Wednesday, May 16, 2007

[[ZEITGEIST]] Hans Rosling
I came across a great talk (flash video) by Swedish Professor of International Health Hans Rosling on how publically available statistics can be mined and displayed dynamically to debunk some of the most pervasive 'third world' myths. Rosling is an engaging and charismatic speaker and the software he uses in his presentation (recently acquired by Google) is mind blowing

Here is the text that went along with talk

Hans Rosling: Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen
"With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world” using extraordinary animation software developed by his Gapminder Foundation ( The Trendalyzer software (recently acquired by Google) turns complex global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop. Asian countries, as colorful bubbles, float across the grid -- toward better national health and wealth. Animated bell curves representing national income distribution squish and flatten. In Rosling’s hands, global trends — life expectancy, child mortality, poverty rates — become clear, intuitive and even playful."

And this from the gapminder FAQ...

"A lot of people are interested in the data, but don’t get access to it (and if they manage to access the data, they need to be advanced skilled statisticians to analyze it). Gapminder wants to make data more accessible and easier to use for instant visual analysis. We believe decision makers, politicians as well as education at almost all levels lack adequate tools."

Have fun with stats with the gapminder beta