Hate Speech and Hard Choices

In The Matrix, Morpheus offers Neo an iconic choice. Take the blue pill, and Neo can wake up in bed, wrapped in the security of the life he has always known. Take the red pill, and Neo would give up life as he knows it, embracing a new truth and the uncertainty that comes with it. Refusing to pick a pill would be as much a decision as red or blue. Neo had no choice – he had to choose.

A similarly decisive moment arrived this week for a cadre of social media and tech giants. After months of mounting pressure, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify made their choice and banned Alex Jones from their platforms.

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Sports Gambling is Legal, and You Can Bet Change is on the Way

Hot off the top-of-the-inbox, it’s time for a back-and-forth breakdown of the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of legalized sports gambling. Game on!

AK:1 Welcome to the era of legalized sports betting! In a 6-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and opened the door for an unprecedented transformation of American sports. There’s a ton to digest here – how sports themselves will change, the fan experience, the political consequences, the moral implications, the risk to my 401k account – but before we dig into the feast, allow me to set the table.

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Odds Are, You’re Reading The Odds Wrong

The Weather Channel forecasts a 30% chance of rain tomorrow – and it absolutely pours. Was the Weather Channel’s prediction wrong?

To quote the prophet Andre 3000, “you can plan a pretty picnic – but you can’t predict the weather.” Of course they got it wrong, weathermen are morons!

Based on his career batting average of .305, a fan predicts that there is a ~70% chance Mike Trout will fail to get a hit in an at-bat. Of course, Trout goes 9-for-13 the next weekend. Was the fan’s prediction wrong?

Let me explain something to you, poindexter. Baseball isn’t a math problem. Hitters have hot stretches every once in a while, but that .305 batting average is about right.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model predicts there is, approximately, a 30% chance that Donald Trump will win the Presidency. Well… you know how it went down. Was Silver’s prediction wrong?

THE POLLS! BURN THE POLLS! YOU CAN’T TRUST THE NUMBERS!

Congratulations, hypothetical strawman – you suck at probability! Unfortunately, our italicized imaginary friend is not alone. Too many of us fail to understand that any good prediction is tied to a probability, and that any one outcome doesn’t necessarily make a prediction right or wrong. 

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