Now Reading: Nate Silver, presidential election, New York Magazine’s Hurricane Sandy issue

‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics will include books, food, matters of culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.

Nate Silver and Ignorance

Deadspin’s David Roher has a strong post in defense of Nate Silver, the author of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight political blog, who has been turned into another dirty piece of laundry in the presidential election spin cycle. Silver is a smart guy with an interesting story and has been criticized by traditional political media, among others, for his election forecasting system. Generally, his system is based off of PECOTA, a system Silver launched in 2003 for Baseball Prospectus that predicted player performance and team outcomes.

I have no opinion of Silver – I’m aware of his work but not a consumer of it. But I strongly support what Silver stands for, which essentially is a free marketplace of ideas and a relentless pursuit of challenging time-worn narratives. This is a battle that has been fought in baseball for a decade, the tug-of-war between traditional thinkers and statistical-based ones, and in many other places for much longer. What’s important isn’t so much what you think, but rather how open you are to challenging what you think. That’s an important thing for all of us – it makes us better, stronger, smarter. Blatantly neglecting new information and non-traditional point of views exposes insecurity and fear of inadequacy, incompetence and a lack of talent.

The City and The Storm

All of the following links will be from New York Magazine’s “Sandy” issue, beginning with this cover feature from John Homans. It’s a beautiful piece of writing – a somber, truthful tone that fits the horror of the event – and captures not just the scenes of destruction that have filtered across our televisions and computers and mobile devices, but the hopelessness that accompanied being caught in the middle of the storm.

How the Cover Photo Came to Be

Here’s the story of how the amazing cover photo come together, including a slideshow of some other photos from the shoot that didn’t make the cut. If you haven’t seen it, the cover is an aerial shot of Manhattan, parts illuminated, parts darker than night. Incredible art.

Letter from the Editor

What makes all of this New York Mag content even more incredible is that, of course, magazine operations aren’t immune to weather disasters. So when the magazine lost power at its offices, it had to relocate staff, computers and other equipment and set up a make-shift office to put the magazine out. A letter from the editor on what that was like.

What We Saw When the Lights Went Out

In addition to the cover photo gallery, here’s a slide show of shots of Sandy’s aftermath around the city. Some stunning photos here, too.


Geoffrey Gray writes about Claire Price, an 84-year-old retired teacher who lives on her own in an Lower East Side apartment and has been getting by without power. Price doesn’t walk well enough to leave her apartment and find food, so some neighbors have been checking on her.

Any Food in a Storm

This is a short little story worth ending on – the search for food and a little girl’s satisfaction with a hot bowl of chicken soup.

There is a lot more content from New York Magazine on the storm. You can find it on their site. Amazing work and, considering the dire circumstances, I can’t imagine there’s been a prouder moment for that staff than putting out the Sandy issue.

Email: Twitter: @TMitrosilis

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