Rene August: ‘Tell the truth and shame the devil’

“Two-thirds of the world live on less than two dollars a day. Two-thirds of the world! That makes you [in the U.S.] a minority. Who in the U.S. lives on less than two dollars a day? … From where we sit [in South Africa] … did you know that the scale of the world map was reconfigured to make the USA look bigger than it actually is? And to make Africa smaller than it actually is? That’s just telling lies. So we must tell the truth and shame the devil. Because when you participate in lies you participate with that same enemy. So I’m not going to be collaborating with lies — as far as I know. I realize that I participate in many lies that I am blind to …

On FB someone said something about ‘America’ and I said, ‘Don’t you mean the US?’ So this country that is the United States, calls itself America, which is  two continents. And then you call where I come from, you call Africa a ‘country.’ A whole continent is treated like a country. And a country treats itself like two continents. That’s lies right there! So when you talk about making America great again, you are talking about making Mexico great again. You are talking about making Nicaragua great again! You are talking about making Canada great again.” –Rene August, South African Anglican priest @SojoSummit2017

Just What Color of Country Are We? Maps of the 2012 Election Results

Mark Newman, from the University of Michigan department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, posted an excellent map series reflecting the results of Tuesday’s national election. Here are three results below, but check out the whole series:

“Above is a standard state map. The states are colored red or blue to indicate whether a majority of their voters voted for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, or the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, respectively. Looking at this map it gives the impression that the Republican won the election handily, since there is rather more red on the map than there is blue. In fact, however, the reverse is true – it was the Democrats who won the election. The explanation for this apparent paradox, as pointed out by many people, is that the map fails to take account of the population distribution. It fails to allow for the fact that the population of the red states is on average significantly lower than that of the blue ones. The blue may be small in area, but they represent a large number of voters, which is what matters in an election,” writes Mark Newman

Above here is a cartogram of the United States based on population.

“As you can see, the states have been stretched and squashed, some of them substantially, to give them the appropriate sizes, though it’s done in such a way as to preserve the general appearance of the map, so far as that’s possible. On this map there is now clearly more blue than red.

The presidential election, however, is not actually decided on the basis of the number of people who vote for each candidate but on the basis of the electoral college. Under the US electoral system, each state in the union contributes a certain number of electors to the electoral college, who vote according to the majority in their state. (Exceptions are the states of Maine and Nebraska, which use a different formula that allows them to split their electoral votes between candidates.) The candidate receiving a majority of the votes in the electoral college wins the election. The electors are apportioned among the states roughly according to population, as measured by the census, but with a small but deliberate bias in favor of less populous states,” writes Mark Newman.

Below, is the United States using more colors than red and blue, but also allowing them to reflect the mixture of votes, creating the purple areas.

See more of Mark’s maps here.