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A Year In Charts: From Bitcoin To Trump And Chess Playing Robots (Financial Times)
December 28, 2017
From the article:
...It is always easy to focus on the problems, challenges and threats that surround us, but good news stories tend to develop on a slow burn. Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development and Max Roser of the online publication Our World In Data were asked to nominate ideas and were not short of suggestions. They ranged from the recent fall in the price of solar energy to improvements in child mortality. We chose to highlight the cases of polio worldwide. Since polio is a human-borne virus, it is in principle possible to eradicate it; that goal is now tantalisingly close.
There is, however, a danger in the seductive simplicity of a good chart. Florence Nightingale’s celebrated “coxcomb diagrams” showed the deadly toll of disease in the Crimean war, and the huge gains available from better standards of hospital hygiene. On closer inspection, however, the diagram proves to be an elegant piece of persuasion, highlighting Nightingale’s concerns and obscuring other interpretations. We have tried with these graphs not to persuade but to illuminate.