Obama-McCain Electoral Map and Exit Poll Results

It is hard to believe the election was less than 3 weeks ago yet it is already feeling like a distant memory with the euphoria fading rapidly. One aspect of the election that intrigued me the most was the on-again, off-again nature of the exit polling leading up to November 4th. I always wondered how accurate the various polls would turn out to be, and, more importantly, and how truthful those polled were.

As a follow-up to my "Deep Zoom: Obama" post back in July, here is a Deep Zoom-powered finale I created which shows just how our new President-elect redefined the electoral map. As you navigate down you can also see just how the electorate voted based on age, race, income, education and other pivot points collected by the CNN pollsters. I circled the following three data points I found most amazing or enlightening:

  1. Voters age 18-29
  2. Blacks age 65 and older (as compared to other Black age groups—remember this is the voting bloc that suffered the most under Jim Crow and the most egregious racial inequities of the 20th century)
  3. First-time voters (admittedly there is significant overlap with bullet #1)

I am curious whether you think groups 1 and 3 will stomach an Obama administration with Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. Further, what factors do you believe weighed in the decision of that 6% of group 2—twice the percentage of any other group of Black voters—that voted for McCain over Obama?

Gas prices near 2004 lows

You have probably noticed you are not paying nearly as much for gas today as you did just a few months back. If you are a gas mileage and gas price nerd like me, you will know you are not imagining things. In fact, the price of gasoline has dropped to levels not seen since December 2005. Even crazier, I paid $2.339 per gallon for regular unleaded today, here in the Seattle area, which is just a couple cents more than the $2.359 I paid on June 23, 2004.

Looking at the chart below, you can clearly see the sharp decline gas prices have been on since my all-time high of $4.339 per gallon on July 8, 2008. That is almost $2 more per gallon roughly 4 months ago. Today’s price is still just a hair higher than when I wrote about how gas was fairly cheap in May 2006 at $2.259/gallon.

The price of gasoline from June 2004 to November 2008

Revenge of the Nerds

Scene: The men’s locker room inside the PRO Sports Club fitness center about a mile from the Microsoft main campus. It is a Friday afternoon and I have just finished my workout. While getting dressed, I overhear the following conversation between a couple random nerd guys: RNG #1 & RNG #2.

RNG #1: “That’s bizarre. This isn’t my stuff. I just punched in my code to unlock this locker but these aren’t my jeans.”
RNG #2: “Huh?”
RNG #1: “Wait a second….” [a few seconds pass] “That isn’t my locker! This one is my locker. Here are my things.”
RNG #2: “What?”
RNG #1: [chuckling] “My locker is this one. It was just a random coincidence that the locker right next to it had the exact same four-digit code.”
RNG #2: [in disbelief] “Really?”
RNG #1: “Yeah! That’s so strange. What are the odds?”
RNG #2: “10 times 9 times 8 times 7, right?”
RNG #1: “Yeah, that sounds right.”
RNG #2: [after a short pause] “Actually, it’s 10 times 10 times 10 times 10 since you can repeat numbers.”
RNG #1: “Yeah, you’re right. Amazing.”

At this point, I didn’t know which was nerdier:

  1. Two genuine nerds calculating the 1-in-10,000 (0.01%) probability of a specific 4-digit locker code, or
  2. Two genuine nerds proving, when their kind congregates, there is a 100% possibility they will make their presence known.

They continued their nerd banter as I left the locker room. A few steps into my exit, I immediately felt ill as I realized I had immediately done the math too when RNG #1 dismissed it as a random coincidence.

I’m not a nerd. I’m cerebral. :sweet:

Why Borat likes Zune

Have you seen the movie “Borat”? One thing the title character would love about the Zune 80 is the reply you are likely to get from any salesperson or Web site when inquiring about buying one:

Coming Zune…Not!

Puppies and Zunes These things aren’t in stock anywhere! Not even on Microsoft’s own Zune Originals site. Perhaps it’s an attempt to artificially imitate the Wii Effect but methinks Nintendo’s game console is legitimately popular enough to warrant its “Out of Stock” label.

Microsoft really screwed the pooch on this one. The company would have been better off having Michael Vick endorse the new product line with some DMX playing in the background.** Man, if Apple releases a 32GB iPhone that syncs with my Exchange-based e-mail & calendar…just kidding…not!

Last year, I searched high-and-low, far-and-wide for my Zune 30. Not this time. Hmph!

Meanwhile, I am definitely happy Microsoft updated old players with the new features. I have been able to soak up all the Zune 2 goodness on my Zune 30…which is now available for $90 on Amazon (originally $250). Talk about depreciation. Yikes!

** – “Give ‘Em What They Want” would be fitting. :sarcastic:

Gas Mileage Update

About a year ago I wrote about tracking the gas mileage for my Mazda 626 and the price of gas here on the eastside of the Seattle metro area. Here is a quick update so you can see how both have changed over the course of a year.

Keith's gas mileage (2007 update)
Mileage Definitions

The "AVERAGES" row above is cumulative from June 2004 when recording began. Below are the averages restricted to the date range displayed in the chart above (Oct 16, 2006 through Sep 12, 2007).

mileage 2007 past year average

Comparing this past year to the overall numbers:

  • I go slightly longer between refills (27.5 vs. 23.9 days) and put more gas in my car (12.6 vs. 12.0 gallons) each time.
  • My mileage (MPG) average of 25.6 continues to trail the historical average of 26.8 since moving closer to work. Considering how much closer we live (5 mile vs. 17 mile one-way commute) my MPG average remains very respectable. (Hypothetical high-five to the Mazda engineers.)
  • All the "Price Per" entries (PPG, PPM, PPD) are more a reflection of the increasing cost of gas than my driving habits or car. Below is a chart showing how gas has increased almost 50% in our area between June 2004 and Sep 2007.
Seattle Gas Prices 2004 to 2007

Note that May is still the worst possible month to take a road trip. I am considering making May my official public transportation month.