TED and Reddit’s 10 questions

About the Interview

In a cooperation between the internet community Reddit and TED,Reddit users got to put their questions to Hans Rosling. In this video response he answers the top 10 questions with explaining graphs.

Join the discussions at Reddit.com »
The original TED-blog post »

The 10 questions:

1. What is your min is the number one lesson to be learned from your way of looking at data; what ought our governments do that they are not doing.

2. If you could present your stats to a panel of any five people in the world, who would you chosse and why?

3. In my experience, people do not understand statistics and will never change their opinion based on statistics, I would like to ask if you agree.

4. What are the most startling or intriguing correlation you have encountered while playing with different values on the the x and y axis at gapminder.org.

5. What do you think of the state of statistics education in high school and colleges?

6. Would you be willing to help the WhiteHouse present the Healthcare budget in such a way as to make it easier for the average person to understand the value of a public option or single payer plan?

7. Do you think CUDA is an important step in the path of better and richer visualizations of data?

8. What are your future plans for Gapminder?

9. What can bra done to encourage governments and international organizations to more actively and effectively collect and publish vital statistics?

10a. But how do you recommend that I or we help the “bottom billion”? I’m wondering about practical ways the “top billion” can assist the “bottom billion” with small units of organizations.

10b. What’s it like knowing so many on reedit have intense nerd crushes on you?

11 thoughts on “TED and Reddit’s 10 questions

  1. I quite enjoy all your talks and presentations- especially your major point about how we have to contextualize data and view things in specific, but not independent, situations. You touched upon this in your answer to question #3. Your presentations often remind me of books and seminars from Dr. Paul Farmer whom I’ve been an avid fan of since reading his book “Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues.” I am curious as to why you say “It’s not realistic with lifelong treatment for everyone in the poorest countries.” (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/hans_rosling_the_truth_about_hiv.html) Of course you said that in the context of PEPFAR but I think you should not have diverted to prevention so quickly! Indeed there is evidence that outside of PEPFAR and US government aid, we can find treatment a plausible option- though I am in favor of a rigorous combination of both treatment and prevention.

    From Dr. Farmer’s work and his Non-government Organization (NGO), Partners in Health (http://www.pih.org/), it looks as if the situation is quite the opposite! That on a community level, it is indeed realistic for long-term healthcare for people in the poorest countries. I’d like your opinions and suggestions on this.

    And in the broader context, I’d like to hear any of your suggestions for NGOs in general- governments may be the focus but they are too limited and too broadly-focused that specific situations can go under the radar. NGOs have the capabilities to be flexible and respond quickly whereas governments do not.

    Thanks and I look forward to more lectures!

  2. Thanks for this (the 10 questions).

    Africa has a major problem with its epidemic of trauma. Can Gapminder help (with the display of trends in injury rates over time) to make this the priority for nations and the international community that many of us feel it should be? As I see it we have to do this both with respect to prevention and acute care.

  3. Hans, great video. On #6 I have to take exception… not because I do or do not support public healthcare, but because I believe your statistics are flawed. Comparing the United States’ average life expectancy to that of Switzerland or other European countries is like comparing Apples and Oranges because the two populations have very different demographics, especially when race is concerned. I would be much more interested in seeing the life expectancy for caucasians in Switzerland (and other countries) vs the caucasians in the US, the blacks in both countries comapred, the Asians compared, etc. My guess is that the data will change radically.

    Hi Scott
    I sort of disagree with you. I think you rather should compare the black population in US with the black population in Sweden. Child mortality is three times higher among blacks in US than among blacks in Sweden. You should also compare native Americans with the Sami people in Sweden, i.e. the native Swedes that herd rein dears in “reserves” in remote mountain areas. The native Americans have more than twice the child mortality of the Sami people in Sweden. Sweden and most high income countries have managed to reduce the excess risk for disadvantage ethnic and social groups to the extent that the health indicators are the same or almost the same as for the main group of Caucasian population. US has not even seriously tried to do it! But this is but one part of the US health system failure.
    The non-Hispanic white population in Vermot (as close as you get to Sweden in US) has an infant mortality of 5 per 1000 and Sweden has 3 per 1000. The white in Vermont has in fact a higher infant mortality than the the black immigrants from Africa has in Sweden.

    So yes, there are still unnecessary social and ethnic inequities in US and the health system is costly and yet inefficient even for privileged white groups. The infant mortality among blacks in Washington DC is higher than in Barbados. You lose in all health system sports. Black against blacks, white against whites, natives against natives. Your are not good at it.
    But I am convinced that US if it decides to do so can mend the system. A nation that is so good in sport, wins so many Nobel prizes, leads in the space, gave us GPS and created Internet, Microsoft and Google can of course help black, native and white kids survive to the same extent as they do in other countries with similar economies.
    It is just that the decision to do it has not been made!
    Go for it! You can do it!

    Kind regards from a friend of all good sides of the United States
    Hans Rosling

  4. Hi,

    Your lectures have quite changed the way i interpret statistics (especially from school books). I have a teacher who’s passionate about updated statistics and we use a lot of internet based stats (especially from cia.gov) instead of our books. Still, some information we learn is taken directly from books printed in 2000 and below and it gets confusing when you have part of updated and some partially out of date statistics. I am going to show this gapminder.org site to my teacher! It’s going to change the way we work!

    I am actually writing to ask you if you could upload somewhere the Flash application showing statistics about the income per day in different continents.

    And another request: is there something like an rss feed where we could absorb the statistics you use on gapminder and use it in our own Flash applications?

    Thanks for answering.

    Dear GEOadorer, thanks for your questions.
    The problem with showing daily income, such as number of people living under 1$ a day, which is the commonly used poverty estimate, is that the margin of error is very big. Last year the world bank recalculated the PPP-course that are used to determine how many are people living in poverty in a way that can be compared across countries, and global poverty “increased” with almost 500 million people in a blink of an eye. This is one reason why we have been a bit hesitant to add income-poverty data into Gapminder WorldView Data Icon.

    The other question about the data behind the presentations, do I understand you correctly that you would like to have the actual numbers we use? If so, you can find all data by clicking the little icon next to the axis-name, or download the indicators to excel on this page.

    /Staffan, Gapminder

  5. Fascinating stuff as usual! But I also have a small issue with looking at life expectancy as proof of a successful health system.

    This doesn’t take into account the differences in lifestyle between different countries. The US has very high levels of obesity, for example, which must lower life expectancy a lot. Poor diets will impact life expectancy while telling us nothing about the success of the health system.

  6. Interesting…….the Average life expectancy for the Average(therefore black) man in South Africa actually improved during Apartheid to a peak of about 65 years.
    Under the current Racist ANC regime, the life expectancy has dropped to 42 thanks to Mbeki and the ANC’s genocidal approach to healthcare(Denial,Potatoes,Garlic and Affirmative actioning all the white doctors and nurses out of the country..oh and recently “showers after sex”…Zuma)
    Personally, I would rather carry a “dompass” (ID book), call the white man “boss’ and live to 65 than die a miserable painful death due to crime or HIV at 42.
    I would be very interested to see the 2009 stats and also the stats after 2010 when all the tourists bring in unknown bugs (swine flu etc) that will latch onto weak immune systems.
    Mbeki should be tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity.
    Are we witnessing extinction during our time?

  7. Hi Mr. Ted,
    I want to ask you two questions,
    First, What is this program that you are using? what is it called? and how can i download it and use it?
    My second question is, I’m writing a subject about disabled people and I would like to use some statistics about this subject, Where can I find those statistics?Is there some websities that i can use?

    Thank you for your time.

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