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It was only a matter of time before the mind-changing talk of Hans Rosling would find its way to the television medium. A reincarnation of this talk will be part of "The Joy of Stats", a new television documentary that soon will appear at BBC. This documentary will explore various forms of data gathering and statistical analysis, such as a new application that mashes police department data with the city's street map to show what crime is being reported street by street, house by house, in near real-time; and Google's current efforts at the machine translation project.

In the 4-minute movie snippet available below, "superstar boffin Professor Hans Rosling" tells "the story of the world" in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers - in just 4 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.

While still absolutely great, his holographic stunts have not the same effect as the compelling sports commentary spiel he did at the TED talk.

Watch below.

Via npr.org.

See also:
- Hans Rosling GapCast.
- Hans Rosling Talk with Physical Props.
- Other talks of Hans Rosling at TED.

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8 COMMENTS

Why is the data holographic? It seems to be a trend in popular visual culture like with the IBM data films or Microsoft future visions. They show data on transparent screens or in space. Is it to make the information haptical? With the video above, it was an aesthetic strategy to let the narrative appeal more interesting. Zeitgeist? The holographism seems not to be a tool here, but a style.

Wed 01 Dec 2010 at 6:54 PM

Having watched it in the browser window I think the success of this augmentation cannot be explained by aesthetics or novelty alone.
There is a clear benefit by not having to divert attention between narrator and visuals. Its not a 'blackboard' - he is 'on' the blackboard together with the data. So the visuals, voice and other visuals cues such as his body language are perceived together. Any ideas?

Wed 01 Dec 2010 at 9:39 PM
Michael

@Christopher Warnow

I think Michael explains very well that the success of the wonderful visualisation is in the combination of narrator and the graphic. Something that the 'holographic' element achieves well. It's not pretending to be futuristic, sci-fi interface. They show the crew and even the software (AE) involved; so for me it is an unashamed application of current technology.

Thu 02 Dec 2010 at 5:22 AM
james herbert

@Christopher Warnow

I think Michael explains very well that the success of the wonderful visualisation is in the combination of narrator and the graphic. Something that the 'holographic' element achieves well. It's not pretending to be futuristic, sci-fi interface. They show the crew and even the software (AE) involved; so for me it is an unashamed application of current technology.

Thu 02 Dec 2010 at 5:23 AM
james h

MIchael I agree. I think the quality of this system is that it makes the narrator and the graphic indistinguishable; by using holographics they become part of the same whole. If you've seen Hans or anyone else doing this sort of thing, the narrator and the data are distinct and separate. love it.

Thu 02 Dec 2010 at 5:37 AM
Ben Jackson

Rosling is over acting, his famous TED talk is much better. This one is too fancy, too much focused on the holo tec..

Thu 02 Dec 2010 at 10:59 PM
h3x3

I've seen the TED talk as well. I was amazing. I agree he is overacting, but think the information in this one is communicated more effectively. Especially due to the transparency and being able to see him "move with" the data. Especially the breakout of China into provinces! Like Ben: love it.

Sat 04 Dec 2010 at 4:26 AM

There may be better ways to display this information, but I do like that this clip is popping up everywhere. I've seen it floating along in Twitter links and I know I've posted about it on my blog too :)

Sat 04 Dec 2010 at 4:53 AM
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