The Sorting of America in the Obama Era

Benjamin Schultz

Benjamin Schultz, Ph.D. Geography

Historically, America has been divided along racial and income lines. In 2008, Bill Bishop’s “The Big Sort” forwarded the idea that America is also becoming increasingly segregated along political and cultural lines. Using a variety of datasets, he and his research assistant Robert Cushing demonstrated that liberals and conservatives are very likely to cluster together near like-minded people. The result is an even more divided country in which people of one political persuasion are less likely to encounter dissenting viewpoints in their immediate vicinity.

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Industries with highest divorce rates

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post we will again explore the 2013 year’s PUMS five-year survey data from the American Community Survey. Now we are also interested in the relationship between marital status and job industry, but this time we will look for industries with the highest divorce rates. We expect that the values of divorce rate will be relatively low, since 88.5 percent of the respondents who were employed at the time of survey were married.

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Does new home construction affect crime rate?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post we will explore the relationship between crime rates and the development of residential areas; we want to see if the construction of new houses affects crime rate. Naturally, one would think that incoming new residents will attract more criminal elements to the area, but this may not always be the case.

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Firearms and Crime Rate

Jeffery Green

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

Firearm ownership and its impact on the safety of populations provides a diverse array of conclusions as to the causality of firearms and their impact on crime rates in particular. It is often stated that an armed population is a safe population due to the presumptive deterrent effect of firearm ownership on those who may be pondering committing a crime. Most right-thinking people would be a bit reticent to force their way into a house in the middle of the night to steal a television or harm the occupants if they knew that a loaded firearm was waiting to greet them. There is a certain mythology, which may be grounded in some fact or a great deal of fiction, that guns make us safer. We cling to this old west homesteader notion of the gun as a tool. In those days, a firearm provided the means to hunt and offered protection in what was an unruly society wherein human life was certainly cheap. Today we live in a more rule-governed and somewhat more orderly state. To state that a firearm is a necessary tool for a household is a point of debate. Certainly, a number of Americans still feel that a firearm in the home is important for protection. A recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that that nearly half of gun owners (48 percent) report that the main reason they own a gun is for protection. This is compared to 32 percent who state they own a gun primarily for hunting.

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How Does Weather Affect Crime Rates?

Alfredo Llorente

Alfredo Llorente, Ph.D. Student Human Geography

Since the beginning of the past century, geography has tried to expand its research areas to explore new fields where spatial analysis and data production could merge in new geographic correlations.

In the 1920s, Chicago schools tried to manage this correlation between crime and geography and start a new way to spatially analyze delinquency, principally in the urban areas. It was the beginning of the geography of crime.

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Innovation, Creativity and Why the U.S. Needs to Become More Attractive for Immigrants

Daniel Vargas Gómez

Daniel Vargas Gómez, Ph.D. Philosophy and Media

We live in an age where technology drives innovation in an unprecedented manner. Whether we are talking about gadgets we cannot do without (smartphones, tablets, and game consoles) or specialized software (Indesign, Photoshop or CAD) or even medical innovations (nanotechnology, genetic research and prosthetics), technology seems to always function as a common thread between any of these conversations. The growing availability and access to technologies is the reason why gadgets, machines, and robots have become omnipresent tools that make our lives easier and our working hours more productive. A tool, however, does not work on its own. In fact, it is how we use the tools what in the end generates a crucial difference. Technology, when in creative hands, can be conducive to wonderful innovations, from solar powered cars to video conference calls at the touch of a button. Where does this creative talent come from? Is it something that we can take for granted or is it perhaps more of a black swan event within a workforce that actually lacks the ability to use the many tools at its disposal?

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Why is the Republican Party Growing but Still Losing Elections?

Valentina Porcu

Valentina Porcu, Ph.D. Communication and Complex Systems

One of the most remarkable elements distinguishing the U.S. democracy is the alternation between Democratic and Republican party. In 2014 the U.S. was involved in the midterm elections. That’s a fact; now let’s examine how the vote has changed in the past four years between the parties, and this change’s relationship with the Internet’s growth as a “campaign tool.”

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