For nearly a century, American electoral politics was characterized by the oft-repeated aphorism: “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” These words rang true to Americans for at least two reasons – first, because of Maine’s early harvest and immoderate fall weather, it held gubernatorial and congressional elections in September. Hence, the winning party often hopefully viewed its results as a harbinger of victory in the November presidential election. Secondly, pundits regarded Maine as a statistical bellwether, since its winning gubernatorial party in September took the White House in November near three quarters of the time between 1832 and 1932. This reputation was especially cemented into American consciousness in 1888, when Maine was solidly Republican in September and predicted Benjamin Harrison’s electoral victory in spite of losing the nationwide popular vote. But Maine’s bellwether reputation was shattered forever in 1936,…

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  by  nandadevieast  The 1970s was a decade when scientific knowledge really began to coalesce around the prediction of earthquakes. Predictions of major earthquakes in China, Russia and Los Angeles lent credibility to the burgeoning field and led to a ramping up of interest in the subject. But in the years that followed, increased scrutiny was paid to the data behind these predictions, and it was ultimately determined that in no case had the science behind the forecast been substantiated. In China, the same methodology used to predict a major quake in 1975 had completely missed an even larger quake the following year, which killed hundreds of thousands of people. The Russian report was deemed inconsistent and unsubstantiated and ultimately thrown out. Finally, the Los Angeles quake that scientists predicted with such certainty never materialized. In fact, in the years since, the…

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