Projectors and Pollsters

The methodologists and closeted Americanists among us (everyone is during the election season, it seems–don’t worry, we won’t tell) may be interested to know that is hosting a live chat tomorrow at noon with Nate Silver from and Charles Franklin of  If you are unfamiliar with these websites then first, you should be warned that they are addictive.  Second, you may want to check out their FAQs and methodology statements: FAQs and Statement of Methodology FAQs about Maps Go here to submit questions and for more information.

The European Treasury

Philip Coggan gave an interesting interview this morning to NPR in which he discussed the effect of the of the United States’ bailout failure on the European markets.  The primary purpose of the short interview was to describe the European perspective on the global impact of the U.S.’s financial crisis and the speculation on Congress’s activity surrounding it, though one incidental point caught my attention.  Coggan mentions that a concern in Europe at the moment is that a large Swiss bank might fail.  This would be quite problematic because, while these types of firms are probably considered "too big to Continue reading The European Treasury

How urgent is “Urgent”? The Bailout Package Defeated

I watched in awe today as members in the US House of Representatives failed to pass the 700 billion dollar bailout package. How could this possibly be? All the signals from President Bush, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that if something was not done soon, we would all be doomed. McCain even “suspended” his campaign because this impending crisis was so urgent. Yet, 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans voted against this bill. To make matters worse, it seemed as though the impending doom was correctly predicted. As the votes were tallied on the floor, Continue reading How urgent is “Urgent”? The Bailout Package Defeated

Note to self: the world loves 2×2 tables.

It appears that one cannot go wrong with something as simple as a two-by-two table (produced in Excel) in a blog post.  The three biggest traffic generating posts that I have personally done involve the Prisoner’s Dilemma (it is about a 2×2 game!) that received link love from Freakonomics, the Dark Knight Ferry game which generated over two dozen different links and occupied the number one Google search for Game Theory Dark Knight (until recently that is), and the latest Bayesian-Rumsfeld table which was picked up by Drew at ZIA and Andrew Gelman at the Monkey Cage (who we have Continue reading Note to self: the world loves 2×2 tables.

Bayesian Statistics engages in Pre-9/11 Thinking….

Going through Jeff Gill’s Bayesian text book when I came across the line: From the Bayesian perspective, there are two types of quantities: known and unknown. (43) This seems to be from the pre-9/11 school of thought as Rumsfeld* has us living in a more complicated world: I guess technically I should exclude unknown knowns – that is, those things we did not know that we already knew.  I also have written the words “know” and “known” far too many times that it no longer appears to be a real word anymore. *“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are Continue reading Bayesian Statistics engages in Pre-9/11 Thinking….

Einstein’s 23 Biggest Mistakes

Einstein is probably the first image conjured in popular culture when asked to think of famous scientists, especially those that transformed the way in which we understand the world.  It has been popularly acknowledged that he failed math as a child, though this is not true: In 1935, a rabbi in Princeton showed him a clipping of the Ripley’s column with the headline “Greatest living mathematician failed in mathematics.” Einstein laughed. “I never failed in mathematics,” he replied, correctly. “Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.” However, given the lack of the early perceived irony off one of the greatest Continue reading Einstein’s 23 Biggest Mistakes

Who would an economist vote for?

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has commissioned and released the results of a survey of economists on a range of issues and candidates choice for the 2008 election.  This was partly prompted by earlier statements by Clinton and McCain that neither candidate would not throw their lot in with economists and Adams decided to see what economists really thought: We asked the economists which candidate for president would be best for the economy in the long run. Not surprisingly, 88 percent of Democratic economists think Democratic Sen. Barack Obama would be best, while 80 percent of Republican economists pick Republican Sen. Continue reading Who would an economist vote for?

Conference Double Dipping: How Germ Free is Your Paper?

Since it had become suggested reading for our first year graduate students in their introduction to methods course, I finally compelled myself to read over the April edition of PS: Political Science and its symposium on duplicate paper presentations at conferences.  That is, whether it is acceptable for an identical paper to be presented at different conferences.  My exposure to conferences is limited compared to the  more lengthy CVs and experiences of the senior members of the profession.  Despite this limitation, my exposure to repeat submissions and presentations has occurred on more than one occasion.  When asking graduate students at Continue reading Conference Double Dipping: How Germ Free is Your Paper?

Where’s OUR Particle Accelerator?

Yesterday, the first particle beam was guided through the $8 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva.  In mid-October, the first particle beam collisions will be made, thus inaugurating the biggest, most expensive playground for particle physicists ever imagined.  I’ve been trying to figure out what political science equivalent would match the LHC in scale.  The most obvious example might be the commissioning of our very own laboratory-state in which political scientists schedule time to come in and basically mess with a state’s government to see what happens when we enact small institutional or social changes.  Of course, without comparison, Continue reading Where’s OUR Particle Accelerator?

Legislating While Grumbling: PM Must Resign Over Cooking Show

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Samak Sundaravej, has had a severe legitimacy problem for some time now. Not only is he facing charges of corruption, his party has also been accused of electoral fraud in the last election. There have been many protests as well, some violent. However, none of these things have been sufficient enough to get Sundaravej out of power. It was his appearance on a cooking show, Tasting While Grumbling, that was sufficient enough. The Thai constitution prohibits Ministers from being employed in the private sector, and Sundaravej’s paid appearances on that show apparently violated that rule. Continue reading Legislating While Grumbling: PM Must Resign Over Cooking Show