Friday, 4 February 2011

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

Hans Rosling's 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.

Check out this link if you need a subtitled version of the video!

1 data = dati  (singolare datum)
2 not enough = non abbastanza
3 crew = assistenti
4 axis = asse
5 health = salute, benessere
6 life expectancy = aspettativa di vita
7 wealth = ricchezza
8 income per person = reddito pro capite
9 size = dimensione
10 bubble =  bolla, sfera 
11 crowded = affollato
12 below 40 = sotto i 40 anni
13 slightly better off = leggermente migliore
14 stuck = inchiodati, fermi, incastrati 
15 eventually = alla fine, successivamente
16 slow down = rallentare
17 speed up = accelerare
18 in spite of = nonostante
19 follow = seguire
20 a bit = un pochino
21 over = finito, concluso 
22 wider than ever = più ampia che mai 
23 still = ancora
24 what is about to happen = cosa sta per accadere
25 former colonies = le ex colonie 
26 catch up = raggiungere, recuperare 
27 up-to-date = aggiornato, recente
28 huge = enorme 
29 avegare = media
30 split = divider, suddividere, spaccare, ripartire 
31 remarkable = notevole, considerevole
32 gap = divario
33 trend = tendenza
34 make it = farcela
35 corner = angolo

Visualization is right at the heart of my own work too. I teach Global Health and I know, having the data1 is not enough2. I have to show it in ways that people both enjoy, and understand.
Now, I'm going to try something I've never done before: animating the data in real space, with a bit of technical assistance from the crew3.
So, here we go: first an axis4 for health5: LIFE EXPENCTANCY6  from 25 years to 75  years.
And down here, an axis for wealth7: INCOME PER PERSON8: 400, 4,000, and 40,000 dollars.
So down here, is poor and sick, and up here is rich and healthy.
Now I'm going to show you the world 200 years ago, in 1810.  
Here come all the countries: Europe brown, Asia red, Middle East green, Africa South of Sahara blue, and the Americas yellow.
And the size9 of the country bubble10 shows the size of the population.
And in 1810, it was pretty crowded11 down there, wasn't it?
All countries were sick and poor, life expectancy was below12 40 in all countries and only the UK and the Netherlands were slightly better off13, but not much.   
And now, I start the world: the industrial revolution makes countries in Europe and elsewhere move away from the rest, but the colonized countries in Asia and Africa, they are stuck14 down there.
And eventually15, the Western countries get healthier and healthier. And now, we slow down16 to show the impact of the first World War and the Spanish flu epidemic. What a catastrophe!
And now I speed up17 through the 1920s and the 1930s. And, in spite of18 the Great Depression, western countries forge on towards greater wealth and health. Japan and some others try to follow19 but most countries stay down here. Now, after the tragedies of the second World War, we stop a bit20 to look at the world in 1948.  1948 was a great year: the war was over21, Sweden topped the medal table at the Winter Olympics, and I was born.
But the difference between the countries of the world was wider than ever22.
The United States was in the front, Japan was catching up, Brazil was way behind, Iran was getting a little richer from oil but still had short lives.
And the Asian giants: China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, they were still23 poor and sick down here, but look what is about to happen! 24
Here we go again! In my lifetime, former colonies25 gained independence, and then finally they started to get healthier, and healthier, and healthier.
And in the 1970s, then countries in Asia and Latin America started to catch up with the Western countries: they became the emerging economies. Some in Africa follow, some Africans stuck in civil wars, others hit by HIV.
And now we can see the world today, with the most up-to-date27 statistics.
Most people today live in the middle. But there are huge28 differences at the same time between the worst of countries and the best of countries and there are also huge inequalities within countries.
These bubbles show country averages29, but I can split30 them. Take China, I can split them into provinces. There goes Shanghai. It has the same wealth and health as Italy today. And there is the poor inland province Gansu, it's like Pakistan and if I split it further the rural parts are like Ghana in Africa.
And yet, despite the enormous disparages today, we have seen 200 years of remarkable31 progress. That huge historical gap32 between the West and the Rest is now closing. We have become an entirely new converging world, and I see a clear trend33 into the future, with aid, trade, green technology, and peace. It's fully possible that everyone can make it34  to the wealthy-healthy corner35.
Well, what you've just seen in the last few minutes is the story of 200 countries shown over 200 hundred years and beyond. 
It involved plotting a 120,000 numbers. Pretty neat, eh?

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