Nate Silver’s burrito dream

Most people know Nate Silver as “that guy who accurately predicted the 2012 electoral college vote” or maybe “that nerd who used math for stuff,” but before he was famous for using statistics to predict the outcome of the Presidential election, Nate Silver was just a hipster with a dream. A dream of finding the best burrito in his hipster Chicago neighborhood using a sophisticated statistical analysis that pitted burrito against burrito in a bracket of death.

But before he became the darling of political prognosticators, Silver used his analysis to forecast simpler things. Like developing the PECOTA system that’s one of the foundations of Baseball Prospectus. Silver also used his statistics in an attempt to find Chicago’s best burrito. Well, not all of Chicago; just the best one in the Wicker Park. In 2007 Silver set up the “Burrito Bracket,” which aimed to find the best burrito in the neighborhood most synonymous with Chicago’s hipster population.

Sadly, Silver chose a career in political analysis over food conflict management, and his bracket, while still available, has never officially been completed.

Like his methodology on the 538 blog, Nate Silver’s burrito determinations were the subject of some initial scrutiny. As it happens, although Silver ate burritos at each location, his burritos weren’t standardized and often included different toppings and meats, so side by side analysis was speculative.

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