December 16, 2011

Santa vs. The League of Darkness (Zombies allied with Satan!)

Merry Christmas!….hopefully. But you may want to check out the maps below before heading out for the holidays as our analysis of holiday related references in the U.S. is NOT all candied sugarplums. In fact, there seems to be something rather sinister lurking in the hinterlands…and we're not just talking Newt Gingrich here.

Using our standard method to chart the number of hits for search hits at a grid of locations in the U.S., we recently compared the distribution of references to "Santa" and "Zombies". We thought there would be little chance that the shambling brain-dead fixtures of horror movies would be more popular than a jolly old elf distributing presents but we once again underestimated the American populace's ability to fixate on the "naughty" rather than the "nice".

In any case, the map below clearly shows that while most of the country is all keen about Santa, a few pockets including just outside the San Francisco Bay and Seattle and the cities Houston, Dallas and Austin in Texas have a lot of zombie angst. Hmmm…it might be the only things these places are in agreement on. But one of the more interesting clusters runs from Tampa to Orlando Florida….home of Disney World. Sort of makes sense in a way. Also of interest is a thin band of zombies stretched out along the Eastern seaboard, west of most of the major metropolitan areas.
The fact that zombies outrank Santa is a bit shocking but here at Floating Sheep we always look for the cause behind the pattern. Towards this end we decided to compare Santa vs. Satan. Surely, Santa would win this contest! Sadly there remain stubborn pockets of non-Santa-ness in the U.S. although in the West they are smaller than the zombie clusters (hmmm, new junk food idea?). Conversely in both Texas and Florida Satan clusters are bigger than the Zombie clusters observed earlier. And the line of preoccupation with Satan remains behind eastern seaboard cities, so I guess folks from New England and the Mid-Atlantic should drive carefully and not pick up and shambling or horned hitch-hikers they may see.
We are a bit concerned about this Zombie-Satan alliance and therefore will be spending our Christmas barricaded behind closed doors and with our shotgun pointed at the fireplace just in case. So Santa, if you are reading this, you might want to see if anyone is selling red Kevlar.

From the FloatingSheep headquarters we now sign off.

p.s. If you would like to try your hand at mapping Santa vs. Satan (including data for the U.K.) you can download the data here. We're running a contest (complete with prizes!) for the best reader designed map.


  1. How many of those Satans were mistyped santas? Is there PEBKAC algorythm to account for that?

  2. How can anyone honestly mistype Santa for Satan? I'd accept Satna or Sanat, but misplacing an N so far is a bit pushy.


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