Thursday, June 24, 2010

The World Spins Madly On

Surprisingly, I'm not a numbers person. When I do sums in my head I actually visualize colored bars of varying lengths that represent the "size" of the numbers, and then I mentally manipulate those colored bars. True story.

Dancing colored bars have their limits, so of course I'm totally fascinated by programs that visually model complex data. The World Bank Data Visualizer uses colored bubbles to show how population, life expectancy and income per capita have changed by country from 1962 to present. Watch the bubbles chase each other! It's not the World Cup, but you might still find yourself chanting "USA! USA!" as China and India race us across the board. Thankfully, the World Bank chose not to set this to an annoying vuvuzela soundtrack.