As the primary race for the presidential election drags on, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com lays out the data for how Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination. Spoiler alert: it’s not easy. According to Silver, Sanders will need 988 more delegates—a little less than 57 percent of the delegates left— to clinch a majority, which seems unlikely given the demographics of the states left to vote. Of course, as we know from Donald Trump’s rise, even the best data can’t always successfully predict our presidential horserace, so it will be interesting to see how Silver’s “miracle path” for Sanders aligns with actual polling results. Nonetheless, candidates – both past and present – aren’t shying away from using data to power their campaigns.
Baseball season is starting up in just a few weeks, and teams are increasingly relying on analytics to improve their performance. The Boston Red Sox moved Brian Bannister, a former major league pitcher, into the role of director of pitching analytics last September. Bannister will be working with pitching coach Carl Willis to apply analytics to the Sox’s pitching capabilities, analyzing things like angles and velocity of certain pitches, and analyzing pitchers for potential trades. And next month Sam Miller, the editor in chief of Baseball Prospectus, and Ben Lindbergh, a staff writer for FiveThirtyEight.com, will release a new book based on their time running the baseball operations of a minor league team using advanced statistics. The book is called The Only Rule is It Has to Work, and you can read a short interview with the authors here.
Ever since Verizon and AOL merged last year, it’s been speculated that the two companies would merge their data and technology to build an advertising behemoth. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that a group of AOL test customers have been given access to Verizon’s data on cellphone users’ locations in order to see if consumers who are shown ads then go to a brand’s store. The move to improve targeted ads may get Verizon in trouble according to The Verge; in a lawsuit settled just three weeks ago, Verizon promised to get customers’ consent before sharing tracking data with outside companies.
Finally, in the academic world, the National Science Foundation has just pledged $5.9 million for a new Arctic data center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The data center will provide access and storage for Arctic data, and the NSF plans to launch a data management and open science training program for researchers during the first year of the five years of funding.