inkwellIn my last blog I recalled some of the more significant events of 2014, 15 years into the 21st century. On balance it didn’t appear optimistic. Conflicts based on race and religion, severe weather, giant comets buzzing the planet, catastrophic accidents; all this sprinkled with a few positive signs of sanity and excellence. This time around I sought out some of the positives that in many cases were news to me as they by their nature are not deemed “sensational” for frontline news. Well let me tell you I was pretty impressed and is some cases surprised as it had shocked my misconceptions. I will touch on a number of them.

Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation; Bill Clinton; Hans Rosling

Global Population Explosion

First let’s look at my perception of the exploding world population. For the longest time I recognized that western developing countries, starting with the “baby boomers” were having a birth rate of around 2 per couple while at the same time third world counties in Africa, Asia typically India, China and Indo China were having northward of 6-7 children. Many causative arguments were offered including 2 income families in developed countries to acquire “stuff”, while on the developing side it was lack of education, lack of birth control and the high infant mortality rate. If these notions ring true with you, read on McDuff.

There is a Swedish mathematician named Hans Rosling. His famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport’s commentator’s style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of ‘The Joy of Stats’ he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine. It’s a four minute video and is a must see. Here it is.