December 01, 2010

BBC Four - The Joy of Stats Dynamic graphing of wealth and health in 200 nations across 200 years.

Apparently, today, "The best of countries" is Luxembourg.

  • Oh hell yeah. Good find.
  • Must figure out why I can't view this. *@#$%@#$ security settings*
  • I can't see it either. And what I can't see has changed since this morning.
  • As the guy says at the end of the film - "Pretty neat, huh?". Here it is on Youtube for those for whom the original link doesn't work..
  • That site ( has a nice selection of videos - the sort of mix that appears in MoFi's SLYT thread that TUM started*. Sadly it appears they are using some version of Flash video player that does not work on all machines. Anyway, I was pleased to see how fast income and life expectancy bounces back after depression, wars and catastrophes. Although I imaging that before a war you expect to live a long time and, for the survivors, their lives can be expected to be long after it. I imagine that those who do not survive a war or pandemic are removed from the stats :-( Also, within one nation, we are told of the "increasing wealth gap". It would nice to see if the Gateses are really further ahead of the rest of us than the Gettys were back then. In Matt Ridley's "The Rational Optimist" there is some content that I doubt, by we cannot deny his point that those (in UK/US) on a lower income today are all living better than Louis Quatorze did in his day. (*) I miss TUM!
  • Thanks, islander/TT, that certainly was worth watching. I'd love to know what was happening when certain 'dots' nosedived. What I found most sobering was the breakout he did with China. The US is way in the lead, but when you have Bill Gates contrasting with one of the families (mom, 2 kids) in the local school district living in their car, eating one meal a day (MickyD or Taco Bell--fortunately the kids have school breakfast)who finally has access to a shower thanks to a friend who has provided a KOA membership, then you are still looking at 1900's poor health/low income. Some of the local "good bodies" were upset this woman turned down a food basket for Thanksgiving--turkey, canned yams, pie fixin's--doh people!! She's living in her CAR! It would have been much better if they had first explained the statistical ideas of mean, median, and mode. People don't bother questioning what 'average' means. According to Forbes, in 2007, Gates had a paltry income of a million bucks, but his net worth was 57 billion. Check out his his wealth index for some culture shock. At Getty's death--1976, he was (only) worth $2 billion. Wikipedia: A book published in 1996 ranked him as the 67th richest American who ever lived, based on his wealth as a percentage of the gross national product. And the nice man spent the last 24 years of his life in the UK, gracefully avoiding taxes. From what I can gather, according to the Census report, the median family income for 1976 was $14,958. In 2007, the median family income was $58,480. Median family income has quadrupled (x4)--Gate's income is 25 times more than Getty's. I'd say there was a bit of a wealth gap, eh? See chart for median family income growth comparisons.
  • Median family income has quadrupled (x4)--Gate's income is 25 times more than Getty's. Am I misunderstanding, or did you mean to say "Gate's net worth is 25 times more than Getty's"? (no snark)
  • Yes, sorry, typed that under time constraints. YKWIM!
  • I was able to (finally on a different computer) watch the initial video with the little bubbles representing countries, all hopping up and down... but mostly up. Except, if there IS this Peak Oil bubble already breaking, maybe we should all return to 40 years life expectancy again (optimistically). So it's all good for anyone who is already OLDER than 40 <:(!)
  • How do you figure Dan? In twenty years when I'm 75, there won't even be an ice floe to shove me out on. *faint voice* It's ok, save yourselves *blug blug, blug*
  • The life expectancy of a corexit-laced oil spill clean-up worker is already brought down to 51 years.
  • ... I'm thinking now we shall all be replaced - by squirrels! Yes, the squirrels are getting smarter, as our races decline. We're done if this next cage trap doesn't work. Not only have I got it set to hair-trigger sensitivity, but I've put a slouch engendering top wall inside the cage trap thing so he won't just reach over the mechanism and keep taking the nuts (and now too a cucumber!) with impunity... It's for his own good, you know, for the ultimate good of this GENIUS squirrel... If only I don't have to call the poison experts. Please, please genius squirrel, take the bait, but not only that, step on that treadle and make the live trap snap shut BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. *Squirrels in the attic*
  • It was set to hyper-sensitive last night, and he laughs at us!