October 2008 Archives

Get your bets in now, get your bets in now.


I was on the phone with my brother, talking about the presidential election this afternoon, and we were wondering when the networks were going to call the election. It occurred to me that this might be the perfect thing for a betting pool to test the wisdom of crowds.

So here’s a little contest for you, gentle reader: what’s your best guess for:

  1. The number of electoral votes the winning candidate gets, and
  2. What time (Eastern, please) the first network (ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC) will call the election for the eventual winner.

Just post a comment with your best guesses, and the person with the closest guess for each number will win some Cafe Press schwag (probably a bag and a t-shirt or something similar).

After the entries close, I will update this post with the average guesses.

A few notes on rules:

  • In the case of duplicate entries, e.g. two people guessing the same time for when the victor is declared, the first entry wins. In other words, review the other entries before posting and make sure that yours is unique.
  • In the event of a tie (e.g. the winning candidate gets 300 electoral votes, and the two closest guesses were 299 and 301), there will be co-winners.
  • Entries will close at 7 p.m. Eastern time on election day.
  • Yes, my best guesses are the first comment, but no, I’m not eligible to win (obviously). In the unlikely event that I do win, second place will get the schwag.

UPDATE: OK, the average EV count guess is 347.7, and the average time that the race will be called is 11:06. For comparison’s sake, fivethirtyeight.com was predicting Obama 349, McCain 189 and electoral-vote.com was projecting Obama 353, McCain 174 with Missouri exactly tied.

Really, the headline says pretty much all you need to know, but here’s the announcement.

Note that he follows in the footsteps of Scott McClellan, Ken Adelman, Colin Powell, and William Weld as prominent Republicans voting for Obama.

New Opening Sequence for Battlestar Galactica

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Bruni takes questions from readers. Interesting stuff.


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…of the recruiting contacts at the big firms I have applied to are women. At the small firms, however, the recruiting contacts are all mostly men. There’s a sociology paper in there somewhere.

What if the stories you told came to life... VOTE

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As seen on E. 8th St.

Yo mama political fights on Twitter:

Yo mama so fat, the only Supreme Court verdict she wants to overturn is HomeTown Buffet v. Yo Mama.
Yo mama so fat, she thinks sub-prime is a steak cut.
Yo mama so fat, McCain refers to her as “Those Ones.”
Your mama so fat, when they asked which menus she reads, she said “You know, all of ‘em.”
Yo mama’s so ugly, Obama said “You can put lipstick on a pig and it would look a lot like yo mama on dollar margarita night.”
you moms so fat ACORN registered her to vote three times.

Handshake for OS X iPhone

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Easy contact beaming for iPhones. I’m surprised that this functionality isn’t built into the iPhone software proper—beaming contact info was a selling point for the old Palms.

Great article in The Atlantic about the pathetic state of airport security and why security theater is worse than no security at all:

On another occasion, at LaGuardia, in New York, the transportation-security officer in charge of my secondary screening emptied my carry-on bag of nearly everything it contained, including a yellow, three-foot-by-four-foot Hezbollah flag, purchased at a Hezbollah gift shop in south Lebanon. The flag features, as its charming main image, an upraised fist clutching an AK-47 automatic rifle. Atop the rifle is a line of Arabic writing that reads THEN SURELY THE PARTY OF GOD ARE THEY WHO WILL BE TRIUMPHANT. The officer took the flag and spread it out on the inspection table. She finished her inspection, gave me back my flag, and told me I could go. I said, “That’s a Hezbollah flag.” She said, “Uh-huh.” Not “Uh-huh, I’ve been trained to recognize the symbols of anti-American terror groups, but after careful inspection of your physical person, your behavior, and your last name, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are not a Bekaa Valley-trained threat to the United States commercial aviation system,” but “Uh-huh, I’m going on break, why are you talking to me?”

Hate Groups Mostly Quiet in Election - NYTimes.com

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It’s really hard to believe that this New York Times piece about racists in the election isn’t an Onion article:

“Right now,” said Mr. White, the head of the American National Socialist Workers Party, “we’re facing the potential of a half-black candidate financed by Jewish money going up against a white candidate financed by Jewish money, who are both advocating the same policy. So you’ve got two terrible choices.”

Interesting: a pop star in Hong Kong has embraced Creative Commons, albeit for her photo gallery, not her music.

Perhaps the world of cantopop could do well by embracing CC….

My del.icio.us posting widget is busted

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And I have no idea how to fix it right now, so we’ll do this the old-fashioned way:

Silver Sails In The Sunset

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Disney Hall, originally uploaded by Frankenstein.

Market Stall

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Market Stall, originally uploaded by Frankenstein.

Car Economics

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Last year, when I was living in Connecticut, I drove a 2007 Honda Fit. It was a great car—fun to drive, good milage, and tons of space inside. Last month, I sold it to Carmax, who offered me substantially more than the local dealership. The car is now listed on their website. I’m not sure what, exactly, their net margin is—it looks like they spent some time fixing the few dings on the body—but that’s not really the point; the point is that they’re selling my car for significantly more than I paid for it when it was new.

Indeed, it’s more expensive than the new 2009 model at the same trim level, and the 2009 is a completely redesigned vehicle. They can get away with this pricing because, however, right now the Fit is such an insanely popular car that dealers are marking it up left, right and center—that is, of course, when they actually have the vehicle on the lot…

I’ll miss that car, but, to be honest, it just doesn’t make economic sense to own a car in Manhattan.

Baseball Preview

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I just think that it would be amusing (even if somewhat unlikely) if the Red Sox met the Dodgers in the World Series, given the number of ex-Sox currently wearing Dodger blue.