A little over a year ago, the New York Times published a story featuring the National Football League's policy of sending each year's Super Bowl losing team's pre-fabricated championship merchandise to charities in Africa. At that time, I took Virilio's concepts of negative interactive potential and the logistics of perception as the basis to interrogate this initiative: while positioned as altruistic by the NFL's marketing machine, I suggested an alternative reading that revealed the NFL as neo-colonial in its attempt to dump the unwanted excess of semiotic energy on the "technologically dark" African continent.
To illustrate the "technological darkness" that makes Africa such an ideal place to dump semiotic energy and convert material goods to social capital, I present the equal area cartogram for world internet users recently released by Worldmapper. An equal area cartogram, also known as a density-equalizing map, proportionally resizes each country and continent according to the variable being mapped. In terms of internet usage — the medium that might allow, say, the jersey of a losing Super Bowl team to be re-sold on Ebay — note that Africa almost disappears. Equalizing, indeed.