Friday, November 09, 2012

2008 and 2012 Election Vote Totals by Race

I spent a few hours trying to figure out how many white and nonwhite votes went to each candidate. It was challenging because I could not find the same types of statistics online for 2008 and 2012. I list my sources after the table below.  The key results are in the second table from the bottom (change 2008 to 2012 (votes / 10^6)). Romney received 2.2 million fewer white votes than McCain, and surprisingly gained 0.5 million (i.e. 500,000) nonwhite votes.  Obama lost 7.5 million white votes (a large percentage of the total number of whites voting for him) and, surprisingly, lost 0.79 million nonwhite votes.  Some of this is counter-intuitive, especially how Obama lost nonwhite votes and Romney gained nonwhite votes.  I may refine or make corrections to the table in the next few days. If any readers find errors I can correct them.

All of the green cell values come from online sources, and the orange cell values are determined by formulas.

The 2008 vote totals come from the Federal Election Commission.

The 2008 74% contribution of whites to total vote comes from National Review.

The 2008 candidate % of white vote (upper right corner) come from Daily Mail.

The total 2012 votes for Romney and Obama (58.2 and 61.2) come from Huffington Post.

The 2012 white % contributions to candidate totals (88% and 56%) come from Slate.

Finally, the number of "neither" votes for 2012 are taken to be the same as the "neither" 2008 values.  This is just an estimate that does not affect the overall net change in the last two tables.

Update: NBC Politics explains that it is too soon to tell how many votes there were in 2012. The total number of votes will likely increase by millions. This means that when all the votes are counted it is quite likely that Romney will end up having gotten more white votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. Obama's white vote total will likely still be down by millions, however.

American Renaissance has a new article with racial vote percentages for all presidential elections since 1992. Their numbers seem to be consistent with mine, but they give percentages while my table has both percentages and totals.

Friday, October 06, 2006

An Infinite Russian Matryoshka?

The title for this post was inspired by a sentence from an article by Bert Schroer that was discussed at the following interesting blog:

Schroer's Samisdat

The actual article is at:

String theory and the crisis in particle physics (a Samisdat on particle physics).

The sentence I found interesting is:

"... an exist-ing well-working theory will always be asymptotically (not necessarily in terms of distance) included in a future one, so that material reality will reveal itself like putting together a (possibly infinite) Russian matryoshka."

I have to admit that my knowledge of theoretical physics is limited and that I am unable to understand most of the paper. Still, I wanted to mention it, since the infinite matryoshka metaphor reminds me of the "turtles all the way down" line on which the name of this blog is partially based.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hawking's Views on the Possibility of a TOE

It turns out that Stephen Hawking has expressed a view recently on the possibility of a theory of everything (TOE) that is somewhat compatible with what I wrote in my previous post. In "A Brief History of Time," published a couple decades ago, he wrote that he thought that a theory of everything would eventually be discovered, but he has changed his views in the last few years.

It seems that he has explained this in a recent article:

Based on the following article it appears that his change of mind goes back to at least 2004:

I consider it a happy coincidence he now thinks a TOE is impossible, since the title for my blog was partly motivated by a line from "A Brief History of Time."

Of course it is problematic to try to address these types of subjects on a non-technical basis, but I am going to go ahead anyway and make a few distinctions between what Hawking wrote about and what I am talking about.

First of all, it seems to me that a TOE is not really the same thing as a theory combining the basic known forces (including gravity) since a unified theory of the four forces could eventually be found and there could still be physical phenomena not explained by it. For this reason it seemed a bit superfluous for Hawking to mix things like "quantum gravity" and "M theory" into the discussion. Put another way, if this discussion had taken place 50 years ago before the Standard Model was worked out, one could have said that the problem of unifying the electromagnetic force with the strong and weak forces was tied up in some physical equivalent of Gödel's theorem, but in hindsight this would have seemed sort of ridiculous. Why should things be any different for quantum gravity?

Next, I was a little troubled to see that Hawking didn't make the distinction between mathematics and an automatic system for doing mathematics. I think Gödel was talking about the latter. I don't think that Gödel's theorem says that there are particular mathematical results that are neither provable nor disprovable. Rather, it says that given any automatic system (i.e. a set of instructions a computer could carry out) for determining whether statements are true or false there will always be statements for which the automatic system will not work.

Finally, my view is that it has to be a matter of belief to say that there will never be a theory of everything in physics. Hawking seems to be saying that there could eventually be a definitive result analogous to Gödel's theorem. Perhaps he is onto something, but I am more inclined to think that this is the sort of thing that more and more physicists will accept over time, but that there will never be a definitive result that will end all arguments.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

First Post

Hello everyone. The name of my blog is supposed to sort-of rhyme, if you use the correct pronunciation for Gödel. "Turtles" refers to the "turtles all the way down" line from Stephen Hawking's book and elsewhere. The line occurs in the description of an idea for a cosmology in which the world rests on an infinite stack of turtles. While this idea is ostensibly ridiculous, Gödel's incompleteness theorems indicate to us that it might be unwise to expect resolution and closure in a quest for mathematical understanding of the fundamental nature of reality. Here are some related topics:

  • Artificial Intelligence - I don't think a computer will ever pass the Turing test. Furthermore, I don't think we will ever completely understand human/animal thought in terms of any predictive scientific theory.
  • Mystery of Life - My above statement on human/animal thought implies that life will also never be completely understood. This makes me think that the theory of Intelligent Design has some validity in a general sense.
  • Theory of Everything - I don't think a physical theory of everything that can be finitely stated is possible.
All three of my above listed beliefs are motivated in part by Gödel's theorems and computability theory.

I am probably going to stick to responding to other bloggers for the time being, so don't expect a lot of new posts, but I welcome responses to this one.