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Nate Silver and Bill Simmons to headline inaugural SXSW sports event

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SXSW began in 1987 as a music festival, and in 1994, it expanded to become one of film’s great showcases. Now the Austin event is growing again. Beginning in March 2014, SXSW will include SXSports, a slate of film screenings and panel discussions that will revolve around the world of sports and sports media. Grantland’s Bill Simmons and 538’s Nate Silver, two of ESPN’s most visible and influential voices, will meet to discuss Media & The Personal Brand for one of the new program’s highest-profile events.

“The world of sports truly hits the sweet spot of SXSW, the vital intersection of entertainment and technology, and we intend to approach it with the same forward-thinking and culturally relevant perspective we shine on all of our events,” said Rebecca Feferman, Head of Film Media Relations & Programmer, in a statement. “We can’t wait to connect the sports world with our passionate audience of early adopters, culture nuts, digital creatives, and so much more.”

SXSW begins on March 7, 2014 and lasts for 10 days. SXSports will run March 7-9.

Click below for a lineup of just-announced events. More will be announced in November. READ FULL STORY

The four best answers from Nate Silver's Deadspin Q&A

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:
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Nate Silver leaves New York Times for 'dream job' at ESPN

Nate Silver, the statistical analyst who confounded many political pundits by accurately forecasting the last two presidential elections, confirmed today that he was leaving the New York Times and taking his award-winning website, FiveThirtyEight.com, to ESPN. In 2008, Silver, who initially established his analytical expertise as a baseball statistician, dug deep into the sea of presidential-election polls and successfully predicted the results in 49 of 50 states. He brought his blog to the Times in 2010, and in 2012, he improved upon his 2008 record, nailing all 50 states.

At ESPN, Silver will be editor-in-chief of a new FiveThirtyEight site, similar to the arrangement that the company has with Bill Simmons and his Grantland website. In fact, Silver himself recently tweeted: “Grantland’s a model for what new 538 will look like. Independent editorial point-of-view. We’ll be doing some hiring, building a great team.”

ESPN is a natural home for the sports-minded Silver, who will also be a valuable resource for ABC during the election season. “This is a dream job for me,” Silver said in a statement. “I’m excited to expand FiveThirtyEight’s data-driven approach into new areas, while also reuniting with my love of sports. I’m thrilled that we’re going to be able to create jobs for a great team of journalists, writers and analysts. And I think that I’ve found the perfect place to do it. The variety and quality of the assets ESPN and ABC News presented to me was compelling and unparalleled. I can’t wait to get started.” READ FULL STORY

Nate Silver crunches the Oscar numbers, learns what you already know

You don’t have to be a genius to accurately predict the Oscars — but it probably can’t hurt. Nate Silver, the sports and political statistical soothsayer who correctly predicted all 50 states’ results in the most recent presidential election, has filled out his office pool for Sunday’s Oscars based on the numbers. His only problem: those elusive numbers, which aren’t as solid as a political junkie might be used to. “You can’t claim to have a data-driven prediction when you don’t have any data,” he admits on his New York Times FiveThirtyEight Blog. “There is [no] magic formula for this.”

Instead, Silver digs into the history of the pre-Oscar awards and their respective track records for predicting the big winners. Kudos, Directors Guild (80 percent success rate). Why bother, L.A. Film Critics Association (12 percent)? Crunching the data, dividing by the Life of Pi, and multiplying by the number of electoral votes from the home state of each film’s dolly grip, Silver ultimately produces results that… well, likely resemble your own. READ FULL STORY

Election forecasting wizard Nate Silver takes a 'Daily Show' victory lap -- VIDEO

Is Nate Silver a witch? All signs point to “yes” — though he’s traded bubbling cauldrons and broomsticks for statistical models and pure reason.

After correctly predicting another presidential election with his patented FiveThirtyEight model, Silver is enjoying the sweet, sweet taste of mathematically ensured victory — which is all the richer for coming after high-profile detractors sniffed that Silver couldn’t possibly be as accurate as he was in ’08. On The Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart tried to encourage Silver to gloat, maybe by yelling something along these lines: “I AM NATE SILVER, LORD AND GOD OF THE ALGORITHM!” Since Silver abides by the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, he declined — though if you squint, you can tell he’s totally nursing a butterbeer hangover.

See Silver and Stewart discuss magic, arithmetic, and one of The Daily Show‘s favorite subjects (utter bulls—) below.

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