The Blogosphere — Cracking It Open To 1

The blogosphere is exploding. Technorati is tracking 7,264,863 weblogs and 869,827,508 links. More than 14 million Americans have posted a comment on a blog. These are impressive numbers.

Set Godin asks:

My question, which I have no answer for, is what happens when the volume goes up to 11? When there is just too much noise? Does it all get filtered? Who filters?

My answer: we’re a long way from cranking it up to 11. We’re just starting to crack it open to 1.

We are taught that “polite” society doesn’t discuss politics or religion. It’s too easy to offend someone. So we don’t. We don’t talk religion. We don’t talk politics.

As a result we don’t know what our neighbors think about Social Security reform. We don’t know what our co-workers think about the war on terrorism. We even don’t know what our friends at church think about abortion. We haven’t learned how to have a thoughtful discussion, express our ideas, and maybe learn something in the process. But somehow, we’re not offended by all this.

Enter blogging. Millions of us are expressing our opinions on otherwise “taboo” issues. We’re writing about politics and religion. We’re learning a little more about each other. Sometimes, we’re just posting a recipe or two.

But it’s barely a whisper. There are 6,420,384,256 people on this world. If there are 8 million blogs, that’s only one blog per 800 people. I’d say there’s room for more volume.

Crank it up!

Iraq’s Election Map

We’ve all seen the red state/blue state maps of the 2004 US presidential election. Last month, I linked to a version that attempts to compensate for population density.

Patrick Ruffini has created the Iraqi election result map. Visit his site to see a larger version and some political analysis.

Hat tip: Instapudit.com.

Rice for President

Bush can’t run again and Cheney won’t. Matthew May wants Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the Republican nominee in 2008. He created the Citizens for Condi blog to promote the idea. Hillary vs. Condi — we can dream, can’t we?

He starts his blog with Dream Woman, an article he originally published on The American Thinker, November 9, 2004.

Update (2/15): The American Thinker posted Beware the Condi bandwagon, by Steven M. Warshawsky. Taking a contrary view, Warshawsky summarizes:

Republicans should stop fantasizing about Rice and start thinking seriously about the next Republican President.

Go read the rest.

Unbalanced?

You’ve seen the maps. They were popular immediately after the election to show how the electoral votes were to be cast. They’re still popular on certain conservative web sites to advocate how “red” the country is, especially the maps that show the votes by county, instead of by state.

Unfortunately, these maps tend to obscure the election results. For example, Nevada, with its 27 red voters appears to outweigh the 27 gazillion blue voters in the geographically much smaller area of Los Angeles.

The true picture is much more complex. Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman of the University of Michigan attempt to show the 2004 presidential election results without distortion by intentionally distorting the map. Areas on the map represent similar numbers of voters with the color shading representing the ratio Republican and Democrat votes.

So, what’s the point, you may ask. It’s up for grabs — literally. The people that vote are sufficiently close in number that elections can go either way.

Update: I changed the title from “We’re not that divided”to “Unbalanced?” The original title contradicted the article. Re the question mark: with only 50% of qualified voters actually voting, it’s hard to treat elections as zero-sum games. Expanding the vote still seems to be a valid way for either major party to win.