This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

We've Lost Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling called himself an "edutainer" and he did indeed educate us all in an incredibly entertaining way. His death yesterday from pancreatic cancer at the young age of 68 is a genuine loss for all of us. A story on NPR noted this about him:
He had a knack for explaining difficult concepts — global inequality, climate change, disease and poverty. He used maps, humor and props like storage boxes and colored stones to tell the story of our world and to advocate for the poor: "Health cannot be bought at the supermarket. You have to invest in health."
And BBC News described him in this way:
He was known for lively presentations that used data and animation to explain global development in a compelling way. 
His Gapminder co-founders said that they would continue to fight for "his dream of a fact-based worldview". 
Mr Rosling was a professor of global health at Sweden's Karolinska Institute but decided to "drop out" in 2007 to dedicate his time to Gapminder, which allows users to create their own data visualisations.
Since his talks have been available on the internet, his exposure has been global, and I blogged about his amazing description of world population growth back in 2010, in which his Ted Talk employed boxes and other props to illustrate population growth from 1960 to 2050. That video has been seen more than 2.7 million times. Getting the facts out about what's happening in the world has always been important, but as we move into an almost surreal new world of "alternative facts" we need to maintain our vigilance in educating people about the "real facts." Losing Hans Rosling will set us back a bit, so we all need to step up to fill in the gaps as best we can.

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