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The future of Google's webmaster guidelines
Google have based their whole ranking system on who links to your site with one hand, and on the other they are constantly driving home about not passing PR meaning that practially every webmaster I know automatically nofollows every link by default.
Back in the old days, designing and running a website was a fun and exciting thing to do - you could link to whom you liked, put what you liked on your pages and all without some sword hanging over your head all the time.
I would not advocate rigidly following the guidelines. I would suggest you follow their intent of promoting quality content & good user experiences.
Last year someone had a penalty reversed because an iframe generated a false positive for their "too much white space" metric. It was documented on Google's own forum, and JohnMu got involved to place a flag on the site, in case it ever triggered that penalty again.
Again, Google are dictating exactly what you can and can't do with page design.
White space should not be considered merely 'blank' space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition.