Friday, November 30, 2012

The new metro gazelles?

So if you want to see the gloomiest  (or at least the darkest) picture of Downtown used in an upbeat story see today's headine.

Reuters: Only three major U.S. cities see economic recovery: study

What 3 you have to ask?  Lots of ink on this one from all over, but nary a mention locally? Even reverb over the pond of the story.  Curious.  Maybe the reference to 'Brookings' got confused with the bigger news today here about 'Brooks Brothers.

Addendum:   ha, and h/t to Jim R. who points out the Atlantic Cities coverage of all of this, and in particular how folks are so unused to talking about Pittsburgh, some still drop our 'h'.  Although they seem to have corrected that already.  So yes, I over-infer a bit of cognitive dissonance in the typo.  Still nary a single mention of this in any local news.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Retro eating

So for the digital archivists out there I refer you first to this old post: Zagat-less burgh

and today we learn...: Zagat rankings coming to Pittsburgh  !!

So there you go.  If not for the cupcakes, where would we be? 

Isn't that more interesting than say a post about assessments, or redistricting.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

more people......

Boring unemployment news today... or is it.  Another jump in Pittsburgh's labor force. See interactive graph for more.  Pittsburgh MSA labor force +26K year over year through October. Works out to +2.1% or more than double US labor force growth (+1%) over the same period.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Something is taking off

Just in passing a comment on the news that Jet Blue is giving up on its Pittsburgh to New York flights. Who wants to go to New York anyway, right?  If you do, you might need to fly out of the Cleveburgh Airport which is doing well of late.

I'll just repeat a post from earlier in the month, but if local air fares were trending badly before, this all bodes ill. Data on local air fares through the 2nd quarter of 2012 already looks like below. My most knowledgable commenters have made the point that the convergence already apparent in that data is likely the result of depressed competition in flights to Philly once Southwest ceded that market to USAirways. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Apotheosis of the Yunzer

From the rarely active Nullspace A&E desk, I requested a review of City Theater's South Side Stories currently in production.

All I got in reply was: "The Ultimate Yunzer Apotheosis"

Kind of short, but I guess that covers it.... and yes, there is obligatory mention of parking chairs.  I will add that everyone will enjoy it, but if you have ever lived between 5th and 27th you will appreciate the sublime a bit more.


But for Bethoven Street (sic)

So I seriously thought a retirement project for me someday would be to document what gives Pittsburgh streets all their names.  Of course Bob Regan has a tremendous start on that.

With a h/t to Nate Silver on his blog, I see that San Franscisco has a wikipedia page: Etymologies of place names in San Francisco.

So why wait...  we really need to start a page like that for Pittsburgh?  Personally I would start with the names of the alleys.

Thinking of Bob's past work.  One of the few wikipedia pages I have created is for the Steps of Pittsburgh. It needs some more contributors. The other page I created being one for Pittsburgh Parking Chair, except that the wikipedia gnomes wiped that page out and subsumed some of it into a far more generic Parking Chair page

and points for anyone who can document the etymology of Billy Budd Hill.  Actually points for anyone who can identify where Billy Budd Hill is located (in Pittsburgh that is).


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Things to worry about

Is this not one of the biggest threats to Pittsburgh's economy in years?

Why a local economic story? A lot of this stuff is not leaving here by plane:

If you dig into that export data lots of things pop out.  The value of international exports in "Mining (except oil and gas)" went up over 60% between 2010 and 2011.  That is data for the MSA, which means it does not even capture the prodigious coal being mined in nearby counties like Greene.  Might be worth noting that more recent national data shows more coal exports for 2012 thus far at least when measured in tons, if not value.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Mayoral Maps and More - Battle for 90

So last weekend I saw Mayor Ravenstahl on KD/PG being pretty definitive that he was running for reelection, and today a big flyer in the mail from Councilman Peduto looks that sure looks like he is running as well.  So I guess a race is on. 

So without any other parsing for now, I figure a few folks out there might be curious on past Pittsburgh mayoral primary history.  Below is just cut and paste of past posts I could find quickly. There are probably more relevant posts parsing past elections buried in the archives.

I need a theme for any political parsing. Since it's not an electoral system I can't quite crib off of Silver and call it 538.  Looking at the maps I continue to be struck by how much neighborhood definitions matter.  So maybe this will be the battle for 90, the current 'official' count of City of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Percentage Dowd 2009 


Percentage Robinson 2009

2005: Percentage Kendrick - PDF or GIF

2005: Percentage Peduto - PDF or GIF

2005: Percentage Lamb - PDF or GIF

2005: Percentage Oconnor - PDF or GIF

2001: Percentage Murphy - PDF or GIF

2001: Percentage Oconnor - PDF or GIF


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Obligatory Turkey Drop

I will suggest that maybe it is time to remake WKRP.....  in Pittsburgh?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Startups, eh?

Here is an interesting question.   What two cities are closest to Pittsburgh in this list just out of the top 20 global startup hubs?


Capitalism is Kaput.....

.... except in Sweden where there is apparently even a competitive market for felis assecurationis.  (h/t Forbes: Cold Fusion and Unintended Consequences, which is worth a read in itself). 

Day before Thanksgiving... this is all I got. Funniest video I've seen in some time below.  Les Nessman comes mind.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just another number?

I'll be brief, but a new all time peak in Pittsburgh's nonfarm employment count per CES data:


Not an end, but a beginning

In summary, the news today from the Wettick Watch can be summarized.  The current assessment soap opera is coming to a close. 

If you are interested in local assessment metrics at all.  The report referenced in the news today has been available for most of the year.  See from page 14 onward in this court filing.  News articles should link to that, or make it available somehow.

Just musing at this point, but timing is interesting in all of this.  When you think about it, the decade Allegheny County went without an assessment between 2002-2012 was not a period of rapid real estate appreciation for the most part.  Yet local valuations clearly became out of date along the way.  Yet by all accounts real estate prices locally have really been appreciating recently.  Seems to me that if the current reassessmend had not been delayed several years a lot of folks would be getting a lot lower tax bills than they are about to. 

More practically.  We are about to enter the end game for assessments, and for taxpayers the end game is defined by what taxes they pay. So property tax millage adjustments are the key news item going forward.  If you want a third party calculation of what your municipality's or school district's millage should be reset to in order to remain revenue neutral, I refer you to Professor Strauss' calculations.   Ten years ago when Allegheny County really went through this last, some folks were watching pretty carefully.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Can we bring LST 325 to Pittsburgh (again!)

So I can't explain why I had no idea this Post Gazette video, apparently from February, was online. Otherwise I would have certainly mentioned it.  So better late than never:

Mentioned here on occassion, the video goes through some history of LST 750, the erstwhile USS Allegheny County (LSTs were not actually named for counties at the time), and its short career before being sunk in vicinity of the Philippines.

Some may remember one of my earliest posts was about bringing LST 325 to PittsburghIn 2010 that happened of course. They had a record number of visitors when they came

The question now is... can we get LST 325 to come back again for a visit?


BLS Pittsburgh Labor Market Profile

So no new data in this really... but on Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics put out their occassional focused look at the Pittsburgh region's labor market.  Just fyi.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

again voter participation mythos

So I was looking at the graph I put up the other day with county-wide voter participation.  It occured to me that the graph really obscured the impact of higher turnout in parts of the county which had a contested congressional race for PA12.  That race was only in nothern parts of the county which are not the most diverse municipalities. I suspect that race pushed up the voter participation in selected districts more than others.  

So to look again at the oft-repeated mythos that minorities vote less than others, here is the same data limited just to voting districts in the city of Pittsburgh. Again, the hypothesis that minorities vote less means that line is downward sloping. 

I bet common wisdom will not be debunked by any such pesky data.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The most important number you never (ever) think about

So let's start with the fairly routine and boring story that is the monthly update to the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. Yesterday we learned the state's unemployment rate went down by a tenth to 8.1%.

Yawn.   But bear with me for a minute, even if this is something you might skip.   So the unemloyment rate is one thing, but the size of the labor force in Pennsylvania is another somewhat boring story unto itself.  Basically the labor force in Pennsylvania is shooting upwards.  'Shooting' at least in a Pennsylvaia context.  I count a +2.4% growth in the state's labor force over the last year and at least for the moment accelerating. Remember that number for a minute, it's important. But a graph:

So more obsessive metrification?  Are you someone in the least bit concerned with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's budget next year.  Say with revenues or expenditures at the state level that get translated into revenues for an innumerable number of local governments, school districts and social service agencies!

Here is the thing.  The state of Pennsylvania's annual budget calculation is now heavily dependent on the official revenue projections that will be generated by the relatively new Independent Fiscal Office. I feel a kindred spirit at least in that I once worked as an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office(CBO) year and years ago. The new office in Harrisburg is charged with coming up with an official baseline for anticipated revenues the state will bring in and that number will shape the entire budget process. 

Now it turns out that the IFO's methodology is heavily dependent on what it projects is going to be happening to the size of the state's labor force next year.  You can read more on their methodology and if you skip to the last slide you will see it emphasized that "labor force participation rates are crucial." Basically their methodology relies heavily on what is projected to be happening to the states labor force. 

So what are they projecting?  Again you can read the slide yourself per previous link. This slide lays it out.  Look for the row for Pennsylvania's labor force and the column with the projection out 2012-2017. What do you read? Then go back and compare to what the latest data is telling us is happening in 2012.

Basically, if you are looking to the state for money of any kind next year the most important number you should care about is what is projected for the state's labor force next year. Bigger labor force = more revenue, lower labor force = less revenue.  Thus you probably care about what the lastest actual data is on the state's labor force even though it is a big jump as to how (or even 'if''!) that data gets cycled back into the projection which is what matters for the budget debate.  

How dependent are Pennsylvania's budget projections on the size of the labor force?  One more of their slides explaining their core methodology on this point:




Friday, November 16, 2012

Metaphysics, math and politics

So why would Allegheny County save news of a proposed property tax millage decrease to the doldrums of a Friday afternoon?  Good news eh?

Anyone out there good at math?


Ho no Pittsburgh yo!

Wow, Hostess isn't just going bankrupt, but wants to shut down.

You realize of course that Pittsburgh is the center the Ho Ho world.  Remember Ho-Ho-gate? Turns out the number reported in that for our Ho Ho consumption was misread and off by more than two decimal points. (note that even bad Ho Ho stats rise to the level of needing a correction) Still, we seem to be the top Ho Ho consumers around relatively. There should be national biz journalists parachuting in to town to interview us.

Buy em while you can. Raises an interesting economic question.  Could Twinkies be used as a store of value?

Just one word.  CUPCAKES


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Voting mythos

So how often do you hear someone repeat the mantra that voter turnout for minorities is less than others? 

This is a graph of voter participation, not voter turnout, for voting districts in Allegheny County.  Voter turnout is ballots cast divided by registered voters.  Voter participation here is ballots cast divided by the voting eligible (age 18 and over) population.  The hypothesis that African Americans are less likely to vote would mean that the line there is sloping downward.

We can talk about exceptional elections, but the pattern in this graph is pretty typical of all local races going back many years.  And yes, it is all more than one dimensional, but still pretty baseless to just say minorities vote less.  Some of the things most commonly believed are often the most baseless.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

AC council prez parse

Results for Prez by Allegheny County Council District below fwiw.

This version shows that BHO won an outright majority in 8 of 13 districts. Note that in D4, the President won 49.5% of the vote.  That is more than the the 48.6% that Romney won. Liberal, Green and write-in's amount for the remainder. So Obama won 9 of 13 districts. Note also this is for the newly redistricted county council districts (map), not the one actually in use over the last decade.



Old is new again

So the CP daily blogh points to some recent reporting from PublicSource here in town on the impact of bid rigging in some municipal bonds for local school districts and the Port Authority.  I am unclear what the new news is. Some may recall a few old posts on this here.  August 2011: Monty Hall Meets Public Finance

or these posts on another whole Port Authority financial miasma that almost went a whole lot worse in the end.

Feb 2011: Bad bonds, bad bonds, watcha gonna do


Nov 2008: More Port Authority financial problems?

the bid rigging issue was in the end just a matter of whether borrowers paid a slightly non-competitive price (i.e. rate) for some debt.  A marginal issue by definition.  The variable rate bond issue that nobody ever poked at up front really could have been bad financially. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More on race

WSJ has an in depth article worth the read: How race slipped away from Romney


from data now online for all.



Should have put this up yesterday.  More from the folks at the Veterans Administration, just a graph of their data for Allegheny County.  It works out to approximately 10 veterans passing away every day in Allegheny County alone.

For comparison, in 1970 there were over 531 thousand male veterans in Allegheny County.  I am unclear if there was even reporting on female veterans at the county level at the time.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Prez results by city council district

FWIW and kind of documenting the obvious:

Which district is which? See the city's map.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pittsburgh tech möbius

Friday it would have been Carl Sagan's 78th birthday last week.  Of note for lots of reasons, but some realize he named the Googol,(so maybe I should have Sagan 'popularized' the term... remember Cosmos? .. see comments and read more on Edward Kasner) as in the number equaling 10^100.  By some folklore 'Google' is just a misspelling of the number.  Must be the most widely used spelling error in history at this point. Like me somebody probably was taught spelling by phonics. I don't feel so bad.

More on technology. Today the PG has this tech snippet on the history of computers in predicting the 1952 presidential election.TechMan: Origins of computer use for Election Night results worth mentioning. Seemed like magic at the time, sort of like 538 does for some today; yet, it really was just a bunch of counting, just like 538 today.  The story there centers around the use of one of the first UNIVAC computers used by CBS on election night. 

The PG story reminded me of a far more locally relevant story.  It touches upon the story of UNIVAC, the first commercially produced computer sold by the Remington Rand Corporation in 1952.  I've mentioned this before, but in the early 1950s Pittsburgh had by far the most disproportionate number of commercial UNIVAC installations. By this Wikipedia list (I have a copy of the book cited somewhere), I count Pittsburgh with 2 of the first 10 commercial installations.  Only New York City had more with 3. Yes, Pittsburgh of the 1950s was cutting edge. So if you want to really trace why Google is sitting there at Bakery Square, you have to go back a bit farther than most do.

If the Steelers win Monday maybe I will blog next week about how the Steelers were early adopters of computer assisted drafting. Also not a coincidence and just one little example of the power of clustering in human capital. 

For those who think Siri is some newfangled invention:


Saturday, November 10, 2012



Friday, November 09, 2012

Greatest Generation


Compare and contrast:

and what is interesting about this map is that Allegheny county is one of just a few places that really stands out without being located near any major bases.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Fixed point air fares

So just playing with some data on commercial airline fares.  Anyone notice some interesting convergence of late in this:

 I thought the story was that one benefit of the USAirways dehubbing here is that at least our air fares are now relatively inexpensive. I guess compared to where they were a decade ago that is true, but the competive advantage compared to elsewhere looks to be evaporating. If the trends in this data continue then next quarter may be a fixed point.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Creative non-analysis: Unskewed was not wrong!

Ok.. Rant warning.

I've saved the state by state prediction made by the widely cited site.  It was not just that it was off in its overall prediction, but it was off in literally every state deemed as a 'battleground', and in a fair number of states where the results were never in question.  How wrong it was is not news any longer.  In fact the alternative universe version of Nate Silver behind the Unskewed site has gone on record today with a very wonkish mea culpa:  BusinessInsider: 'Unskewed' Pollster: 'Nate Silver Was Right, And I Was Wrong'

So points for having the guts to come out with that kind of statement.  My feeling is that it was unnecessary.  Seriously. 

Unskewed was just part of a cottage industry of punditry that rained down on Nate Silver and his 538 based predictions.  It sure seemed that the only real complaint against his results was that some didn't like what the numbers were saying.  There clearly are a lot of issues with polling, surveys and the business of prediction. Even the 'hardest' of data has a lot more issues than the public cares to ponder. There likely were, and likely still are, all sorts of issues with error in all polls.  There are legitimate debates still to be had over Silver's methodology even after the accuracy it showed with Tuesday's results.   Maybe he was just lucky?
But here is the thing.  Even if the legitimate critiques of Silver's methodology were stronger, it does not give credence to the idea that you can just make up alternative numbers; certainly not numbers that are equivalent to what Silver was coming up with. The Unskewed methodology was not flawed, it was fiction.  The regular commenter here MH actually pointed out the single biggest error in the Unskewed methodology, though calling it 'error' implies a real methodology even existed.  In essence Unskewed was assuming most of the result it was purporting to predict.  If you tried that in Excel it tells you your formula is circular.  No such error-check in punditry, which is all it was in the end.  Punditry confused with a bunch of numbers that may have appeared to mean something, but they didn't
We need to give a name to this phenomenon though.  I am pretty sure that without Silver's rising profile via 538, there would have never been an Unskewed site to begin with.  The mere mention of Unskewed here is one small reflection of the site's noteriety.  Noteriety that was generated as a reflection off of what 538 was doing. 
This is a huge problem and not just in poltical polling. There is good analysis and bad analysis out there.  There are almost always innumerable data sources out there for any issue.  I feel for my journalist friends actually who have to report on date-intensive topics.   They can't be experts in all topics, but without a certain degree of expertise, you almost can't navigate between the good, the bad and the ugly. When all else fails you rely a large part on credentials and past practice.  So again, Silver has a long history in applied statistics, and an undergraduate degree in economics mind you.  Anyone tell me what in Unskewed's background makes him qualified to be doing quantitative work of any kind.  Ad hominum I know, but lacking any other rationale for ever using the site I am not sure what to look at.  The problem in the end was not unskewed's results or methodology, but that anyone bothered to reference it in the first place. 

Ok. I'm moving on now.  I swear.  Off to only looking at hard numbers, like say employment counts. No fuzziness there.  


Allegheny County election data

For those who do not Twitter... We are recompiling Allegheny County election data at the voting district level and putting tables and maps online via Google Tables.  If interested you can read more.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sophisters, economists and calculators

So...  I and a million others will parse this after the fact, but for the record the final prognostications of Nate Silver, aka 538, and Unskewed Polls are below. Silver says Obama gets 313 electoral votes. Unskewed says 263. Some anti-538 rhetoric has been bubbling though the election season for sure, but I am suprised it continues even today with this. Jonah Goldberg in LATimes: Nate Silver's numbers racket.

I mean..  at this point why dig a hole for yourself?  We will see soon whose prediction worked out better.  If Silver is wrong, plenty of time to gloat ex post.  If his prediction works out better then you are now on the record as being anti-math. But I was reminded by Goldberg of the Burke quote used in the title here.   If only wordsmithing was akin to statistics.



Monday, November 05, 2012

Deterministic chaos and the American way

OK, I surrender. Yes, I know, there is an election tomorrow.

So a long time ago I was studying Russian.  In Russia actually and barely after the collapse of the USSR. So a unique time when democracy was a new and emergent concept to many there. Yet our Russian instructor one day had a comment comparing our two countries.   He said:  In Russia, Politics determines the economy, in America, the economy determines politics.  I still ponder on that.

So today, or tomorrow technically, we will again test this all.  Already Professor Fair's economic prediction model of the election says that Romney should win. Or to be clear, that Romney will win the popular vote.  Nate 'Bayseian über  alles' Silver is clearly prognosticating an Obama win.  Yes, I know Nate says he is not actually predicting anything, merely explaining what the polls mean in aggregate, but still.

Should I be predisposed to Fair's model?  Economists prefer the deterministic.  Even if economics is causal, is his the best model?  I will revert to the superficial and also narrow in on Ohio.  All seem to agree that Ohio is the nexus.  If you agree there is an economic model that determines the result tomorrow then what does economic history tell us about Ohio?  Or maybe the question is what does economic history tell the voters of Ohio?

I just made this graphic up of Ohio's unemployment rate since 1976 with presidential party identified by color.  The question is... donning the veil of ignorance, which color would you choose? Your call:

With that I do capitulate.  I can't take any more election coverage.  Star Wars reruns win.



Missed this last week..

But folks at UNLV's Center for Gaming Research, who ought to be experts on such matters, released a report last week on the casino industry in Pennsylvania. PENNSYLVANIA: ANNUAL CASINO DATA.

More data there than you can shake a stick at in there.  Break out your Lotus 1-2-3 and wonk away. 


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Counting under the influence - assessing the Allegheny County drink tax.

Here is a thought sparked because I saw a recurrence of an enduring debate in a thread on the Pittsburgh City-Data Forum.   The argument thrown out there a bit superficially is that the "drink tax" in Allegheny County is responsible for some reported closings of drinking establishments that have been in the news locally. 
Causality... correlation....  whatever!
Remember, the 'drink tax' as the Allegheny County Alcoholic Beverage Tax is called.. was originally the 10% (since lowered to 7%) supplemental tax Allegheny County collected on Alcoholic beverages.  It was enacted at the end of 2007 supposedly to aide the county in paying its share of funding for transit.  We will skip that whole debate for the moment.  The argument at hand, as some clearly believe and purport, is that the tax is responsible for drinking establishments shutting down in Allegheny County.  Is that true?

Again, the plural of anecdote is not data and the passing news article does not answer the question at all.  It is honestly a big question, but if I wanted to answer the question superficially I would start with some known data.

So the number of establishments classified as NAICS code 7224 (Drinking Establishments - Alcoholic Beverages) is known.  Looking at Allegheny County the average number of drinking establishments by quarter looks like this going back to 2005, which I picked as being before there was any mention of a drink tax locally.  I have also highlighted the period 2008 forward which covers the

So yeah.. Look at that.   Sure looks like the drink tax put the big cruncher on local bars. Break out the pitchforks and let's storm the Gold Room!
Maybe before we do that it is worth looking at what has happened to the number of drinking establishments in... say... Pennsylvania?  Those establishments shutting down here must be moving elsewhere in the state? I get this:

Hmm... Must be that new statewide drink tax is also having an impact.  I mean, there must be a new tax causing that decline right?  

Maybe what begins to answer the question is what is the share of drinking establishments in the state that have remained open here in Allegheny County.  I get this?

This all does make me wonder a bit what is happening in the local market for liquor licenses? One way or another the number of establishments is down a fair bit.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Pantone Cage Fight

Speaking of ink, let's talk color for a minute.

So everyone is geared up for the big Red State - Blue State matchup this coming Tuesday.   I guess you need to be a bit older to realize just how screwey that color scheme is.  If you go back in time it was almost always that Republicans were most commonly represented in blue and, if anything, Democrats were red. Don't believe me.  Even today if you check out the map references that date back a few years you will see.  Take for example all the maps on David Leip's Political Atlas site. Do those maps look backwards to you?  Or are all the maps since 2000 backwards?  Or the more ominous classification that red is always hostile. I guess that matches what half the US thinks these days, but still.

Red - Blue or Blue - Red.  It all changed in an instant with the seminal map USAToday data editor Paul Overberg put together with the results of the 2000 presidential election. It may not have seemed seminal, but it was a striking map because it was binary (just red or blue, winner take all) and at the county level.  It was arguably misleading (see paper references at bottom for more on that) given the variation in population density across the nation.. a variation that has a much bigger impact when graphed at the county level, vs. the the normally presented state level. When it comes to maps having impacts though, not many top it to this day.

The question then becomes why did USAToday have Republicans as red that year.  If you just think it is because that has always been our political taxonomy it isn't true.  Before 2000 it was not always, or even typically true that Republicans were red.  Read the Washington Post from 2004: Elephants Are Red, Donkeys Are Blue

There is a real story here.. and it all gets to how media has changed.   It turns out that because the color  was so important, it could potentially influence the outcome. The best explanation out there is that prior to 2000, the major media networks stuck to a scheme whereby the incument party alternated between red and blue in their graphics with each election cycle. Think about that. Since color mattered someone must have decided it was not fair to always have one party blue and the other red.  It wasn't even fair to always have the incumbent party the same color.  If that is the full answer, it means that there was a much higher level attention paid to being keeping the presentation objective.  It also means that in 2000 it was just the turn of the cycle that Republicans came up red, nothing more.  But the punditocracy didn't seem to get the memo on the itinerant nature of the color system and cemented in place the taxonomy of color that has now skipped into the cultural awareness of all things political. 

If all that leaves you wanting more.. or think that is all too superficial... here is a Princeton working paper for you: On Graphical Representations of Voting Results


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Inking the New Pittsburgh

If anyone lacks sufficient proof that it really is a new Pittsburgh... this will deal with you. 

Check out the latest incarnation of Pittsburgh in comics.  USAToday today: With 'Alpha,' Pittsburgh gets a cocky kid superhero

Where was Pittsburgh 3 decades ago when it came to comics?  Check out the comic book known as the The PittAccording to Wikipedia the story line goes like this:

The story depicts the total destruction of the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to the careless actions of the wielder of the Star Brand, and the immediate 12-hour aftermath.

No joke... the whole thing is based upon the complete obliteration of Pittsburgh.  Yes, I admit I have a copy of this.   Economic metaphor intended?  Maybe or maybe not.  I mentioned this in a blog post long ago and a commenter (who also has a copy)  there pointed out some Pittsburgh connections that might explain the comic's storyline.   So at least two copies of this issue survive in town.  I am sure there are others.  For more on that read about the comic's author Jim Shooter

I do find some other 'Pitt' references in comics.  And  a more recent computer game Fallout 3 had an addon set in Pittsburgh as well... again with a pretty dystopian vision.

I sense a Toonseum special exhibit is really needed here..  

update.  Apparently this was all mentioned in Rolling Stone last month.. and supposedly the death of Pittsburgh was all the result of an internal artist spat at Marvel Comics.