Archive for the ‘Polls’ Category
A while back, WC posted an experimental test using WordPress’s polling feature. There was a lot more enthusiasm for finding a nickname for the Quitter than there was for taking a pop quiz, even one relating to WC’s borrowed namesake, the late Judge James Wickersham.
But WC has finally gotten around to writing up the results.
In what year did the first recorded attempt to climb Denali occur?
The first recorded attempt to climb Denali (f/k/a Mt. McKinley) occurred in 1903, under the leadership of Judge James Wickersham. They attempted the north face – now known as the Wickersham Wall – but only made it to about 8,000 feet. The attempt is recounted in his excerpted diary, Old Yukon (Amazon link).
Who was Alaska’s first non-voting delegate to Congress?
Much better results on this one. Wickersham was indeed the first non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress from Alaska. Howard Pollock was the first voting representative from Alaska; Alexander Baranof was the last Russian governor.
When did Alaska first become a territory?
This one was a bit tricky. Alaska was purchased in 1867, but no one was certain what to do with it so it was made a department of the U.S. Army. It wasn’t made a territory until 1912, and a state in 1959. In 1906, the capital was moved from Sitka to Juneau. WC asked tricky questions when he was a business law professor, too.
WC is afraid that most of you failed. But Alaska history is obscure even to Alaskans. Wickersham, for all his accomplishments, is nearly forgotten. Except around here.
Thanks to all who participated.
Pundit credibility – the accuracy of prognosticators – is the subject of a well-written paper from Hamilton College. The statistical analysis is particularly impressive. WC recognizes that the study has its critics.
Here’s the abstract:
We evaluated the predictions of politicians, journalists, and pundits (collectively, “prognosticators”) over a 16-month period surrounding the 2008 United States federal elections. We sought to test the accuracy of these predictions and understand what makes individuals unusually good or bad at prognostication. We evaluated a random sample of Meet the Press, This Week, and Face the Nation transcripts and printed columns from the most prominent American prognosticators. Ultimately, we determined that some prognosticators are significantly better than others, and there are characteristics that significantly impact a prognosticator’s predictive power.
(Yes, WC had read the criticisms of the study, including the situational bias favoring liberal commentators. It might explain Krugman; it doesn’t explain Thomas.)
For WC, there’s good news and bad news. The paper finds that WC’s favorite columnist, Paul Krugman, is by a considerable extent the most accurate predictor of events, getting 16 of 18 predictions right. Good writing and high levels of accuracy; what’s not to like?
More good news: liberal pundits are by a considerable margin more accurate than conservatives. Of course, Cal Thomas (correct only 1 time out of 16!) single-handedly pulled down the conservative score.
On the other hand, lawyers were by far the worst profession at predictions. Ouch.
WC makes no predictions regarding the accuracy of this essay.
Readers will recall that WC hosted the first-ever poll here at Wickersham’s Conscience to determine the best metaphor for Alaska’s Shame.
It started with a call for the perfect metaphor for Caribou Barbie. Too many of the suggestions were obscene; understandable, WC supposes. But WC winnowed the best non-obscene proposals and put them in a poll so that WC’s long-suffering readers could cast their preference. After all, The Quitter can’t complain about polls or democracy. Well, she can, but it would be hypocritical. Wait a minute…
So the results are in. The metaphor of choice is
Sarah Palin is the turd that won’t flush no matter how many times you try.
A bit sophomoric. It sounds like something a high school sophomore might come up with, but that’s hardly inappropriate.
As the late Mayor Daley would say, after the Chicago Machine delivered the mayorship to him yet another time, “Da pippul has spoke.”
Inquiring minds, concerned about the scientific accuracy of this poll are advised to re-read the notes following the poll itself.
WC has reviewed the comments and suggestions offered as the perfect metaphor for Sarah Palin. And WC is going to be thoroughly democratic about this (for a given definition of “democratic”). We’ll have a poll.
If WC has this set up right, you can only vote one time. This is not Chicago. So exercise your franchise wisely. Voting is open for a week. Final results will be published in a future blog post.
WC thanks you for your participation.
- Over Joe Miller’s objections, write-ins are permitted. Obscene ones will be deleted.
- Poll Daddy provides this service for free. Who knows what personal data they are capturing from you. WC doesn’t.
- Hacking is permitted, if you think you are good enough. If you get caught hacking, your lack of skills may be made public.
- If you think this effort is serious, contact WC for a special offer on the Cushman Street bridge in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska.