Friday, May 25, 2007

Hans Rosling at Govis 2007

Hans Rosling gave a great talk to close Govis 2007, he brought statistics to life, he has amazing flash graphs that compare worldwide statistical indices's.

Doesn’t sound interesting?

Go to the web-site and hit the ‘play’ button to play the statistics through time, and see what happens to the various countries. Change the measures on the axis. Have a play around, you’ll be surprised.

It is great tool to get the statistical truth in any discussion, rather than believe the ‘top-of-your-head’ claims that we all make. At work we have been googling for the truth, which keeps us much more real, and this resource can do the same for statistics and the relationships between them.

Statistics are used to befuddle and mislead much more often than they are used to inform and lead to inciteful conversations, this resource is a very important step in the right direction.

Apparently Google is supporting the work of Gapminder now, and taking the technology forward. Expect more from this crowd in the future.

It is interesting that Hans is leading a quest to Worldwide statistical data available for free, this allows many more innovative uses of the data. He pointed out that the data charges that the various government organisations are charging right now are only recovering a small percentage of the cost of acquiring the statistics and are very likely to be stifling innovative and socially desirable uses of the data. To this end apparently he talked to Statistics New Zealand when he was here and encouraged them to open the data.
I am aware of the drive internationally to open up access to Geographical Data around the world, and exactly the same issues apply.
If anyone from Statistics New Zealand read this, please, please open up the data, allow us NZ citizens free access to our own data.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tech Futures - John Smart

I listened to a podcast today from IT conversations.
It was John Smart from the 2005 Accelerating Change conference, How to be a Tech Futurist.
He painted a very optimistic future where the exponential growth of some micro-small areas of technology (computing, nanotech, nano-tube-ribbon etc), is likely to pull us out of the problems we find ourselves in now (Climate change, Energy overuse and so on).

It is a heady vision that I would like to believe, A software developer always has an eye for the next great thing, bigger, better more complicated way of putting technology together ;).

I usually tend towards the cynical, morose, negative end of the spectrum after listening to a lot of material on Global Warming, Kyoto protocol, Renewable Energy, Oil Peaking, World Without Oil etc.

It is quite a change to get a dose of positivism, I like the change in focus but I think more psychic and pocketbook pain needs to be felt globally to get us moving on renewable/sustainable energy. I look to the oil shocks of the seventies which I only dimly remember, and the lack of actual improvement due to the pain felt back then and I dispair.

A negative world view can motivate us to more action. So I say as I sit on the fence looking at energy improvements that are possible in my home while not taking action.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Forgive me Father for I have Sinned

It has been 37 years since my last confession.

I'll be posting regularly to this blog, at least until I run out of things to say.

To connect, to train and improve myself.

To tame the voracious Internet beast within.