Why Nate Silver’s Forecasts Are Bad


Much has been made of Nate Silver’s forecasts regarding the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest.  If you are a Sanders supporter you are probably sick and tired of people citing articles like this one, where Silver says that the chances of Bernie winning are very slim.  This article by Paul Krugman, titled ‘Feel the Math’, has been turned into a hash tag.

Annoying Hillary Supporter

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Recent and Upcoming Changes to Internet Privacy and Censorship

(This was originally posted to my facebook on March 28, 2018.)
I don’t want to flood you guys with individual links about all the news from the past week regarding changes to the fundamental rules of the internet, but I don’t want to stay quiet about it, either. Here’s a quick overview of the big changes, in no particular order:
  1. Net Neutrality
  2. Cambridge Analytica / Facebook Data Sharing
  3. The FOSTA Act
  4. The CLOUD Act

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No Woman No Drive Video

Saudi Arabian Protest Song Mixes Bob Marley With Feminism… Saudi Duppy Feminism?

Alaa Wardi is a Saudi national who is protesting the Saudi government’s ban on women driving cars through a parody of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry.  If you haven’t heard, there have been big protests over this issue in Saudi Arabia recently (well, big for Saudi Arabian protests, at least), and the protesters have been using YouTube to spread their message.

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DJ Earworm - United State of Pop

DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop

We’ve been covering some heavy stuff with the healthcare.gov privacy situation lately, so lets lighten the mood a little with something you can dance to.

Love it or hate it, DJ Earworm’s annual United State of Pop is an institution in the mashup world.  Every year DJ Earworm mashes up the top songs the year, as ranked by Billboard.  He usually releases it around Christmas.  If you listen to them in order you can hear how pop music changes over the years.  He’s been doing it since at least 2007.  My personal favorite is 2009, but I linked to every united state of pop below the cut.  Enjoy…
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Healthcare.gov database

See The Full Healthcare.gov Database Without Logging In!

My last blog post was about privacy concerns on healthcare.gov.  I posted it to the reddit.com/r/privacy subreddit to get some feedback, hoping things might not be as bad as I thought.  Turns out, they probably are.

Healthcare.gov could be sending our information out to Facebook and Twitter and Apple, but they might also be sending information the other direction, giving health insurance companies and god knows what government agencies access to your Facebook, Twitter and G+.  I’m not sure which end of the equation is worse.  Either the government and my health insurance company are digging through my Facebook wall or Facebook is digging through my health insurance and medical records.  Either way, this is not good.

On top of that, the healthcare.gov security is a joke!  An hour or so ago a subreddit was formed to publicize the url of the healthcare.gov health insurance plans database, where you can view and export a complete listing of health insurance plans offered on healthcare.gov without signing in!  That is one way to protect your data, I guess… never give them your email address when you are just shopping around.  I exported it into an 11 MB CSV.

You all know what that means… it’s time to break out the old SQL manuals and take this database apart, do some statistical analysis.  What do you think I should cross-reference with this data set?  I wonder what states have the most expensive and least expensive monthly premiums?

This data set could keep me busy for weeks.

Edit:  You can get a list of Navigators and their information here, in case you want to contact a Navigator and don’t have their information (I know I wasn’t able to find them when I looked).  If you want a list of all databases you can find from data.healthcare.gov, go here.  They have a database for dental insurance as well.

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Facebook Privacy

Healthcare.gov Gives Information to Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple

Edit:  Just to clarify, I’m a big fan of the ACA.  It’s not as good as single payer, but so far half a million people have bought healthcare through healthcare.gov, and I doubt they would have done that if the health insurance there wasn’t a better deal than what they currently have.  I have no problem with the law, but I have a massive problem with the healthcare.gov web site and the privacy violations it seems to be perpetrating.

A lot has been said about the atrocious performance of the Healthcare.gov ACA web site, so I thought I’d dig around under the hood a bit to see what’s going on there on a technical level.  I can understand a rough rollout for a week or two.  That’s expected.  It’s been almost a month now, though, so it’s time to dig deeer.  I found some surprises when I started looking around, to say the least.

If you want to know what healthcare.gov is built on you can find that information here, in an easy to read layout.  Lets see… runs on Apache, uses Comodo SSL, hosted by Akami (mental note: Do not buy hosting from these guys), and it runs ads from…

Wait a second… WTF is it doing giving my data to ad networks?!?!?

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