March 27, 2014

Nate Silver does a statistical analysis of Paul Krugman not liking him anymore.

There's something so inanely schoolboy about all this.

That's how it feels to me intuitively. I've got no numbers to back that up.

79 comments:

Marty Keller said...

Nate's tongue seems firmly implanted in cheek.

MadisonMan said...

I like numbers, and this piece made me grin. Hilarious!

Definitely tweaking Krugman. Well done.

chrisnavin.com said...

I can't speak for these two gentlemen, but I suspect some of the rage for data and numbers is driven by the poor stewardship of other fields.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

There's something innately funny about it, to me.

MikeDC said...

1. So what if is "schoolboy"? My schoolboys are bright, witty, and should probably be listened to more than they are.

2. Krugman is a douchenozzle. If Silver is a schoolboy, Krugman plays the fat old asshole of a teacher who stopped caring about doing the right thing years ago, and wastes his students time by spouting off his opinions instead of teaching them to learn truths.

He's boring and deserves to be tweeked.

Scott said...

I agree, I think Silver's blog post is funny as hell.

glenn said...

Funny

madAsHell said...

I'm not sure that Krugman is worthy of any analysis.

I suspect that Silver is promoting himself, and pointing out what a jerk, the frequently wrong Krugman is.

KLDAVIS said...

After a year, I've decided that my favorite part of living in NY is listening to the young quants on the train...so sure that everything their numbers tell them is so important. Nearly as silly as Althouse's intuition.

Marc said...

I don't pay any attention to PK but finally got around to visiting at the fivethirtyeight.com site this morning; this post was an amusing welcome.

EDH said...

Nerd attack! Mankiw takes on Krugman with regularity.

Not Class Warfare, Optimal Taxation

Today's column by Paul Krugman is classic Paul: It takes a policy favored by the right, attributes the most vile motives to those who advance the policy, and ignores all the reasonable arguments in favor of it.

garage mahal said...

Where was the statistical analysis? Krugman doesn't like some of Silver's work. So what? Why is Krugman wrong? Silver can't/won't say.

Silver never wins a data war with Krugman.

Michael K said...

Huffington Post is certain that Silver is "bitter" and "petty."

"Nate Silver Launches Bitter, Petty Attack On Paul Krugman"

It reminds me a bit of what happened when Hitler invaded his erstwhile ally the USSR. "The Yanks aren't coming" quickly became "second front now !"

Kissinger pointed out how useful such allegiance switches are in identifying fellow travelers.

mccullough said...

He's got to protect his brand. If Krugman is shitting on him and it might affect the 538 readership or potential readership, then he's got to punch back. This was a mild tweaking that was amusing.

Nate Silver is making more money with ESPN than the dying brand of the NYTimes. That's why Krugman is mad.

rehajm said...
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Brando said...

Let's see, Nate Silver has tended to be far more accurate than his competitors when it comes to election analysis, and if he has any partisan leanings he manages to hide them well and not let them interfere with his job.

Krugman has a long history of being wrong, and sullies his own writing with laughably partisan vitriol.

Whose side to take?

mccullough said...

Garage,

Silver already won. He moved his property to a bigger platform and is expanding it. Krugman is stuck with the moribund NYT, read by blue-haired liberals in Manhattan and in college towns.

Krugman should welcome some attention.

Jay said...

The political left are like children. Children need soothing stories to comfort them when they are scared.

Nate Silver used to comfort liberals.

No more.

Henry said...

I had to laugh, but it definitely seems very trivial.

There is a punch line, if you read to the end. That is when I decided Nate Silver was mostly kidding.

I would also point out that after 538's supposedly poor launch, Silver sure is driving a lot of traffic his way.

khesanh0802 said...
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khesanh0802 said...

Seems to me that it is a fair observation by Silver. He does not make any value judgements except about his own work. We are left to draw our own conclusions. EDH and MikeDC make the points I like best.

There IS something terribly dishonest about a Noble prize winner in economics ignoring his own economic text and teaching when writing for the NYT.

bsand112 said...

I vote with that being a funny piece by Nate Silver. It's Math/Stat humor, I guess it's not for the numerically challenged?

jr565 said...

The left seems to love that Nate Silver predicted the last election so well, and like to tweak repubs every time he makes a proclamation. So, then by that rationale I suppose they are in agreement with Nate over Krugman.

MattL said...

I was amused by it. It was certainly more polite than anything Krugtron writes these days.

I wonder if Krugman was consciously aware of the pattern, and if the pattern is just that current trends kinda suck for people like Krugman (Castrate the messenger!).

Gahrie said...

That's how it feels to me intuitively. I've got no numbers to back that up.

Of course not. Men work with logic and facts, women work with emotion and intuition.

That's how we keep getting frauds like Obama elected to office.

garage mahal said...

We are left to draw our own conclusions

Not very wonky. And I love Wonk Wars. This was laughably inept by Silver though.

PB Reader said...

At least Nate uses real data.

jacksonjay said...

Schoolboy is finding castration and nut-kicking humor funny!

Krugman was an Enron bitch, now he hates KochBros and the nerdy numbers boy! Very courageous!

jacksonjay said...
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tim maguire said...

Garage, try to imagine that Nate Silver is Nate Silver, this article is this article, but Paul Krugman is Charles Krauthammer.

There you go, I knew you could see the humor too.

Marshal said...

madAsHell said...
I suspect that Silver is promoting himself, and pointing out what a jerk, the frequently wrong Krugman is.


More likely he's just pointing out how partisan Krugman is knowing Krugman's only response can be to ignore Silver and 538 in the future (Hence the parting shot that at the current pace Krugman will mention 538/Silver 425 more times before the election).

It was a shot across the bow. And funny because Krugman is such a transparent horses ***.

rhhardin said...

It seems like self-aware humor to me.

To a girl it might seem childish.

chickenlittle said...

The Left believes that the messenger is the message and tries to shoot while hip.

rehajm said...
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garage mahal said...


More likely he's just pointing out how partisan Krugman is knowing Krugman's only response can be to ignore Silver and 538 in the futur


Right. Silver's response was "I counted up columns where you liked me and didn't like me".

Krugman is supposed to be afraid of that weak grade school shit?

chickenlittle said...

Garage fumed: Krugman is supposed to be afraid of that weak grade school shit?

No, Krugman is supposed to fear the message, not the messenger.

Why did the Left turn on Silver? I think it's amusing...and telling.

chickenlittle said...

"Garage fumes" sounds toxic, btw.

Saint Croix said...

Schoolboy is finding castration and nut-kicking humor funny!

(raising my hand to speak in class)

"I like my balls."

Saint Croix said...

sung to the tune of Pink Floyd...

"Farmer! Leave those pigs alone!"

garage mahal said...

No, Krugman is supposed to fear the message, not the messenger

I don't think Krugman is fearing anything at this point.

MattL said...

I don't think the article was expected to change Krugman's behavior. Let's be honest, even the economics textbooks he wrote himself don't inform his NYT copy. Only enough government stimulus money could possibly do that.

The article's just another amusing demonstration of how much of a ridiculous partisan hack Krugman has become, and probably bolster's Silver's independent credibility.

paul a'barge said...

That's how it feels to me intuitively.

That would make it inanely schoolgirl-ish.

Zeb Quinn said...

There's something insanely schoolboy about all this

"Insanely"
schoolboy? Me, I'm not seeing that at all. And "insanely?" Really?

Bob Ellison said...

It is funny, especially because it's so dry.

Krugman made the mistake of punching down and sideways, reputation-wise, and Silver already won by punching back up, and better.

Henry said...

I don't think Krugman is fearing anything at this point.

Maybe he fears death. Do you think he fears death?

chickenlittle said...

I don't think Krugman is fearing anything at this point.

Silver has a track record of being on the right side of history.

Krugman should have dowds about his own fate.

garage mahal said...

Silver has a track record of being on the right side of history

A lot of pollsters predicted the same thing as Silver.

Revenant said...

I don't think Krugman is fearing anything at this point.

Well, he's rich and he's old, so probably not.

But he's in danger of having his politics, which are quite silly, overshadow his scientific work, which was serious. Noam Chomsky suffered the same fate.

chickenlittle said...

A lot of pollsters predicted the same thing as Silver.

A lot of pollsters are predicting the same thing as Silver.

FTFY

Saint Croix said...

Nate Silver talks about what he wants to do here.

He is hostile to all op-ed columnists, not just Krugman. He has a disdain for opinion, particularly opinions that are not rigorous, which he defines as opinion without social science to back them up. So that's why he's attacking Krugman. Not because he's a liberal, but because he's a bad scientist, a bad economist. Krugman is emotional, Silver is saying, and thus we should not read him.

Under that theory we should not read Althouse, either, or Krauthammer, or Noonan. We should not listen to Rush Limbaugh or Jon Stewart. We should not bother with the National Review, we should not read MIckey Kaus.

I disagree with that. I think opinion can be sharp and incisive, and is well worth reading. I disagree that numbers--votes--by majorities is more informative than what a well-informed person has to say about a subject.

On the other hand, there's such a huge amount of ideology in journalism, that I think Silver and his website might be a breath of fresh air.

It's quite interesting what he's trying to do. He's attacking bias in journalism, particularly in opinion journalism. He's relying on statistics, numbers, and wants to use those numbers to inform any arguments that he makes.

Instead of approaching an issue with a pre-set answer in his mind, he wants to gather data to answer the question.

Anybody who has read Bill James knows that this sort of journalism can make us all smarter and more informed. Some questions can be answered objectively, and it's refreshing to have a guy who seeks to find answers.

This attitude might take Silver and his website into surprising directions.

Saint Croix said...

"Insanely" schoolboy? Me, I'm not seeing that at all. And "insanely?" Really?

Inanely, not insanely.

paul a'barge said...

@Zeb Quinn:
"Insanely" schoolboy? Me, I'm not seeing that at all. And "insanely?" Really?


Inanely

not Insanely

Read it again

Hyphenated American said...

"I don't think Krugman is fearing anything at this point."

Krugman reminds me of some professors I had in university back in Russia and USA. If you look carefully, you would see that his eyes have an expression of utter horror every time you ask them a question. This is because deep down they know that they are ignorant, and some student one day will figure it out.
Paul Krugman's eyes always shows this horror, just look at him talk and smile - the little professor is always scared sh$tless.

Freeman Hunt said...

I thought it was funny.

EMD said...

Right. Silver's response was "I counted up columns where you liked me and didn't like me".

Krugman is supposed to be afraid of that weak grade school shit?


Maybe it's just supposed to be funny, not fear-inducing.

Also, Krugman has used an inordinate amount of ink on Silver's move compared to other columnists of or not of the New York Times.

Mary E. Glynn said...

They're both laughing all the way to the banks...

Mary E. Glynn said...

Nate and Paul are doing what Ann and Jessica Valenti did re. that "Look at those Breasts" controversy...

using each other to pump their brands.

Mary E. Glynn said...

Hey, didja hear the latest? With 6 million signups as of today, Obamacare's officially a success.

Paul told me so.

The numbers told him.










Numbers don't lie.
Dontchaknow?

Mary E. Glynn said...

Anybody who has read Bill James knows that this sort of journalism can make us all smarter and more informed. Some questions can be answered objectively, and it's refreshing to have a guy who seeks to find answers.
----------------

The problem is... who amongst us who has observed Nate Silver thinks he is the best man in these times to properly frame THE QUESTIONS...

It's a tool for him to market his brand, ala Malcolm Gladwell.

25 years ago, he might have hit it big creating the Trivial Pursuit game; today the autistic geniuses put their obsessive talents to creating odd websites.

Does anyone see the questions that the Krugmans or the Silvers spend their careers addressing having much, if any, direct impact on the functioning real world? Other than their own personal bank accounts, that is.

You're entertained by their entertainments. Thinking it's intellectual material, or heady stuff, simply flatters the consumer into coming back for more...

Mary E. Glynn said...

Anybody who has read Bill James knows that this sort of journalism can make us all smarter and more informed. Some questions can be answered objectively, and it's refreshing to have a guy who seeks to find answers.
----------------

The problem is... who amongst us who has observed Nate Silver thinks he is the best man in these times to properly frame THE QUESTIONS...

It's a tool for him to market his brand, ala Malcolm Gladwell.

25 years ago, he might have hit it big creating the Trivial Pursuit game; today the autistic geniuses put their obsessive talents to creating odd websites.

Does anyone see the questions that the Krugmans or the Silvers spend their careers addressing having much, if any, direct impact on the functioning real world? Other than their own personal bank accounts, that is.

You're entertained by their entertainments. Thinking it's intellectual material, or heady stuff, simply flatters the consumer into coming back for more...

garage mahal said...

This is because deep down they know that they are ignorant, and some student one day will figure it out.

LOL

Mary E. Glynn said...

Who will will the election?

What are the odds once you've crunched the stats of this team or that team winning a particular championship this year?

(He's better when somebody else is feeding him the relevant questions that his number crunching genius can... "answer".)

I'm pretty sure Nate Silver knows the game he is playing, and knows it's not going to go on forever. Paul Krugman: he seems to believe his screeds, that ran alongside the Cartier cougar this past Christmastime...

I see Paul as more a cougar -- or was it a diamond-bedecked panther in the ads scrolling those skyscrapers? -- than a hedgehog or a fox, but then I'm no expert here.

Nate seems like one of those critters, you spot him briefly in the dark, and boom -- he's vanished back underground. No comfortable in the bright lights

Mary E. Glynn said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I thought it was funny.
------------

Target audience.

Marty Keller said...


"Silver never wins a data war with Krugman." Uh, neither does Krugman.

garage mahal said...

"Silver never wins a data war with Krugman." Uh, neither does Krugman.

Krugman already won unless Silver can come up with something better than "hey you don't like me since I left the NYT"

John Constantius said...

I don't care who you are, that shit is funny. GM's bitter posts in response just make it funnier.

Mary E. Glynn said...

I don't care who you are, that shit is funny.
-------------------

It will be fun to see, when the results roll in, if the numbers there back you up...

Do most people, no matter who they are, find Nate's shit funny? Or do most people... avoid such shit?

It's a very big world out here. Me thinks Nate and Paul are a bit ... overrepresented.

Michael K said...

"Why did the Left turn on Silver? I think it's amusing...and telling."

That was my point in the comment about the switch from the "Yanks aren't coming" to "Second front now !"

They are so transparent. You too, garage.

grackle said...

There's something so inanely schoolboy about all this.

Was it inanely schoolboyish before Silver began defending the credibility of his site?

Attacking Silver's credibility = adult behavior

Silver defending his credibility = it suddenly becomes schoolboy behavior

Thus is always the way. Progs on the attack? Fine and dandy.

Defending against progressive slander? Bad, bad behavior – not to be tolerated.

SeanJ said...

Silver is conjuring up a controversy to drive traffic to his new blog, duh.

SeanJ said...

He who laughs last, now that shit is funny. We'll see how it shakes down.

SeanJ said...

"Nate and Paul are doing what Ann did re. that "Look at those Breasts" controversy...

using each other to pump their brands."

All that did is make her look stupid.

Tom said...

"In God we trust. All others must bring data."

---Sign at NASA

Mary E. Glynn said...

Silver defending his credibility = it suddenly becomes schoolboy behavior
------------------

The whole "am I a hedgehog or a fox? A fox I am, I tells ya, Sam..." rang schoolboy from the start.

People in reality -- outside the schools or corporate thinktanks or paid pontificators -- don't calculate the angels dancing on the heads of pins, or whether they are hedgehogs, foxes, or mice in search of cheese...

Schoolboy.

Phil 3:14 said...

When you've got a shtick, beat them over the head with it.

J Lee said...

Silver writes to analyze political trends. Krugman writes to influence political trends.

You can argue the old scientific statement that you cannot analyze something without influencing it, but since Nate's gained his reputation by being able to correctly forecast results through his analysis, were he to do what Krugman and many others on the left seem to think his mission should be -- to massage his statistics to influence outcomes -- he'd be in danger of losing his credibility if that massaging ended up at odds with the November 2014 election results.

Silver's open disdain for anyone writing political polemics seems to have been an open secret when he was at the Times and probably contributed to his departure. But this does remind me of the 1996-2004 period, when those on the right fell in love with pollster John Zogby for his calls that seemed to lean Republican, then fell out of love with him when those same calls no longer matched what they wanted to hear (while then correctly noting that Zogby's methodology was less precise than other pollsters, let alone Nate Silver).

Mary E. Glynn said...

Silver writes to analyze political trends.
-------

He writes to make money.
Doing a bang up job of it too.

He's riding his Romney non-victory prediction pretty hard and the non-numbers people see him as magical.

Give me 5 years of solid election results and sports predictions that pan out. Otherwise, he's kinda like a political Jimmy the Greek, no?

And Jimmy had a long-lasting career, while this guy has jumped ahead based on image/negotiating skills ... and that big Romney surprise.

Mary E. Glynn said...

ps. Ezra Klein is pretty damn overrated too...

You read it here, but surely I'm not the first.

J Lee said...

He's riding his Romney non-victory prediction pretty hard and the non-numbers people see him as magical.
________________

To be fair, Silver's predictions were touted by liberals in 2012 because he had gotten 2008 right earlier than most. So he was their guru for the past two presidential election cycles, not just 2012, which is why they feel betrayed he's seemingly deserted their cause (Ironically, his early predictions for the Republicans in 2014 have cause Democrats to go back and note while he was right on the presidential election year results on '08 and '12, he was less successful in calling the 2010 midterms).