These are strange times indeed.
Its been a wild year by any metric possible, even the most quantifiable. Ideas and theories that seemed like wild outliers only one short year ago are now playing out before our eyes. An examination of the figures will confirm these patterns of behavior in finance, technology, medicine, and media. Everywhere you turn someone is ready to tell you how rapidly the world is changing, and they’ve got the numbers on their side now…
Charting the Waters
Statistics can be overwhelming, and using tools to visualize data is a great way to put things into perspective. With that in mind, we take a look at some of the best statistical illustrations of the past year:
This first pie chart from Sipri measures global military expenditures:
And this bar graph from Statitista examines the gap between perception and reality regarding Muslim populations in developed countries:
You will find more statistics at Statista
This dangerous combination of false perception and increased militarism could spell trouble ahead.
It’s the Economy Stupid…
If you want world-class infographics, look no further than The Economist. Below is their list of the best Charts of 2016. This graphic does an excellent job of quantifying the economic uncertainty that is sweeping the globe, specifically with Brexit and now Trump.
The graphic indicates a general state of stability in US markets, with some exceptions globally, notably the pound and pesos taking major hits against the dollar.
Examining the Obscure
FiveThirtyEight.com has once again published its annual Best And Weirdest Charts of the Year, and it lives up to its billing. These guys are obsessed with collecting data on just about everything, and find ways to make some really interesting material. Here are some of the highlights:
The graphic on data points is especially relevant. It highlights just what a difference small sampling errors can make. The article is full of cool graphics for all kinds of statistics, from Julia Louis-Drefus’ career arc to obscure NBA data.
We’re On a Road To Nowhere…
In another memorable chart, The Economist also examined major countries’ confidence indicators, measured in terms of whether or not its citizens believe the country is headed on the right track:
Notice the amount of major countries that are under the 50% line, most notably France at around 85% of their citizens thinking they are headed in the wrong direction.
Mining For Good News
The Guardian produced a group of 8 charts that suggest some victories have been made this year by progressives. They site lower emissions, reductions in crime and death from conflict worldwide, increased connectivity, and lower rates of poverty and disease all as big gains for liberals in the past year. They provide relevant data to support these claims. The article can be found below:
2016 is likely to be remembered as an annus horribilis for so many reasons that it’s tempting to think everything is doomed. But things are not always as they seem. There are silver linings. You just have to look hard to find them.
Crunching the Numbers
Sometimes things can just “feel” a certain way, but the numbers just don’t seem to support the insecurity. Not so in this case. Any way you slice it, change is in the air, and the world will continue to to be a turbulent place for the time being. 2017 is looking like it could be another unpredictable year. The numbers certainly won’t lie about that…