The voting map is less red than it seems

(via Vondell Swain on Tumblr) I just reblogged this on Tumblr, but it deserves more attention, so I'm posting about it here, too.  Someone named Chris Howard on Facebook posted this image:

The map in the top middle is the one I saw on election night.  The map on the top left is the way it would look if you broke down the wins by county.  It actually kinda looks more red, doesn't it?  Over on the right, you have it in shades of purple based on the split -- most of the country looks pretty divided, and it seems to make sense that more of it skewed blue.  But it still might not look totally fair that the Democratic president gets to run this apparently very right-leaning country.

Then, the big map on the bottom, shows another level of overlay -- the counties are washed out based on population density.  Suddenly, it becomes apparent that those handfuls of counties that skew blue are where basically all of the people are.

Terrible American Laws

(via Upworthy) I've long been aware that a lot of our governmental protocols in the United States are based on measurements like how long it takes to get from the farthest colony to the Capitol by horse.  And I've long felt that these measurements are incredibly stupid.

Here's a great example of that stupidity, in the form of a TED Ed talk:

This is the kind of thing that pisses me off about the American legal system.  We've got hundreds of years of crap clogging our legal arteries, and we still expect the country to run like a well-oiled machine.

I advocate scrapping the majority of existing US laws, and coming up with new replacements for each of them as the needs arise -- but actually replacing them, not just repealing all the laws and assuming everything will work out, the way the Tea Party wants to do.

We should do this every fifty years, or as needed.  If the singularity hits, we might have to do it every two months.

Huh. Facebook actually did go down.

I thought I was suffering weird, site-specific connectivity problems yesterday, when I couldn't get Facebook to load in my browser or on my phone.[1. Despite the accusations of my family and less tech-savvy friends, I am not a computer person.]  It occurred to me to Google about it, and I discovered at least one site claiming that Facebook had gone down. Still, it seemed overly optimistic to believe the whole site was down, everywhere.  But I guess I was mistaken -- Computerworld reports that Facebook was, in fact, down on Thursday, and that Anonymous is taking credit.

Yeah, I have a Facebook.  I barely use it, but I have not yet taken that leap of integrity and switched entirely over to a more varied set of social connectivity tools.  I'm hoping that the internet makes it easy for me, and Facebook just MySpaces soon.  There are inherent risks of having a single, dominant social network.  It's not a good thing.

Still, I have mixed feelings about Facebook going down because of Anon attacks. It's tough to find a way to justify breaches of the social contract of the internet such as those which Anonymous represents, without arguing in a way that could just as easily justify attacks against yourself.  On the other hand, it's not as though Facebook isn't using underhanded tactics to preserve their own place in the market.

On that topic: It's Facebook election week

According to, Facebook is holding an election today for a vote on whether to switch to a new policy. Apparently, the biggest issue is the data policy:

So what’s different about the new privacy rules? Comparing the current and new rules side-by-side, one thing jumped out at us: the new Data Use Policy. It contains an expanded list of activities in which user data can be collect by Facebook — whether you’re interacting with an app or something else on the site.

I voted to keep the old rules.  Voting continues through next Friday, June 8, at 9am Pacific Time.  That's 12pm, Noon, EST.

Here's a link to vote.