health

Hans Rosling: data visualisation guru

7 January 2011

It is no secret that I am very interested in data visualisation, and yet I have never mentioned the work of Hans Rosling here on the blog. It is an omission I should finally correct, not least to acknowledge those readers who regularly email me links to Rosling’s videos. Rosling is a doctor with a […]

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Micromorts

24 December 2010
Hang-glider

Everyone knows hang-gliding is risky. How could throwing yourself off a mountain not be? But then again, driving across town is risky too. In both cases, the risks are in fact very low and assessing and comparing small risks is tricky. Ronald A. Howard, the pioneer of the field of decision analysis (not the Happy […]

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Natural frequencies

22 October 2010

In my last post, I made a passing reference to Gerd Gigerenzer’s idea of using “natural frequencies” instead of probabilities to make assessing risks a little easier. My brief description of the idea did not really do justice to it, so here I will briefly outline an example from Gigerenzer’s book Reckoning With Risk. The […]

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Visualizing smoking risk

21 October 2010
Thumbnail image for Visualizing smoking risk

To help perception of risk, Rifkin and Bouwer came up with “Risk Characterization Theatres” (RCTs). This post explores the application of RCTs to visualizing the mortality risks from smoking.

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Fertility Declines Don’t Reverse with Development

24 September 2009

In this follow-up guest post on The Stubborn Mule, Mark Lauer takes a closer look at the relationship between national development and fertility rates. STOP PRESS: Switzerland’s population would be decimated in just two generations if it weren’t for advances in their development. At least, that’s what the modelling in a recent Nature paper projects.  […]

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Is There a Baby Bounce?

4 September 2009

In this first ever guest post on The Stubborn Mule, Mark Lauer takes a careful look at the relationship between national development and fertility rates. Recently The Economist and the Washington Post reported a research paper in Nature on the relationship between development and fertility across a large number of countries.  The main conclusion of […]

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Swine Flu on Swivel

16 June 2009

I have now uploaded the swine flu data to a Swivel data set. I will update this data set periodically and so the rankings in the chart below should stay reasonably up to date. Data sources: Guardian Data Blog, CIA World Fact Book. UPDATE: A number of people have told me that in a number […]

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Couch Potatoes

8 October 2008

A colleague has lent me a copy of Oliver James’ book “Affluenza” and, while I am not far through it yet, it is scathing in its damnation of the effects of capitalism on individuals in society. At a time when capitalism is rapidly losing it shine on a global scale, with the financial sector collapsing […]

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