What Election Predictions Really Mean

If you asked statistician, sabermetrician, psephologist, and writer Nate Silver who the next president of United States would be, he’d tell you with confidence that right now Barack Obama has an 88 percent chance of winning. His number has nothing to do with personal bias and everything to do with simple math, statistics, and predictive modeling. And it would behoove you to trust Silver, in 2008, the 34-year-old statistician predicted the voting outcome of 49 of 50 states in the presidential race and correctly called all 35 senate races.

Silver has come under fire for his statistical projections he publishes at his blog, FiveThirtyEight, under the New York Times name. His predictions favor President Obama, which conservatives don’t like to see. But most of the anger and confusion about the percentages Silver publishes stem from the general lack of understanding for what statistics actually are.

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The Threat on Our Galaxy Far, Far Away

“I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime,” said George Lucas in a statement confirming the sale of Lucasfilm Ltd. to the Walt Disney Company for $4.05 billion in cash and stock—a statement that is sending shockwaves of panic through the community of the Star Wars faithful. Lucas is passing the Star Wars brand along to a “new generation of filmmakers” and Disney intends to pick up where Lucasfilm left off with a release of Star Wars Episode 7 in 2015.

The deal means Disney now controls all of Lucasfilm’s assets, which include the Star Wars franchise, the Indiana Jones franchise, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Sound. Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of the Lucasfilm division and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. This puts Lucasfilm next to the animation group Pixar, superhero-centric Marvel Entertainment, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on Disney’s shelf of massive brands.

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“Fearless Felix” Falls 23 Miles to Earth, Shatters Records

On October 14, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped from a balloon-suspended capsule nearly 23 miles in the sky to break the sound barrier as he fell back to Earth. The 128,100 foot jump, sponsored and paid for by energy drink company Red Bull, broke three world records for the highest manned balloon, and the first man to break the speed of sound without mechanical aid. The jump was streamed live on YouTube and brought in a record-breaking 8 million viewers. Nine minutes three seconds after jumping, Baumgartner gracefully landed back on Earth, fell to his knees, and raised his fists in triumph.

The Austrian adventurer hit a an unofficial top speed of 834 mph—Mach 1.24—when he fell 119,846 feet during the 4 minute 20 second free fall. While Baumgartner jumped from 128,100 feet, the free fall represents the portion of the jump before he opened his chute, where the only forces acting on him were gravity and air resistance.

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Why We Shrug at The Greatest Telephone The World Has Ever Seen

Today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall et al. took the stage to announce three new product in the Apple, Inc lineup: the iPhone 5, a new iPod Touch, and a new iPod Nano. It is the iPhone 5 that has been on the tech world’s mind since the iPhone 4S was released last year. It’s been the iPhone 5 on the tech world since Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. Expectations for the device have been brewing and bubbling from a myriad of sources. Designs were leaked. Release dates were surmised. And Apple’s notoriously stringent security seemed to have been broken down. Going into today’s event, the tech media and those who follow it, had a pretty dead-on idea of what the iPhone 5 would look like. But even with all the leaks present people were doubtful. Prominent members of the tech reporting scene joked that maybe Apple was leaking a fake iPhone just to keep us waiting for the real surprise come September 12.

September 12 came. The event took place. And the phone we got was the one we anticipated.

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The iPhone 5 Announcement

We’ve come to expect it on a yearly cycle and 2012 is no different. Today marks Apple, Inc’s announcement of a new iPhone to add to the pantheon of smartphones. The rumors have been churning about for the last couple of months. Case makers leaked a concept build showing a taller version of the iPhone 4/4S design with a mini dock connector. But even if these leaks are accurate, they tell little about what might be going on inside the device. More RAM, faster processor, an improved name, Near-Field Communication chip, or hidden updates to iOS 6 could be in store. Or maybe Apple has other tricks to show. Maybe they will debut the long rumored iPad Mini.

To ensure you are the first to know, The Airspace will be live updating this page with the details from the event held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

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Vote, Motherfuckers

With less than sixty days until the presidential election of 2012, everyone and everything has reached a fever pitch around politics. Whether you love or hate politics (and are espousing such position in your conversations) the political animal in each of us has been roused from its slumber and is slouching around the den. I might be the first to say it doesn’t matter what your political leanings are, but it is important to have political thoughts. Crucially, it is essential you take your political whims and put them into action—regard this action as compulsory. To ameliorate any haze the headline1 might have created, it’s time you vote.

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From The Lollapalooza Desk: Leave The Meter Running

“Some of the things I’ve said in the past month have taken some fear away from myself,” says Frank Ocean timidly into the mic. “I’m grateful for that love.” The four-piece band eases in and Ocean starts: “Taxi driver/ be my shrink for the hour.” Two minutes into “Bad Religion,” Ocean’s R&B art confessional, I’m crying like an infant.

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From the Lollapalooza Desk: Burnt and Hallowed Grounds

“Weed!” giggles an eighteen year old wearing nothing but a bandana to cover her chest. She does a little flutter kick in the air before pirouetting. Spinning without much control, she stops herself upon hitting another person. She plants a wet kiss on this strangers face, blushes, then runs away. A group of three fifty-year-old women headed from the bar tent walk past me while laughing to one another. “This is the time we would run into our kids, while we’re each double fisting!” One of the mothers snorts, sloshing the foam of her Hoegaarden onto the grounds of Grant Park.

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Lollapalooza, We’re Yours

It’s time. That time. The one when three hundred thousand human beings congregate in a park in Chicago, IL to stand, and soak, and sweat, and kiss, and drink, and smoke, and puke, and love, and cheer, and fight, and fuck. It’s the most raucous, unwieldy collection of strange and disfigured people: small, tall, fat, thin, old, young. And they’re all together to listen to some other folks make glorious, glorious sounds from metal boxes. They’ll hit things, shake things, strum things, blow things, crash things, smash things, and vibrate their throats until we’ve had enough and then they’ll do it some more. That’s the human transaction. That’s the state of music. That’s Lollapalooza.

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11 Untold Stories of Bilbo Baggins for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy

Peter Jackson, famously known for directing the award-winning Lord of The Rings trilogy ten years ago, has such a love for halflings that he simply cannot let Tolkien’s universe alone. In keeping with hints dropped at Comic-Con earlier this month, Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Hobbit will now be divided among three films. On Monday, July 30, Jackson issued a statement: “I’d like to announce that two films will become three.”

Since Jackson will need to restart production to shoot enough film for a third installment, I implore Petey J. to consider including the following previously untold stories from Tolkien’s archives.

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Commentary Ticker

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