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Nate Silver

Amazon Sees Record Digital Downloads On Christmas

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Amazon had the most digital downloads ever on Christmas Day this year. This includes movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, apps and games.

During the holiday season, Amazon’s apps and games sales were up more than 250 percent over the same period last year. While Amazon still has a lot less apps than Apple’s App Store or Google Play, Amazon did almost tripled its selection of apps in 2012.

Amazon reported today that the Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle have held the top four spots on the company’s worldwide best seller charts since the company introduced these devices at the beginning of the holiday season.

Cyber Monday 2012 was Amazon’s biggest day for Kindle sales around the world ever and the most popular title to send as a Kindle book gift during the holiday season was The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t by Nate Silver.

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FiveThirtyEight.com Brought Into NYTimes.com Fold

538060310.bmp The New York Times is adding the popular political statistics blog FiveThirtyEight.com to its lineup.

The newspaper giant will host the blog on its site, and make founder Nate Silver a regular contributor to the newspaper and Sunday magazine.

Silver will retain all rights to the blog, and will continue to run the site.

In a post on the Media Decoder blog, Brian Stelter writes that in addition to writing for the blog, newspaper and magazine “Mr. Silver will also work with the journalists and software developers who create interactive graphics for NYTimes.com.”

The deal is similar to one the Times struck with Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the co-authors of the book Freakonomics, to bring their Freakonomics blog to NYTimes.com

“Nate won considerable recognition during the 2008 presidential campaign for his timely and prescient reports on the electoral races and on public opinion,” Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “We look forward to his unique perspectives on statistics, covering a wide swath of issues relating to politics, culture and sports.”

SXSWi Keynotes: Hsieh Proselytizes, Silver Wonks Out

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BusinessWeek‘s Stephen Baker interviews political prediction prodigy, FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver in a Sunday keynote at SXSW (via)

Toothless: That was the assessment of many in the 1,000+ audience to hear Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh‘s opening remarks Saturday at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive festival. Known in the tech set for its “customer service above all” ethos, Zappos.com is considered a model by many for its early embrace of Twitter to fuel customer service, and for its emphasis on transparency.

In an address with a hearty helping of self-help, Hsieh told the crowd he turns reporters loose when they come to visit the company for a story. “We believe so strongly in our culture, we’re not afraid of what employees will say,” he enthused, describing the “weirdness” and individuality Zappos seeks in employees. “If [reporters] talk to three different employees, they’ll get three different answers to what it’s like to work at Zappo’s.” Given Hsieh’s fanatical-sounding approach to recruitment and training in the interest of alignment, this reporter finds that tough to believe. All that indoctrination doesn’t seem like the recipe for the diversity Hsieh was touting. We found ourselves wishing the format for Hsieh had been an interview with a tech/business journalist who could ask him pointed questions about what happens when the economy takes a dive and people are clinging to their jobs like life rafts — can the same sincerity and singularity of purpose persist when employees are forced to consider the bottom line in their own lives?

What of FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver, number-crunching ingenue and presidential prediction prodigy?

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Obama Has Bigger Lead Among Cell Phone Polls

Cell_Phone_Political_Polls_Wired.jpgNate Silver, founder of the electoral projections site FiveThirtyEight, organized a survey that concludes political polls that include cell phone users show Obama leading McCain by an average of 10 points, versus just over five points in land-line-only surveys, Wired reports.

“The survey shows a snapshot of 15 polls conducted on behalf of media companies and by polling companies such as Gallup and Zogby. Six of those, including one released late Sunday by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, include cell phone users. The rest don’t.”

The survey highlights a trend noted back in September but is still too statistically inaccurate to really predict anything, the report said.