The Aggregate 🔬 February 17, 2020

Analyzing the Nevada Caucus Locations

Hello! I am Lars E. Schonander, a writer for MediaFile and a blogger on international affairs, tech, and general wonkery. Happy Monday! Here is my weekly newsletter with a weekly analysis with interesting data, along with links related to things I found particularly interesting that week. Any Questions? Send me a message or just respond to this email!

The Weekly Data:

Like Iowa, Nevada does caucus’ for the Democratic nomination as well. Conviently, the Nevada Democratic party has a list of all the caucus sites in the state. As the information was originally a PDF, Tabula was used to turn the tables into Excel sheets that could then be analyzed in R.

For each site, their are multiple Precincts that report there. By first turning the Site Precincts into a variable, and then using map, to compute the length of each list, it is possible to see how many precincts there are for each actual site.

The range of precincts per site is mostly between 1 & 15, with after 15 being a fall off point, with very few sites having more then 15.

One thing to note about the Caucus is that they tend to be hosted in locations that can handle large amounts of people at once, so schools are typically the most common location.

A interesting tidbit is that in Las Vegas proper, a couple of the caucus sites are actually held on various parts of the strip, like Mandalay!


Now, some links…

Park MacDougald (Tablet Magazine): The New American Millennial Right

The new millennial right is as much a sensibility as a coherent intellectual movement. Many call themselves “nationalists” and most use “libertarian” as a slur. Yet at the same time, they are mostly secular but count Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, as well as atheists and agnostics of various backgrounds, among their numbers. Some support Trump, others would prefer if he vanished and left us with President Pence, and many view him with a mixture of bemusement and exhaustion: a figure who was probably necessary to clear the ground for something new, but who has been embarrassing and often counterproductive in office. The best way to think of them may be as something akin to a less heavily tattooed, right-wing version of the millennial New York socialists profiled last March in New York magazine: A group of young people connected by overlapping social and professional ties and frustrated with the politics of their elders.

Eugene McCarraher (The Baffler): The World is a Business

Delivered at the advent of the gilded age opened by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Jensen’s philippic is a brazen synopsis of the pecuniary ontology of neoliberalism. Baffler readers will need no convincing that neoliberalism is a pernicious political economy, the latest innovation in the capitalist machinery of injustice, indignity, and violence. Yet it’s also much more than the liberalization of trade, the privatization of public services, the elevation of corporate enterprise as a model for what’s left of the public sector (“running government more like a business”), and the insulation of the market from democratic supervision. Neoliberalism is a moral and metaphysical imagination in which capitalist property relations provide an all-encompassing template for understanding the world.

Nicholas Lemann (NYRB): Can Journalism be Saved?

The years since then have seen the economic devastation of the profession, which has been about as dramatic as in any sector of the labor market. Employment in newspaper newsrooms decreased by 45 percent from 2008 to 2017—and by 60 percent from 1990 to 2016. (Even so, newspapers, because they are declining from a high base, still have almost three times as many newsroom employees as digital-only news sites: 38,000 versus 13,000.) Newspapers’ paid circulation has declined from 62.5 million in 1968 to 34.7 million in 2016, while the country’s population was increasing by 50 percent. Just between 2007 and 2016, newspapers’ advertising revenue, their major source of income, declined from $45.4 billion to $18.3 billion (by 2016 Google was making about four times the advertising revenue of the entire American newspaper industry). Almost 1,800 newspapers, most of them local weeklies, have closed since 2004. This collapse is especially significant because newspapers were traditionally where most American journalists worked, and where most original reporting was done.

Jessie Frazelle (ACM): Securing the Boot Process

The boot sequence for a machine typically starts with the BMC (baseboard management controller) or PCH (platform controller hub). In the case of an Intel CPU, the Intel Management Engine runs in the PCH and starts before the CPU. After configuring the machine's hardware, the BMC (or PCH, depending on the system) allows the CPU to come out of reset. The CPU then loads the boot (or UEFI, unified extensible firmware interface) firmware from the SPI (serial peripheral interface) flash. The boot firmware then accesses the boot sector on the machine's persistent storage, and loads the bootloader into the system memory. The boot firmware then passes execution control to the bootloader, which loads the initial OS image from storage into system memory and passes execution control to the operating system. For example, in popular Linux distros, GRUB (derived from Grand Unified Bootloader) acts as the bootloader and loads the operating system image for the machine.

Nils Gilman (The Breakthrough Institute): The Coming Avocado Politics

Avocado Politics is the parallel phenomenon on the Right: just as watermelon politics repackaged the political wish list of the Left on the basis of the environmental crisis, Avocado Politics reiterates the policy agenda of the far right, but now justified on the basis of the environmental crisis. As traditional conservative parties crumble and the far right gains power in many countries, embracing the reality of global warming is likely to be used to provide a powerful new set of justifications for the far-right policy program. Indeed, Avocado Politics is a good example of what people in the scenario-planning business refer to as “an inevitable surprise” — something that seems out of the realm of likelihood right now, a possibility largely off the radar, that in fact is almost certain to happen at some point.

What I’m Reading

Image result for uncanny valley book

I recently picked up Anna Weiner’s book Uncanny Valley and quickly worked my way through it. It was a interesting perspective on Silicon Valley from someone who tried to distance themselves from the culture, yet ended up diving straight deep into it in the end.

There is a small genre of Silicon Valley tell-all books that Uncanny Valley is a part of, ranging from Ellen Ullman’s Life in Code to Antonio García Martínez’s Chaos Monkeys, both of which I have read. The common theme in all three is how a person working in Silicon Valley deals with the circumstances they ended up, along with working to live with the massive cast of characters that make Silicon Valley their home, from rationalist programmers who live in group homes to Very Online Venture Capitalists.

Uncanny Valley itself is on the more depressive side, even if it was a good read into the mindset of Silicon Valley after tech started to stop being the underdog.

What I’m Working On

I wrote the following article for Lincoln Network’s Policy blog as a high level overview of the data labeling industry.

Machine Learning and the Data Labeling Industry

For this week, I am working on a piece that mainly highlights civic technology opportunities at the local and federal level.


Thanks for taking the time to read this, I will be back next Monday. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter or reach out via email.


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