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November 24, 2014, 07:27:26 am
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: Today at 12:55:57 am
Great to see so many lobsters. They'll get to submit their plans to the commission, too.

Once the state is selected (yes it's still tied by my count), the commission will have to vote on the criteria to produce a map.

My thoughts on commission votes is that it takes 3 votes to pass the commission. The alternates may vote, but their votes will only count if one or two commissioners fails to vote on a matter before the commission. In the spirit of crowdsourcing the final product, other posters may urge the commission to vote in a particular way during the discussion/voting period. Commissioners can vote at any time during the discussion/voting period and the vote can be changed, with only the last vote counted.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever seen a ... on: November 23, 2014, 08:00:34 pm
Since there are 7 symbols and 7 positions with 7 possible combinations that match the chance that any one combination is a match is 1 in 117,649. The left position changes about once a second, the the rate of change drops to the right, so that there are approximately 2 combinations each second. The mean time to see a match is about 16 hours.

I haven't watched long enough so I voted none.
3  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 23, 2014, 02:42:54 pm
The commissioners are

Morgieb
Miles
Fuzzybigfoot
Dixie
Del Tachi

and the alternates are

ElectionsGuy
X

I still need some tie breaking votes for the state (WI or VA).
4  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Maximizing geography of losing candidates on: November 22, 2014, 08:06:48 pm
Perhaps the confusion was mine. Is your OP about percentage margin or vote margin? When margin is used without an adjective it usually means vote margin. Your revised MN map suggests that you mean percentage margin.

Yes, sorry: I meant percentage margin. I figured that would be more realistic for such a scenario (relatively speaking).

I also went with your statement in the OP of the overall problem.

Analyze a county-by-county election result for a 2014 gubernatorial or senatorial contest, and without changing the overall result, maximize the number of counties the losing candidate won without pushing them over the top.

I took your statement that followed the quote to be your method, rather than the problem itself. As clarified, the problem becomes a brute force math exercise of moving through the sequence of counties from narrowest to widest percentage. My math solves the problem in the quote above, but not by a percentage margin basis, nor by your sequence. It creates the opportunity to explore individual county results with especially large vote margins.
5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Maximizing geography of losing candidates on: November 22, 2014, 07:44:57 pm
Is there another combination of Ramsey + something smaller that also holds for Dayton? Hennepin supplied about 60K more votes than needed.

Maybe I'm not following, but the general idea was to flip each county based on the margin of victory for the winning candidate, starting with the counties with the smallest margins of victory and ascending from there. The secondary goal is to see how many counties that would result in the losing candidate winning, while still ultimately losing, but keeping the counties that flip in line with that first goal was the idea.

However, I just realized that I messed up Minnesota by flipping Cook County and St Louis County, both of which had larger margins of victory for Dayton than Hennepin. Unfortunately, after subtracting these from Johnson's total and then adding Hennepin in, Johnson would be ahead by 20,000 or so, so this is the actual map based on the criteria I outlined instead:

Mark Dayton 989,100 49.43%
Jeff Johnson 904,543 45.21%



Perhaps the confusion was mine. Is your OP about percentage margin or vote margin? When margin is used without an adjective it usually means vote margin. Your revised MN map suggests that you mean percentage margin.
6  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Maximizing geography of losing candidates on: November 22, 2014, 07:14:51 pm
Mathematically, there is an equivalent, simpler procedure. Take the margin of victory for the loser in those counties won by the loser, call it L. Count the number of counties won by the winner, call it C. L+C is the winning margin for the loser if all of the winner's counties just flipped to the loser by one vote. To solve the problem select the smallest number of counties that voted for the winner (n < C), such that the total margin of victory w in those counties is greater than L+C-n.

Since C and n are generally going to be small compared to the difference between w and L they can be usually be neglected. Then the problem simplifies to finding the smallest set of counties that gives a value for w that is larger than L.

For example, for IA Gov, Hatch only won Johnson county and the margin was 10,568 (Politico). Branstad won the other 98 counties. The only county Branstad won by more than that was Scott, with a margin of 15,073 (Woodbury was just short with 10,245). So flipping all other counties except Scott to Hatch would give Branstad a margin of 15,073 - (10,568 + 98 - 1) = 4,408.

Very interesting! Now I'll just have to read it over about seven more times before I get it, since I'm so bad with equations. Tongue

It's really not very complicated if you don't think about the totals but only the margin between the candidates. Smiley The loser has a fixed total margin in the counties won by the loser. Each county flipped adds one to the margin for the loser. To keep the winner in front requires one or more counties not flip where the winner's total margin exceeds the total held by the loser.

Quote


Minnesota, Governor:

Actual:



Mark Dayton 989,100 50.07%
Jeff Johnson 879,249 44.51%

Alternate:



Mark Dayton 989,100 48.83%
Jeff Johnson 929,453 45.89%

Very cool that Dayton still retains more than half of his original margin under this scenario. I really wanted to flip Ramsey County, but its margin was larger than Hennepin, which would have put Johnson over the finish line.

Is there another combination of Ramsey + something smaller that also holds for Dayton? Hennepin supplied about 60K more votes than needed.
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Did you like gym class in school? on: November 22, 2014, 10:53:29 am
But grading people for ability in P.E. is ridiculous.
Why?  Granted, anyone who is making an effort ought to get at least a C, but I see no problem with having better grades in P.E. being based on better performance, and I say that as someone for whom P.E. was not one of my better subjects for exactly that reason.
I agree.  People that are naturally smart (or at least naturally good students) find it easy to get good grades, why shouldn't the naturally athletic get better grades in athletics?

Indeed, if it is going to be a school subject, why shouldn't it be treated like other subjects? If PE is not ability-based, then how should music and art classes be graded? What about cooking or keyboarding?
8  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Maximizing geography of losing candidates on: November 22, 2014, 10:46:56 am
Wow that California map is insane

It could be even more insane. Kashkari's winning margin in the states he won was 215,555 (again Politico numbers). Los Angeles county provided a margin for Brown of 405,230 so it alone could balance Kashkari's win plus all other flipped counties, not unlike the way Cook balances the rest of IL.

But it gets better, Alameda had a 226,726 vote margin for Brown which is larger than Kashkari's in his winning counties. So, you can take politicallefty's CA map and flip San Francisco, too and it's still a Brown win - with only Alameda!
9  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Maximizing geography of losing candidates on: November 22, 2014, 10:25:12 am
Mathematically, there is an equivalent, simpler procedure. Take the margin of victory for the loser in those counties won by the loser, call it L. Count the number of counties won by the winner, call it C. L+C is the winning margin for the loser if all of the winner's counties just flipped to the loser by one vote. To solve the problem select the smallest number of counties that voted for the winner (n < C), such that the total margin of victory w in those counties is greater than L+C-n.

Since C and n are generally going to be small compared to the difference between w and L they can be usually be neglected. Then the problem simplifies to finding the smallest set of counties that gives a value for w that is larger than L.

For example, for IA Gov, Hatch only won Johnson county and the margin was 10,568 (Politico). Branstad won the other 98 counties. The only county Branstad won by more than that was Scott, with a margin of 15,073 (Woodbury was just short with 10,245). So flipping all other counties except Scott to Hatch would give Branstad a margin of 15,073 - (10,568 + 98 - 1) = 4,408.
10  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 22, 2014, 09:25:44 am
There is currently a tie between VA and WI for the first state for the commission. Please vote for just one of those two to break the tie. Voting will close at 11:59 EST tonight.

The following posters have applied for the commission (I think). Some posters voted for the state, but did not clearly indicate if they wanted to be considered for the commission. If that included you and you meant to be on the list, please indicate some time today. If you didn't mean to be on the list, also indicate that today. Tomorrow I'll make a random draw of five commissioners and two alternates such that no party gets a majority.

JerryArkansas (R)
Dixie (R)
Del Tachi (R)

Averroes Nix (D)
Morgieb (D)
Gass (D)
Bacon King (D)
X (D)

SLCValleyMan (G)
Fuzzybigfoot (G)

Electionsguy (L)

Sol (I)
Miles (I)
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Anyone else watching Survivor: Blood vs. Water 2? on: November 20, 2014, 11:53:09 pm
Bummed that Jeremy had to go, he was my last real horse in the race. I'm surprised people are letting Jon and Jacqueline run things so transparently.

This was a surprising blindside in that the editors had almost no foreshadowing during the episode. Great play by J&J to link with M&B as the other "trusted" couple to pull it off. Because of the editing I can't tell what role Reed played in any of this. Going forward, does this throw Natalie in with K&W?
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: 2014 a GOP R+6 election on: November 20, 2014, 10:45:48 pm
R+ and D+ are not based on the margin, but by how much a party is over 50% (or over a benchmark like the previous two presidential races). That puts 2014 at R+3, not R+6.
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Did you like gym class in school? on: November 20, 2014, 10:27:29 pm
Horrible activity. The one reason I never made honor roll/dean's list in middle and high school, of all things. I usually had a 97 to 100 in all actual classes and around an 80 in PE, so was ineligible for the honor roll (I think it was something like you couldn't have any grades below 85). Plus I really was acutely aware of my inability to throw a ball or whatever. No need to be publicly shamed 4 days a week for years. We had timed runs in high school where your grade depended on your time. Liberal education, mind-body-spirit kind of stuff. Except the focus on the body had negative effects on my spirit. Free time to move around outside would have been awesome.

How the hell did they get away with that? That is ridiculously unfair, assuming you put in the effort and participated.

Academic subjects are graded on ability, not just effort. It's not unusual to see ability count in subjects outside the academic core.
14  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 20, 2014, 09:43:46 pm
Some would like to start with a smaller state, so let me add another specific vote to take. I'll pick three smaller states that could also make interesting candidates that had legislative gerrymandering. If simpler is better to start, it's helpful if they don't involve the VRA and do have lots of internal political units to guide map making.

KY: 6 CDs, no VRA issues, lots of counties, bipartisan compromise for incumbents.

WI: 8 CDs, no VRA issues, townships to guide county chops, Pub gerrymander.

IN: 9 CDs, no VRA issues, townships to guide county chops, Pub gerrymander.

VA: 11 CDs, VRA issue, lots of counties and independent cities, Pub gerrymander and court challenge.

Since the non-commissioners will also be participating with maps, I think everyone should vote for the state. I like the idea of approval voting, so vote for any number of the states in the list.
15  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Robotics on: November 20, 2014, 08:52:12 am
Frederick Pohl's 1954 classic novella "The Midas Plague" should be required reading for this thread.
16  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 19, 2014, 04:16:11 pm
Also what preferences does everyone have for states? The biggest question to figure out is the number of districts we want to work with, I think. Which categories in the following tier list are acceptable to y'all? At what point, if any, will the exercise become too big or too small?

Big Four: CA/TX/FL/NY
Large States: IL/PA/OH/MI/GA/NC
Medium States: NJ/VA/WA/AZ/IN/TN/MA
Small States: MD/WI/MO/MN/AL/SC/CO
Tiny States: KY/LA/CT/OK/OR
Simple States: the rest (four districts or less)



I still think VA is most interesting since it is currently under scrutiny by the court. If the VRA makes the issue too complex in VA, I'd stick to states that are medium or smaller for an initial run.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of multivariable calculus (also known as Calculus III) on: November 19, 2014, 03:34:59 pm
It is both more useful and more important than Calc II. A large portion of Calc II involves tricks of analytical solutions that aren't so necessary in an age where computer access and computation is widely available. OTOH, Calc III brings in new concepts that apply the ideas of calculus to three dimensions, and having those concepts become very important in the STEM field.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Did you like gym class in school? on: November 19, 2014, 09:31:16 am
My JHS and HS were large enough so that students could be clustered in academic subjects by ability. Teachers could focus on the skills needed for a given group. PE was not that way, with all students lumped together regardless of ability.

I was a year younger than most of my classmates and noticeably smaller until about 11th grade. The teachers did nothing to try to work with me at my ability level, so I just got low marks. I found nothing to enjoy in the class. In college we had required PE from a basket of electives and I enjoyed those. As an adult I spent 20 years in martial arts rising to a third degree black belt, so there were athletic activities that I could enjoy and compete in.
19  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 18, 2014, 07:37:45 am
Ugh, I wish my DRA still worked. Sad

But you can still be selected for the commission. Smiley
20  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 17, 2014, 08:51:47 pm
Here's who I have as applicants for the commission with affiliation based on avatar. You can add or remove your name as you wish. I propose that applications be accepted until Friday 11/21/14 11:59 pm EST.

Sol (I)
JerryArkansas (R)
SLCValleyMan (G)
Dixie (R)
Frodo (D)?
Miles (I)
Del Tachi (R)
traininthedistance (D)??
X (G)
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: FC Chess Tournament 5 on: November 17, 2014, 07:56:12 pm
A marathon seventh game. Anand plays a seemingly level line of the Berlin Defense as Black, but then realizes that Carlsen has better endgame chances. He bails out by sacrificing a piece for two pawns to eliminate White's winning chances. Carlsen agrees to a draw--91 moves later--the entire game lasting 122 moves! Carlsen leads 4-3 after 7 games, but in the remaining five, Anand has three Whites. Can he catch up?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fuw_EP87gg&feature=youtu.be

I kept checking in between classes and amazingly the game was going on longer than the Energizer Bunny. It seems that much of the game was played long after the analysts had taken it for a draw. Was Carlsen using the time to wear out Anand and his preparation for game 8?
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: First snowfall of the year, boys and girls on: November 17, 2014, 03:04:09 pm
We got our first accumulation on Sat night; it was a bit less than an inch. The unusual early cold is a bigger issue. It won't get above the low 20's today or tomorrow.
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 16, 2014, 11:35:18 pm
Let me propose the following. A commission of five or seven members is determined by lot from among those interested with no party having a majority. The commission agrees to the criteria and software (presumably DRA) and is in charge of making sure that the criteria are followed. They can also be arbiters of things like VRA compliance. I'd be happy to act as a consultant on measurable criteria, based on the various rubrics we've tested here in the past.

Once the criteria are set for a state then the public (including the commission) can propose maps for the state for a fixed period of time. Proposed maps are posted here so that the public can view all maps, and propose new maps that improve upon existing proposals. At the end of the time period the commission votes from those maps that best meet the criteria. In this way the map is crowdsourced under the auspices of the commission, and everyone gets some say in the process.

As to the state, I would suggest VA since its congressional plan was just struck down by the court, pending appeal.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Most Democratic Gerrymander possible on: November 16, 2014, 09:15:55 pm
I'm not sure your criteria works for IL. Obama's home state advantage caused a large overperformance in 2008, particularly in some suburban areas. One result was that the Dems tried to draw a 13-5 map, took 12, but are now down to 10-8. The three downstate CDs should be no more than 2, and Dold's results in IL-10 show that the PVI there due to Obama is misleading.

I went with what was actually enacted in IL and MD because they were D controlled.  In the case of AR, I have seen a 57% Obama district demonstrated here.  I agree in practice that 61-62% Obama is closer to the safe Dem district cutoff in IL and I believe that is what the legislature did with all the Chicago districts.  Clearly many of these districts on the hypothetical Dem gerrymanders would have been lost for a cycle in 2010 and 2014.  

In the lawsuit over the IL congressional districts it came out they they were mostly not drawn by the legislature, but by the DCCC. The Dems in DC cut the margin much closer than the Dem legislature did for the GA map. The result was a partial dummymander. If the districts can't be held in off years, they really aren't successful gerrymanders. The success of the Pub gerrys is that they held up in 2012. What I don't know is whether a sustainable 12-6 could be drawn in IL. My gut tells me that 11-7 may be the best.

To follow up, Obama got 63% in IL-10 in 2008. Needless to say that was not a safe Dem district for the suburbs.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: 10 days after election, Rauner under investigation on: November 16, 2014, 07:14:43 am
Before everyone gets too excited, the article points out that it is the donors under investigation, not the campaign. The law prohibits private managers of state funds from donating to the officials who make appointments to the boards that oversee the funds. If a donor had active involvement in the part of their company that manages the fund then there is a violation.

It's not a violation for the candidate, since a candidate once informed of the illegal source can return the donation. Blago's crime was that he solicited donations with a clear intent to perform an official act in exchange for those donations.
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