-night ESPN2 talk show hosted by Keith Olbermann that will have its debut at the end of August. In political years, he will also have a role at ABC News, which is owned by Disney.
An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday night. Mr. Silver declined to comment. The employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Silver’s deal could be announced as soon as Monday.
Before creating statistical models for elections, Mr. Silver was a baseball sabermetrician who built a highly effective system for projecting how players would perform in the future. For a time he was a managing partner of Baseball Prospectus.
At public events recently, he has expressed interest in covering sports more frequently, so the ESPN deal is a logical next step.
Mr. Silver’s three-year contract with The Times is set to expire in late August and his departure will most likely be interpreted as a blow to the company, which has promoted Mr. Silver and his brand of poll-based projections.
He gained such prominence in 2012 that President Obama joked that Mr. Silver had accurately predicted which turkeys the president would pardon that Thanksgiving. “Nate Silver completely nailed it,” he said. “The guy’s amazing.”
Speculation about the future of Mr. Silver and FiveThirtyEight heated up shortly after last November’s election, and he was wooed by no small number of other news organizations. Jill Abramson, the newspaper’s executive editor, and Mark Thompson, the chief executive of The New York Times Company, said earlier this year that they would try hard to sign Mr. Silver to a new contract.
NBC News and its cable news channel MSNBC was another interested party.
In an e-mail several weeks ago, Mr. Silver said negotiations were continuing with The Times “and I’m still trying to make a decision.” He informed The Times on Friday of his plan to leave.
He occasionally hinted in interviews and public appearances that his relationship with The Times had moments of tension. But it was mutually beneficial. The news organization gained Web traffic and prestige by hosting his work, and he received a salary, a wider audience and editorial support.
The same will most likely be true at ESPN.


AL said...

Will Nate stick his neck out again for the next election?

or is he a 1 trick pony!

i think we all know the answer.

Cassini said...

Since he started with the 2008 Election, he's already way past the one trick pony stage, so yes, we do all know the answer.