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Martians Would Think John McCain Won

The conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, after looking at a map showing county-by-county results, said: "If you just landed here from Mars, and you looked at that map, you would swear the Republicans won this thing in a landslide, if you didn't know where the population centers are."

Indeed, the Martians would see lots of red, and if they were not a very advanced civilization, they might assume McCain (Republicans are always red on maps nowadays) had won.

Then again, if only Mars has cities (doubtful, I've reported in the past) they'd know that cities tend to be more crowded than other parts of a country. Limbaugh allowed that a lot of people live in big cities and that many of them are Democrats. "Liberals are the ones who organize, you know, communes and cliques and cities," he said. "We're not that way."

(The clip was on the home page of the Daily Beast on Friday.)

By the way, if your teenage daughter was appalled that you sometimes can't remember who is red and who is blue, take comfort in knowing that only since 2000 has the red=Republican, blue=Democrat scheme been widely agreed upon in the media (some TV networks used to do it the other way).

Check out the many creative ways Mark Newman has sliced up the U.S. map with election results using this color scheme.

This article is from the LiveScience Water Cooler: What people are talking about in the world of science and beyond.

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium (opens in new tab), covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.