Nate Silver

  • Aired:  03/27/14
  •  | Views: 30,561

Nate Silver celebrates the expanded re-launch of FiveThirtyEight.com and shares the challenges of objective, statistical reporting. (5:44)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE FOUNDERAND EDITOR AND CHIEF OF

FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THEPROGRAM NATE SILVER.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]HOW ARE YOU, SIR?

>> PRETTY GOOD, JON HOW ABOUTYOU?

>> Jon: I'M VERY WELL.

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE LAUNCH OFTHE NEW FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.

>> WE LAUNCHED THIS WEB SITE AWEEK AND A HALF AGO.

20 OF US, A VERY YOUNG TEAM ITWAS A GREAT MOMENT TO LAUNCH AND

THEN WE REALIZED OH, (bleep)WE HAVE TO PUBLISH THE

THING EVERY DAY.IT'S A LOT OF WORK.

WE'RE GETTING BETTER.

>> Jon: YOU ARE SAYING IT'SBEEN UP LIVE FOR A WEEK AND A

HALF AND IT'S STILL NOT PERFECT?

>> IT'S NOT PERFECT YET.

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO PERFECT, IDON'T THINK.

>> Jon: WELL, WELL, LOOKS LIKETHE SHINE IS OFF THE APPLE,

ISN'T IT SILVER?

>> HERE IS THE THING MAYBE DUETO PROGRAMS LIKE THIS.

THERE WAS A LOT OF HYPE ABOUT MEAND FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.

>> Jon: I CALLED YOU THE LORDOF THE ALGORITHM.

>> YEAH THAT WAS USEFUL FOR BOOKSALES AT THE TIME BUT RIGHT NOW

IT KINDA SETS A VERY HIGH BAR.

>> Jon: YOU ARE TAKING A RASHOF (bleep) IN A WEEK IN A HALF

LIKE NOBODY I HAVE SEEN IN ALONG TIME.

YOUR STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF THE2012 ELECTION WAS QUITE

ACCURATE.

AND THEN YOU HAVE PREDICTED INTHIS

RECENT MIDTERM THAT THERE'S A60% CHANCE THAT THE DEMOCRATS

WILL LOSE CONTROL OF THE SENATEAND THE DEMOCRATS WERE LIKE

THOSE LITTLE BALLOONS OUTSIDE OFCAR DEALERSHIPS THEY ARE JUST

BLARRGH.

>> THEY ARE SENDING MEMOS OUT TOTHE PRESS ON THE ONE HAND BUTALSO

SENDING FUND-RAISING E-MAILSLIKE PROVE NATE SILVER WRONG.

SO, LOOK, A LOT OF PEOPLEESPECIALLY IN POLITICS THEY LIKE

THE MATH PART OF THINGS WHEN ITTELLS THEM WHAT THEY ALREADY

BELIEVE.

IT'S HARD.

IT'S A COMPLICATED WORLD TOFIGURE OUT SOMETIMES.

I'M NOT SAYING THAT WE HAVE ALLTHE ANSWERS BY ANY MEANS AT ALL.

>> Jon: I AM SAYING THATTHOUGH.

>> I KNOW WELL.

>> Jon: I AM SAYING YOU HAVEALL THE ANSWERS.

>> WELL, WE'LL PROVE YOUWRONG. WE'LL PROVE OURSELVES

WRONG AND YOU WRONG IN THEPROCESS.

>> Jon: YOU HAVE THIS ONE GUYON.

A POLITICAL SCIENTIST HE WRITESAN ARTICLE, A STATISTICAL

ANALYSIS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

IT CREATES A HUGE HULABALOOBECAUSE HE IS SAYING THE DAMAGEOF

THESE STORMS IS NOT INCREASINGIT'S JUST THAT WE ARE WEALTHY.

>> IT'S A PIECE WHERE WE DIDHAVE A LOT OF CONCERN FROM OUR

READERS WE DON'TPAY MUCH ATTENTION TO WHAT LIKE

MEDIA CRITICS SAY BUT THATWAS A PIECE WHERE WE HAD 80% OF

COMMENTATORS WEIGHED INNEGATIVELY.

WE'RE COMMISSIONING A REBUTTALTO THE PIECE. SO WE LISTEN TO

FEEDBACK FROM THE PEOPLE THATACTUALLY GIVE US OUR LEGS

>> Jon: YOU ARE RESPONDING TOCRITICISM AND ATTEMPTING TO

IMPROVE WHAT YOU ARE DOING?

I DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND THEMEDIA WORLD, MY FRIEND.

>> LOOK WE HAD -->> Jon: STICK TO WHAT YOU SAY.

>> WE RESPOND TO SERIOUSCRITICISM THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN

WHICH IS TO PUT OUT A BETTERPRODUCT.

IF THERE'S CRITICISM THAT ISMORE FRIVOLOUS.

THEN WE MIGHT RESPOND WITH HUMOROR IGNORE IT SNARK OR WHATEVER

ELSE.

>> Jon: I LIKE THE WAY PAULKRUGMAN HAD BEEN A CRITIC OFWHAT YOU

ARE DOING AND YOU PUT I THOUGHTA FUNNY PIECE STATISTICALLY

ANALYZING THE MENTIONS OF YOURBLOG OF MR. KRUGMAN, THE OLD

BLOG VERSUS THE NEW BLOG.

>> IT WAS SATIRE.

MEANT TO BE A STEREOTYPE OF BADDATA ANALYSIS BASICALLY.

WHEN WE START AID WEEK AND AHALF AGO I TOLD MY TEAM YOU ARE

IN THE BIG LEAGUES NOW.

THE INTERNET IS KINDA A CRAZYPLACE SOMETIMES.

THEY ARE ALL BRUSHING THINGS OFFTHEIR SHOULDERS REALLY WELL.MEANWHILE,

I'M THERE MANAGING A STAFF OF 20PEOPLE AND IT'S LIKE SOMEONE ISKIND OF

THROWING APPLES AT YOUR KIDS ORSOMETHING.

>> Jon: HEAVY IS THE HEAD THATWEARS THE CROWN SILVER.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

[LAUGHTER]>> Jon: THAT'S WHY I WEAR THE

JESTER'S CROWN IT'S MADE OFFELT, MUCH LIGHTER.

[LAUGHTER]HERE IS WHY I THINK YOUR SITE IS

IMPORTANT.

STATISTICS AND ANALYSIS AREPUNDIT-FUEL.

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: AND IF YOUR SITE.

IF THE PURPOSE OF YOUR SITECOULD BE TO REFINE TO HELP VET

THE TYPE OF STATISTICAL ANALYSISOR THE TYPE OF NUMBERS THAT

THESE PUNDITS USE AS THEIR FUELIT'S AN INCREDIBLY VALUABLE

RESOURCE BECAUSE PART OF THEDIFFICULTY OF ANALYZING THINGS

BASED ON NUMBERS IS YOU DON'TREALLY KNOW THE EFFICACY OF MANY

OF THESE STATISTICAL STUDIES,NO.

>> WE'RE SAYING LOOK, WE'RE JUSTTRYING TO BE RIGHT A LITTLE BIT

MORE OFTEN, RIGHT?

IT'S A COMPLICATEDPLACE. WE HAVE A PIECE COMING

OUT BY A WONDERFUL YOUNGECONOMIST EMILY OSTER

LOOKING AT STUDIES OR A STUDYTHAT CAME OUT SAYING ACTUALLY

OBESITY IS DECREASING AMONG 2-4YEAR OLDS OR SOMETHING.

>> Jon: I HEARD THAT.

I WAS LISTENING ON THE RADIOTHEY SAID THAT.

>> IT GOES AGAINST THOUSANDS OFSTUDIES TO THE CONTRARY.

IF YOU ARE DRAWING A LOT OFLOTTERY BALLS BY TAKING

DIFFERENT POPULATION SAMPLESYOU'LL HAVE SOMETHING THAT TURNS

OUT DIFFERENTLY.

JUST LIKE POLL ANALYSIS PEOPLETAKE THE OUTLIER AND THINK IT

REPRESENTS THE NEW TREND.

WE'RE TRYING TO PROVIDE SANITY.

SOMETIMES SOME OF THE STUFF WEDO IS DRY.

IT'S LIKE WE DIDN'T LEARNTHAT MUCH FROM THIS POLL ORSTUDY.

SERIOUS TOPICS LIKE CHILDHOODOBESITY WE MIGHT HAVE A SOBER

OUTLOOK BUT WE ALSO HAVE FUNWITH THINGS LIKE BURRITOS.

WE ARE RUNNING A PROJECTTO TELL WHERE YOU TO FIND THE

BEST BURRITO IN AMERICA.

>> Jon: THE TWO OF THOSEARTICLES TOGETHER COULD --

[LAUGHTER]IN SOME WAYS COUNTERACT.

YOU MAY HAVE FOUND ONE COMINGTHIS WAY, ONE COMING -- YOU GO

INTO A VOID BECAUSE A BURRITOARTICLE FOLLOWING THE OBESITY

ARTICLE VERY SHREWD, MR. SILVER.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Jon: STICK AROUND I WANT TOASK YOU A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS

AND THEY WILL BE VICIOUS.

NATE SILVER, LADIES ANDGENTLEMEN.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE][CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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