Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Very Provocative Clock

Here is a link to a clock (see poodwaddle.com) which, among other things, keeps track of the incidence of a few major infectious diseases: malaria, TB, HIV and others.

Kind of a depressing pile of information. Except for the fact that more bicycles are being produced than cars.


dave kurtmen said...

very cool!!!

John Latto said...

As the site says these stats are based on 'past stats and estimates'.

Here's an interesting exercise: imagine a scale that runs from 'accurately measured' to 'total guess' and try to place each of the stats on this scale.

To take two (non disease)examples, the 'Forest lost (ha)' stat is probably pretty accurate. We can measure this to a high degree of accuracy with satellite photographs. (eg go to google maps, zoom out and scroll down to Brazil, zoom in to the Amazon jungle and look for some deforestation). 'Species extinct' is a TOTAL guess usually based on some fairly dubious assumptions. We don't know how many species there are let alone how many are going extinct.

The disease stats are probably a similar mix of the known and the guessed.