Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

It's one of the most incredible videos I've seen this year. Hans Rosling's video on the wealth, population, and life expectancies of the world's nations is not only a stunning history lesson, but a clever use of technology that allows him to add a third dimension (time) to his graph.



Expect to see more interactive lessons like this emerge in all the imaginable disciples. I look most forward to the ones on astronomy or the cosmos.

One issue that seems to be giving the comment boards fits is the perception of Africa. Though it hasn't improved at the exponential rate other cultures have, in the last two hundred years it has doubled its life expectancy and tripled its wealth. It is far better off now than all other people were only a hundred years ago.

The nations of Africa are depicted in blue:





It raises a few interesting questions. How important is the rich-poor gap if the poorest are fed and live moderately long (50-60 years) life spans? How long should their lifespans be before the cessation of foreign aid? What parallels are seen on the national level where the poor own cell phones and drive to the food bank in their vehicles?

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