"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)

"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
September 19 is the last post for this blog. Thanks to all my readers!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

26 March 2014

Haley Ramm b. 1992 (X-Men: The Last Stand, Ben 10: Race Against Time)
Keira Knightley b. 1985 (Never Let Me Go, Pirates of the Caribbean, Neverland, Star Wars: Episode I – The One we Don’t Talk About)
Luke Ford b. 1981 (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Hercules [2005])
Amy Smart b. 1976 (The Butterfly Effect, Starship Troopers)
Leslie Mann b. 1972 (Timecode)
Francis Lawrence b. 1971 (director, The Hunger Games:Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Constantine, I Am Legend)
Ed Wasser b. 1964 (Babylon 5, Sliders, Quantum Leap)
Johnny Crawford b, 1946 (Village of the Giants, The Space Children)
James Caan b. 1940 (The Lathe of Heaven, Alien Nation, Rollerball)
Alan Arkin b. 1934 (Gattaca, The Rocketeer, The Return of Captain Invincible)
Leonard Nimoy b. 1931 (Star Trek, The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Futurama, Brave New World, The Lost World, The Outer Limits, Invasion of the Body Snatchers [1978], Twilight Zone, Them!, Zombies of the Stratosphere)
Strother Martin b. 1919 died 1 August 1980 (Sssssss, The Invaders, Lost in Space, Twilight Zone, World Without End, The Magnetic Monster)
Ed Peck b. 1917 died 12 September 1992 (The Incredible Hulk, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Land of the Giants, I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek, The Invaders)
Sterling Hayden b. 1916 died 23 May 1986 (Venom, The Last Days of Man on Earth, The Starlost)
Edward Bellamy b. 1850 died 22 May 1898 (author, Looking Backward, 2000-1887)

Today's birthday list does not lack for star power, but putting anyone but Leonard Nimoy in the Picture Slot would be somewhere between quirky and obtuse. If the competition was for favorite actor, I'd be torn between Sterling Hayden and Strother Martin, but not for their roles in genre films. And the real movie stars here, Kiera Knightley, James Caan and Alan Arkin, should also get a mention, though again their most famous roles are not in science fiction and fantasy. And one more solo mention should go to Edward Bellamy for his Looking Backward: 2000-1887 book, a major hit in his day that spawned a flurry of speculative fiction at the end of the 19th Century.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.

Movies released
How to Train Your Dragon, released 2010

Predictor: Nate Silver on his 538.com website

Prediction: The Republicans are poised to make gains in the United States Senate. The best case scenario would be a gain of eleven seats for the GOP the worst case would be losing two. The most likely scenarios are a loss of five or six seats. The Democrats would keep control with five losses, it would be a 50-50 Senate if the GOP picks up six.

Reality: It's very early. I do poll aggregation as a hobby and Nate Silver is a professional, but I did have a better track record than his in both 2008 and 2012. So here's my take.

1. Nothing sensible can be said until the candidates are decided. I won't start publishing numbers on my math blog until all the primaries are through. Silver's "professionalism" is a disadvantage for him, because his paymasters require a prediction long before there's enough data to do anything but be a pontification pundit.

2. Nate thinks he's better than the companies that do the polling. I don't think he's better than them and I don't think I'm better than them. There are clearly companies that did very badly in 2012, most notably the Republican pollsters, whose work was somewhere between wishful thinking and outright fraud. But as a teacher, I always hope students can learn, and the public humiliation taken by the pollsters in 2012 might teach some of them to do better.

3. It is a midterm. Low Democratic turnout in the midterm elections is a ridiculously consistent long-term trend. I won't say Republican gains are inevitable, but they are fairly likely.

4. Polls take the current temperature, they do not predict the future. I don't consider my numbers to be "forecasts" until about a week out from the election, and I don't set my numbers until I see the last available polls. Another difference between Silver and me is I wouldn't make a prediction right now, even one with a wide margin of error like Silver's. Still, he's called his shot, so let's put them in numbers and check back after November 4.

Best case for Democrats: 58-42 (+2 D)
Most likely cases: 51-49 Dems  (-5 D) or 50-50 Dems (-6 D)
Best case for the Republicans: 55-45 GOP (-11 D)

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

More from our Thursday regular Lee de Forest, predicting in his specialty, radio and television broadcast technology.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!


  1. 50-50 Dems leaves Biden as tie-breaker. If, that is, anything gets past the legislative filibuster. Two more years of an even MORE ineffectual Congress.

    Given that the legislative priorities on the right are full-gooze bozo loony, I'll take it.

    I know you typically try to keep politics off TDISF, but it's IS the beginning of the Long Silly Season, or the Goat Rodeo as Tengrain will.

    1. I think the Dems losing one seat to get to 55-45 is a distinct possibility, but I won't sign my name to anything until at least October.

      The Republicans have a lot more chances to be stupid between now and then, and if Hobby Lobby wins in the Supreme Court, that could change things considerably.

  2. Will you be updating the title of your math blog or getting a new URL?

    1. I get a new URL each year. Here's the link to last year's, which was much busier.


      Things will warm up as we get nearer to November.

    2. Thanks, already have it bookmarked from last year. Will be interested in the World Cup quarter finals results in July.

  3. Keira Knightly is also credited with "Never Let Me Go," which is kind of like "The Island," if the latter was about the moral/human issues of human clones as organ donors rather than elaborate chases with lots of essplosions. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1334260/


Traveler! Have you news... FROM THE FUTURE?