“Reasonable debate has made itself absent”

Source » Bari Weiss for the NYT: Reasonable people can debate whether or not social experiments like a Day of Absence are enlightening. Perhaps there’s a case to be made that a white-free day could be a useful way to highlight the lack of racial diversity, particularly at a proudly…

“lack of empathy in technology doesn’t exist because people who write algorithms are heartless but because they lack the reality outside the tech

Source » Om Malick in The New Yorker: …the designers didn’t consider it, perhaps because those who write these algorithms have not experienced such trauma, or perhaps they just weren’t talking about the human feelings in their product meetings—a particularly likely possibility when a company is focussed on…

“Sanctuary cities” explained

Source » The roots of the modern sanctuary movement date back to the 1980s. U.S. churches, synagogues and other religious institutions began to provide refuge and services to thousands of undocumented immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador who had fled civil unrest at home but were denied sanctuary in the…

Elections and why cities vote the way they do

Elections and why cities vote the way they do Richard Florida in a February 2013 piece: America’s political divide is an outgrowth of its increasingly divided economic landscape. The very same forces of talent-clustering and knowledge industry concentration that shape the divergent economic fortunes of our cities and regions,…

The debates: “We will learn little to nothing that could not be discovered by any Google user”

Source » Instead of any substantive exploration of the candidates’ proposals, we will be treated to a mélange of showmanship and complaining, obstinacy and irrelevance, petty quibbles, grandstanding, pandering, half-truths, and punchlines. The candidates will be rehearsed, the moderators timid, the questions calculated, and the answers at once too short and…

Speaking of gerrymandering…

Source » “Prison gerrymandering” is a thing too: A U.S. District Judge ruled today that the City of Cranston violated the one person, one vote principle of the U.S. constitution when it counted people incarcerated at the Adult Correctional Institutions as “residents” of one Ward of the City.…

Why the heck gerrymandering even a thing, let alone legal?

Source » While prepared by an Illinois-specific project, this slide deck is worth reading for citizens everywhere. In plain language, it explains practice of gerrymandering and how it effectively rigs federal, state, and local elections across the country. Gerrymandering seems like something from a burgeoning democracy or the developing world, yet…