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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Timmy's States on: August 24, 2016, 06:23:43 am
You said the borders are fixed, but you haven't said what the rationale was for the divisions. If they are fixed there is presumably a reason they are that way. I'm hoping you'll share that reason.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Canada repels Yuuugge illegal alien invasion on: August 23, 2016, 10:15:41 am
Maybe this is part of the "southern" border. To get to Canada from Detroit you drive south. Smiley
3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Why did the Democrats lose so badly in 2010? on: August 23, 2016, 08:03:17 am
Well Obama did continue TARP early in his Presidency. Basically voters were pissed at both Obama and Bush W. for bailing out the banks. TARP is a tough vote for a member of Congress though.

To go off topic a bit -

I really think it's unfair that either party was blamed for the bailouts. I'm sure some more favorable changes could have been made (none of which would have mattered as long as it was even remotely seen as a bailout), but it was needed. People don't like the idea of bailing out companies who caused the problem in the first place and if they had the final say, we'd be a hell of a lot more trouble even now just because the people wanted to be vindictive. I do things all the time I don't like but at the same time, know that I have to for the greater good.

This is why we need a more engaged & educated populace. This stuff shouldn't even need to be explained to everyone, as people should do their own research before forming such strong opinions. It's the huge absence of this kind of logical behavior that frequently makes me wonder how the hell we ever got to this stage of technological evolution to begin with.

Even with an engaged populace there would have been frustration at perceived injustice at the treatment of the oligarchy of Wall Street. The level of financial education needed to understand the vertical integration that was happening in Wall Street and its impact is fairly high. I doubt many engaged citizens were noting in the 1960's when the feds began to reinterpret Glass-Steagall to permit certain partner arrangements that would lead to de facto consolidations. I know few educated voters during the go-go tech boom in 1999 cared about Gramm-Leach-Billey removing the last major barriers to financial integration constructed by Glass-Steagall. Enron was a big deal to the public in 2001, but it didn't translate into better awareness of the overall financial market. I personally only started to take real note of the larger picture when I head John McCain talk in 2005 about the potential problem looming with Fannie and Freddie. But by 2008 it was too late, and the mortgage derivatives were already bust (in 2007) by the time when the public was feeling the impact (mostly in 2009).

I'm not sure how one could have better educated the voters who weren't in finance as a career. I do agree that the push to make healthcare reform a signature in Obama's first two years distracted from other achievements that needed explanation to the public.
4  General Politics / Economics / Re: Would a Georgian Land Value Tax harm conservation? on: August 22, 2016, 06:28:06 pm
I thought that the Georgist Land Tax was a mechanism still talked about by conservationists who wanted create disincentives to urban sprawl. I presumed that by only taxing unimproved land it was more economical to build more densely on land that is privately owned and leave the rest for the public sector.
5  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Which do you prefer, subway or streetcar? on: August 22, 2016, 06:23:01 pm
The ride is the same either way.

It most certainly is not.

If I like the green line (which I rode for many years as a grad student) how should I vote?

If you like the green line, then you should vote to see a psychiatrist.

I voted Subway.  I don't care for the subways that surface to surface trolleys either (e.g., The Green Line, which I rode more times than I care to remember as well).  The Red Line is faster and more comfortable, and more like a real subway.


The Green Line from Riverside was my link to Boston in grad school. Red was of no use, or at best for a connection to Harvard or MIT if I couldn't ride my bike. I could sometimes take commuter rail, but the schedule was much less frequent. Interestingly, in the 80's the Green Line to Riverside had newer, nicer cars than the Red.

I guess I'm biased by the CTA as well. Both the Red and Blue line subways surface once they are out of the Loop, and have more stations above ground than below ground. Of course even these lines are collectively referred to as the L even when they aren't elevated.

Subway is heavy rail.  Light rail is light rail.  The determining word here describes passenger level, with LRT trains holding much fewer passengers than a subway train.  LRT also runs above, at, and below grade while subway generally runs below and sometimes above.

A streetcar runs at grade in the middle of the street, usually at no more than 30mph and makes frequent stops.

The aforementioned Boston Green Line is light rail and runs at, above and below grade. It also runs down the middle of the street in places and makes frequent stops. It sure seems like a streetcar to me.

The Chicago Blue Line is heavy rail and runs at, above and below grade. It's only underground for a few stops downtown and at Logan Square, so it's hard to call it a subway. But the Brown Line is above grade the entire way and runs the same heavy rail as runs underground on the Blue Line. I don't think I can call the Brown Line a subway, but it's not a light streetcar either. However, it is a nice way to get to and from Wrigley Field when most everyone is packing the Red Line.

It's obviously hard to define these things strictly.

The L is heavy rail...and runs mostly above grade with the two subways near the loop.  Where it runs at grade it is a dedicated ROW with very few or no at grade crossings...which is the big criterium here.

LRT has become a catchall for hybrid systems that run both like heavy rail and a street car but generally with lighter capacity and frequency than a heavy rail system. 


I agree that the L is heavy rail. The question is how it should be considered for the poll. It's not a streetcar, but as you note the subway is incidental to the bulk of the L service. Is it "other"?

The Green Line is not heavy rail and most of it is above ground with many parts crossing streets at grade. The downtown part runs underground like a subway. Is it a subway, streetcar or other for the purposes of the poll?
6  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Are DC, Maryland, and Delaware in the Northeast or the South? on: August 22, 2016, 02:52:16 pm
As a DC area native, I will fight to the death anybody who has the gall to insinuate Maryland and DC are somehow more Southern than Northern.

Agreed, but it's pretty crazy how Southern (Upper South variety) it gets when you go west of Fredrick or to the Eastern Shore.

The MD panhandle is more northern/mid Appalachian than Upper South. The Appalachian Regional Commission puts it in a subregion with western PA, and not with the more southern parts of the region.

Quote
The Appalachian subregions are contiguous regions of relatively homogeneous characteristics (topography, demographics, and economics) within Appalachia.


7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: Do you support the Dem's super delegate system the way it is? on: August 22, 2016, 01:34:34 pm
As a Republican, I wish we had the same system the Dems did, except with more superdelegates.

I don't think that really works. Look at what would likely have happened if Bernie had a majority of the Dem elected delegates, but lost on superdelegates. There would have been a tremendous public uproar about their votes not counting, etc. It's even possible that would have been enough to drive Sanders to run under a third party. At least with a system of elected pledged delegates that outcome can't happen.

The superdelegate system was intended as a hybrid between the system of 50 years ago where state county chairman and similar insiders drove the nomination process and the push for public primaries for delegates. But once there is a significant role for the public in delegate selection, I don't see how the public would accept overruling the primary results by insiders.

If one is unhappy with outsiders taking over a nomination, the only other option is to return to the system that existed before 1970. Then presidential primaries would go back to being used mostly as beauty contests to gauge support for candidates with less national name ID. The parties would have to make it clear that the parties will select the nominees as they do for US third parties and in Europe. I don't think that would be very popular for the major parties in the US after so many decades of active primaries.
8  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: 2nd Amendment applies to non-1790's weapons on: August 22, 2016, 07:00:24 am
So the citizens have the right to have the same munitions as the US army does, Muon2?

That's not the way I read the passages from that time. I see those American writers describing a militia of the people in the same way I see Mao's strategy for his early army, one consisting of large numbers of lightly armed irregulars that could deflect and if necessary bring to a halt the army of a central government.

But lightly armed irregulars could not defeat today's army, as was the case then. So if the rational is the ability to defeat, then the type of arms is a moving target, akin to what is deemed "cruel and unusual." 

As I pointed out earlier, it wasn't lightly armed irregulars who beat the British Army during the Great American Tax Revolt, tho I agree the mythology built up in the U.S. over the years would lead one to think that. While the Rebels did depend upon a significant amount of irregular support, it was the Continental Army, infused with French artillery that made possible the victory at Saratoga, and don't forget the necessity of the support of both the French Army and Navy for the victory at Yorktown to have happened.

Yet it seems that the mythology was already in place as Madison was writing his Federalist articles.
9  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: How does one edit US county maps? on: August 21, 2016, 10:46:21 pm
This is the template a lot of people use.

We have a bigger version somewhere, IIRC.

I have that template currently, but how are you supposed to edit it?

I use MS Paint to fill in counties.
10  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Which Airport? Chicago area on: August 20, 2016, 09:18:15 pm
There's no regular commercial service but when I've been able to I prefer the DuPage Airport. The main runway is longer than Midway's, with 24/7 FAA Tower and Customs. For corporate and private aviation it's the best option. When the Ryder Cup was in Chicagoland, DuPage was the preferred choice for most of the golfers.

11  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: How does Delmarva vote? on: August 20, 2016, 02:00:20 pm
You don't even need to excise DE to make Delmarva Pub. Just take out Wilmington in New Castle county.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: BREAKING: Leaked internal PPP poll finds Clinton down big on: August 20, 2016, 01:53:26 pm
The author on scribd could have a lot better with the cut&paste PPP logo. The digital bits from the screen shot are painfully obvious. At least they could take the time to clean it up and make it look real. Tongue
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Is the red word used incorrectly? on: August 19, 2016, 07:41:53 pm
It is correct in that sentence. Theater can mean the area in which something happens (Oxford English Dictionary). It is frequently used in that context in military affairs. The OED gives the example "a new theater of war has been opened up. Theater of war is particularly used when the areas of conflict are not close to each other. In WWII it is common to talk about the Pacific and European theaters.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Why did the Democrats lose so badly in 2010? on: August 19, 2016, 10:23:59 am
I never quite understood why the Democrats lost so badly in 2010 midterm elections. I mean, really badly. Less than two years before President Obama got into office with unbelievable enthusiasm. How did it come so far? Democrats held 257 house seats, thatís ten more than the GOP currently holds. Meaning, they could have lost more than 35 seats and still maintain a majority. Why did it happen so fast? Such big losses are, if at all, more common in the midterm elections during a second presidential term, but not the first.

I often heard that it was due to the slow economic recovery in Obamaís first two years. However, I found an analogy in history that tells a different story: In 1932, during a great recession, a Democratic president was elected with great enthusiasm, Democrats won large majorities in congress and the administration consequently passed major reforms to battle the economic downturn. The public mainly blamed previous Republican administrations for the crisis. Very similar to 2008. But as it is well known, the US economy did just slightly improve until the late 1930s. The New Deal helped a lot, but it took WW2 to take the country entirely out of the depression. But unlike in 2010, the 1934 midterms saw practically no changes in congress (Dems even made minor gains), although the economy just slightly got better. The voters didnít lose patience with FDR so fast; they even reelected him by a record margin in 1936 and further expanded the congressional majorities.

Didnít low voter turnout play a bigger role? And the fact that Republicans were less obstructionist against FDR than Obama?


Democrats won on similar demographics in 2006, an electorate controlled by traditional independents and working class swing voters and less by minorities (and Republicans did very well in both 2010 and 2014 with minorities Hispanics were 38% in 2010 and 35% in 2014).

The problem was that Democrats lost control of the economic argument because they focused on healthcare and failed to connect the two together. Thus creating the impression among those swing groups that the Democrats rather than creating jobs were ramming through a corrupt healthcare bill.

Also, it easy to forget now but the tea party was very popular in 2009 and 2010 because it combined a libertarian outrage at big gov't with an equally vocal opposition to the Wall Street bailouts. Since it was a rebellion against the GOP establishment, it helped to distance the Republicans from the Bush administration (the first signs of the GOP cracking at the seams began in 2007 when the base revolted against Bush over the immigration bill. Bush never had that problem before then and several primaries occured in 2008 cycle ousting incumbents over that issue. Another strand of the tea party came from the Ron Paul movement, which of course had no connection to Bush. There was no such rebellion in 1934.) Anyway the populism of the tea party and its opposition to the despised Bush era GOP, saved the Republicans from being weighed down by the unpopularity of Bush and allowed them to capitalize more fully on the vulnerablilities of the Democrats.

Republicans also had a lot of their candidates for office were small businessmen and military vets with no political history and thus no Bush era votes to defend. Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and Adam Kinzinger come to mind. Still more came from the ranks of dissenting Republicans who opposed Bush era spending/establishment like Pat Toomey.   

The Republicans also managed to successfully bring the debt and size/power of gov't to the top of the discussion, which came as a surprise to many people who expected limited gov't conservatism was dead and buried by the recession. Finally, the plethora of economic and gov't issues, pushed social issues to the back burner creating substantial snap back for the Republicans in suburbs in New York, PA and Illinois.

Nice analysis. I would add that there were a lot of parallels in the public mood in 2010 and 1994. And like 2010, 1994 also featured a stunning victory for Pubs in the first midterm of a Dem president.

Though the recession of 1991 was mild compared to 2008, there was a similar sense that the new administration with a solid majority in Congress wasn't delivering enough on the campaign promise of jobs. Real GDP growth in 1993 and was less than people were used to in the 1980's and below the strong performance later in Clinton's presidency. The growth was also felt more in the tech sector leaving traditional workers behind. Compare that to 2009 which had negative real GDP growth and disappointment with the number of jobs for "shovel ready projects".

The second obvious parallel is with health care. Bold initiatives for reform of the health care market were rolled out in 1993 and 2009. Even though the job market may have been on people's minds, the extension of government into health care became one of the main talking points for the midterm elections. In neither midterm did the specifics of the health care plan really matter, Obamacare had no impact on anyone in 2010, but it was about the larger optics of government interference in private life. If economic growth had been more robust going into the midterms, I doubt that the health care narrative would have had as much traction with the voters.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: How does IL become competitive? on: August 19, 2016, 07:57:48 am
It's more useful to look at the vote margin out of Cook and compare it to the margin for the state.

2004 Pres: Cook D+842 K, IL D+546 K.
2006 Gov: Cook D+508 K, IL D+367 K.
2010 Sen: Cook D+457 K, IL R+59 K.
2010 Gov: Cook D+501 K, IL D+32 K.
2014 Sen: Cook D+600 K, IL D+391 K.
2014 Gov: Cook D+443 K, IL R+142 K.

When the Dems have less than a 500 K vote margin out of Cook, they are in trouble statewide. So the Pub strategy is to keep the Dem vote margin out of Cook under 500 K and make it up in rest of the state.
16  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Design your own map of the United States on: August 18, 2016, 05:18:59 pm
I calculated an apportionment and applied the 2012 results as well back in 2013. 436 seats are apportioned to account for the inclusion of DC. Here are the EV's and 2012 winning party.

Ecotopia
Duwamish (Seattle) 9 D
Chinook (Portland) 7 D
Shasta (Sacramento) 7 D
Ohlone (San Francisco) 15 D


Empty Quarter
Paiute (Reno, Boise, Spokane) 9 R
Ute (Salt Lake City) 7 R

Navajo (Las Vegas) 7 D
Arapaho (Denver) 9 R

Breadbasket
Dakota (Omaha) 8 R
Ojibwe (Minneapolis) 10 D
Sauk (Madison, Des Moines) 9 D
Illini (St Louis) 10 D

Kansa (Kansas City) 8 R
Comanche (Oklahoma City) 8 R
Wichita (Dallas) 8 R


MexAmerica
Yokuts (Fresno) 8 R
Chumash (Los Angeles) 18 D
Cahuilla (San Diego) 17 D

O'odham (Phoenix) 10 R
Apache (El Paso) 7 D
Xarame (San Antonio) 8 D

Tonkawa (Houston) 10 R

New England
Abenaki (Manchester) 7 D
Wampanoag (Boston) 9 D
Pequot (Providence) 9 D


Foundry
Winnebago (Milwaukee) 8 D
Meskwaki (Chicago) 16 D
Potawatomi (Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids) 8 D
Ottawa (Detroit) 10 D
Erie (Cleveland) 8 D
Miami (Indianapolis, Columbus) 15 R
Mingo (Pittsburgh) 14 D
Iroquois (Buffalo) 9 D
Susquehannock (Washington, Baltimore) 17 D
Lenape (Philadelphia) 12 D
Raritan (Newark) 10 D
Munsee (New York) 14 D
Montauk (Brooklyn) 13 D


Dixie
Chitimacha (New Orleans) 7 R
Caddo (Shreveport) 7 R
Osage (Little Rock) 9 R
Tunica (Memphis) 8 R
Chickasaw (Atlanta) 15 R
Shawnee (Nashville, Louisville) 12 R
Cherokee (Knoxville) 14 R
Powhatan (Virginia Beach) 13 R
Catawba (Charlotte) 12 R
Muskogee (Montgomery, Augusta) 15 R
Seminole (Jacksonville) 16 R


Islands
Colusa (Miami) 12 D

Total: Obama 300, Romney 236.
17  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: 2nd Amendment applies to non-1790's weapons on: August 18, 2016, 04:51:09 pm
So the citizens have the right to have the same munitions as the US army does, Muon2?

That's not the way I read the passages from that time. I see those American writers describing a militia of the people in the same way I see Mao's strategy for his early army, one consisting of large numbers of lightly armed irregulars that could deflect and if necessary bring to a halt the army of a central government.
18  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: 2nd Amendment applies to non-1790's weapons on: August 17, 2016, 10:54:16 pm
Since all of the discussion here has been on the second half of the amendment, I'd like to hear a cogent case for what the pro-gun people believe the first half of the amendment means. Is it germane to its meaning at all? Is it a conditional clause? Is it just a bunch of throat clearing (in which case, why?)?

I think this quote from Noah Webster captures what I think the authors had in mind as they wrote the first clause. Together the first two clauses were their justification for the right that followed.

Quote
Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.

Well Noah Webster was not involved in writing the Bill of Rights, so I don't know why we should defer to him on the underlying policy, more than anyone else. If that is the underlying policy, that the people must have arms that are more than a match for the regular military, then the people at this juncture need "arms" like jets, and tanks, and maybe nukes for all I know, and certainly need rapid fire weapons.

So perhaps it might be wise and prudent to seek a different spin on all of this, no?

Webster was active writing as a Federalist during the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He worked closely with Hamilton in the 1790's. His commentary "An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (1787)" is cited by a number of authors studying the intent of framers.

From what I've read, the second amendment was one that the Federalists and Anti-Federalists could generally agree on. They all feared a tyrannical central government of the type they saw in Europe. Here's Madison in Federalist 46,

Quote
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

The British had large weaponry such as cannon, yet American writings of the time suggest to me their belief that a suitably large number of armed people could resist even a heavily armed oppressor. Of course the colonies had just done that. So Madison trusted that the American people should continue to bear arms.
19  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite science classes on: August 17, 2016, 10:17:45 pm
Biology, by far. I especially loved cellular biology, with organelles and mitochondria, mitosis, photosynthesis and cellular respiration (a bit much there sometimes but loved learning about it). As well as the genetic code, decoding DNA, genotypes and phenotypes. The classification of organisms. Seeing how ingenious our bodies, especially our cells, are, but also their limits and how some human frailties start at such a basic level. Leaning about life in general, how it works. The class was so alive.

Chemistry was more interesting than I thought, but rather dry, and more about electrons and orbitals than I would have predicted (in a good way though!). Periodic table was a little better than I thought it would better. Properties of water, solutions and solutes, all the measuring with scales, could be a little boring sometimes.

Physics I thought would be more like how chemistry was... but it wasn't. It was so bland. And I LOVE reading about Physics in my own time, I tried to memorize the basic subatomic particles in 6th grade like how most people memorize the planets in the solar system and the continents on Earth. I love the cutting edge, on the macro extreme of Cosmological physics and the micro extreme of Quantum physics. But the course was so dull. Just another math course, with some stupid labs about Newton's laws of motion, mixed with info about scalar and vectors and other soul-sucking material. Not at all what I was expecting.

You have fairly well illustrated the famous quote by Ernest Rutherford, "All science is either physics or stamp collecting." In 6th grade your approach to subatomic particle was stamp collecting. I did that, too, at that age. Biology classes into college tend to be that way, too, since the "physics" of biology can be far more mathematically complex than the physics of Newton's Laws.

What makes physics is seeing how precisely measured quantities form mathematical relationships that can be used to accurately predict the behavior of a system. Chemistry has become more physics-like as first the quantum understanding of the atom and then the computer to make necessary calculations has made the mathematical relationship doable. That tends to result in a class that seems dry.

One problem in 21st century biology is that our understanding of large molecules at the quantum level through computers has allowed biology to become more "physics", but undergraduate preparation still concentrates more on Rutherford's "stamp-collecting". Modern professional biologists are more often in molecular biology than in anatomy or ecology and need more chemistry and physics than they got for their major. At some point studies for pure molecular biology will have to diverge from biology for those in related health and environmental professions.
Very interesting. Do you think there's no good at all to come from the "stamp collecting" side? I think that knowledge at least should be required, and then go more into the "physics" in  200+ level college courses and high school electives?

The "stamp-collecting" is still science, and an important part at that. In order to get accurate predictive models, one needs a set of data as a basis. Classifying stars or plants helps build that data set. However, if only only engages in this taxonomic exercise one misses the next critical step, building a mathematical model and testing it. Building that mathematical model from basic principles is the "physics".

We can wonder at the stars, but the ability to do things like forecast eclipses for centuries in advance  makes astronomy truly elegant. We can appreciate the beauty of a rose, but the ability to read its DNA and see where its essential nature is coded is a beauty within.
20  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Design your own map of the United States on: August 17, 2016, 02:49:29 pm
Sorry, but if you're going to rip apart IL, there are more divisions than Chicago vs. Downstate.  People in Peoria have much more in common with Chicagoans than they do people in far Southern IL, which is closer to Jackson, MS than it is to Chicago, IL...

Of course. Though Peoria and Springfield often have more in common with St Louis than with Chicago

Definitely Springfield, but I'd disagree on Peoria.  I notice more of a Chicago influence, personally.

I understand where you are coming from. I live in the Chicago 'burbs and had a residence in Peoria for much of the last decade. I'd put Peoria and Bloomington on the dividing line between the Chicago and downstate spheres of influence. However, the mid-sized city surrounded by farmland vibe in Peoria gave it more in common with the other similar sized cities throughout central IL for me. Chicagoland doesn't have anything like it.
21  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Design your own map of the United States on: August 17, 2016, 12:36:52 pm
Sorry, but if you're going to rip apart IL, there are more divisions than Chicago vs. Downstate.  People in Peoria have much more in common with Chicagoans than they do people in far Southern IL, which is closer to Jackson, MS than it is to Chicago, IL...

Of course. Though Peoria and Springfield often have more in common with St Louis than with Chicago.
22  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite science classes on: August 17, 2016, 11:57:26 am
I find both physics and biology fascinating, and I wish my teachers had been more engaging. The thing about any science is that while there is a ton of information to cover, classes are much more effective if students do at least some interactive activities. It might be necessary to spend some time on lectures and explanations or course material, but when classes consist entirely of that, most students lose interest quickly. I may have gone in a more scientific direction in college if my classes had been more engaging.

Interactive activities are a great addition to science lecture classes. The problem is that that type of engagement requires smaller settings - typically with two dozen or fewer students. The science labs can handle that, usually staffed by graduate assistants. But most universities don't have the staff or space to break down their science lecture enrollment into sections of 24 students.
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Design your own map of the United States on: August 17, 2016, 10:48:20 am
I posted a series of redrawn states back in 2013. Two of those posts were requoted in the 5 Midwests thread. The concept was to follow the Nine Nations of North America by J. Garreau (1981), preserve metro areas, and make each state no less than 50% nor more than 200% of the average population of 6.2 million. Data from dialects, agriculture, topography and religion all play into these borders.



Here are the states from that series. They're named for native peoples of the area. I've listed the principal city or cities and the 2010 population (in millions):

Ecotopia
Duwamish (Seattle) 4.7
Chinook (Portland) 3.6
Shasta (Sacramento) 3.6
Ohlone (San Francisco) 9.5

Empty Quarter
Paiute (Reno, Boise, Spokane) 4.8
Ute (Salt Lake City) 3.5
Navajo (Las Vegas) 3.4
Arapaho (Denver) 5.2

Breadbasket
Dakota (Omaha) 4.2
Ojibwe (Minneapolis) 5.5
Sauk (Madison, Des Moines) 5.1
Illini (St Louis) 5.8
Kansa (Kansas City) 4.3
Comanche (Oklahoma City) 5.3
Wichita (Dallas) 9.6

MexAmerica
Yokuts (Fresno) 4.1
Chumash (Los Angeles) 11.1
Cahuilla (San Diego) 10.5
O'odham (Phoenix) 5.7
Apache (El Paso) 3.2
Xarame (San Antonio) 4.3
Tonkawa (Houston) 5.9

New England
Abenaki (Manchester) 3.8
Wampanoag (Boston) 4.9
Pequot (Providence) 5.1

Foundry
Winnebago (Milwaukee) 4.2
Meskwaki (Chicago) 9.7
Potawatomi (Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids) 4.5
Ottawa (Detroit) 5.7
Erie (Cleveland) 4.3
Miami (Indianapolis, Columbus) 8.9
Mingo (Pittsburgh) 8.7
Iroquois (Buffalo) 5.1
Susquehannock (Washington, Baltimore) 10.8
Lenape (Philadelphia) 7.0
Raritan (Newark) 5.5
Munsee (New York) 8.4
Montauk (Brooklyn) 7.6

Dixie
Chitimacha (New Orleans) 3.7
Caddo (Shreveport) 3.3
Osage (Little Rock) 4.7
Tunica (Memphis) 4.3
Chickasaw (Atlanta) 9.3
Shawnee (Nashville, Louisville) 6.8
Cherokee (Knoxville) 8.8
Powhatan (Virginia Beach) 7.5
Catawba (Charlotte) 7.0
Muskogee (Montgomery, Augusta) 9.1
Seminole (Jacksonville) 9.8

Islands
Colusa (Miami) 7.1
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: The five Midwests on: August 17, 2016, 09:57:31 am
I am not sure that I entirely understand the divisions. I know it is crop and/or topography based, but the exact lines confuse me.

I'm not sure whether you are referring to the OP or my maps. In my case, that particular exercise involved creating 50 "states" such that the states were within a factor of two of the average population and they generally adhered to the boundaries in Garreau's Nine Nations of North America. Within each "nation" the states used factors such as dialect, metro areas, topography, agriculture, and religion. The factors varied in different regions of the country and were applied as needed to achieve the population goals.
25  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite science classes on: August 17, 2016, 07:14:37 am
Biology, by far. I especially loved cellular biology, with organelles and mitochondria, mitosis, photosynthesis and cellular respiration (a bit much there sometimes but loved learning about it). As well as the genetic code, decoding DNA, genotypes and phenotypes. The classification of organisms. Seeing how ingenious our bodies, especially our cells, are, but also their limits and how some human frailties start at such a basic level. Leaning about life in general, how it works. The class was so alive.

Chemistry was more interesting than I thought, but rather dry, and more about electrons and orbitals than I would have predicted (in a good way though!). Periodic table was a little better than I thought it would better. Properties of water, solutions and solutes, all the measuring with scales, could be a little boring sometimes.

Physics I thought would be more like how chemistry was... but it wasn't. It was so bland. And I LOVE reading about Physics in my own time, I tried to memorize the basic subatomic particles in 6th grade like how most people memorize the planets in the solar system and the continents on Earth. I love the cutting edge, on the macro extreme of Cosmological physics and the micro extreme of Quantum physics. But the course was so dull. Just another math course, with some stupid labs about Newton's laws of motion, mixed with info about scalar and vectors and other soul-sucking material. Not at all what I was expecting.

You have fairly well illustrated the famous quote by Ernest Rutherford, "All science is either physics or stamp collecting." In 6th grade your approach to subatomic particle was stamp collecting. I did that, too, at that age. Biology classes into college tend to be that way, too, since the "physics" of biology can be far more mathematically complex than the physics of Newton's Laws.

What makes physics is seeing how precisely measured quantities form mathematical relationships that can be used to accurately predict the behavior of a system. Chemistry has become more physics-like as first the quantum understanding of the atom and then the computer to make necessary calculations has made the mathematical relationship doable. That tends to result in a class that seems dry.

One problem in 21st century biology is that our understanding of large molecules at the quantum level through computers has allowed biology to become more "physics", but undergraduate preparation still concentrates more on Rutherford's "stamp-collecting". Modern professional biologists are more often in molecular biology than in anatomy or ecology and need more chemistry and physics than they got for their major. At some point studies for pure molecular biology will have to diverge from biology for those in related health and environmental professions.
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