Janet Rowe did not fly to Jamaica just to vote. But when she realised her name was on the voters’ list, the US$197.50 fee she paid to change her ticket “was a small price to pay to support her party”, Rowe said. “The ticket was actually US$430 plus what I paid to change it.” But that cost couldn’t keep her from the polling station at the Content Gap Primary School in East Rural St. Andrew. “When my boss wished me a safe travel I didn’t tell her I wasn’t coming back just yet.” Instead, “I called one of my co-workers and asked her to work for me tomorrow and I will work back for her on Saturday,” she said with a satisfied grin, showing her ink-stained index finger. Her ticket was changed from February 23 to 26. The constituency is being contested by the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Juliet Holness (wife of opposition leader Andrew Holness) and the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Imani Duncan Price. Holness went into the elections with a five percentage point lead over her rival.
Warren Buffett has a great investment track record. So perhaps it’s no accident that he declined to offer $1 billion for correctly predicting the outcome of all World Cup knockout stage games, as he did for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games.The odds of winning Buffett’s NCAA challenge were about one in 7.4 billion, assuming you chose the favorite in each game as selected by FiveThirtyEight’s NCAA model. But the odds of correctly filling out a 16-team knockout tournament such as the World Cup are much shorter.In fact, though there have been some thrilling matches in the knockout stage so far — six of 12 have gone to extra time and only two were decided by more than one goal — the favorite has advanced every time (at least as according to the FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup predictions).Here is the breakdown so far. The following table lists the win probability for the FiveThirtyEight favorite as of the day of the match, along with the cumulative probability of the model having called all knockout stages correctly up to that point in time.For instance, the probability of correctly identifying the winners in each of the first four knockout matches — Brazil over Chile, Colombia over Uruguay, the Netherlands over Mexico and Costa Rica over Greece — was about 23 percent, or one chance in 4.3. And the chance of going 12 for 12, as the FiveThirtyEight favorites have done so far, is just one in 75.It’s an upset, in other words, when all the favorites prevail. On average, we’d have expected three or four upsets through this point in the knockout round.Of course, there are four matches left — counting the World Cup’s third-place playoff between the two semifinal losers. According to the FiveThirtyEight forecasts, Brazil is favored over Germany on Tuesday (even after accounting for Neymar’s injury) and Argentina is slightly favored over the Netherlands on Wednesday. To complete a perfect knockout bracket, Germany would then need to beat the Netherlands in the consolation game while Brazil prevailed over Argentina in the final.All of the remaining matches look pretty close, so the FiveThirtyEight forecasts are likely to fail at some stage. If the model gets the matches right, however, it will have made good on a 1-in-553 chance of calling all 16 knockout stage winners correctly.Incidentally, this isn’t the huge success for the FiveThirtyEight model that it might seem. The FiveThirtyEight forecasts are probabilistic. Teams listed as 75 percent favorites are supposed to win about 75 percent of the time over the long run — not much less than that but also not any more often. There are supposed to be some upsets. If 75 percent favorites are winning 100 percent of the time over the long run instead, that means the forecasts are miscalibrated and overestimating the chances for the underdogs.In this case, the success of the favorites does seem to be mostly a matter of luck. Three games have gone to a penalty shootout so far — pre-match favorites might have a slight edge in those but not much of one. Mexico, meanwhile, was a few minutes away from defeating the Netherlands, and the U.S. was a few inches away from beating Belgium.The best way to test probabilistic forecasts is to check their calibration and to compare them against alternative probabilistic estimates. For example, if your model says that the U.S. has a 40 percent chance of beating Belgium and the consensus betting line gives the U.S. just a 25 percent chance instead, you should bet on the Americans — even though you expect Belgium to win most of the time. So far, the FiveThirtyEight forecasts have done well against consensus betting lines when used in this fashion — although that could reflect good luck, too.
Online Gaming Can you find Carmen Sandiego in Google Earth’s new game? Google Earth It’s been almost 30 years, but Carmen Sandiego isn’t done jet setting around the globe and teaching us about it. The international master thief, a positive role model of course, has taught us the capitals of countries, the locations of historic events, and other geographical facts. Sandiego was such a staple for ’90s kids that Google said it’s releasing a series of games in Google Earth. The first, The Crown Jewels Caper, is available now and pays homage to the original franchise. You can play on web browser, Android or iOS. Your assignment from ACME is to track the elusive Sandiego from London to her hideout. You’ll use the magnifying glass to interview witnesses in different cities and gather clues. When you think you’ve figured out the next step, click the airplane icon to fly to the next city.”[O]ur game is an homage to the original. It’s for all those gumshoes who grew up with the chase, and for the next generation feeling that geography itch for the first time,” Vanessa Schneider, program manager at Google Earth, said in a blog post Wednesday.In January, Netflix released a reboot of the show. Gina Rodriguez lends her voice to Sandiego. The show announced its second season in February.Originally published March 13.Update, March 18: Added more details Carmen Sandiego game. Post a comment Google Tags 0 Share your voice 1:20 Now playing: Watch this: This $150 smartwatch lets kids call and text their parents