Statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver recently announced his departure from the New York Times, saying that his new gig with ESPN is a “dream job.” The numbers-man created FiveThirtyEight, a wildly popular blog that perhaps most famously predicted the 2012 Presidential Election results down to the state. In honor of his news-making move from the traditional news source back to his sports roots (he created the PECOTA system which can accurately predict a baseball player’s future performance), the author/ journalist/ mathematician answered questions directly from commenters in a Q&A on Deadspin Monday. Here are our four favorite responses from the chat:
Who is the hottest statistical model you’ve ever met? Did you ever have sex with her/ him? The NWS/Hurricane Weather Research Model is pretty fucking sexy.
When will I die? I’d guess that the median Deadspin commenter is a 34-year-old white male with middle-to-high income but also above-average alcohol consumption. So we’re taking about a remaining live expectancy of 47 years, give or take. My best guess is that you’ll die in 2060, perhaps just a few days before Sasha Obama wins her second term.
How far can you punt a football? Basically the only way that I excelled at sports as a youth was to exploit others’ ineptitude, at the risk of being called a pussy. For instance, I had something like a .633 on-base percentage the last year I played baseball (8th, I think) because I knew that I couldn’t hit, but I also knew that the pitchers couldn’t pitch, so I’d never swing at anything unless I was down 0-2. Likewise, in my neighborhood touch football league, it was considered uncouth to run instead of pass, but I was pretty fast and the running game was pretty hard to stop when everyone was used to dropping back into coverage.
If you had to pick one what would it be: Having a taco from said cart on 28th & 6th with Obama, or having a Cambodian sandwich with Romney? Whose breath would stink worse after eating their respective meal, and which would offer you a breath mint/piece of gum? I imagine Mitt Romney having a lot of food hang-ups, and while there are exceptions (e.g. vegetarians or people who really do have celiac disease), in general someone’s annoyingness about food is pretty strongly correlated with their annoyingness overall. I’d really like to get a slice of pizza with Chris Christie.
Of course, Silver also discussed his new deal with ESPN and some of the problems he faced while working at the New York Times. If you want to check out more of his answers, click here.