Nate Silver

A CRYSTAL BALL FILLED WITH STATS

In The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail--But Some Don't, the election-forecasting savant (of the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog) looks at how to separate good guesses from bad in an information-saturated world.

What's the most common misperception about prediction?

People sometimes think that when you make a prediction with a percentage attached to it, it means you're hedging your bets--like I'm 80% confident in it, which is not what it means. If 80% were just a euphemism for "Obama's the big favorite, but I don't want to say it's in the bag yet," then I would have the...

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