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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 11, 2016, 03:05:45 pm
I'm not sure I agree. Suppose there is no road through Torieville as you show, but instead there is a corner cut in the NW corner of Muon2 into the rectangular subunit in the north and from there I can get to the Muon 2 node. Does that still count? I doesn't really make sense to me that I can swing through the northern subunit to get my path. Does it only make sense because Torieville is an intrusion in Muon2?

BTW, the diagram for your proposal would create a connection between Jackson and Plain twps regardless of the fragment. They are contiguous at the NW corner where a small subdivision in Plain exists. However there is no road that connects it to the rest of Plain without going through North Canton. I'm not sure that makes sense either.

Basically I am advocating that when a subunit has bits of population at the edges that don't directly connect to the node due to geography or intervening subunits, I don't want that those bits of population to create erosity through connections. To me such disconnected populations are effectively fragments but for a bridge of land with no roads.
2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 11, 2016, 01:40:06 pm
It sounds like we are on the same page in regards to disallowing local connections across county lines when a macrochop is present in either of the counties. I understand the distinction you are making between units due to simple chops and I am thinking on it.

Before responding to the AL example, I want to make sure I understand your suggestion about East Sparta. Am I correct that this only applies to paths involving a regional connection across a county line? That is, I want to make sure we aren't talking about a highway entering a fragmented subunit from an adjacent subunit (eg Plain twp along OH 687 from Jackson twp to the west), then following a highway path through an intervening subunit (eg Canton city) before reaching the node.  I think we agreed that Jackson and Plain aren't connected since the only local road path has to go through either Canton city or North Canton city.
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Snow day! on: February 09, 2016, 12:34:29 pm
Just learned that we close at 2:30 today, so afternoon lab is cancelled.  Actually I'm glad because I also learned that my son is getting off school at 1:10PM, so I'll be able to pick him up.

I always found introductory lab cancellations particularly difficult to recover from. There were always multiple sections throughout the week, and equipment has to be set up on Friday for the next week. If one day was cancelled, there would be three or four sections that could never make up the lab.

Advanced labs were easier to work around. I could adjust what exercises to do going forward and make sure the core exercises remained on the schedule.
4  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 09, 2016, 10:41:38 am
There's another principle at play here that may pertain to East Sparta. Connections that exist without a chop cannot disappear by using a chop. If a chop allowed connections to disappear then it would invite all sorts of mischief. A chop can be used judiciously to reduce erosity, but that's by burying the connections within the district and not exposing them to cuts.

When there is a simple chop of a county the county node is replaced by two nodes representing the two pieces. The existing links are assigned to one or the other of the nodes based on where the highway crosses the county line. I think we agreed on this one already from the example of Washington county AL. The point you raise is that you would like to have a chop that is only locally connected to the rest of the district, and that requires a different form of the rule assigning connections to a simple chop.

With the discussion of Stark I am presuming a macrochop. That means that Stark is replaced by a new network of its subunits. I used the Mecklenburg NC map as an example of the subnetwork created by a macrochop.

The blue links are state highway links between counties. The Mecklenburg network shows both the local (gold) and regional (blue) connections to the subunits (pink are contiguous only).



Your point here is that it should be permitted to connect the two northern subunits to Iredell in one district and connect the one just south of those two to Cabarrus in a different district, while the rest go to some other district which isn't the same as Cabarrus. Am I getting that right?
5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 09, 2016, 09:49:09 am
I thought you wanted to step way back. I guess I stepped too far back. Tongue

Let me apply the principles I laid out to your specific questions.

Let's step way back for a moment. Can two counties be in one CD, if the state highway link does not go node to node (putting aside the nick issue)?

Two whole counties cannot be in the same CD if they are not connected directly or by a path through other nodes in the same CD. Otherwise the resulting CD would not follow the connection principle.

Has it always been your intent that if there is a highway cut, it counts for the ferocity (erosity?) count, even if does not go node to node?

Links represent connections between nodes and links only exist between nodes (eg the AL map and its kin). Cut links between nodes in different districts always count towards erosity. What isn't shown in the AL map representing your CD plan is that the node in each of the chopped counties is replaced by two linked nodes (or more if there is a macrochop) on either side of the district line.

This is a more general issue, that the highway interruption issue that East Sparta represents. This is why it is so important to fully understand the intended policy, before dealing with the language.
6  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Washington Legislative Districts on: February 09, 2016, 08:57:59 am
As I noted ealier, I wanted a baseline to compare the current WA assembly with the potential advantage of split districts. The starting point was to draw revised legislative districts according to neutral rules. I started with this set of whole county regions with each region containing a whole number of districts. Districts here are required to be within 5% of the population quota, though the actual districts are much closer in population.



Then I divided each of the regions again allowing a 5% deviation from the quota. Divisions were made to minimize county chops, reservation chops, city chops within a county, and school district chops within a county in that order of priority. There's one extra county chop in Lewis county due to the geography of Fort Lewis going to the shore. That resulted in this plan.




The political division of the LDs is
21 uncompetitive D (PVI 6+)
5 competitive d (PVI 2-5)
8 even (PVI 0 or 1)
2 competitive r  (PVI 2-5)
13 uncompetitive R (PVI 6+)

This is a SKEW of 1 for the Dems, that is they only have one more seat (or the Pubs one less) than the statewide vote from presidential years would predict. In 2012 the national vote was D+2 so one would expect the even seats to swing Dem resulting in a House with 68 D - 30 R, which clearly isn't reached because of the effects of incumbency. In 2014 the national vote was R+3 so the even districts would be expected to swing Pub as would one or two of the lean d seats. Without incumbency the House might be expected to be 49 D - 49 R.

With this in hand I can now look at how the same map would perform if each seat is split into two using the same rules.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: NH Strange Rules - If Bernie gets less than 57% Votes, equal delegates split on: February 09, 2016, 08:26:42 am
Delegates don't matter. Early contests are solely about momentum.

Besides, if you start getting into the minutiae of delegate allocation, Hillary has already won. Sanders' only hope is to defeat her comfortably or in a landslide and make it a moot point.

This. I don't get why people are obsessing over delegates.

Because in 2008 Obama's team knew that in a drawn out campaign people would start looking at the delegate counts as the horse race, not the number of states won. So they fashioned a campaign to get a lead in the delegate count and hold it. In the end the delegates nominate the candidate for president.
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should states/regions etc. have a right to secede from their nation-states? on: February 09, 2016, 08:16:36 am
Let's think about this from small to large in the context of a representative democracy.

Should part of a school district be able to secede from a larger district to form a new district?
That should depend on the management of debt and the ability to adequately educate all the children in both districts. It should require the consent of both districts and the state which governs both districts (by statute or judicial decree).

Should a city that overlaps multiple counties be able to secede from those counties and form its own independent entity?
This happens in VA with some regularity to form independent cities. Broomfield CO did this in 2001. Broomfield did so by means of a state constitutional amendment in 1998.

Should a portion of a state be able to secede to form a new state?
There is a formal mechanism to do this through the US Constitution. It requires the consent of the legislature involved and Congress.

Should a US state be allowed to secede?
SCOTUS said that the union is inseparable once made. Any reconsideration would require the consent of the states. Presumably there would have to be a constitutional amendment ratified by the states to permit it, not unlike Broomfield getting a state constitutional amendment to secede from its counties.

Can this logic be extended to other parts of the world?
The above examples were rooted in the assumptions of representative democracy. So, let's consider a European example where there are strong democratic institutions.

Should Catalonia be allowed to secede from Spain?
By extension, this should require the consent of Catalonia and Spain and if membership in the EU/Eurozone is involved the consent of the EU member states as well.

Obviously this chain of thought doesn't have the same application in a situation like South Sudan where democratic institutions were lacking.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: NH Strange Rules - If Bernie gets less than 57% Votes, equal delegates split on: February 09, 2016, 06:49:51 am
The math is actually pretty simple. In each district there is a whole number of delegates awarded to each candidate. The vote share is rounded to the nearest number of whole delegates. With 8 delegates the midpoint between 4/8 and 5/8 delegates is 9/16. That translates to 56.25% in a two person race, so any amount above that rounds up to 5/8. The 2008 Obama campaign was masterful in targeting CDs around the country where they were close to the point where one rounds up instead of down and consistently picked up extra delegates in districts.

However, in a big state, there's no way of telling whether an extra vote might make the difference with the statewide delegates. California has a whopping 158 statewide.

True, it's harder to move percentages in a large state. That's why Obama's team polled districts and targeted resources at delegates awarded by CD.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: NH Strange Rules - If Bernie gets less than 57% Votes, equal delegates split on: February 09, 2016, 06:35:25 am
The math is actually pretty simple. In each district there is a whole number of delegates awarded to each candidate. The vote share is rounded to the nearest number of whole delegates. With 8 delegates the midpoint between 4/8 and 5/8 delegates is 9/16. That translates to 56.25% in a two person race, so any amount above that rounds up to 5/8. The 2008 Obama campaign was masterful in targeting CDs around the country where they were close to the point where one rounds up instead of down and consistently picked up extra delegates in districts.
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: My Primary Proposal on: February 08, 2016, 08:12:57 pm
This would be very expensive to administer. Elections cost a lot from candidate access, to ballot preparation, to voting (early and same day), to counting including overseas ballots mailed in.

It would also take time. LA takes just over 4 weeks between the Nov election and the Dec runoff, and IL uses 6 weeks between municipal primaries and the runoff. Even with a short turnaround the system would have to provide for 4 to 6 months in case there was a large field.
12  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 08, 2016, 05:47:39 pm
One of my guiding principles is that any district should be internally connected so that one can travel within a district without leaving it. Some of the connections require a stronger standard, and those are defined as the regional connections that cross county lines. This connection principle only bows when a well-defined geographic unit that has internally unreachable areas is kept intact. I'm not thinking only of fragments, but also areas like the part of St John the Baptist parish south of the Mississippi where there is no bridge or ferry within the parish.

In order to capture the connection principle a geographic map can be transformed into a mathematical graph that many would describe as a network. In the transformation each unit in the map is represented by a node and connections that go beyond mere contiguity are represented by links. The connections must be defined so that the result is a connected graph: a path can be traced from a node to any other node through some series of links. This map of AL is that representation for counties which are the highest level of units in the state.



A district plan represents a partition of the graph for the state into a set of subgraphs corresponding to the set of districts. The connection principle is enforced by requiring that each district subgraph is itself a connected graph. Then the set of cut links between district subgraphs measures the erosity. That was how I transformed and measured your plan for AL with this graph. I would invalidate a plan that followed contiguity within the district, but not the connections in the graph.



The next step is defining rules for dealing with units that are chopped in a plan. In particular when a macrochop forces a unit to be split into subunits, I need the same principles that apply at the coarser level still apply at the finer level. That is a critical step that allows the erosity measurement to still make sense in dense population areas as I demonstrated with the King county CDs earlier in the thread.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 08, 2016, 03:18:15 pm
In both Meyers Lake and Pitkin the standard rule provides for no connections to their respective nodes. The aim of the special rule is to insure that all units have at least one connection that could be cut. My intent is to say that if geography leaves no connection to a unit then one must look at local connections that don't provide a path under the standard rule. Those connections created under the special rule can be cut for erosity just as one would cut the connections formed by the standard rule.

My interpretation of the right hand image is that the horizontal red line is not a link. Plain twp is kept whole so there is only one link between it and Canton city based on the standard rule. The special rule (in the second quote below) is never invoked since the fragments are never viewed separately (per the first quoted rule) and there is a connecting path between the whole subunits.

Quote
A fragmented geographic unit is one where the unit consists of two or more discontiguous parts. All parts of a fragmented unit are considered connected if the entire district is kept wholly within a district, and the unit has a single node. If a fragmented unit is chopped, each discontiguous fragment is treated as a separate geographic unit with its own node.

Quote
If there is no connecting path from the node of a geographic unit to the node of any other unit, then a connection exists from that geographic unit to each contiguous unit, or fragment thereof, if there is a local connection to any part of the such contiguous unit.

14  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 08, 2016, 01:12:48 pm
I brought up Pitkin because there are two or three possible ways to connect it to other counties. If I treat it like Meyers Lake and allow all local paths to become connections, then that establishes where cuts will occur. I think it should have those connections and it would then affect the erosity measurement, just like Meyers Lake.

It's also possible that there is no connection due to geography even when there is no discontiguous fragment in play. We had a similar case for the cross county connection from Pike twp to Tuscawaras county. The highway connection is blocked by East Sparta, and there is no local road in the unincorporated area that connects to OH-800 south of East Sparta. Even if the township had no local roads west of East Sparta we would still define that as a connection to be cut based on OH-800. That causes it to affect erosity.



I don't want three separate rules if one rule captures the same basic idea. The idea is that in some cases a link that should exist doesn't because of specific geography - fragment from other units, mountains, rivers or any other geographic isolation.
15  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 08, 2016, 12:01:44 pm
How about the below? I see what you are saying I think, but all of this special rule making only obtains when a unit is fragmented, and not otherwise.

"If there is no connecting path from the node of a geographic unit to the node of another contiguous unit which is fragmented, then a local connection exists from that geographic unit to such contiguous fragmented unit."

The above generates a highway cut where one would not otherwise exist due to fragmentation of a contiguous subunit (even if the fragmented subunit is not chopped). That gets where we want to go, right?

There are examples where this happens at the county level and fragmented units don't come into play. For example Pitkin county CO has no regional connection from its node at Aspen to any contiguous county. There are roads that aren't all-season state highways that can be used to make a path, and Pitkin has to be linked to at least one other county. I suspect there are other such examples at both the county and subunit level, so I didn't want to restrict the special rule to cases like Meyers Lake that do involve fragmented units.
16  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 07, 2016, 11:54:17 pm
If there are no subunit chops then the nodes are where the stars are in this map. The fragments are all considered connected since there is no chop. There is no connection between the Meyers Lake node and either township regardless of the the existence of adjacent fragments. That's the sufficient condition to trigger the rule I wrote.



The existence of the fragments becomes important in the remedy outlined by the rule. The township fragments are contiguous to Meyers Lake and local connections exist, so both connections become defined by the rule. Once defined the connections can be cut by a district line adding to erosity.

It's important to define the connections before considering where the district lines are. Each chop generates a new look at connections, and this is repeated at each level - county chops to subunits, subunit chops to fragments, etc.

Suppose that neither Plain nor Canton twp are chopped, but are in different districts. Meyers Lake will have a cut link to whichever township is in the other district. Now suppose that Plain twp is chopped and Meyers Lake is in the same district as the adjacent Plain twp fragment but not in the same district as Canton twp (like your example below on the right). If we waited to define connections after the twp chop, then the Canton fragment would be assigned a pseudonode, Meyers Lake would be connected to it, and the special rule would not be invoked. This would lead to no cut connection between Meyers Lake and Plain (the question mark would vanish). In my view the question mark is a cut link whether or not Plain is chopped.

Below is the graphic. I put up the question mark, because there is not Canton township node between Meyers and Canton township node. So if no chop of Canton township, I guess no highway cuts at all around Meyers. But if it is chopped, does that generate a highway cut not only from Canton Township to Canton City, but also from Meyers to Canton township to the south? Having two highway cuts generated by the chop of Canton township there, seems a bit much. But maybe that is necessary to make the rule work in general, even if a bit much in this instance, since the rule is that when a fragmented subunit is chopped, each fragment generates its own node. So I guess maybe there is no escape.



I added emphasis to your quote since the critical point is that the creation of nodes by chopped subunit fragments not happen until connections are defined at the whole subunit level.
17  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Subregions of the Midwest on: February 06, 2016, 04:04:09 pm
Something like that?



Rust Belt
Little Dixie
Chicagoland
Lakes
Mississippi Bassin
Plains

I like that map but i'd change it a little.



Core Rust Belt
Greater South/Appalachia
Greater Chicago Region
Great Lakes
Driftless Zone
Plains
Greater Central Plains?

I definitely agree with the second map with a pink band, but I would call it the Central Midland based on the dominant dialect there.

However, I think the first map is correct that NW MN is in the Great Plains. That's the flat bottom land of Glacial Lake Agassiz. I would also pull the Great Lakes band further south to the northern edge of the Twin Cities suburbs. The Twin Cities really aren't in the Driftless Area either and are really a large urban area at the SW edge of the Lakes region.

Here were the two maps covering the Midwest that I made on the county level in 2013. It was part of a redivision of the 50 states based on the Nine Nations of North America. Each "state" is no less than half, nor more than twice the average state population. If you link some of these "states" together you would get my regions.

Breadbasket (pop in millions):

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

Foundry (pop in millions):

Winnebago (Milwaukee) 4.2
Meskwaki (Chicago) 9.7
Potawatomi (Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids) 4.5
Ottawa (Detroit) 5.7
Erie (Cleveland) 4.3
Miami (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
18  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 06, 2016, 03:32:35 pm
Thanks.

I'll be on the lookout for a situation that takes undue advantage of a surrounded fragment. In the meantime think about the situation where a township has two sizable fragments of roughly equal population, one of which is wholly surrounded by a city but the other sits on the perimeter of the same city. Those two parts both get their services from the same unit of government, the township, and form a clear community of interest based on that township. Shouldn't there be an incentive to keep the two parts in the same district?

In lieu of keeping the subunit that surrounds the surrounded fragment whole? I don't think so. On the other hand, I do see, that if the choice after keeping the subunit whole which surrounds the fragment, is between taking in the remaining fragment, or some other subunit, there should be an incentive to add the balance of the fragmented subunit. So just thinking off the top of my head, maybe we say that the fragment that is not surrounded is deemed to have no node if all fragments are within one CD or something, so one can avoid a road cut by taking it in as opposed to some other subunit. Putting aside the mechanics of getting there, that to me is the common sense result. Agreed?

I will think about the plausibility of the mechanics. I don't want to get too far away from the basic definition of the node as a specific geographic point defined by the government in question.

While you were writing this I added to my quoted post that you may or may not have seen.
19  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 06, 2016, 03:07:21 pm
Thanks.

I'll be on the lookout for a situation that takes undue advantage of a surrounded fragment. In the meantime think about the situation where a township has two sizable fragments of roughly equal population, one of which is wholly surrounded by a city but the other sits on the perimeter of the same city. Those two parts both get their services from the same unit of government, the township, and form a clear community of interest based on that township. Shouldn't there be an incentive to keep the two parts in the same district? Compare that to the case where the same two fragments aren't fully surrounded and there is an incentive to keep them whole.


If there is no connecting path from the node of a geographic unit to the node of any other unit, or fragment thereof, then a connection exists from that geographic unit to each contiguous unit, or fragment thereof, if there is a local connection to any part of the such contiguous unit.

This would provide for connecting links from Meyers Lake to both Canton and Plain twps, and either could be cut, regardless of the status of chops in either township.

I interlineated to make this text clearer to me, assuming that was your intent. I made an inference as to what your intent was, and if I am correct in my inferences, I am in agreement, subject to my friendly amendments.

I indicated the one change I would make to your friendly amendment. The Meyers Lake situation arises because there is no path to the subunit node, not the lack of a path to the imputed node of a fragment.
20  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite U.S. State Tournament Round 9 on: February 06, 2016, 12:50:19 pm
All four states are known for winter sports, but one is unique in that it doesn't feature mountains. In honor of the last weekend of the St Paul Winter Carnival I'm voting MN.

21  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: NC: CDs 1 & 12 struck down on: February 06, 2016, 09:38:47 am
If this interpretation becomes law, it is going to be a hard standard to meet due to a lack of data. In many states, particularly those recently covered by section 5, districts were routinely either brought over 50% BVAP, or left well below it. That means there will be few examples in those states of districts with BVAPs in the 40s. Without actual results in competitive districts there will be a lot of work for statisticians who have the software for ecological inference and other models designed to estimate crossover voting strength for a minority bloc.
22  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Washington Legislative Districts on: February 05, 2016, 05:47:34 pm
A fairer test of how the political balance should go requires drawing the districts from scratch according to a neutral set of rules.

Before I would draw districts, I first draw up regions of whole counties that contain whole numbers of legislative districts such that they can be drawn within 5% of the quota. This minimizes the number of split counties.

Here is an example with the number of legislative districts in each region. The representative districts can then be drawn in each region.

23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Where will the parties be under the Millennials? on: February 05, 2016, 02:56:59 pm
The most consistent historic thread in the GOP has been the promotion of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. Since the days of Lincoln it has tended to attract interest groups that agree with the promotion of those values. I don't see that changing as Millennials become the dominant voting bloc.

At present the clearest distinction is between Pubs representing areas of low population density and Dems representing areas of high density. There's a good chance that the Pubs will still coincide with interests in the lower density areas of the US. What will most likely change is what government policies best support those interests. Other have commented on how a more libertarian view on social policies may emerge, and I think that is already happening in many state party organizations.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 05, 2016, 01:31:57 pm
I propose to parse the question mark as a cut link. Meyers Lake is equally connected to both Plain and Canton twp. I think there should be a cut if a district line separates Meyers Lake from either of those twps.

At some point the rules have to be general in nature. I've tried to extract the general principle you applied to the specific case here. If there is a defect, I'm hoping you will point it out. If there is an unintended consequence elsewhere that we don't now anticipate, I think we should deal with it as it arises.

OK. Do you agree with my vertical red line (to wit, no cut)?

I think that's what my general rule would do. There's no chop, so there's only a single node for each twp (treating them as fragmented geographic units). There's no path between the nodes of the whole twps so there's no connection between them to cut. Tell me if you think the rule would work out differently as written.
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Local vs regional road connections on: February 05, 2016, 11:58:35 am
I propose to parse the question mark as a cut link. Meyers Lake is equally connected to both Plain and Canton twp. I think there should be a cut if a district line separates Meyers Lake from either of those twps.

At some point the rules have to be general in nature. I've tried to extract the general principle you applied to the specific case here. If there is a defect, I'm hoping you will point it out. If there is an unintended consequence elsewhere that we don't now anticipate, I think we should deal with it as it arises.
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