Phonetic Redistricting

The title of this post is a little bit of bullshit. This summer, I intend to read through the book Random Geometric Graphs by Mathew Penrose, sort of fumbling my way through it and discussing along the way with my advisor. On the garden path, it occurred to me that one might be able to use point processes or random fields to model sound change in language. One could possibly apply these concepts to events like the Northern Cities Vowel Shift to inform were our sounds will go, based on where they have come from. It’s a pretty half-baked idea right now, but the parallels seem present. A starting point might be this here book.

Regarding the redistricting portion of the title, I recently read an article on Wired about redistricting and in the process discovered the work of Wendy K. Tam Cho, who uses simulation strategies to measure the partisan advantage induced by a particular redistricting map. Such a simulation procedure is subject with a multitudinous number of constraints, due to the necessity of contiguous districts and trivial things like the Voting Rights Act. But clearly, this is another usage of a spatial stochastic model to solve novel and thus far intractable real-world problems. To both these ends, I have more ideas than intent or even ambition to follow through on them.

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