Take 2.

I spent an hour or so last night on a rant, but it lost focus and veered off into the weeds, after which I was too beat to start anew and ultimately just went to bed.

So open thread today, with some conversation-starters:

Puppies in Vegas! Imperiled puppies!

A good John Carlisle column, about a man with autism and his obsession with electronics.

So, what do we think of the new FiveThirtyEight?

Posted at 8:30 am in Current events, Media |

34 responses to “Take 2.”

  1. beb said on March 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Ain’t it a shame to start a good rant only to have it verge out of control. Mark Evanier (newsfromME.com) wrote about his visit to a Lewis Black concert the other day. The amazing thing, Evanier says is that every time he’s seen Black the man has new material for his show, which is cool. And I mention Black because the man can rant! His chief shtick is that it sounds like he’s about to have a rage-induced stroke.

    Fivethirtyeight at least starts out with less controversy than Ezra Klein’s. But then I think Nate Silver has retained his outsider badge of honor while Klein has become just another Villager.

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  2. alex said on March 18, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I checked out Nate Silver’s new site yesterday, as a matter of fact, thinking I might yet participate in the March Madness betting pool at the office, having neither the time nor the inclination to set up a bracket by myself. Didn’t ever get to the brackets because there’s so much else interesting going on there. I predict he’s going to steal some thunder from Huffington Post, etc., that at times verge on being as sensationalistic, ideological and ridiculous as Fox News or Matt Drudge. Without Nate Silver, the NYT isn’t worth the cost of a subscription, but I think they are owed a debt of gratitude for letting him go so that he could create a site I’ll spend a whole lot more time with than I ever would theirs.

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  3. brian stouder said on March 18, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Don’t miss Jeff tmmo’s link at the end of the last thread; sensible sounding analysis of the missing Malaysion plane

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Interesting argument about MH370 from an airline pilot, and it holds up with the data we know. Who knows? But between the lithium batteries in the cargo hold and this suggestion about the forward landing gear, it’s one that ought to be out there alongside of all the terrorism assumptions. https://plus.google.com/106271056358366282907/posts/GoeVjHJaGBz

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  5. mark said on March 18, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I don’t think it holds up with the co-pilot saying “All right, good night” to Malaysia control, which reportedly occurred after the transponder was turned off. If a cataclysmic fire caused the transponder failure and other system failures, why not mention this?

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  6. brian stouder said on March 18, 2014 at 9:52 am

    If you click Nancy’s 538 link, the headlined article throws a bit of cold water (so to speak) on the interesting article Jeff tmmo linked.

    Sooner or later, the investigators will catch a break, and then we’ll have a plausible idea of what actually happened……I hope. (I would think any flotsam would immediately buttress the fire theory)

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  7. susan said on March 18, 2014 at 9:55 am

    FiveThirtyEight. Six white dudes and a token. Right there on the front page.

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  8. Jolene said on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Mark, the Malaysian authorities have reversed themselves on when the co-pilot spoke in relation to when the transponder and the ACARS system were turned off. From today’s NYT:

    “But the Malaysian authorities on Monday reversed themselves on the sequence of events they believe took place on the plane in the crucial minutes before ground controllers lost contact with it early on March 8. They said it was the plane’s first officer — the co-pilot — who was the last person in the cockpit to speak to ground control. And they withdrew their assertion that another automated system on the plane, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or Acars, had already been disabled when the co-pilot spoke.”


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  9. brian stouder said on March 18, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Susan – interesting catch!

    And – didja notice the neckties? I’m suspecting the workplace has some tensions. (what the hell aam I saying? I bet these folks never see each other, and contribute remotely)

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  10. Deborah said on March 18, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Making the news nerdier is a good summation, as Silver says. I like it.

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  11. Scout said on March 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I was immediately drawn to this story in the politics section: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-wild-conservative-west/ It is a great summary of the mess that is AZ politics.

    I had a day like Nancy’s trip to the weeds yesterday. I spent half a day on a flyer layout only to have the client say, “not what I was looking for.” Oh well. Clear the jets and start over.

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  12. Deborah said on March 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Scout, I read that article too and thought it was fascinating. It made so much sense.

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  13. brian stouder said on March 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Jolene – another interesting article.

    If the course change was pre-programmed (the ‘seven or eight keystrokes’, ahead of time) that also blows a hole in the emergency-response (innocent) scenario in Jeff tmmo’s linked article.

    Instead of the compelling case for Aviate/Navigate/Communicate (in the midst of unexpected fire, for example) – we seem to be back to Deviate/obfuscate/disintegrate

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  14. susan said on March 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Now that I’ve gotten over those hip dudes staring out of the intertoobs at us (well, not really), I guess I can actually take a gander at 538.

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  15. Deborah said on March 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I read the article about the young man with high functioning autism. It’s interesting that there are as many differences in propensities in that population as in any other population. Actually I think the correct term is “affinities”. Like for Temple Grandin it’s livestock, and that young man in a link a couple of days ago it’s Disney movies etc.

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  16. Sherri said on March 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not blown away by FiveThirtyEight yet. Beyond the obvious lack of diversity (Emily Bell wrote about that in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/12/journalism-startups-diversity-ezra-klein-nate-silver), I was left dissatisfied by the articles I read. I guess they’re going for short form, quick reads, but it’s hard to do data with much sophistication in such quick reads. I just didn’t find much of the writing compelling.

    I did like the NCAA interactive bracket. I hope Silver learned something from his time at the NYTimes; they’re the best around at interactive data visualization.

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  17. coozledad said on March 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Pining for the days when he could suck himself to relevance, son of Irving wishes we could slaughter a few more hundred thousand people.


    Paired with the Republican party’s adoption of racial hygiene, this rhetoric sounds a little familiar*. Or maybe feeb white dumbasses always sound the same.

    *But they should never forget the great deeds achieved by German warriors conservative pundits. Keeping the memory of them alive in ourselves and our people is a sacred duty. For then neither officers the DC cocktail circuit nor the people will lapse into enfeebling illusions of peace, but will remain aware that in the moment of truth only personal and national stature counts. If fate once again calls the German people to arms gives us a chance to zorch some of them unabortioned babies, and who can doubt that day will come, then officers Republican politicians and their staffers should not have to call on a nation of weaklings, but of strong men ready to take up familiar and trusted weapons.

    -Hans von Seeckt, Cue Cards for John McCain’s appearances on Meet The Press, Shocken Books, preface to the 1925 edition

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  18. coozledad said on March 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    The angel Moroni gets in on the act:
    It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office, and now Russia is in Ukraine.

    The all-seeing eye of the venture capitalist,looking straight up his pink asshole.

    Ask Angela Merkel or David Cameron how big a sigh of relief they sighed when the American people rebuffed this jar of botulinum toxin laced mayonnaise.

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  19. MarkH said on March 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    It looks as if the author if the Jeff-linked site is onto something. Residents of Maldives, WSW of Kuala Lumpur, reported witnessing a low-flying jumbo jet matching the Malaysian airliner early morning of March 8, the day it went missing.


    Here’s another common-sense view on the disappearance from AskThePilot, a great overall avaition site on its own.


    It seems the commercial pilots being consulted are the ones making the most sense of this ordeal.

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  20. Dexter said on March 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I like the format for the new FiveThirtyEight…I will bookmark it right now.

    Open thread, you say? Mr. Bossard,the longtime groundskeeper at US Cellular Field, has detected ten inches of permafrost under the White Sox turf and is pulling every rabbit out of his hat to try and thaw the field before the March 31 opener. He is saying this is as big a challenge as back 35 years ago when radio shock jock Steve Dahl burned up the field with disco demolition night and the Sox had to play the next night. Nobody in baseball has ever had to deal with a situation like this. In Minnesota and Milwaukee back in the days of outdoor baseball, you’d have thought it happens, but back then the home opener might have been around April 22. I don’t know what kind of turf the new Minnesota outdoor stadium has installed.

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  21. brian stouder said on March 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Cooz for the win!

    Frankly – I’d think the president’s domestic critics could construct a stronger case that our president is too trigger happy, rather than too passive.

    Certainly, the current president is on track to have ordered more robotic drone strikes than all our other presidents back to Washington (never mind that the loiter/killer drones have only existed for 30 years or so); plus he specifically WILL NOT forsake our troops in Afghanistan, just for the sake of proving his own manhood (or whatever), whereas “President Romney” would be taking orders from foreign leaders like Karzai or Netanyahu.

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  22. Kath said on March 18, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Dexter – Target Field in Minneapolis is a natural grass field, but there is a heating system underneath the turf. Last year a number of games were cancelled due to snow in April. I expect there’ll be more of the same this year.

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  23. Dexter said on March 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Landlords not friendly to Airbnb hosts.

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  24. Dexter said on March 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    …and a much wilder Airbnb story: http://nypost.com/2014/03/17/airbnb-renter-claims-he-returned-home-to-an-orgy/

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  25. Charlotte said on March 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Dexter — was it last year that the Colorado Rockies had to ask the fans to help shovel out the stadium for opening day?

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  26. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Today someone asked me who is paying for the airplane search and I was left scratching my head. Somehow I don’t see Malaysia paying for the US military, so I wonder if anyone here can enlighten me.

    And Dexter, never in a hundred years would I rent out my place through Airbnb or anyone else, I guess I like my privacy and feel like it would take too long to lock everything down. I do know people who have rented through it and love it. Our niece was in NOLA over spring break and posted photos in front of what was literally a very run-down shack. I jokingly asked if they found it through Airbnb and she unjokingly said they did.

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  27. brian stouder said on March 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Julie – I assume (although I’ve no idea) that no one is picking up anyone else’s tab.

    So indeed, when the US Navy conducts searches and so on – they’re doing what we built them up to do

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  28. Jolene said on March 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I wrote to James Fallows to ask him your question, Julie. He is both an aviator and someone who writes about aviation. He wasn’t absolutely certain, but agreed with Brian’s assumption, i.e., each country picks up its own tab. It’s worth noting that the personnel involved would be paid anyway, and some of the equipment costs would also be incurred. Mostly, we would be paying for some additional fuel and maintenance.

    If the wreckage is ever found, presumably Malaysia would have to bear the cost of retrieving it. It’s a state airline, so there’s no distinction between the country and the company.

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  29. Jolene said on March 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Some criticism of the explanation for the lost plane Jeff(tmmo) posted at #4:


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  30. Dexter said on March 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I don’t remember the Denver shovelling, but a lot of football teams pay anyone willing to work ten bucks an hour to shovel when needed. Green Bay residents know they have a second source of income almost every week. A few years ago Cleveland’s Indians just gave up and played a week of home games inside the Miller dome in Beertown.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks, Jolene and Brian, that’s kinda what I thought too.

    For those in the Fort: a delicious takedown of Kevin Leininger and Bob Morris by none other than John Crawford. http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140318/EDITORIAL/140319618/1015/OPINION

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    All those objections to the fire hypothesis are valid, and lean us back to the idea that one of the pilots was intent on a mysterious suicide (al Qaeda inspired or not) and so was heading for deep water and no witnesses to the impact, unless the fire burned through a key bundle of cables. The thing is, unless you argue that the two pilots were both in on it (which could mean no one, flight crew included, knew anything was wrong until impact, which is to say never), then you have seven hours of one or another pilot latched out of the cockpit. They’ve reinforced those doors, but seven hours with a pilot who can tell what’s up on the other side?

    Which then opens up the possibility of killing the other pilot and then latching the door, so there had to be a growing sense of doom among flight crew if not the entire passenger list . . . but again, hours to try to access the cockpit? In which the pilot in command could have said “everyone will be fine, as long as you don’t try to get into the cockpit, in which case I will point the plane into the water,” so everyone sat tight until . . . the end.

    I guess that, perversely, the best argument for terrorist suicide hijacking is the fact that there’s been no claim of credit. That’s what al-Q’s approach was until long, long after 9-11. They liked mystery and confusion more than credit. But I’m still thinking that a cargo bay battery/tire fire is at least as likely as a lone wolf self-immolating rogue pilot.

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  33. alex said on March 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Julie, I was surprised they had the integrity to let Dr. Crawford post what he did. Usually when they get called on bullshit that flagrant they bury it, or have Rebecca Malbaisee (a/k/a Leo Morris pretending to be a lawyer) take some disingenuous swats at it for the benefit of the few fucktards who still subscribe to that disreputable rag. The Divine Miss L has been busted multiple times for her noxious emissions and they still haven’t put a friggin’ cork in her promiscuous blowhole.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Me too, Alex! There was a reduced version in the JG as a letter to the editor that only mentioned Bob Morris. I’d love to know if the same article was submitted to both, and if so, how/why the JG decided to edit. Possibly their attorney? http://jg.net/article/20140318/EDIT09/303189997/1149/EDIT09

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