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Author Topic: Statistics can be awesome, too!  (Read 836 times)

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Offline CaeliTopic starter

Statistics can be awesome, too!
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:09:57 PM »
We played with this tool in my world poverty class, and it was so neat I thought I would share it with everyone. :-)

First, watch this video:

Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four

About The Video

Instead of studying history for one year at the university, you can watch this video for less than five minutes.

Income per person (GDP per capita) is adjusted for inflation and for differences in costs of living (purchasing power) across countries. You can play with the data yourself in Gapminder World.

This is a short clip from the longer film The Joy of Stats ©Wingspan Productions for BBC, 2010.


To use the Gapminder World tool, click on the Gapminder World tab (or simply click on the link from the snippet above). It's relatively intuitive to use, but I would recommend that you watch the tutorial on how to use the tool by clicking on the second link in the left window, Learn to select indicators and more, next to the video icon. It's a 2.5-minute demo teaching you the basics of how it works. :-)

After that, you can select one (or more) countries to follow at a time, over any given time period. The default variables are health (life expectancy in years) and income per person (GDP per capita). Different countries are colored different based on their region, which you can see in the top right; if you only want to watch two select countries as you play from 1800s onward, you can decrease the opacity of the other countries with the slider tool beneath the scrolling box with all the countries in it.

It's very neat - you can see the effect of wars and violence, of recessions or economic booms, of historical world-wide events such as the Industrial Revolution, of events that only effect a single country (like China's Great Leap Forward), etc.

Once you have your fill of that, you can click on the Browse Example Graphs link in the left window, under 'Explore more of Gapminder World,' to see some other ways that the Gapminder World tool has been used for other data, not just health/wealth of nations of time. There are graphs on child mortality, CO2 emissions, the HIV epidemic, and quite a few more.

I had a lot of fun looking at specific countries and different variables with the Gapminder World tool. I hope you guys do, too. :-)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 02:21:25 PM by Caeli »

Offline crystaltears

Re: Statistics can be awesome, too!
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 06:01:30 PM »
That's a pretty neat video and tool, Caeli. Thanks for sharing them. :-)

Offline DudelRok

Re: Statistics can be awesome, too!
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 11:19:45 PM »
I snap, I forgot to post in this.

Personally, I've always liked a little bit of statistics in my morning eggs... fun indeed, though this graph illustration certainly makes it easier to learn certain statistical break downs.

My favorite graph (and video) was the one about when the Eastern World would catch up with The West.

Offline Endorphin

Re: Statistics can be awesome, too!
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011, 05:32:35 AM »
What a wonderful tool. Thanks Caeli.

Offline Mercurial

Re: Statistics can be awesome, too!
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 09:28:40 PM »
A cool video, and I too have a weakness for data visualization.

My one problem with it is the massive amount of time, resources and funding that go into - well, pretty visuals - is often not backed by the same attention to detail in analysis. When you get to the core of it, that graph is still just an X-Y scatter plot.

It bothers me less, because its purpose is teaching - and teaching benefits well from things being easy to grasp, cool, etc.