Of course, it's all about where you move. The authors argue that it needs to be less populous regions.
- Moving from densely-populated urban regions is more effective in stopping the spreading of disease than closing borders.
- Two researchers from Spain and Italy ran 10,000 simulations to discover that travel bans are ultimately ineffective.
- Smaller cities might suffer high rates of infection, but the nation overall could benefit from this model.
Credit: Alexander Ozerov / Adobe Stock<p>The author realizes this model has limitations. Their focus was purely on population densities. Ideally, mobility during a pandemic coincides with public health measures, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, and self-quaranting—factors that differ radically depending on what region you happen to be in. </p><p>While their modeling is hypothetical, it does track with real-world migration patterns. A mass exodus has been <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/30/nyregion/nyc-suburbs-housing-demand.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>occurring from New York City</u></a>, for example. The reasons for so many people fleeing are manifold, but the pandemic certainly catalyzed the migration. Similar trends are occurring in <a href="https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/09/23/residents-moving-out-of-california-on-the-rise/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>Los Angeles</u></a> and <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Yes-people-are-leaving-San-Francisco-After-15635160.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>San Francisco</u></a>.</p><p>In their paper, Zanin and Papo wonder if forced relocation, from high-density to low-density regions, could be proactively enforced. Of course, there would be political pushback for initiating such measures, though it appears it could impact the spread of disease as well. </p><p>The authors also note that their model does not take into account the impact on regional health care systems, which, at least in America, are often not equipped to handle population increases. And they recognize the political concern—hypothetical modeling does not necessarily take ethical considerations into question. </p><p>That said, this is and will remain a political issue. As Zanin <a href="https://publishing.aip.org/publications/latest-content/in-a-pandemic-migration-away-from-dense-cities-more-effective-than-closing-borders/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>says</u></a>, the success of any pandemic response lies in the cooperation between national and regional governments looking at their country as a whole, as well as considering the impact of their actions on the rest of the planet. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Collaboration between different governments and administrations is an essential ingredient towards controlling a pandemic, and one should consider the possibility of small-scale sacrifices to reach a global benefit."</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His new book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
It was a concept borrowed from the Iroquois, and one that America never quite mastered.
- Most people know the basics of American history and may even be able to name all 13 colonies, but where exactly did the idea to form a union come from?
- Political writer and essayist Richard Kreitner explains how Benjamin Franklin learned the concept from the Iroquois Confederation. When he tried to introduce it to the colonists, however, they "thought it was essentially equivalent to tyranny."
- The idea eventually caught on, but not without land disputes and issues of representation, which explains why the US House of Representatives has 435 voting seats while the Senate has just two seats per state, equal for all states regardless of population size—it was a compromise. Kreitner argues that this imbalance may one day rupture the US political system.
Monopolies wield an immense amount of economic and political power and influence. So what can we do to make the economy more equitable?
- According to Vanderbilt law professor and author Ganesh Sitaraman, America has a monopoly problem—a problem that is almost universally acknowledged as such, yet little is done about it.
- Sitaraman explains how monopolies of today share DNA with trusts of the 19th century, and how the increased concentration and consolidation of these corporations translates to increased power both economically and politically.
- "We need to think about reinvigorating our anti-trust laws and the principles of anti-monopoly that gave spirit to those laws and to lots of other regulations," he argues. Restoring faith in government and the economy starts with dismantling the things that make people question its allegiances and priorities.
States set their own voting laws, so where does this make voting easiest?
- A new report out of Northern Illinois University lists how easy it is to vote in each state.
- The report can be compared to previous indexes, showing where it is getting easier and more difficult to vote.
- The authors also note that dramatically improving the ease of voting is simple and cost effective.
How the Laboratories of Democracy do with the whole “democracy” thing.<p> Political scientists <a href="https://www.niu.edu/clas/polisci/about/faculty-staff/schraufnagel.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Scot Schraufnagel </a>of Northern Illinois University, <a href="https://www.ju.edu/directory/michael-pomante.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Michael J. Pomante</a> II of Jacksonville University, and Quan Li of Wuhan University in China compare the ease or difficulty of voting in each state with their "<a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/elj.2020.0666" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cost of Voting Index</a>."<br> </p><p>As in previous years, the research team created an index allowing them to rank each state's laws and regulations concerning aspects of <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/elj.2020.0666" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">voting</a>. </p><p>This included considerations of when voters had to register by, if felons could vote or register, if registration drives were allowed, if automatic registration policies existed, if voting was a state holiday, how many voting stations were in each state, how complex it is to request a mail-in ballot, how long polling stations are open, how many documents are needed to register and vote, and other such concerns. <br> <br> Taken together, these questions consider all facets of being able to vote, from how difficult it is to register to the trouble of actually getting your ballot, either by mail or in person. Each issue was broken down into various considerations and scored. Those considerations that made voting more difficult (for example, a rule not allowing felons to register to vote while in jail) earned more points than those that made voting more accessible. </p><p>For determining how polling hours and the number of days polls were open impacted voters, the average number of poll hours and the number of early voting days were reverse coded, meaning that more time to vote contributed to a lower score. </p><p>After scoring the states, the researchers organized them in a convenient list with the states where voting is most straightforward on top. </p>
Where democracy is easiest to do<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYzNTM2Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjk1NjU5OH0.DioH6lPzApgXZq4A-ZCoQbO91GnBLJ2s2dD7-NatKBU/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C87%2C0%2C87&height=700" id="0bdb3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dd0284418b32e0b24b4d32b79bf043c1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A map showing where voting is easy (low numbers) and where it is more difficult (high numbers).
Northern Illinois University<p> As you can see from the above map, Oregon retained its top spot on the strength of its automatic voter registration policies, extensive vote by mail program, and myriad opportunities to vote early. Washington and Utah, with their similar vote by mail programs, round out the top three. <br> <br> Despite lacking the same vote by mail programs as the previously mentioned states, Illinois made it to fourth place on the strength of its absentee voting policies.</p><p>The other end of the scale features Texas, Georgia, Missouri, and Mississippi. Texas earned its low score partly because of its declining number of places to vote and registration cut off 30 days before the <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/niu-hhi102820.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">election</a>. </p>
Where are the ratings going up? Where are they going down?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V1FCdfK8gTY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> By comparing these results with those of 2016, it is no issue to see where voting is getting easier and where it is getting more difficult. Perhaps more importantly, it allows us to see what policies can cause which outcomes.</p><p> Those interested in making it easier to vote in their state can look to the reforms passed in Virginia and Michigan for inspiration. This year, Virginia's state government passed a slew of reforms making <a href="https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/april/headline-856055-en.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">voting more accessible</a>, including an automatic voter registration law and the designation of election day as a holiday. This allowed the state to move up 37 spots to its current position of 12. </p><p>Michigan passed similar reforms by referendum in <a href="https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/opinion/contributors/viewpoints/2020/10/28/dont-let-covid-19-stop-you-voting-viewpoint/6040606002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018</a>, allowing it to move up 32 spots to 13. </p><p>They can also take heart at the authors' references to studies showing that some of these reforms, such as online voter registration, actually reduce the administrative costs of running elections, making them very attractive for those interested in governmental efficiency. Additionally, lead author Scot Schraufnagel suggests that making it simpler to vote can increase turnout.</p><p>On the other hand, if you want to make it more difficult to vote, the index shows you how to achieve that too. </p><p>West Virginia, Missouri, and Iowa all fell 19 spots over the last four years. Co-author Michael J. Pomante explains that these declines are caused in part by the lack of "a willingness to modernize their policies to ease the difficultly of voting and stay current with election law trends we see in many other states." <br> <br> It is worth noting that this report was published on October 13<sup> </sup>and was based on information collected before that time. Some of the ratings might be slightly outdated in light of shifting rules on where and when ballots can be returned in some <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/us/supreme-court-wisconsin-ballots.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">states</a>. However, the report does include a separate section for changes made in response to the pandemic.</p><p>Curiously, while many states in the middle of the pack moved around dramatically in the rankings due to their responses, the top and bottom four appear to have remained the same. <br> <br> How straightforward voting is in the United States is highly variable based on where you live. While some states strive to make it as easy as possible, others retain laws making participation in our democracy burdensome and time-consuming. This index provides a way to understand how our democracy evolves over time and what makes it more accessible to more people. </p><p>What will be done with that information is up to the people. </p>
A heated debate is occurring at the University of Miami.
- Students say they were identified with facial recognition technology after a protest at the University of Miami; campus police claim this isn't true.
- Over 60 universities nationwide have banned facial recognition; a few colleges, such as USC, regularly use it.
- Civil rights groups in Miami have called for the University of Miami to have talks on this topic.
Arthur Holland Michel: The Future of Surveillance Technology<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c330ab8c4df396f5313be796c0d96da"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hIC-kaYcq34?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Americans don't always agree with that assessment, especially on college campuses. Over 60 universities—Harvard, MIT, and UCLA are on the list—have banned facial recognition. Of the few schools that utilize it, USC lets students enter their rooms via face scans; the software also ensures intruders cannot access buildings.</p><p>These are great uses of this technology. You could argue it's how any progress with our devices should work: in service of people. The problem, of course, is that those in power don't tend to stop when they have a little taste of the possibilities.</p><p>University of Miami is the <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelsandler/2020/10/27/human-rights-groups-call-on-the-university-of-miami-to-ban-facial-recognition/#a11c8bf2965a" target="_blank">latest school</a> to be embroiled in a battle over facial recognition. The ACLU of Florida was joined by 21 other groups when requesting that the university hold an open forum so that students can express their concerns. A piece of their letter is below. </p><p>This call for action was inspired after a September incident in which students <a href="https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/university-of-miami-tracked-protesters-with-video-surveillance-11712139" target="_blank">protested</a> returning for in-person classes during the pandemic. The students, concerned about their health, predominantly wore face masks. Still, a number of them were identified, leading to concerns that facial recognition was used. Campus police denied it—the chief even claimed the tech "doesn't work," though that notion <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/12/tech/face-recognition-masks/index.html" target="_blank">has been refuted</a>—yet civil liberties groups are worried that an invasion of privacy occurred.</p><p>Lia Holland, a member of the digital rights nonprofit <a href="https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2020-10-27-20-human-rights-organizations-call-on-university-of-miami-to-ban-facial-recognition-and-meet-f6f2119fd41b/" target="_blank">Fight for the Future</a>, wants answers from school administrators. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"UMiami is struggling to answer to their creepy surveillance practices, and clarify whether they are using their own facial recognition system, or Florida's state facial recognition database."</p>
Credit: Pixel Shot / Adobe Stock<p>The police chief in question, David Rivero, claims overhead surveillance cameras provided identification at the protest. Yet speaking of another case involving facial-recognition software, he's <a href="https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/university-of-miami-tracked-protesters-with-video-surveillance-11712139" target="_blank">on the record stating</a>, "We were able to [easily] identify and arrest him. We've [detected] a few bad guys that way."</p><p>The letter sent to the Board of Administrators <a href="https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2020-10-27-20-human-rights-organizations-call-on-university-of-miami-to-ban-facial-recognition-and-meet-f6f2119fd41b/" target="_blank">includes the following demands</a>: </p><ol><li>Issue a campus-wide policy banning non-personal use of facial recognition technology, and issue a statement that you have done so.</li><li>Immediately schedule an open forum with students and faculty/staff to discuss community concerns and clarify how student activists who participated in First Amendment protected protest activities were identified by campus police.</li><li>Immediately schedule a meeting with the UMiami Employee Student Alliance (UMESA) to address their COVID-19 safety concerns, the subject of the original protest.</li></ol><p>There's no doubt facial-recognition technology has a place in law enforcement. Victims of unsolved crimes are relieved when the perpetrators are brought to justice, regardless of the means. As Michel writes, some police forces are already surveilling large regions of their districts using the Gorgon Stare, a camera used from airplanes. Cameras are ubiquitous, and that's not going to change. </p>As a society, we need honest discussions regarding the application of surveillance. Nearly every citizen in China has <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/in-china-facial-recognition-public-shaming-and-control-go-hand-in-hand/" target="_blank">already been logged</a> by facial recognition software, which has led to human rights abuses. While the stated intention of this tech by American police is pure, good intentions are known to pave the way...well, we know how that ends. <p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His new book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>