Our understanding of what is outside the scope of our historical and immediate experience is largely the result of filtered information. That is, information digested by media, experts, social networks, etc. Of course, part of that digestion is the introduction of bias. Media has an agenda, experts have agendas, and your social networks have their own particular agendas. By the time the information reaches you it has already been drowned and diluted in an ocean of motives.
This is where data comes into play. By reading the data, we are able to observe Truth in its raw form, without filters. Well, data can be falsified, sure. Also, data can be mismanaged. However, data can also be verified. If I’m uncertain about the data being reported, I can ask for a source and I can go to that source to see if the information matches the reported data. Regardless, data is the purest form of information we have available to us, which makes Data Visualization a very important facet of any research program.
This is why the above video is so important. Neil Halloran visualized a massive quantity of data in an extremely effective and profound 20 minute video. He presented the raw data, offered tentative interpretations, and shared important caveats to help us understand the information before us. Honestly, I think this is the most powerful visualization of data I’ve ever seen.
The world is currently a mess, sure. The rise in aggressive and ideological extremism and the brutality and indiscriminate nature of the recent violence throughout the world is evidence of that. It’s not so much the number of deaths, but the fact that it’s all happening ~70 years after the end of WW2. That’s just terribly disappointing.
However, Neil Halloran’s video offers us some hope. Maybe we haven’t achieved that golden age of justice and international harmony that so many of us desire, but we are gradually learning.
So don’t give up. Keep fighting the good fight.