We Can See Political Bias From Space
World leaders illuminate their hometowns like a Lite-Brite, researchers claim
By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2014 1:59 PM CDT
The Earth from space at night. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Deceased dictator Mobutu Sese Seko wanted his hometown to shine brighter than the diamonds he ransacked from the Congo’s coffers—and he apparently isn’t the only world leader to shed some light (and money and resources) on his birthplace. Researchers say that political favoritism can, as LiveScience puts it, "literally be seen from space." The home regions of leaders become brighter at night after they come into power—and then appear to fade back to black after the leader dies, retires, or is otherwise deposed.

Researchers studied information on the hometowns of political leaders in 126 countries, as well as satellite data that showed nighttime light intensity. “Our results suggest that being the leader’s birthplace increases nighttime light intensity and regional GDP by around 4% and 1%, respectively,” one scientist who worked on the study says in a Monash University press release. Mobuto, for example, lavished his hometown of Gdabolite with a palace, a first-class airport, and the finest water, electricity, and medical services when he took power in 1965. The satellite images during that time period showed “extremely high levels” of light intensity there—which then petered out after Mobutu died in exile in 1997. The scientists note that this correlation mostly seems to occur in countries with weak political structures and poorly educated citizens.

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Jul 14, 2014 11:47 PM CDT
...but, can we see Chris Christy from space ?
Jul 14, 2014 10:22 PM CDT
The only lights from Space in the NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER will be the BRITE LITES of the USA cause that's when... The DUMOCRATS will lose to the REP in the NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER!! And Straighten out this MESS!! There ya go!!
Jul 14, 2014 6:08 PM CDT
Why does the Nile River look like a beam of light?