Friday, November 09, 2012

Where In the World Is California San Diego?

geo 2

From the New York Daily News:

Map lays out racist election tweets, most originated from southeast

A flurry of racist tweets that followed President Barack Obama’s re-election came primarily from southern states, according to a map that geographically pinpointed the point of origin of the hate speech. 

Tweets calling the president a “monkey” or using racial epithets prompted a group of geography experts to try and break down whether the hateful language was more prevalent in some areas of the country than others. 

As it turns out, it was.

The bigoted tweets serve as a “useful reminder that technology reflects the society in which it is based, both the good and the bad,” said geography research group Floating Sheep.

The group took 365 tweets and laid them over a color-coded map of the United States to analyze the frequency of hate tweets compared to the frequency of election-related tweets in that state. 

Mississippi and Alabama had the highest ratio of racist tweets. They were followed by Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, forming a “fairly distinctive cluster in the southeast” of online hate speech, the research finds.

The accomplishments of this geographical brain trust should comfort those of you who’ve been worried (as I’ve been) about what America’s geographers, no longer employed writing school textbooks for their obsolete and irrelevant subject, have been doing with their time.

Mapping all 365 tweets, a shocking chunk of the 2 million tweets per week Twitter identified as mentioning Romney or Obama in August 2012 (out of 400 million per day on all other topics) may someday rival the Lewis & Clark expedition as a 21st century charting of the nation’s wild and abundant sources of hate. Even if America remains 117th of 193 countries for geographical knowledge , no one comes near the exquisite language skills that enable us to immediately recognize that “pickup truck,” “Chicago,” and “apartment” are code words for “We wanna put y’all back in chains.”   

So what if young voters who turned out for Obama on Tuesday may not be able to name the capitals of all 57 states, or list the chief exports of East Virginia or any of the other Middle Eastern states?  Now they can make informed travel plans knowing that Mississippi, Alabama, North Dakota, Utah, and Missouri are full of hate, but “the west and northwest” states are hate-free, “with the exception of Oregon.”

One anomaly of the map, which I’m confident will soon be explained, is the prevalence of red dots of hate speech in so many non-southern states that turned out for Obama, such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey,  Delaware, and cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco (and Chicago).  And how is it possible that Wyoming, where Dick Cheney is known to lurk patiently in his web of evil for his next victim to become ensnared, is completely dot-free?  

In case anyone is interested, an alternative consortium geo-located a tiny blip of 365,000 internet references to George W. Bush as “Bushitler” and a “chimp” to New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and similarly sophisticated regions that send heavy traffic to Democratic Underground and the Daily Kos.


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