After the 2008 Election, it was generally decided that Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight.com was to be crowned the new God of The Maths and King Kahuna Of All Statistical Frizzle-Frazzle. And Silver made big plans to step out from poll crunching and bring his expertise to a variety of other fields. And yet there is one annual event - one that combines statistics and outcomes modeling and wagering and nachos and hoping-Arianna-approves-of-your-plan-to-hang-out-at-the-ESPN Sports Zone-on Wednesday-and-Thursday-of-this-week to do some "political live-blogging," preferably on expense account - that Silver is so far silent on: The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Clearly, Mr. Silver's bracket is perhaps the most sought after document in the land - or it should be, anyway! Disclose your picks Mr. Silver! Seriously. I want you opinion on whether I should take VCU over UCLA this year, or if it's just a bad case of being true to your (graduate) school.
Also, In Terrifying Numbers: Hey, brother, can you spare $190,000? Because that is apparently your share of the derivatives bubble.
Core Fundamentals: Matt Yglesias compares the unemployment numbers today with that of the Great Depression and concludes: "this is about as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as you can find and the apples of the 1930s were much, much, much worse than our apples." That's a good thing, because back then, people stalked the streets of big cities, selling those terrible 1930s apples, for their jobs.
On Waivers: As already noted, the real thing to ask after, as far as why it's taking so long to staff the Treasury, is why the Obama administration is so bent on adhering to their no-lobbyist policy in such hardcore fashion, when over at Defense, they've already made allowances - and in cases where conflicts of interest are readily apparent. It's also worth asking, because, as it turns out, the administration is seemingly prepared to accommodate Defense again in this fashion. Reducing cost-overruns - that was an idea, once, right?
Worlds In Collision: The New York Times has a great article about the changing face of foreign correspondence, and its readers:
It is a momentous, overlooked shift in the world: Foreign correspondents no longer cover one place for the exclusive benefit of readers somewhere else. In the Internet age, we cover each place for the benefit of all places, and the reported-on are among the most avid consumers of what we report. If my sources had fully identified themselves, expecting privacy, they might have been surprised to learn who follows Western coverage of India most devotedly.
According to data teased out of the Google Trends service, the phrases "new york times india" and "washington post india" are searched eight times as much in India, as a proportion of all Indian searches, as the equivalent in the United States. By the same measure, "new york times china" is searched more intensively in Beijing than in New York.
Honored: Congratulations to Alex Quade, a CNN freelance producer who is the winner of this year's Tex McCrary Award For Excellence In Journalism. To sample some of her work, head on over to CNN's website, and check out their "Wounded Warriors" package.