In Under Three Minutes, Hans Rosling Visualizes the Incredible Progress of the “Developing World”

Hans Rosling knows how to make a concise, powerful point. His mastery of statistics and visual aids doesn’t hurt. Behold, for instance, the Karolinska Institute Professor of International Health visualizing the health of 200 countries over 200 years with 120,000 data points. His ability to condense vast amounts of information into short bursts while providing the widest possible context for his points naturally endears him to the TED audience, which values counterintuitive intellectual impact delivered with the utmost succinctness. We previously featured a TED Talk from wherein the excitable professor explains world population growth and prosperity with props bought at IKEA. (The man comes from Sweden, after all. One must represent.) Now, on Bill Gates’ Youtube channel, you can watch Rosling’s shortest and slickest video yet: “The River of Myths.”

Opening with a visualization of 1960′s world child mortality numbers graphed against the number of children born per woman, Rosling uses his signature method of statistical-animation showmanship to explode myths about the potential of developing nations. We see that, as a country’s wealth rises, its health rises; as its health rises, its child mortality drops; and as its child mortality drops, so does its number of children born per woman, which leads to a sustainable overall population size. He then examines the separate regions of Ethiopia, formerly a developmental laggard, showing that the capital Addis Ababa ranks reproductively among the developed nations, while only remote regions lag behind. “Most people think the problems in Africa are unsolvable, but if the poorest countries can just follow the path of Ethiopia, it’s fully possible that the world will look like this by 2030.” We then see a projection of all the world’s nations clustered in the small-family, low-mortality corner of the graph. “But to ensure this happens, we must measure the progress of countries. It’s only by measuring we can cross the river of myths.” Have you heard a more powerful argument for the usefulness of statistics lately?

Related content:

Hans Rosling Uses Ikea Props to Explain World of 7 Billion People

200 Countries & 200 Years in 4 Minutes, Presented by Hans Rosling

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.



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by | Permalink | Comments (5) |

  • Lj

    Don’t let Alex jones see this, it’ll fit perfectly with his NWO reality-tunnel

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  • http://www.lelala.de Lelala

    Wow, very cool! This guy is really a data-visualization-wizard!
    Thanks

  • larry weldon

    Why is there not a statistics category for these courses? This video is not Math but rather Statistics. Rosling’s videos, and there are several, is opening the eyes of many who think statistics is boring, but the necessity to access it via “Math” is unfortunate.

  • koster

    Woyane ethnic fascists are known for their cheating, killing and looting. The population is reduced due to the killing by the fascists and several people are locked in prisons. It is not possible to bring any development by promoting state terrorism as is in Ethiopia. What is development without freedom. You may cite China as an example but the rulers in China are dictators but not fascists like that of Ethiopia targeting a certain ethnic group. http://vimeo.com/18242221
    http://www.ecadforum.com/2012/12/19/from-ethnic-liberator-to-national-atrocities-the-tale-of-tplf
    http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopia.html

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