recentpopularlog in


« earlier   
The Supreme Court Made It Easier For More People To Place Bad Sports Bets | FiveThirtyEight
With the Supreme Court’s landmark gambling decision this week, many more Americans might soon be able to place a legal wager on their favorite sport. So what kind of money are we talking about?
The U.S. casino industry says Americans illegally bet at least $150 billion on sports every year. But it’s hard to measure exactly how much of that money might flow into legal establishments as a result of this decision; underground bookies don’t readily publish their balance sheets. But the casinos in Nevada do, and a closer look into the action taken by sportsbooks over the past few decades gives us a window into how Americans bet on sports — and how well they’re doing.
sports  politics  gambling  SCOTUS  538 
21 hours ago by rgl7194
Humans Are Dumb At Figuring Out How Smart Animals Are | FiveThirtyEight
And that has major implications for what rights we think they’re owed.
If an animal is smart enough, should we treat it like a human? An abstract question, but one that found its way into a courtroom recently. A case bidding for consideration by the New York State Court of Appeals sought to extend the legal concept of habeas corpus — which allows a person to petition a court for freedom from unlawful imprisonment — to cover two privately-owned chimpanzees. The case for giving the chimps a human right like freedom from unlawful incarceration is based on their similarity to humans — they can think, feel and plan, argue the people bringing the case on behalf of the chimpanzees, so shouldn’t they have some guarantees of liberty? The court declined to hear the case, but one judge did say that some highly intelligent animals probably should be treated more like people and less like property.
animals  intelligence  538 
yesterday by rgl7194
Very Few Voters Actually Read Trump’s Tweets | FiveThirtyEight
Poll of the week
President Trump’s tweets often dominate news coverage, particularly on cable news. But let’s be honest: We here at FiveThirtyEight have occasionally written about them too. What is more, well, newsworthy than the words of the chief executive of one of the world’s most powerful nations? And since politicians are known for boring, repetitive, long-winded speeches, what could be a better political platform than one that literally forbids using more than 280 characters at a time? Twitter seems good for Trump, too: As his allies often say, it gives the president a way to speak directly to the American electorate, getting around the media’s filter. Trump’s Twitter account is followed by 52 million people, not that far off from the nearly 63 million who voted for him in 2016.
trump  twitter  gov2.0  politics  538  survey 
yesterday by rgl7194
How Mueller’s First Year Compares To Watergate, Iran-Contra And Whitewater | FiveThirtyEight
And what those past investigations tell us about where the Russia investigation might go next.
It’s a big day for Robert Mueller and his team: One year ago today, Mueller was appointed to lead the special counsel investigation into possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian officials. It’s a miracle, in some ways, that Mueller has lasted this long. President Trump’s relationship with the investigation has grown increasingly adversarial, and at many moments over the course of the past 12 months, it seemed like Mueller’s job was in jeopardy.
So this hasn’t been an easy year for Mueller, but it’s certainly been productive. Since the first indictments came down in the investigation last fall, the special counsel has racked up five guilty pleas and 14 indictments of individuals.1 He also reportedly gave a referral to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York that led to a raid on the office, home and hotel room of presidential lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, which has turned into its own separate investigation.
We’ve taken a look at how Mueller’s first year measures up against the initial 12 months of other special counsel and independent counsel investigations. In terms of the number of charges he’s been able to file, Mueller is moving quickly. At one year after the formal appointment of a special or independent counsel, only the Watergate special prosecution force had obtained more indictments and guilty pleas.
538  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  special_counsel  trump  comparo 
2 days ago by rgl7194
How Shoddy Statistics Found A Home In Sports Research | FiveThirtyEight
How Shoddy Statistics Found A Home In Sports Research | FiveThirtyEight
statistics  t  interactive  538  sport 
4 days ago by paulbradshaw
You Can’t Opt Out Of Sharing Your Data, Even If You Didn’t Opt In | FiveThirtyEight
The Golden State Killer, who terrorized Californians from Sacramento to Orange County over the course of a decade, committed his last known murder in 1986, the same year that DNA profiling was used in a criminal investigation for the first time. In that early case, officers convinced thousands of men to voluntarily turn over blood samples, building a genetic dragnet to search for a killer in their midst. The murderer was eventually identified by his attempts to avoid giving up his DNA. In contrast, suspected Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo, who was apprehended just last week, was found through other people’s DNA — samples taken from the crime scenes were matched to the profiles his distant relatives had uploaded to a publicly accessible genealogy website.
You can see the rise of a modern privacy conundrum in the 32 years between the first DNA case and DeAngelo’s arrest. Digital privacy experts say that the way DeAngelo was found has implications reaching far beyond genetics, and the risks of exposure apply to everyone — not just alleged serial killers. We’re used to thinking about privacy breaches as what happens when we give data about ourselves to a third party, and that data is then stolen from or abused by that third party. It’s bad, sure. But we could have prevented it if we’d only made better choices.
data  sharing  privacy  security  gov2.0  police  538 
5 days ago by rgl7194
How Far Should Science Go to Create Lifesaving Replacement Organs?
In 2016, the National Institutes of Health announced that it intended to lift its ban on funding blastocyst complementation research, “a powerful new genetic engineering trick that researchers hope to use for growing human organs inside pigs or sheep.” Needless to say, the popular response to this was robust, with more than 21,000 comments from the public arriving, most of which were opposed. The question has stalled under the Trump Administration. On the one hand, growing human tissue from alternative sources is one possible solution to an ongoing shortage of donated organs. On the other hand, it’s definitely on the list of scientific questions that “Jurassic Park” made some pretty compelling arguments against
538  debates  technology  surveys 
12 days ago by thomas.kochi
Democrats’ Horrible 2018 Senate Map Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time | FiveThirtyEight
You hear it all the time: The 2018 Senate map is bad, even “brutal,” for Democrats. Of the 35 seats on the ballot this cycle, 26 are held by senators who caucus with the Democrats, and just nine are held by Republicans. Democrats must flip two of those nine — without losing any seats of their own — in order to take a Senate majority. That’s not going to be easy given that only one of those Republican-held seats is from a state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. At the same time, 10 Democratic incumbents are running for re-election in states won by President Trump, including deep red ones like North Dakota and West Virginia.
But while the 2018 map is the party’s steepest uphill climb in a long time, defending red-state Senate seats isn’t a new challenge for Democrats. In fact, they’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years. They haven’t had a choice: It gets less ink than the gerrymandered districts in the U.S. House, but the Senate — which reserves the same number of seats for a sparsely populated state as for a crowded one — has an inherent Republican bias as well. Within the past 25 years, Democratic majorities in the Senate — up through 1995, briefly from 2001 to 2002 and then finally from 2007 to 2015 — were possible because more Democrats represented red states than Republicans represented blue states. To wield a majority in 2019 and beyond, Democrats will simply (OK, not so simply) have to pull off the same trick.
gov2.0  politics  election  congress  Dems  GOP  538 
18 days ago by rgl7194
The Five Types Of Nicolas Cage Movies | FiveThirtyEight
Our Hollywood Taxonomy series, which just turned 3 years old, is all about the pursuit of clarity through categorization — using box office data and critical reviews to sort through long, complicated filmographies. I’ve analyzed the careers of enormous figures in the entertainment industry, iconoclastic storytellers, revered actors, compelling comedians, bona fide phenomenons and also Adam Sandler. But, today, a series dedicated to understanding creative people and their careers faces its greatest challenge: the ineffable Nicolas Cage.
I could claim that this article is timed to the release of Cage’s latest movie, “Mandy,” which recently premiered at Sundance, but that would be a lie. Pick any random weekend in the year and there’s a pretty good chance that a Cage film has been recently released or will soon be released. He puts out like four a year. I just thought it would be interesting to look at Cage’s work.
movies  actor  538  review 
27 days ago by rgl7194
The Way Everybody Measures NFL Schedule Strength? It’s Wrong. | FiveThirtyEight
After Thursday night’s two-hour special on the NFL Network, we now know exactly what every NFL team’s schedule looks like for the upcoming season. But what we don’t know is how hard any of those schedules will be.
Every year when the schedules are released, NFL analysts ritually compare the strength of the 32 teams’ slates. And every year, they do it the one way we know doesn’t work.
football  analytics  538 
29 days ago by rgl7194
Everyone Tries To Dodge The Tax Man, And It Keeps Getting Easier | FiveThirtyEight
Al Capone was busted for tax evasion. Leona Helmsley was, too. But gangsters and entitled millionaires aren’t the only ones who hold something back from the tax man. Each year, Americans of all stripes underpay the IRS by hundreds of billions, aided by the fact that the agency lacks the resources to catch all the cheaters.
Recently, tax dodging has found a new champion: liberal state governments fighting back against the Republicans’ far-reaching tax reforms, which seem to hit a number of blue states particularly hard. New Jersey and California want to reclassify certain state and local taxes as tax-exempt charitable donations, while New York might swap the state’s income tax for a deductible payroll tax, among other ideas under consideration. There’s little doubt about the underlying goal of these potential changes, nicely summarized by Connecticut’s state revenue commissioner when he called his state’s plan a “bit of payback for what I think was the utter disregard of the Congress for the impact of this on states like Connecticut.”
538  gov2.0  politics  taxes 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
Americans Are Partisan About Everything — Even Sex Scandals | FiveThirtyEight
...Perhaps because Daniels is in the news, along with other alleged affairs by Trump, just 26 percent of Democrats (vs. 67 percent of Republicans) agreed that “an elected official who has committed an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.”
I’m recording this as exhibit No. 3,519,099 in our “partisanship is a helluva a drug” file. The two parties both seem to be reversing the views they had two decades ago — when a president of the other party was in the White House and faced accusations of affairs and misconduct...
sex  gov2.0  politics  trump  538 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
A Million Children Didn’t Show Up In The 2010 Census. How Many Will Be Missing In 2020? | FiveThirtyEight
In today’s Washington, even the Census Bureau is a source of drama. The department has no director. Due to funding constraints, it has abandoned pre-census research in West Virginia and Washington state that was meant to check the integrity of parts of its survey process. It is weighing whether to add a question about citizenship to the decennial census; community groups around the country have spent months imploring Congress and the Census Bureau not to do so. They’re afraid that adding the question would lower response rates and make the survey less reliable.
At stake: nearly $700 billion in federal money and how we decide to apportion congressional representation.
gov2.0  research  survey  census  538 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
We Need A Better Way To Talk About ‘Sexual Misconduct’ | FiveThirtyEight
Vague, umbrella terms make an already difficult conversation even harder.
Matt Lauer was fired last year from his job co-hosting NBC’s “Today” show in response to allegations of “sexual harassment.” Or was it “inappropriate sexual behavior”? Maybe “sexual misconduct.” These are all headlines about the same reports — just using different language to describe them. As the media scrambles to cover wave after wave of accusations, the variation in language is making an already difficult national conversation about what crosses the line even more so.
sex  sexism  language  538 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
Chief Justice Roberts Is Reshaping The First Amendment | FiveThirtyEight
It’s been a big year for free speech at the Supreme Court. Two of the most high-profile cases argued before the court so far have revolved around free speech rights, four other cases on the docket this term involve free speech questions, and yet another case where the issue is paramount greets the court on Tuesday.
The court today is hearing arguments on whether the state of California is trampling on the free speech rights of crisis pregnancy centers — nonprofit organizations that do not perform abortions and encourage women to seek alternatives to the procedure — by requiring them to post notices explaining patients’ ability to access abortion and other medical services. In December, attorneys for a baker at Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado argued that a state anti-discrimination law violates his free speech rights as a self-described cake artist by requiring him to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Last month, the justices heard oral arguments in a case about whether state laws allowing unions to require nonmembers to pay fees violate those employees’ right to free speech.
gov2.0  politics  SCOTUS  legal  free  speech  538 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
These Researchers Have Been Trying To Stop School Shootings For 20 Years | FiveThirtyEight
Mary Ellen O’Toole calls the teenagers who murdered 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999 by their first names — Dylan and Eric. O’Toole did not personally know Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, but she’s thought about them for decades. At the time of the Colorado shootings, O’Toole was a profiler for the FBI and had been tapped to write the bureau’s report on how to prevent mass shootings in schools. What began as a research project has become a life’s work — and a deep source of frustration.
O’Toole is part of a small group of academics, law-enforcement professionals and psychologists who published some of the first research on mass shootings in schools. She and other members of this group began paying attention to the phenomenon in the late 1990s. Two decades later, some of them say not much has changed. The risk factors they identified back then still apply. The recommendations they made are still valid. And, as we saw last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students are still dying. “On the news, people are saying we should be concerned about this and that,” O’Toole said, “and I thought, ‘We identified that 20 years ago. Did you not read this stuff 20 years ago?’ … It’s fatiguing. I just feel a sense of fatigue.”
guns  high_school  crime  538  research 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Census’s New Citizenship Question Could Hurt Communities That Are Already Undercounted | FiveThirtyEight
After a long career as a banker and investor, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is no doubt familiar with cost-benefit analyses. That seems to have carried over to his political work. In a memo declaring that the 2020 census would ask U.S. inhabitants whether they are U.S. citizens,1 he wrote, “I find that the need for accurate citizenship data and the limited burden that the reinstatement of the citizenship question would impose outweigh fears about a potentially lower response rate.” The inclusion of the question was a request of the Justice Department, which says that it needs the information to enforce the Voting Rights Act.
But Ross isn’t the only one weighing costs against benefits when it comes to the census — respondents do it as well. Demographers and civil rights groups are concerned that under a president who has called for a ban on Muslims and immigrants from certain countries, dramatically reduced the number of refugees allowed into the country and cracked down on undocumented immigrants without criminal records, a citizenship question will push more people to decide that the risks of responding accurately to the questionnaire, or responding at all, outweigh the benefits. And the groups that seem most likely to be put off from responding — immigrants, members of households with immigrants, people living in poverty, among others — are the same ones that are already at highest risk of being uncounted.
gov2.0  politics  statistics  immigration  538  survey  census 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
Even After 22 Trillion Digits, We’re Still No Closer To The End Of Pi | FiveThirtyEight
Depending on your philosophical views on time and calendars and so on, today is something like the 4.5 billionth Pi Day that Earth has witnessed. But that long history is nothing compared to the infinity of pi itself.
A refresher for those of you who have forgotten your seventh-grade math lessons1: Pi, or the Greek letter π, is a mathematical constant equal to the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter — C/d. It lurks in every circle, and equals approximately 3.14. (Hence Pi Day, which takes place on March 14, aka 3/14.)
math  538 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194

Copy this bookmark:

to read