Hans Rosling is the proprietor of the invaluable Gapminder project that collects and displays vast amounts of environmental, economic, health, and population information in easily understood ways. Gapminder delivers on its promise of "unveiling the beauty of statistics for fact based world view."
Besides reading my book The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century, a visit to Gapminder will dispell most of the apocalyptic myths being peddled by political environmentalism. Nature ran a fascinating feature article on Rosling's life and work. The article, "Three minutes with Hans Rosling will change your mind about the world" links to to an 8 question quiz to test your knowledge of how humanity has been faring lately.
Just a tidbit to tempt you from the Nature article:
Rosling's charm appeals to those frustrated by the persistence of myths about the world. Looming large is an idea popularized by Paul Ehrlich, an entomologist at Stanford University in California, who warned in 1968 that the world was heading towards mass starvation owing to overpopulation. Melinda Gates says that after a drink or two, people often tell her that they think the Gates Foundation may be contributing to overpopulation and environmental collapse by saving children's lives with interventions such as vaccines. She is thrilled when Rosling smoothly uses data to show how the reverse is true: as rates of child survival have increased over time, family size has shrunk. She has joined him as a speaker at several high-level events. "I've watched people have this 'aha' moment when Hans speaks," she says. "He breaks these myths in such a gentle way. I adore him."
I adore him too.
I took the test and am embarassed to admit that I got only 7 of 8 right. I was close on the one I got wrong but my answer was a few percentage points off of the actual data. The Nature article notes that most participants in a meeting of Nobel Prize winners got the question about global average life expectancy wrong.
Click on over to the Nature article to take the Test Your World Knowledge quiz here. (Scroll down just a bit.)
BTW, did I mention that The End of Doom makes a splendid holiday gift. You really can't have or give out too many copies.