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In 2008, a 30-year-old baseball stat nerd looked at the reams of public research product churned out by the nation’s 1,500-plus daily newspapers, and concluded that, though “there is nearly as much data as there is for first basemen,” the “understanding has lagged behind.” So Nate Silver launched 538.com (named after the number of votes in the Electoral College), and through sheer intellectual rigor and superior numeracy went on to outperform all comers in the political prediction business that year. As Silver later explained in The New York Post, too often “polls are cherry-picked based on their brand name or shock value rather than their track record of accuracy,” and “demographic variables are misrepresented or misunderstood.”
Silver, who was later hired by The New York Times (a blogger-to-riches story that would have made headlines a decade ago but is no big deal nowadays), is a living refutation of the Labor Theory of Value. All those thousands of big-media reporters and commentators and pollsters, paid full time to analyze and interpret political information, got their clocks cleaned by a sports geek blowing off steam after hours.

Matt Welch is none too pleased about mainstream media lamenting its own demise. That said, he overlooks topics (wars, famines, protests) for which boots must be on the ground.

When Losers Write History - Reason Magazine (h/t David Carr

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Seated in front of a wall that was decked in campaign signs and instructions for volunteers with titles like “Canvas 101,” Mike Pederson of Nashua reviewed the talking points that had been handed to him by the [Obama] campaign. The focus of the phone-banking operation on this day was on how the health care reform law would affect Medicare, and he stayed on message as he ignored the full spread of Girl Scout cookies, soft drinks and vegetables that had been set up on a nearby table.
Lately, I’ve found myself not reading The New York Times regularly. We get the Weekender and I like flipping through the Sunday paper. But I was out with my son at a coffee shop the other day and there was a stack of The Times and the Daily News and he was like, “Do you have to pay for these?” So, I bought one and I had to explain to him how they worked: why it folds, where the story continues. It was really exotic to him. He’s a smart, 8-year-old kid who reads on his Nook but this was really unfamiliar to him.
Inevitably, the auctions turn out better for the animals’ owners than for the animals themselves. Three days after the auction, Kipper was put in a trailer and driven to a meat science laboratory at Texas A & M University, where he was slaughtered and placed in a cooler.
Once his drug test results come in, Kipper will be butchered, boxed and, along with 66 other top-ranking barrows, donated to charity. The four couples who bought Kipper will each receive a 54-pound gourmet pork package.
At first, Doctors Without Borders and the Cuban medical brigades, both self-financed, handled the overwhelming majority of cases. “We felt quite lonely at the beginning,” said Yann Libessart, spokesman for Doctors Without Borders. “It made no sense. Everybody was in Haiti. It was the biggest density of humanitarian actors in the world, and we two organizations were dealing with 80 percent of the cholera.”
Gaëtan Drossart, mission chief for Doctors Without Borders-Belgium, said the health cluster had good intentions, “but there’s a lot of meetings and a lot of blah blah blah.”
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One fan is Wayne Cordeiro, the pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship, an evangelical church in Honolulu. He knows that congregants peek at their smartphones during services, so sometimes, mid-sermon, he poses multiple-choice questions on a Power Point slide, such as: “If there was no chance of anyone ever finding out, I would: a. have sex outside marriage, b. do drugs, c. have someone exterminated.” Text your answer. Anonymity assured.
As congregants watched the responses roll in, nervous laughter and gasps erupted around the church, he said. Mr. Cordeiro explains that he is merely following in the footprints set by Jesus. To preach to thousands on a hillside at Capernaum, Jesus asked Simon to row him out on the water. “He didn’t have a microphone, so he used the bay as a natural amphitheater and the water as an amplification device,” Mr. Cordeiro said. “He just used the technology that was available.”
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Injured black bears emerge from hibernation with barely a scratch. Although their body temperatures and heart rates drop dramatically and blood circulation slows, black bears heal while hibernating without infections and little scaring, reported zoologists in the journal Integrative Zoology. What’s more, the sleeping bears heal without eating, drinking, or relieving themselves.