Because every day is a good day to listen to Hans Rosling talk numbers. In this short video, Rosling uses Lego bricks to explain population growth and the gaps in wealth and carbon footprint.
Rosling is very effective in presenting basic information. But what I have found frustrating in past is that the gee whiz quality of the presentation masks a fairly retrograde narrative. I’m specifically thinking of the basic gapminder story of wealth equals health which rests on a very simplistic developmentalist ‘follow the leader’ narrative that justifies the status quo: market fundamentalism in which the west is best. That narrative is still evident in this piece, though emissions complicates it. But what is missing, and it would be fairly easy to include. is showing where that carbon comes from. A lot of it is generated from resources extracted in situ but a lot is also transferred from the poor countries to the middle and rich.
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There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.
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It’s always tough to pick my favorite visualization projects. Nevertheless, I gave it a go.
The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.