Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Nate Silver Correctly Predicts Your First-Date Debacle

with 6 comments

New York, NY (AP) – Nate Silver, the statistician renowned for his accuracy in calling the outcomes of election campaigns, showed similar prowess in predicting that your first date with Stephanie would end in disaster.

Silver uses a complicated algorithm to model the objects of his predictions, though the actual code remains proprietary. His influential Five-Thirty-Eight blog, carried by the New York Times, correctly predicted the November 2012 electoral results in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia. In advance of your date, Silver’s analysis concluded with the assessment that the match was doomed from the start, albeit with significant comic potential.

Silver’s analysis examined your tendency to get lost driving through new areas, no matter how simple the layout or directions. In fact, as events turned out, you went to the wrong entrance of the apartment complex to meet Stephanie, and would up waiting at an unanswered door for ten minutes before managing to contact her on your mobile device.

He also cited your minimal forethought; this was borne out when, on the way to pick Stephanie up, you suddenly remembered to buy some flowers. You neglected to ask the florist for roses without thorns, ensuring that both you and Stephanie would struggle awkwardly to grasp the bunch of flowers. While you were in the shop, the police ticketed your car for parking in a No Standing zone.

This series of mishaps triggered what Silver had already seen as your lack of concentration when events do not go as planned, exacerbating the unease when you finally reached Stephanie’s door and all but shoved the bouquet of thorny roses into her arms. Your clumsy attempts to disentangle your sleeve from the thorns as they ensnared hers could have served as an experience over which to commiserate and perhaps bond, but your predisposition to overreaction made Stephanie more wary than she would otherwise be.

Silver predicted at least one occurrence of your closing the door too soon in eagerness to show gallantry, resulting in part of Stephanie’s clothes getting caught. It happened twice, once on the way into the car from her apartment and once on the way out.

Similarly, his analysis accounted for your impaired sense of humor, indicating somewhere between thirteen and sixteen attempts at jokes that would fall flat; four that would offend; and one that would convince Stephanie that the long-term prospects with a man such as you were grim. The only datum that did not match Silver’s prediction involved the last item, but only because the sweeping, ignorant, bigoted comment you were about to make regarding illegal immigrants was interrupted by a loud sneeze at a neighboring table. As a result of the sneeze you felt more compelled to make a misplaced, borderline vulgar remark instead, and the stilted conversation never again returned to immigrants, or any other topic of substance.

Silver assessed the odds of Stephanie wishing to continue the date after dinner at 27 to 1, in light of his other prediction that you would make a big display of properly calculating the tip down to the exact cent, and your pretending to know more about wine than you do, and doing it badly. Stephanie requested that you drive her home instead of stopping along the beach for a walk, as you had originally intended, and the drive home was wordless.

That last development gave Silver’s calculations an uncanny accuracy, as he has estimated the number of words exchanged between you and Stephanie at 8,775 for the entire evening, with you doing the vast majority of the talking. When you entered the car to drive her home, the total had reached 8,768, leaving only the “Good night,” and “See you” to bring the final total within three of the prediction.

Silver also accurately predicted that you would nearly crash the car in frustration on your way home, where you would kick yourself repeatedly for the cluster of errors. He also gave you a 96% chance of drinking yourself to sleep that night, but not before failing to console yourself with some online porn, an act that would only further depress you by highlighting the gap between fantasy and your soul-crushing reality.

However, Silver did not dare predict anything long-term that Stephanie would do afterwards; his notes explained that empirical analysis has yet to produce a reliable predictive mechanism for female behavior.

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Written by Thag

November 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Collectables and commented:
    Good! Good, good, good.

    Margy Rydzynski

    November 26, 2012 at 2:02 am

  2. I would say that there is statistically significant likelihood that more people wished they paid more attention in their stats classes now that see how stats can be used to predict such important things in your everyday life (plus or minus the standard margarine of error). 😉

    Lorna's Voice

    November 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

  3. Aha! Nothing new here. Does the name Harry Seldon ring a bell?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari_Seldon

    Kzinti

    November 28, 2012 at 10:44 am


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