This is not a post about Nate Silver. I promise. One of the more interesting and well-covered stories of the 2012 US Elections was the so-called “quants vs. pundits” debate that focused–unfairly, given the excellent models developed by Sam Wang, Drew Linzer, and Simon Jackman–on Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight forecasting model. I follow a number of social scientists on Twitter and many of their reactions to the success of these models followed along the lines of “YEAH! SCIENCE!” and “+1 for the quants!” and so on. There seemed to be real joy (aside from the fact that many of these individuals were Obama supporters) in the growing public recognition that quantitative forecasting models can produce valid results.
Continue reading

We’re really excited to launch a new portion of the site today, what we are calling Ask the Bad Hessians. The name is a bit of a misnomer — it’s actually a crowdsourced site in which anyone can ask — and answer — the questions posted there. If you are familiar with Stack Overflow, the software we’re using is a clone of that. When you post a question, anybody can reply with an answer to it. Answers are voted “up” or “down” by other users, and the original asker can pick what s/he deems as the correct answer.

Stack Overflow is where I know I go for a bunch of my own programming questions, and from my conversations with Adam and Trey I know they do as well. We hope this can be as useful as a resource for social scientists. Feel free to ask questions about Stata, surveys, R, LaTeX, data cleaning, etc etc. Someone’s gotta have an answer, right?