Monthly Archives: November 2018

Triangular colour schemes for 2DF 3-way variables

In my recent blog on three-way referendums, I found myself wanting to represent how a three-way outcome varied across two dimensions. It was easy enough to represent the prevalence of one of the outcomes versus the rest, on a scale of 0-100%, by sampling the two dimensions at discrete intervals, i.e., calculate the Z variable across an X-Y grid. This yields a one-dimensional heatmap, where colour codes the percentage of the outcome (black at 0% to white at 100%).


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Three-way referendums: Condorcet vs Instant Runoff

Simulating 3-way choice

I’ve been thinking about a potential second Brexit referendum, where a three-option menu is given:

  • 1: Exit the EU with no deal
  • 2: Accept the negotiated deal
  • 3: Remain in the EU

Three-way choices are alien to British experience of referendums, but don’t really pose great difficulties. First Past The Post (FPTP) is clearly undesirable, but instant runoff (IRV) and Condorcet voting are easy to implement and explain to the electorate. So I built a little simulation to help me understand the problem, particularly to look at the relative performance of IRV and Condorcet.

My conclusions in brief: Condorcet is much more likely to go for the compromise solution (the deal), IRV less so and FPTP the least. Condorcet also seems to correspond well with the average of the underlying utilities. When the population is skewed pro-leave or pro-remain, IRV and Condorcet give more similar results (because it becomes more of a two-horse race). Condorcet cycles are rare. Finally, FPTP is crap.

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Doing away with Daylight Saving Time?

Doing away with DST

The European Commission has started making moves to suggest that countries should stop using daylight saving time, and decide on a year-wide timezone. There is a lot of support for this, particularly for a week or so in late October and late March every year.

Yes, the switches are inconvenient, particularly the spring one, where we lose rather than gain an hour’s sleep. But what are the advantages of DST? The gains that persist through the seasons stand out less than the transient annoyance of the switches. The key idea of DST is that in the summer, dawn is so early that we sleep through lots of daylight. Putting the clocks forward in the spring means one hour of this daylight is shifted to the evening. In Ireland this means we’re on GMT (a little ahead of solar time across the whole country, more so in the west) in the winter, and GMT+1 for the summer.

If DST is abolished, we remain on either GMT+0 or GMT+1 for the whole year. I suspect GMT+1 would be favoured, because it keeps us closer to the continent.

The Irish Department of Justice is seeking feedback on the issue until 30 November 2018. Direct feedback form link

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