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Nationally known 'spreadsheet psychic' to speak Tuesday

By Kari VanDerVeen
November 15, 2010

Dubbed a “spreadsheet psychic” and “number-crunching prodigy” by New York Magazine, celebrated baseball statistician Nate Silver turned his sights — and forecasting models — on politics in 2008.

After predicting the outcome of the presidential primaries with stunning accuracy, Silver went on to correctly call the presidential winner in 49 states and the District of Columbia. His uncanny knack for political analysis led Time magazine to name him one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People” last year, and this Tuesday Silver will share some of the secrets of his trade during a talk on campus sponsored by the St. Olaf Political Awareness Committee.

The founder of, an award-winning political blog that recently relaunched as part of, Silver also contributes to the print edition of the New York Times and Sunday Magazine. He gained his reputation as a baseball statistical analyst and is famous for developing the PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) system for predicting player performance, career development, and seasonal winners and losers. He also co-authored a series of books that “unlock the secrets of baseball” through statistical analysis and forecasting.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or