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+ - Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?""

Comment: Re:Toilet etiquette (Score 1) 167

by SimonInOz (#48331191) Attached to: New Website Offers Provably Fair Solutions To Everyday Problems

>> This is a function based on how many males vs females there are, and how often a male needs to, er, sit.

No it isn't.
The logical thing to do is the minimum possible - ie leave the seat where it is when the operation is complete. When the next user comes along they may - or may not - have to adjust it.

Or are you suggesting that women reverse blindly into a bathroom and sit down?

Comment: Re:Still a second class citizen (Score 1) 214

by BlueBlade (#48317533) Attached to: Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

The nVidia Shield has a SD slot, and rumor has it that it's the fastest selling Android tablet on the market (basically nVidia cannot keep up with the demand and every single tablet is sold before leaving the production chain).

At $300, it's also the best performing tablet on the market and, according to the Anandtech benchmark reviews I've seen, it even surpasses the unreleased Nexus 9 in tests. Let's hope this comes as a wake-up call to to the other players in the tablet market.

Disclaimer : I don't work for nVidia, I'm just an extremely satisfied Shield tablet owner.

Comment: Horrible quality (Score 0) 26

by BlueBlade (#48284733) Attached to: NASA Spacecraft Images Crash Site of Retired LADEE Probe

Can someone explain to me why the images have such bad quality and resolution? Satellite images of the earth are good enough to spot someone sunbathing on a roof. I would think that the price of top-notch optics and sensors would pale compared to the cost of just making the trip to the moon, so why aren't the pictures as good quality as what we get from the earth-orbiting satellites?

Comment: Re:Honestly, who gives a fuck? (Score 1) 608

by SimonInOz (#48238423) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

More important is - why aren't men going into teaching? Much more concerning.
We seem to be entering a world where everyone is being taught to be female.

Males - in my experience - work well alone, can delve very deeply into things. Females are better with group work, and tend to take a broader approach.

We need both, sure.
But as people tend to go for jobs and careers they think they might be good at ... maybe we should let them choose?

Overly sexually biased workplaces tend to be painful - over female and you get bitch city and bullying, over male and you get macho posturing and bullying. A mixture is nice. We used to have male occupations leavened by admin assistants, invariably female, and traditionally female occupations usually had males about for some stuff.
But with the automation of many tasks, thing get more concentrated. And we have lost that mix.

Real Programmers think better when playing Adventure or Rogue.

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