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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hot Takedown: If You Like Sports and Numbers...

FiveThirtyEight is a data journalism website that relies heavily on the analysis of data with visualization and statistics. It takes its name from the number of electors in the United States electoral college and was created in 2008 by Nate Silver as a polling aggregation website. During the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries and general election, it compiled polling data through a unique methodology. Since then, it has published articles on a wide variety of topics, but it is probably best known for its election forecasts, including the 2012 presidential election in which it correctly predicted the vote winner of all 50 states. In 2010 it became a feature of the online version of The New York Times, and in 2013 it was acquired by ESPN.

Among the many topics it covers is sports (Silver is a statistician who first made his mark analyzing baseball data (i.e., sabermetrics)), and it recently began producing a sports podcast called Hot Takedown.
Hot takes are the predominant currency of sports talk these days. Sometimes they are grounded in fact; often they are based on almost willfully unsubstantiated opinion. Hot Takedown will try to measure the emerging narratives of the week (e.g., Pete Carroll made the worst call in football history at this year’s Super Bowl) against richer data (e.g., maybe Pete Carroll knew exactly what he was doing.)
For example, this week's podcast continued its coverage of March Madness, the Indiana Religious Freedom Law, the Chicago Cubs' decision to send prospect Kris Bryant to the minors (after he had an incredible spring season), and possible NFL point after changes. You can listen to the podcast at the FiveThirtyEight website ("Hot Takedown: The Final Four, The Cubs Sit Kris Bryant, Fixing The Extra Point"), or download it from iTunes, Stitcher, and ESPN PodCenter.

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