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Vote modeling

More and more, public policy is based on poorly understood computer models of very complex processes like regional air quality, local traffic congestion, and worldwide climate change. Paul Sieving wrote an excellent, yet very brief article (The Union’s Other Voices, 6 March 2007), that highlighted how the output of such predictive models may lead us to wrong conclusions and, therefore, bad policy. However, it turns out the picture he painted was too rosy. This is perhaps because he tried to keep the message short – a sad requirement of the times.

I have expanded on the realities of predictive computer modeling in Numeracy Nugget #6 on sesfoundation.org. This still painfully short piece introduces the layman to additional features of computer modeling that should be understood by every intelligent voter.

Numeracy Nuggets are offered as bite-sized explanations of various tools for critical thinking about social and community issues. Each also has appended a little ‘noodling nummie’ with its solution in the next Nugget. The Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit foundation that promotes science and math scholarship in our schools, and provides timely analyses of issues important to Nevada County.



George Rebane, Ph.D.

Nevada City


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