Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Protect yourself: 'Computer Security for the Average Politico'

"The myth of cyberspace as a digital utopia has long been put to rest. Governments are increasingly developing smarter ways of asserting their national authority in cyberspace in an effort to control the flow, organization, and ownership of information."  "The Hacked World Order" Adam Segal, 2015 from
Prompted by some struggles of Facebook friend, I have drawn up a quick guide to Computer Security for the Average Politico. The digital world is one big hackfest now. If you are storing or manipulating political data or just blogging on Facebook you are probably subject to attacks, ex-filtration of private data and maybe harassment. Computer security is almost impossible to achieve. We live in a world where American cities like Baltimore are held cyber hostage potentially by exploits stolen from the NSA. Assume there are armies of paid information warriors targeting and collecting information on activists just like you and implementing large scale strategies to discourage, distract, weaken your efforts. Fight back some. Cyber bullies (spies or not) are cowards. I will assume Windows 10 for the discussion below, but my suggestions should be generic and OS independent enough.

Use the advice in this post at your own risk. Remember to back up critical data to a separate device first. Remember the old Unix maxim: "There are two kinds of computer uses: Those who have lost data and those will." For Windows 10, please see information on the 'administrative'  or 'elevated' use of cmd.exe and Powershell. This post  may need  expansion and more explanation. To be updated. - 06/23/2019 RMF

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Whatcom County Electorate Summer 2019: Age and Transiting Voters

This is the start of a series on The Whatcom County Electorate for Summer 2019. Updates are likely. -RMF 

The team at WA VRDB assures me they will have a May VRDB soon! Until then, we will look at some changes in Whatcom County's 4.30.2019 VRDB for status active voters. Approximately 3,489 new voters registered (year(Registrationdate) == 2019) in Whatcom County for the first four months of this year:

1:     251  #January,
2:     673  #February
3:    1003 #March
4:     562  #Aprial

In the first chart below, you can see the distribution of those new voters by age group per Precinct Decade (e.g. '10' = Precincts 101  through 109). For my age groups I used:
  • Millennial=Age < 36 [born after 1983]
  • GenX=between(Age,36,60,inclusive) [born  between 1959 and 1983] 
  • Boomer=between(Age,61,86,inclusive) [born between 1934 and 1958 
  • PostWar=Age > 86 [born  on or before 1933 but almost all after WWI end]
I have rearranged American generations for the last 100 years a little differently than others. PostWar refers to post WWI. (Only 36 voters out of 145K active voters in WM county's  voter database are born before 1918. They are all between 101 and 107 years old now).  In redefining these generations I have de-emphasized WWII and the 30's Depression as seminal generational events for our voter database. Enough wars and economic hardships have occurred since 1945 to minimize the effect that the that 'depression' and 'war babies' have on our electoral system.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Violin Plots: Mirrored Density Plots of Voter Participation

Below are 'Violin Plots' (e.g. 'mirrored density plots') [12] of voter participation by birth year for WA in the top 5 and second top 5 counties.  These plots have at a least a visual similarity to 'population pyramids' seen here and here. But these are density plots.[3, 4] These charts portray the density of the population proportions of each; not the explicit volumes against each other. See list of all counties at far bottom of this post.

The top row in the two charts below are an age profile for those who have a voting record from 2012 or after (e.g. 'LastVoted'). The bottom rows are those voters without any voting history.  The purple horizontal lines are ages for 30, 45, 60, 75, 90.  I notice the 'pinch' at age 45 (birth year 1974) in the top row and the heavy 'shoulders' for age 60 (birth year 1959) plus some. In the bottom row, the 'hats of no previous voting participation' begin a strong drop off at age 45 (birth year 1974) which becomes stronger at age 30 (birth year 1989). Whatcom County appears to have the largest band of 30 and under (birth year 1989 and less) participation bulge. King County appears to have the smallest band of 60 (birth year 1959) plus participation.  Click on the charts to enlarge.