Tom Reitz

Tom Reitz (13)

Tom Reitz is a lead developer and architect specializing in political data. He writes about technology, culture, and life.

Back from Europe

I haven't posted since April, which is because my wife and I had the opportunity to travel through Europe for 10 weeks! If you'd like, you can read more about our adventures here. Now that I'm back, I plan to resume writing here occasionally. I am also very pleased to announce that I've been accepted to the Professional Masters Program at the Computer Science department of UW-Madison. I'm looking forward to taking a few…

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StackOverflow Developer Survey 2019 Results

I love StackOverflow - I use it almost every day, usually multiple times each day. So I was excited when they recently released their annual Developer Survey results for 2019. I find this report very interesting because one of my current roles is lead developer. Some interesting hightlights from the report include:Javascript (including Node.js) is the most commonly-used programming language; Python is one of the fastest-growing programming languages.MySQL and PostgreSQL are the…

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Book Review: The Best Place to Work

A few weeks ago, I was reading Ron Friedman's The Best Place to Work at a clinic when my doctor walked in and quipped "I see you are reading a work of fiction." This admittedly amusing comment reflects the fact that many people don't enjoy their work, their colleagues, or their workplace. Although it's improved slightly in the last few years, Gallup consistently reports abysmal workforce engagement figures. Only one third of U.S.

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Book Review: Weapons of Math Destruction

I recently read Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Niel, after seeing it recommended several times. The book is an easy read and a thought-provoking exploration of the ethical implications of big data algorithms. O'Neil argues that opaque predictive algorithms can codify bias, racism, and inequality into automated systems. Through numerous examples in educational, financial, and judicial systems, she illustrates how the humans who design algorithms can unintentinally imbue them with their…

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On Gerrymandering

According to the U.S. Constitution, congressional districts are supposed to provide proportional representation. Practically speaking, that means that districts should be contiguous, contain roughly the same number of inhabitants, and (based on the Voting Rights Act of 1965) roughly the same racial makeup. State legislative districts are also drawn to similar standards. State Legislatures redraw district boundaries every 10 years (after the census) to relect population changes. But due to the partisan…

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