Yes, Biden won with only 16% of U.S. counties. No, that's not mathematically impossible.

Along with fraud allegations that don't even have enough evidence to make it into a courtroom, much less win a single case, people who want the outcome of the election to be different keep sharing all kinds of statistics designed to make Biden's win look fishy.

The problem is that none of these purportedly suspicious numbers are actually suspicious at all.

Let's start by looking at county counts. Right now there are lots of posts going around comparing the vote counts and counties won between Obama, Trump, and Biden, making it seem like it's just not possible for Biden to have won the popular vote with the number of counties he won.



First of all, the numbers appear to be off. Biden, according to the most recent count from the Associated Press, won 527 counties, not 477. That's still far fewer than Trump won, but it doesn't matter.

According to the U.S. Census, more than half of U.S. residents live in just 143 counties (or 4.6% of total counties). Counties vary vastly in size and population, from fewer than 100 people to more than 10 million per county. In fact, Los Angeles County alone has more people than 41 whole states, and more than the 11 least populous states combined, which have a total of 416 counties between them.

So yeah, Biden could have won even fewer counties than the 500+ he carried and still have come out on top in the popular vote. Especially since urban areas tend to vote Democrat in higher numbers than Republican.

As far as the rally visuals go? One word—pandemic. Biden didn't want crowds because...pandemic. This one's really not hard.

And regarding the higher vote totals, well, yes. The U.S. has grown by more than 27 million since Obama was elected in 2008 and there was record turnout of voters in this election to boot. In fact, there were so many more voters this year, Biden could have lost the popular vote and still had more votes than Obama got when he won. Because that's just how numbers work.

And as in every election, a certain percentage of voters only showed up to vote for their presidential candidate of choice, ignoring the down-ballot candidates. Considering the fact that Trump never even reached a 50% approval rating and was one of the least popular presidents in the past 50 years, people turning out just to mark a ballot for Biden isn't a stretch in any way.

The numbers totally work out. This map breaks them down visually. Each dot represents 250,000 votes, distributed approximately where they came from. Breaking it down this way makes it easy to see where population centers are located in the country and how the areas with large cities tend to swing Democrat.

imgs.xkcd.com

That map looks a lot different than this one, which makes the U.S. look far redder than it is in reality. (To be clear, I'm not sure for which election this map was made—there were some of these going around in 2016 as well, so it may have been from that election —but the basic gist in the morphing map below is correct. Land doesn't vote. People do.)

(You have to push the play button if it's not changing for you automatically.)

Coloring each county one color or the other as if they were all equal in population paints a false picture. The blue and red dots that the map morphs to presents a more accurate (though of course not completely accurate) portrait of how Americans vote than coloring in the whole thing. Anyone who has driven across Nebraska or Montana or most of Nevada knows that there are vast expanses of land with virtually no people for hours.

Another interesting statistic: The counties that Biden carried account for 70% of the U.S. economy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 84% of counties that Trump won accounts for just 30% of the U.S. GDP, while the 16% that Biden won make up 70% of it. Even when Trump won the election in 2016, the counties he won only accounted for 36% of the economy.

While we're here and looking at election math, let's go ahead and nix another misnomer that's floating around. Does "Simple Math" show that Biden claimed millions more votes than there were eligible voters who voted in the election?

Umm, no.

This meme looks pretty fancy with the colors and the numbers and the dramatic "AWAKE YET?" But there's a very basic error here.

That "2020 Election Turnout Rate" of 66.2% doesn't mean 66.2% of registered legal voters, it means 66.2% of eligible voters. Super appreciate that they gave the source, but if you actually look up that WaPo article, it very clearly says "As a share of the voting-eligible population," not "registered voters." All registered voters are eligible voters, but not all eligible voters are registered voters. The eligible voting population is approximately 239.2 million, so the math in this calculation falls apart right where the multiplication starts. If you replace the registered vote total with 239.2 million, you come out with the original 158.4 million votes that were certified.

But the funniest thing about this one is just...really? Do people really think that our multi-step, multi-check electoral processes wouldn't immediately catch 13 or 17 million illegitimate votes if they actually existed? Do people really think that this very basic counting epiphany more than a month after the election took place, and after it has been checked and verified, even makes sense?

These numbers are all out there for everyone to calculate for themselves, but if people aren't calculating with the right variables, then they're going to come up with shoddy conclusions like these ones. And they'll accept it because it backs up their belief that the election was fraudulent.

Please, if you see things like this, check the details. Read through the responses, as most misinformation usually get corrected by someone fairly quickly. Look at the information for yourself. Ask questions if it doesn't seem like it makes sense. Don't believe a meme just because it supports your belief, and if you see it and know it's wrong, correct it. Misinformation is rampant and literally tearing at the fabric of our nation. It's up to all of us to battle it when we see it.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.