Dr. Ernie Prabhakar drernie at radicalcentrism.org
Wed Aug 25 13:27:08 PDT 2004

Hi Adam,

Thanks again for your very helpful comments...

On Aug 25, 2004, at 12:54 PM, Adam Tarr wrote:

>> Ah, okay, I think I'm getting it.   So, how the heck does one define
>> natural communities in any sort of objective manner?   City 
>> boundaries?
>>  Commute flows?  Geography?
> There was an excellent discussion about this in the archives.  Here's 
> a link that links to it:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/election-methods-list/message/13066
> Basically, commute flows (or road bandwidth) was regarded as the best 
> measure, as it encapsulates geography and demographics pretty well.

Yeah, I remember that (lanes of traffic).   I even started writing some 
Python code to do the calculation.  The tricky part is that it was 
assuming even sized populations.  I guess in this case, we'd need to 
simultaneously minimize:
	a) traffic circumference
	b) deviations from the 'optimal' size (N=7)
	c) non-integral population units

That is, there needs to be some way to compare the goodness, e.g.,  two 
districts of size 9.95 vs. three of size 6.6.   Which is 
straightforward, but somewhat arbitrary.   Still, it could be done, and 
in some ways more parameters generates more interesting options.

>> The optimal size Assembly is purportedly 300,
> Where does this idea come from?

That's based on one one of the California commentators I greatly 
respect; though, he was pushing a unicameral body, so perhaps for a 
bicameral something more like 200 is fine for the lower-house.   Is 
there any decent theory about representation vs. practicality?   It 
does seem like most large deliberative bodies max out in the 200 to 300 
range for some reason, but I don't know why.

> I imagine all the candidates listed on the left, under party headings, 
> and an empty ordered list on the right.  You touch a candidate, then 
> you touch the position you want them in on the list on the right.  If 
> you touch a party in stead of a candidate, it dumps all the remaining 
> candidates in that slot.

Yes, exactly.  Anyone done a UI mockup of that yet?

-- Ernie P.

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