Ugly Nationalism

Yay! We’re in that 2 year cycle of ugly nationalism called the Olympics.

Can anybody provide a substantive reason why it matters how many medals a country “wins”?

I use quotes around wins because countries don’t win medals, people do. People happen to be from countries and this is almost always entirely an accident of fate. Often, people don’t even like the countries they’re from for one or many different reasons.

medal count aug 9 wapo.png

(Graphic above from Washington Post, August 9, approximately 11am Pacific)

I make this post regularly (approximately every 2 years) and I always include this quote from lyricist Neil Peart (from the song Territories):

Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world, than the pride that divides when a colorful flag is unfurled.


-JD Cross


Legalize Doping

Yes! Finally somebody else is at least entertaining the idea that performance enhancing drugs are a GOOD thing!

legalize doping.png

What do you mean…OF COURSE performance enhancing drugs are good. Performance ENHANCING. And yet, the world seems hellbent on eliminating them.

Look, if there are people who are willing to do crazy things to their bodies – things that laypeople and scientists can learn from and use to make everybody healthier – for large sums of money, why not let them? And as the author of the linked article points out, we do let athletes do some things, just not all things; it’s very arbitrary.

Here’s a great – albeit pragmatic – excerpt:

It’s possible that legalizing performance enhancers may be the most honest and efficient thing we could do to level the playing field for all and promote better health among athletes. It’s at least worth discussing.

Isn’t it about time we started to Evolve.

-JD Cross


I got your V-shape right here

As part of a dispute I had with a person I do not know, there is something inside of me that compels me (that is: I cannot let bygones be bygones, at least, not until I get an apology, something I fully expect never to come) to post graphs of employment numbers from time to time and point out the seasonal “V” shapes that appear.

So, here are your V-shapes for the past two years.

v shaped.png

Oh, you don’t see them either? Maybe that’s because they’re not there. And there are two very simple reasons why they’re not there. 1) because whatever shape(s) you might find in the graph is/are entirely the result of the x and y axis scaling. 2) because it is in no way clear what “V” shaped even means (it apparently does not mean something like the fit of y = A*abs(x)+B where A and B are specified even approximately. I don’t know why it doesn’t mean that…that’s a perfectly reasonable definition. Oh, wait, maybe it doesn’t mean that because that actually is a definition, and would prevent people from making silly claims about finding cute shapes in clouds).

-JD Cross


Aug 4, polls only forecast

Here is the Aug 4 polls-only forecast from 538


fivethirtyeight odds aug 4.png

You’ll see the changes from my previous posts of 538 forecasts of July 19 and July 25.

This change prompts the question: what, if any, value is there in such forecasts?

-JD Cross


Is Nate Silver a Liar?


The fivethirtyeight poll that I posted below isn’t the one that Nate Silver is talking about. He’s talking about a “now-cast” poll. He acknowledges that this is bogus. But this is fairly intellectually dishonest…if the poll is bogus, why even have it, why post it, and why talk about it?

See here for his commentary.

Somebody please help me out here. I am genuinely confused. It is not clear to me if Nate Silver is a really bad liar, or if there is something very simple that I am missing when I look at his website. (Another explanation is that many news outlets are misreporting Nate Silver’s views or the numbers on his website. This seems unlikely in this circumstance, though, as it would be so flagrant and obvious.) shows Clinton winning. See below, from today. In contrast, Facebook’s news feed indicates that Nate Silver says Trump will win.



-JD Cross


The Reich Knows What’s Best For You

Robert Reich (screenshot from Facebook) doing what he does best: presuming to know more about what’s best for you than you do (note the condescension in his declaring that most/all Americans are gullible).

So, the question is: who’s the bigger conman, Reich or Trump?

robert reich the conman

-JD Cross


Predictions: 538 July 19

Here’s what fivethirtyeight has as of July 19:


fivethrityeight July 19.png

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