Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Math > politics all day

Posted by Alex Malone on November 6, 2016

I enjoyed the screening and subsequent Q&A held by the creators of ‘Rigged’ a great deal more than I expected to. In particular, I was glad to learn more about the sources and methodology that they relied on. I also appreciated the clarification that the documentary focused specifically on the influence that Republican think tanks had on the 2010 redistricting, as one of my initial reactions to the documentary was that the writers weren’t doing much to cover up what looked like a pretty clear leftward bent — gerrymandering is a bipartisan phenomenon, as ages dictate, and maybe I wasn’t really paying attention but I didn’t get the impression that they were focusing specifically on the REDMAP project.

Ugh. Politics. Sick of it.

What I really got out of it was getting to talk to Clint Waters, one of the Hitcents devs featured in the doc. I hate it when people try to portray people who work on video games as people who define their life by video games. It’s a fucking hard industry to work in, and it’s thankless, because there is an endless parade of people fresh out of college who want to work on games so you get ground up and burnt out inside of two years because there’s another identical guy ready to step in right behind you. All these people in college all like “I wanna work on video games” in between swigs of Mountain Dew were ostensibly the reason I wasn’t a CS major for a while.

Anyway. We chatted for a while about math and CS and how they relate to the election, in some kind of sense. I have had enough about the goddamn election and polls and pollsters and margins of error for the next four years, but it gave me this really cool idea to take population density data and create a Voronoi diagram based on large cities etc. and then do some hillclimbing stuff to get equal populations, taking into account zoning restrictions and stuff. Then compare it to this other guy who did something similar but with different methods and maybe do a little writeup. Fun stuff!

Speaking of, I should really learn how to write…


3 Responses to “Math > politics all day”

  1. alexmalone1729 said

    This post got dangerously close to being about the one thing that you should never let me talk about, which is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banach_space (can’t seem to do links in comments.) Functional analysis is so cool. One of my math professors pulled out a book on bounded linear operators (Dunford/Schwartz) on Friday that was thick enough to kill a cat and he mentioned he might give it to me as a graduation present because he likes me so darn much…see, this is what happens.

  2. lucdigi said

    THANK YOU. I have a few friends from high school who are CS majors and aspiring game developers and nothing gets under our skin more than people thinking that way about the profession. Glad to know that other people get it and that it was really easy to talk to Clint about it. Maybe I’ll send them his way.

    • alexmalone1729 said

      It is also true that designing interesting games is hard. I spent enough time mucking about with Lunar Magic as a kid to be able to really appreciate good level design. Makes me wonder how much some people really understand about the creative process.

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