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What Online Dating Was Like In The 1960s

In our modern age of Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com, we’re used to the idea that algorithms can help us find love. But while the algorithms may have improved as the market for online dating has expanded, the inputs — the questions these computer matchmakers ask dating hopefuls — haven’t changed much since the 1960s, when Compatibility Research Inc. launched the first computerized dating service.

In the latest film in our “Signals” series, we meet the creators of Operation Match, as well as some of their customers, who are still married to the person the service found for them.


 

How The NYPD Abused Citizens In The Name Of Data, And How One Cop Exposed It

Exposing police misconduct can be risky, even for a cop.

“Crime By The Numbers,” a short documentary directed by Don Argott for FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films’ Signals series, tells the story of Adrian Schoolcraft. Schoolcraft, as a New York Police Department officer, blew the whistle on the NYPD’s abuse and misuse of CompStat, a system to track crime trends in New York City.

But in trying to fix the injustices of New York’s policing system, Schoolcraft experienced that injustice personally.


 

That Time Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura Was Elected Governor Of Minnesota

Remember when a former professional wrestler got himself elected as the governor of a major state?

In 1998, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a WWF star turned political independent and crusader, defeated two major-party candidates to win the Minnesota governor’s mansion. The latest documentary in our “Signals” series — “Shock the World,” directed by Zak Knutson — revisits one of the most amazing elections in American history.


 

How Data Nerds Found A 131-Year-Old Sunken Treasure

The SS Central America, a steamer carrying a cache of gold, sank off the southeast coast of the United States in 1857. Part mystery, part adventure story, “In Deep Water,” directed by Steven Leckart and presented by ESPN Films and FiveThirtyEight, recounts the tale of a group who used Bayesian theory to find the ship — and the gold.


 

Meet The Personal Stats Analyst Who Helped Kevin Durant Win The MVP

Personal trainers have been a part of professional sports for decades. Personal data analysts are newer.

As a trained mathematician, Justin Zormelo provided Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder with personalized analytics during Durant’s MVP season. And in his most recent undertaking, Zormelo is training a 17-year-old, 7-foot-1-inch Sudan native named Thon Maker. Zormelo’s story is told in the latest “Signals” film from FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films: “By The Numb3rs (With Justin Zormelo),” directed by Jamie Schutz.


 

The Queen Of Code

You probably don’t know the name Grace Hopper, but you should.

As a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, Hopper worked on the first computer, the Harvard Mark 1. And she headed the team that created the first compiler, which led to the creation of COBOL, a programming language that by the year 2000 accounted for 70 percent of all actively used code. Passing away in 1992, she left behind an inimitable legacy as a brilliant programmer and pioneering woman in male-dominated fields.

Hopper’s story is told in “The Queen of Code,” directed by Gillian Jacobs (of “Community” fame). It’s the latest film in FiveThirtyEight’s “Signals” series.


 

Decades Before Moneyball, The Dallas Cowboys Used Advanced Stats To Win Super Bowls

A. Salam Qureishi grew up in India and knew nothing about football — or America. And yet in the early 1960s, Qureishi, a computer programmer and statistician, helped the Dallas Cowboys overhaul their scouting system, replacing hunches with hard numbers.

The result: five Super Bowl appearances and two titles. FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films present “The Cowboys and the Indian,” directed by Mark Polish. It’s the second film in our short series “Signals.” (Watch our first “Signals” film, “The Man vs. the Machine,” here.)


 

Exploring The Epic Chess Match Of Our Time

Seventeen years ago in New York City, brooding chess champion Garry Kasparov sat down to take on an opponent he had vanquished just a year earlier: the IBM computer, Deep Blue.

Like the earlier match, which Kasparov won four games to two, the rematch spoke to a fundamental question of the digital age: Who has primacy — a tangle of circuits and silicon, or a reasoning, feeling human being?

FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films follow the drama of those nine days in a short documentary film, “The Man vs. The Machine,” directed by Frank Marshall. The story — part of FiveThirtyEight’s new digital short series, “Signals” — hinges on a single move, the 44th move of the second game.
Fittingly, it involved the king.