March 12th, 2008

Abelian Grape

Quantitative News List

My friend Kai -- fellow Peninsula Democratic Coalition boardmember, and recently-ascended president of the Peninsula Young Dems -- is starting up a mailing list that is currently being referred to as "quanty kids":

I'm starting a small email list for quantitatively-inclined people who follow news and politics. Basically the idea is that:

- Most channels of news information are terrible at conveying quantitative information, without which there are a lot of things you just can't understand.

- There exists a group of people that from time to time really want to understand an issue in the news, badly enough that they will go back and make sense of the coverage by generating themselves the quantitative information that was previously edited out.

- If you take a group of ~30 such people, who each once a month or so would anyway spend a couple hours trying to figure out the chinese air quality standards, or how the falling satellite compares to an ICBM, or what the actual difference between Obama and Clinton's healthcare plan is, or where the subprime money went, or whatever else -- you have an average of one "numbers note" every day or every other day.

- These people will see value added both in (i) having a group of quantitatively inclined people to run their own work by and share it with, and (ii) getting these random emails about "hey, here's what's actually going on in that news issue" shared with them so they have a better understanding of what's actually going on.

Incidentally, related to the topic, below is the draft of my column for this week about how crappy the MSM has done a job of covering the primaries.

Are you interested in being on the list? Do you have pals you think might?

Are any of the geeks on my f-list interested in this?

Here's the column he mentioned:

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