Saturday, July 08, 2006

Relative sizes - and TED presenters

Browsing the web for work related info, I discovered this illustrative tidbit mentioned at information aesthetics. I'm pretty sure we all know the planets of our solar system and how they stack up relative to their size, but a picture can be worth a thousand words.

(Artefacts seen on the illustrations are noted in the comments section at information aesthetics.)

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If you're interested check out this effective presentation of Hans Rosling at TED. I really like how the data is illustrated over time where the trends become obvious (assuming the integrity of the source data is valid and accurate.) And Mr. Rosling is engaging as a presenter.

Mr. Rosling presentation content successfully demonstrates ideas he writes of in a paper,
Free software for a world in motion 2004, found at gapminder:

"Data in spreadsheets are meaningless to most people. Many statisticians are like musicians standing up in front of the audience showing the sheet music instead of playing it. We believe the number of users of international development data could multiply by millions if the data was distributed as interactive explorative customized graphic interfaces..."

While at TED, check out the other presenters. I liked the Sir Ken Robinson's on the importance of creativity in education. He used a good mixture of verbal bullet points and anectdotes to present a strong, structured argument. I also liked the beginning of Al Gore's presentation. He really engages the audience with his anecdotal style, however when he got to the heart of his presentation though I gotta admit he lost me. The PowerPoints slides keep him really tied to his message with not much range from the written words.