How big is that “big story”?

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 02010 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
link Categories: Long News   chat 0 Comments

Stewart Brand sent in this fantastic graph that shows how “big” a given news story of the past decade was and then also notes how many lives were lost because of it.  To see the full size image click through to the wonderful Information is Beautiful Blog.  Of course the interesting bits are the real discrepancies such as the Y2k story (some might say non-story) which resulted in zero loss of life vs. killer wasps which I haven’t even heard of that have accounted for more deaths than SARS or Swine Flu.

Of course other major loss of life events like 40,000+ deaths in the US alone in car accidents dont even rate on the graph.

  • Try the following: http://www.google.com/trends?q=mathematics
    You’ll find that the number 1 language of searches for “Mathematics” is Tagalog; Regions: 1) Pakistan, 2) Phillippines. 3) India; Language: 2) English — Indians and Pakistanis do all of their searches for “Mathematics” in English. When I tried this yesterday, I found a news spike which seemed to correlate with everyone blaming Mathematicians (or Mathematically-based programmic stock-trading models) for the Credit Crunch in the 4th quarter of 2007.

  • Look for such news in the Google News Archive, by entering important keywords, for example, http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=World gives the most relevant news not from today, but for a more than a century, and the timeline can be extended to many thousands of years. Another example: tinyurl.com/2cz83lx

  • Matt

    Solid data tends to fix the category error or mountains back to its rightful title of molehiils, anthills, and in some cases smooth surfaces.

    Too bad this won’t be seen on Fox News. It might be the first piece of nuetral information these viewers have gotten since community college.


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