Hans Rosling of Gapminder Recognized

A few years ago my son, then a student at United World College, sent me a link to "The Best Statistics You've Never Seen", a TED talk by Swedish doctor and statistician Hans Rosling.  I shared it pretty widely.  In recent years, Dr. Rosling (who still seemed quite young) was increasingly turning over presentations to his own adult son.  Last Friday, we learned Rosling had died of cancer [NYT Obituary]

Over Facebook and Twitter, Rosling has not exactly been a celebrity like Prince or Bowie, but you start to observe really really smart people are all noting his passing.

Here's a short 2015 interview with Rosling with Engish subtitles.   If you haven't seen it yet, go to one of his longer 2006 TED Talk video in English.

It isn't the 1970s.  It has not been the 1970s for over a decade.  The talk about "third world" and "lesser developed nations" and "primtive" and dystopian descriptions are being kept alive by a type of white nostalgia that seeks to leverage exoticism into a kind of nuture-instinct currency.  I do it even now - returning from Africa I find far more photos on my card of grass roofs than of metal ones.  We are attracted to documenting poverty, leveraging schadenfreude, gaining a fantasy of heroicism in the process.

 "Herrschaftskritischer Ansatz" is another good German expression to describe it.

Here is my observation about how Rosling's Gapminder can bring us together.  Yes, this is political.  The wealthier blue state democrat demographic and blue collar red state demographic are both guilty of portraying the rest of the world as seriously far more "other" than it is.

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