Mind the Gap


I do believe that the world wide web is one of the greatest instruments ever for comprehending the world. What makes it so powerful? The tens of thousands of wonderful things you can find there. It should be called wwww — wonderful world wide web.

Visualizing Data

Wandering around the wwww, I came across Ola Rosling’s presentation at Google on March 7, 2006. It is a Google video and the presentation is nearly 70 minutes long. Although the entire presentation is worth watching, in a few minutes you get a pretty good idea of what it is all about. Then you could move on to the Gapminder.org site.

“Gapminder is a non-profit venture for development and provision of free software that visualise human development. This is done in collaboration with universities, UN organisations, public agencies and non-governmental organisations.”

When you get there, first thing to do is to check out the Human Development Trend 2005 presentation. Ola Rosling’s video uses this presentation. You can download the presentation. There is a truckload of interesting stuff on that page. For example, I downloaded the “World Education Chart 2003” It is fascinating to play the shockwave flash presentation and see the data dynamically presented.

For the last couple of hours I have been learning from that site and I am sure that you will not find it a waste of your time.

Don’t miss this Google tool for Gapminder. Guaranteed to fascinate.

[Hat tip: Jaya Kumar for the Gapminder link.]

Aping for fun and profit

Re-inventing wheels is silly enough but re-inventing square wheels is whacky beyond belief. The smart way is to take what others have figured out and improve on it. Adopting the existing smart solution is the first step to successful innovation. The great thing about the world today is that the total number of human brains is huge — 6 billion plus — and if they are normally distributed, the number of brains at the extreme high end of the distribution, though vanishingly small in percentage, is pretty large in absolute numbers. So these tons of smart innovative brains have been coming up with all sorts of ingenious wheels. All we have to do is to check them out, understand how they work, and use our own smarts to figure out how to make those wheels better. One can be too stupid to smartly ape the smart.
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