This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



June 2008

Curmudgeonly Note #2

We talked a bit on the podcast about how to interpret general election polls. With Ivan saying they were meaningless at this stage because they weren’t good predictors of the election results, and me saying they did matter because they reflect the state of the race NOW.

The analogy I should have used was that of a sports event. The score at any given time in the game does NOT tell you with any certainty who will win. It is an indicator. If one team is way ahead, then the other team would have to do something really extraordinary to win… and they probably won’t, but they might… but fundamentally the score in the middle of the game does not tell you who will win, it tells you the state of the game NOW. And that is not irrelevant or meaningless… it just tells you something different.

This is how general election polls should be interpreted. Not as predictors of the winner at the end of the game (the election) but rather as a snapshot of where things are RIGHT NOW. Which is different.

And of course, looking at national popular vote polls *is* irrelevant. That is not the game that is being played. The game being played is the electoral college. You need to look at state by state polls only. The national popular vote DOES NOT MATTER.

Curmudgeonly Note #1

Although in the show we determined that Ivan probably listened to the original version of last week’s show, in reality he listened to the fixed version. And it still sucked.

In this week’s show I still have a few issues. Before exporting to MP3 it sounds OK, but as an MP3 Ivan’s got some ringing on his voice that is annoying. And I’m already late putting this out, so I’m not going to delay another day to try to adjust it more.

We’ll continue to try to improve this stuff in future weeks. We need to get it so both Ivan and I sound decent consistently, and we’re not quite there yet. But it isn’t horrible I don’t think. Not like last week’s first version.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Mr Wolf Mr Wolf Mr Wolf

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Last Week’s Show
  • Forwarded Political Email
  • Sick Steve Jobs
  • New iPhones
  • End of the Primaries Redux
  • General Election Polling
  • McCain’s Bad Speech
  • Town Halls and Debates
  • Tim Russert
  • Old Politics and New

1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

View in iTunes

Podcast XML Feed


I wasn’t planning on even considering buying one for awhile. Until they were cheaper. Until there was a bigger selection of books. Maybe until there was a second revision. But Brandy has been kind of laid up lately… so over the weekend I ordered her a Kindle. It arrived yesterday. We’ll see how this goes, it will be an interesting trial. Of course, I also bought Brandy five actual physical books over the weekend, so it may be a few days until she actually tires it in earnest.

For me, I think I’ll want one once I can look at the list of the last 10 books I read and have more than 50% of them available on Kindle. That is not quite yet. Right now only three of the last 10 books I’ve read are there. But I’m sure that ratio will improve over time.

Electoral College: MN weakens for Obama, NC weakens for McCain

Two category changes today.

First, Minnesota slips from a “Strong Obama” state to a “Weak Obama” state. Still in Obama’s column, still not a “leaning” swing state, but now with a small enough lead (less than 10%) that McCain might want to consider putting resources there to try to put it into play.

Second, and probably more significant at this point, North Carolina moves from “Weak McCain” to “Leaning McCain”… putting the state very much into play as a potential swing state and improving Obama’s best case scenario.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case – Obama 351, McCain 187

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) – Obama 272, McCain 266

There were also additional new polls yesterday that got quite a bit of blogger coverage showing positive trends for Obama, most notably in Ohio and Florida. I am not ignoring these. My “last five poll” averages simply did not have either one of these move to a new category based on those new polls. Both states are near the edge of a category boundary though, so if new polls confirm what today’s polls show, they may flip soon. But that will all depend on what the next polls in those states show.

The same was true of North Carolina before today. There was blog talk for a couple weeks now about how it might be a swing state now based on one or two polls. I did not shift the category until there were enough polls so that the 5 poll average showed a McCain lead of less than 5%.

New Firefox

For a long time Firefox has been my browser on Windows. But on Macs I have stuck with Safari. On my Mac I just liked it better, even though Firefox had some things I missed in Safari. Some of that probably just had to do with the skin and it “looking right”. (And yes, I know I could have skinned it or tried Camino or whatnot.) But in any case, with Firefox 3 being released in final form yesterday, I went ahead and tried it again. Within a few minutes I had decided to change default browsers. It is quite good. If you haven’t yet, head on over to Firefox‘s site to download it. Very worth it.

There are still a few things I like better in Safari, like the form button shapes, the find function, and resizable text boxes. Overall though, Firefox just has enough little things to make it worth it. (Better URL autocomplete, selectable search box, extensions, etc.)

I’ll give Safari another shot next time they push a major update to it. Snow Leopard maybe?

Or maybe something will really frustrate me about Firefox in the next few days and I’ll go back early. But right now I’m doubting that.

Thank You Eurisko

Found by looking at referrers to my site today:

Abulsme Blog
(Eurisko97, A Transitional Phase, 17 Jun 2008)

I am impressed with Abulsme’s tracking of the election. I’ve been reading him since the democratic nomination process, since he was making clear, unbalanced, reality based analysis of the results. The impression I’m getting from his website is that this election is definitely not in the bag. Believe it or not, it seems like it is just as close as the last one. If Obama got all his leans, and McCain got all his leans, and DC when to McCain… we’d have a 269-269 electoral tie.

Glad you like it! I’ll try to keep it up through the elections!