Author: admin

Illinois gerrymandering

With gerrymandering in the news and several cases on their way to the Supreme Court, I’ve seen discussion of gerrymandering. The extreme Republican gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina have come under criticism. I occasionally go nutpicking to see what conservatives have to say about this, and their defense is mainly, ignore this because Democrats are just as bad or worse. And Illinois gets held up as an example of a state highly gerrymandered by Democrats, perhaps because Obama was from Illinois, or perhaps it is the long shadow of Richard Daley’s reputation. He died 42 years ago. So I had a look. Is Illinois heavily gerrymandered so Democrats get most of the seats no matter what the vote is? Do Democrats get seats out of proportion to the vote?

Data from the State site.

Here are the 2016 Illinois Senate election results:
37 Dems (63%)
22 Repubs (37%)

Votes for Senate:
1906132 Dems (59.5%)
1299986 Repubs (40.5%)

Illinois House election results:
67 Dems (57%)
51 Repubs (43%)

Votes for Senate:
2584929 Dems (53.9%)
2210903 Repubs (46.1%)

US House of Representatives
11 Dems (61%)
7 Repubs (39%)

Votes for US Reps:
2810536 Dems (53.6%)
2397436 Repubs (45.7%)

Proportionally, Dems would have 9.64 Reps, or 10 and Republicans would have 8.22 Reps, or 8.

The Presidential vote in Illinois was
3090729 Clinton (55.8%)
2146015 Trump (38.8%)

In the Illinois House and Senate, Democrats get 3% more seats than indicated by the proportion of votes. In the US House of Representatives, Democrats get one more seat (11 instead of 10). So Illinois is gerrymandered to favor Democrats to a minor degree in the House and to a modest degree in the Illinois General Assembly.

What’s going on in Republican controlled states?

In North Carolina, “In the 2012 presidential election, for instance, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won only 50.6 percent of the popular vote in North Carolina, but Republicans ended up winning 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats — a whopping 77 percent.” and “North Carolina voting has been nearly split along partisan lines in recent statewide elections — such as for governor and president — but Republicans control 10 US House seats compared with three for Democrats.”

In Wisconsin, “Indeed, a year after the redistricting, Republicans captured only a minority of the statewide vote — 48.6 percent — but, as they had privately predicted, they still won 60 of the 99 state legislative seats, while the Democrats, who had won a majority of the vote, captured a mere 39 seats.”

In Pennsylvania, “To get a sense of how powerful Pennsylvania’s gerrymander was, consider that, in 2012, Democratic candidates won slightly more votes in US House elections and Barack Obama won the state. But the state’s 18 House seats didn’t split 9-9 between the parties — instead, Republicans won 13 seats there, and continued to win them for the rest of the decade.”

Links for August 2017

IRS agents vs money recovered
Civil War diaoramas done with cats
How the very rich legally avoid paying taxes
Hugo winners 2017

Best Novel
The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
Death’s End by Cixin Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Kamikara pop up penguin by Haruki Nakamura website
America seized the traitor Lee’s plantation

Daniel Davies: One Minute MBA

Links for July 2017

Mary Katharine Goddard, printer of the Declaration of Independence and postmaster

In her boldest move, Goddard put her full name at the bottom of all the copies of the Declaration that her printing presses churned out and distributed to the colonies. It was the first copy young America would see that included the original signers’ names — and Congress commissioned her for the important job.


Solving a Rubik’s cube quickly is NP complete

In 2010, programmers found that a 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube can be solved in a maximum of 20 moves from any starting position, no matter how scrambled.

A year later, Demaine, Eisenstat and their colleagues devised a formula to solve a Rubik’s cube with sides of any length and found that the number of moves required for a cube of side n is proportional to n2/log n.

Finding the number for a cube with n=3 took several years of computing time and Demaine estimates that the n=4 case would take billions of times longer. “I conjecture it will never be fully solved,” he says.

This is the upper limit for the most scrambled cubes, but many cubes will not take that long. Figuring out whether any given configuration of a cube will take fewer moves is tricky. “We know an algorithm to solve all cubes in a reasonable amount of time,” Demaine says. “But if I give you a particular configuration of the cube, and then you want to solve it with the fewest moves for that configuration, that’s really tough.”

Cryolevitating magnet on a mobius stripSurprisingly simple tips from 20 experts about how to lose weight and keep it off by Julia Belluz

Why did Europe lose the Crusades?

Have fewer kids?

Love & Cockroaches

Obamacare reduced medical bankruptcies

Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), 1972-1995

Doctor salaries (ave $204,000 – $443,000 by speciality)

Republicans try to kill CBO (Congressional Budget Office)

X-Rated Furniture Of Catherine The Great

Killing hypothalamus stem cells reduces lifeaspan 10%, might speed up aging

Study of indiana school voucher program finds that at best it is a waste of money and that it likely retards learning. The details are worse than the title suggests

DOE ignorance and mismanagement by the Trump admin

Links for June 2017

The rise of homegrown terror on the right. This growing domestic menace deserves more time than it’s getting. by Arie Perliger

The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly avarage of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly avarage of more than 300 since 2001. These incidents have grown even more common since President Donald Trump’s election.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that researches U.S. extremism, reported 900 bias-related incidents against minorities in the first 10 days after Trump’s election – compared to several dozen in a normal week – and the group found that many of the harassers invoked the then-president-elect’s name. Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that tracks anti-Semitism, recorded an 86 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the first three months of 2017.

Proove Biosciences raided by Feds — doctor payoffs and an opioid test that doesn’t work

The Abortion Battlefield by Marcia Angell

Four years later, Slepian was murdered at his home. The total count between 1978 and 2015, writes Haugeberg, was eleven murders (nine of them physicians), twenty-six attempted murders, 185 arsons, forty-two bombings, and 1,534 vandalizations of clinics.

Super D&D map
There’s still no good reason to believe black-white IQ differences are due to genes (Charles Murray is a racist)

Why Are Bird Eggs Egg-Shaped? An Eggsplainer: A new study points to a surprising reason for the varied shape of bird eggs—and shows that most eggs aren’t actually egg-shaped. Egg-scuse me? by Ed Yong. pdf

Links for March 2017

The Hamilton Hustle: Why liberals have embraced our most dangerously reactionary founder by Matt Stoller
GOP Bill Would Let Your Employer Demand to See Your Genetic Information by Eric Levitz

A brief and mundane history of being a woman by El Jones

The geometry of weird-shaped dice
The U.S. Tax Code Actually Doesn’t “Soak the Rich” by Nick Buffie
Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage In The US by Chris Ladd
Yes, Your Sleep Schedule Is Making You Sick by Richard A. Friedman

The Crazification Factor

John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is —

Tyrone: 27%.

John: … you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.