Why AI alone can’t solve the scourge of gerrymandering

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Political scientists from Harvard and Boston University are using sophisticated mapping algorithms to ensure their deceptively simple bipartisan way to draw district maps is as fair as possible. Louisiana’s 6th would be a fairly normal-looking congressional district if it weren’t for the large 2nd district that cuts into its middle . Republicans in the Louisiana statehouse designed the 2nd district to separate the high numbers of black voters in inner Baton Rouge from the 6th district, which now contains the mainly-white Baton Rouge suburbs and outlying rural areas. In effect, this created a badly gerrymandered 6th district where voting-age blacks make up only 21.6% of the electorate—helping the Party of Trump to dominate. Read Full Story

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There are virtually no Black financial regulators in America. That’s a problem for economic inclusion

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Many financial policies aim to rectify injustices that have largely targeted Black people, such as redlining or loan discrimination. Without Black financial regulators, that means Black Americans aren’t a part of that policymaking. Of the 327 financial regulators that have been appointed at U.S. federal agencies throughout history, only 10 have been Black. That’s a mere 3%, for a demographic that reflects 13% of the country’s population. Financial regulators are the leaders of national financial agencies, such as the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission, which act as stewards of banks, corporations, and financial markets. These agencies have the purported goal of ensuring fairness for economic participants. But Black people have been largely absent from those policy-making decisions. Read Full Story

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This interactive map shows police violence during protests

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The tool, from human rights organization Amnesty International, is an effort to illustrate how police violence is widespread and systemic. Amnesty International has documented the “most heinous” instances of police violence across the country during the Black Lives Matter protests and is today launching an interactive map of those acts. Read Full Story

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Unilever dropping ‘whitening’ products and ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand names—but is it enough?

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The CPG giant is removing the words fair/fairness, white/whitening, and light/lightening from its products’ packs and communication. Unilever announced that it is evolving its products and marketing to represent a more evolved vision of beauty, and the first steps are removing the words fair/fairness, white/whitening, and light/lightening from its products’ packs and communication, and changing the name of its Fair & Lovely brand name. Read Full Story

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Bored at home? This game lets you help NASA map the world’s coral reefs

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We’ve mapped less than 10% of the ocean floor. Now you can help bring that number up. If you’re looking for something more interesting to do in quarantine than restream a show on Netflix, consider helping scientists map the world’s coral reefs. In a new video game from NASA called NeMO-Net , you can virtually dive in waters around the world, classifying corals in 3D images from satellites to help train a NASA supercomputer to map the rest of the world’s coral at a scale that’s never been done before. Read Full Story

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This real-time coronavirus U.S. map shows detailed data on local death rates, cases, and demographics

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The latest iteration of Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus map includes a wealth of county-level data on public health and demographics. From the earliest days of the coronavirus outbreak, Johns Hopkins University has been one of the go-to sources for global case counts, data visualizations, tracking tools, and other statistics. What’s especially useful about its COVID-19 dashboard and associated maps is that they keep getting better as new contextual data is added. Read Full Story

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This interactive map shows the key places that must be protected to curb climate change

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See where the land is that hasn’t yet been touched by humankind. The world’s population has tripled since 1950, and the number of megacities has grown from one—New York City—to more than 30, from Mexico City to Shenzhen to Hyderabad. But roughly half of the land on the planet is still in a natural or semi-natural state. A new map shows exactly where that land is, and why it’s critical to protect. Read Full Story

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