Hans Rosling makes data sing

Over on the blog of Tullamore Toastmasters I posted some videos of the Swedish Professor of Public Heath, Hans Rosling, whose statistics are fascinating, insightful, and, ultimately, encouraging. The world is in many ways better than we might have thought it was. (The world isn’t only healthier than we might have thought; it’s also a lot less violent.)


This is not Fredrik Saker

Mr Saker had studied the code of the Swedish Transport Board before he submitted his likeness. It required a photo to be submitted that was a recent likeness. But nowhere did specify that the photograph had to be of the subject.

So Mr Saker thought a photograph of a self-portrait would do just as well.

And it did. Fredrik Saker painted a miniature self-portrait, and submitted a photo thereof with his driving license application. And it worked.



Gender-Neutral Pre-School

Sweden now has a gender-neutral pre-school called Egalia, where kids are called, not “boys” and “girls”, but “friends”. Non-stereotypical play is welcomed, maybe even encouraged (the Lego and the kitchen toys are intentionally kept beside each other).

Gender is an important part of most people’s identity, but it’s probably a good thing that kids are taught not to focus on it as the most important way to categorise people.


The Best Countries

Newsweek has a summary of the best countries in the world, measured by a number of different criteria, such as quality of life, political freedom, and economic vitality. It’s pretty interesting.