Awesome Data

In the course of the Model Thinking class I’m taking at the University of Michigan online, I ran across the above two websites. They both appeared to be organizations which engage in data collection for purposes of education and then make the data freely available for anyone to use.

I have included some screenshots of particular charts that I found of interest, but I strongly recommend that you go to the websites themselves because both of them have the ability to do interactive data charting so that you can look for yourself the changes over time for various factors.

The one that caught my interest first was the world values chart. An extremely clear way of presenting the countries in the world and their values. The organization that produces these charts is in the middle of currently doing what they call a ‘wave’ of data gathering that will bring the data collected current up to the year 2019. They have done several waves of data gathering and if you click on some of the charts that they have on the website it will actually show you how the values have changed over the time that they had been gathering the data. Fascinating. The chart I show is up to 2017.

Data as of 2017 - See website for interactive chart - See below for explanation of axis values

Data as of 2017 - See website for interactive chart - See below for explanation of axis values

Traditional values emphasize the importance of religion, parent-child ties, deference to authority and traditional family values. People who embrace these values also reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride and a nationalistic outlook.

Secular-rational values have the opposite preferences to the traditional values. These societies place less emphasis on religion, traditional family values and authority. Divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide are seen as relatively acceptable. (Suicide is not necessarily more common.)

Survival values place emphasis on economic and physical security. It is linked with a relatively ethnocentric outlook and low levels of trust and tolerance.

Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, growing tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality, and rising demands for participation in decision-making in economic and political life.
2019-07-06 08_09_27-Trust - Our World in Data.png

I have not fully explored the site, but the report about trust levels in various countries really caught my eye. Trust is at the basis of almost everything that we do that is productive and good. It’s the foundation of business and interpersonal relationships. How much more difficult is it to operate in a country where trust levels are so low? I was appalled at the figure of 2.63% for the Philippines. I knew it was bad, I didn’t think it was that bad. Although anecdotally I can certainly support it.

Again, you can go to that website and add specific countries to the chart you are looking at so that you can check one or several countries at the same time for whatever data you are interested in.

2019-07-06 08_12_23-Trust - Our World in Data.png
Should come as a shock to nobody who is from United States.

Should come as a shock to nobody who is from United States.

There is a map on this link ( ) that shows global trade routes by cargo type based on data from the University College of London. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it is very cool. 😊 . I couldn’t find a way to embed it in this blog article or I’d have done so.

The very neat thing about the data visualization from this website is that for almost any data, you can select the chart, the map, or the ability to download the data itself so that you can run your own analysis on it as you choose. And the last tab allows you to see the sources from where the data was collected. It seems very open and transparent to me.

I am unapologetic about putting forward yet more places where you can find information about things. I feel this is my part, the least I can do, to help try to educate people and spread the word.

And, speaking of education, I found this yesterday. Suitable for everybody – I’ve been using it myself 😊. Short, easy to understand explanations about many things scientific.

In other news, I found this week that I have a bone cyst in one of the carpals in my right wrist. I wondered why the damn thing had been hurting so much during weight lifting, push-ups, and yoga. Normally, I might’ve just thought it was a mild sprain and kept driving on and hoping it would go away. I’m glad I thought to get it checked out. The x-ray showed the cyst and I’m going for an MRI next week just to get a more detailed image for the doctor, and then decide where to go from there. I hope it’s not a serious thing, but I am a little worried about it since it is in my dominant hand. Ah well. It is what it is.

I recently read a book by Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

As an introvert myself, I found it good reading. For those introverts among you, or indeed extroverts who want to know what introverts are like, I can definitely recommend it.

I am going to try an application called Blinkist. I like to read, but the sheer number of books to read is just overwhelming. As a friend of mine said, information overload. I think I mentioned that in a blog post a couple of weeks ago. Blinkist gives you book summaries to read. Having tried to increase the number of nonfiction books that I’m reading over the last 2 to 3 years, I can get behind an application like this. I find that much of the writing in the full books is either for the authors to sound erudite, or to pad the book so that they can charge a certain price for it. That may just be grumpiness talking. After all, look at the way I write. I have a tendency to be far wordier than is necessary to be able to get the point across. Something I am trying to work on, albeit not with a lot of success 😊.

Do any of my readers use it? If so I’d welcome feedback. I will post a review after I have tried it for a little while.