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More than media

This interview with Hans Rosling is rather wonderful in the way that the great man batters away until realisation dawns on the interviewer that the bubble he inhabits reflects only a small part of reality.

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This is a video that is going viral now here in Sweden (the Swedes love to beat the Danes).
I also am showing it to my 12-16 y.o.. science students at our international school.
The full 9 min Swedish-Danish version is here -
... and Roslings TED talk on the same "Ignorance & Media Bias" topic is here -
Wonderful stuff! Lets hope his Ignorance Project succeeds

Sep 12, 2015 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrady


This could be the training video the BBC needs.

Sep 12, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Fantastic. I would give a lot to see some of the arrogant simpletons at the BCC steamrollered like that. Evidence will win eventually.

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Borodin

Top top guy. More from Hans here

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

So the sun really does shine in the dirtiest smelliest places of the world ^.^

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterDung

I saw a good if not unique example of bias when Channel 4 was covering the impact of a typhoon in the Philippines. They showed the shacks right by the water and the plight of people who lived there. They were really poor people scraping by and doing what they could. The Philippines has no welfare state after all.

The impression was "look at all these poor people and how they are subject to the whim of nature" seeing as they had to flee their houses when the flood water rose.

This happened in Legazpi City. What they didn't show was the housing estate ( or subdivision) up the road. What they didn't show are that quite a lot of people in the Philippines are doing okay. But that doesn't make as good a story as giving the impression that everyone is poor.

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Among other excellent works by Hans Rosling, I especially like the 40-second animation here:
The animation shows how much human lifespan and (PPP-adjusted) GDP/person have increased since 1800, in each country. Both lifespan and income have improved tremendously.

Compare that animation with the documents that came out of the Earth Summit in Rio—specifically Agenda 21, which states the following.

Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a … worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy.

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

Classic finish by the gutless journalist. Having lost the argument he waits to shrug his shoulders when facing the camera alone. Coward.

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

He has statistics from the UN and World Bank to prove his point.

I wonder whether those statistics are available for independent verification? Independent of the NGO's that compiled them, that is.

Too much money aimed at the poor in developing countries, seems to manifest itself as European limousines for the officials in developing countries. Is limousine maintenance and repair a core skill, requiring development as a priority, over and above anything else?

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Brilliant, just as I would have expected from Hans Rosling. The media is stuffed full of useful idiots.

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I've just returned from KL and the thousands of demonstrators in and around the city last weekend seemed a little pissed off that the elected prime minister had supposedly pocketed somewhere in the region of 450 million quid from a state fund but nobody mentioned if he uses contraceptives or not.

Sep 12, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Well done Prof Rosling - game, set and match!

WRT population, there was a piece on R4 yesterday about child pregnancy in Paraguay, were the RC influence largely prevents both contraception and abortion. The upshot is that many girls below 14 (some as young as 10) have babies, often fathered by relatives.


Sep 12, 2015 at 1:30 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Are you saying jamesp if the relatives were educated in using contraceptives everything would be ok?

Sep 12, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I don't really get what is so funny. The professor is much right, even he looks like a maniac.

jamesp Paraguay total fertility rate is below 2 chldren, so very low, be RC or not. But nice you told the secret incest riddled RC countries.

Sep 12, 2015 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterHugh

The fact that less educated people have more children means every generation has more people from less educated backgrounds than the previous one. The consequence is a dumbing down of the population.

Think of any position you are aware of. Say a teacher, headmaster and trace back the occupants of that job.

Sep 12, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

This World - Don't Panic: The Truth About Population (BBC Documentary)

Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world. With seven billion people already on our planet, we often look to the future with dread, but Rosling's message is surprisingly upbeat. Almost unnoticed, we have actually begun to conquer the problems of rapid population growth and extreme poverty.

Across the world, even in countries like Bangladesh, families of just two children are now the norm - meaning that within a few generations, the population explosion will be over. A smaller proportion of people now live in extreme poverty than ever before in human history and the United Nations has set a target of eradicating it altogether within a few decades. In this as-live studio event, Rosling presents a statistical tour-de-force, including his 'ignorance survey', which demonstrates how British university graduates would be outperformed by chimpanzees in a test of knowledge about developing countries.

Sep 12, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Micky H Corbett 11:30 Even in the UK, the demand for houses results in houses being built on sites that are vulnerable, that historically people knew were stupid places to build houses, ie the flood plains of rivers.

Island nations with expanding populations are more likely to end up with the poorest people, fabricating flimsy dwellings, in areas where no one else would live.

For the likes of Al Gore and Barack Obama, 'beachfront' means luxury views, and prestige living. "Beachfront" in places like the Philippines or Marshall Islands, is the equivalent of pitching a tent on an artillery range, because it was available land that no one else wanted. The inevitable tragedy is manmade, but has nothing to do with climate.

Sep 12, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"He has statistics from the UN and World Bank to prove his point.I wonder whether those statistics are available for independent verification? Independent of the NGO's that compiled them, that is."

The stats are "outside the margin of fraud" as the saying goes. Quite likely there is both error and deceit. But the shown trends show up in experience and anecdote and the way we phrase the problems we actually encounter.

From a US-centric perspective, we have so little problem with what used to be called "hunger" that we have invented terems like "food deserts" (people have to walk more than some distance to a full-service supermarket) and "food insecurity" (people worry if the monthly budget will have to be adjusted to cover the groceries AND the cable TV, cell phone, and automobile-fuel expenses). We have so little problem with workplace "sexual harrassment" that we are pursuing "microaggressions". (thoughtless word choices and behaviors that indicate the actor feels superior to co-workers) So few adults suffer from "alcoholism" that we are instructed to worry about "binge drinking" (three or more drinks in any one social occasions, such occasions occurring at least once per week) and "impaired driving" (that narrow range of blood alcohol content between 0.8 and 1.0, after the effects are detectable but before the effects degrade judgement or responses to the level of "drunk driving"). Reported incidents of violent "rape" are declining; and consequently we are exhorted to concern ourselves with incidents involving impaired consent, revoked consent, and perhaps insufficiently-explicit-and-documented-records of consent. (All of which must be built into UN and NGO statistics of "rape", of course)

We see the similar re-definition of the crisis with regard to "warming" becoming "change".

Provided one gets to (circularly) define a new problem, lump it into the old categories of outrageous acts, select any sub-set of the total pool of available statistics to aggregate and inflate the trends ... one does not actually require false data. This is the approach of alarmists in general, and their media amplifiers. On the other hand, so far, a careful consumer of such reports can return to the source data and dis-aggregate measures back into the original categories (for instance, violent rapes). I think this is Rosling's approach. The shoes are ugly, but the soles have fewer holes than formerly. Meanwhile, the face is wearing eyeglasses of the correct prescription. It is unfair of the media to focus on "shoe" stories.

Sep 12, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterpouncer

Quite right.

As so often is the case the problems we have in the world today is that the MSM have ceased being the 'safety valve' through which we get information on what is actually happening in reality, and become a post-modernist, activist force of brain-washed liberal arts metropolitan elites who are convinced they are right. Because everyone they know thinks like them.

Reality doesn't care what they think. And will, as always, have the last laugh.

Sep 12, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

The fundamental issue that I seem to remember being discussed here many times is that wealth / development leads to families having less children. That's why the Mathusians are completely wrong.

Sep 12, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Hans Rosling before. Very impressive. It reminds me a lot of Bjorn Lomborg's work and, of course, Matt Ridley.
The only fly in the ointment I saw so far is Ola Rosling going to the WWF and asking them if they have accurate facts and accepting them as accurate. I have a feeling that the questions related to climate change are going to be problematic.

Sep 12, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

Google the phrase: "Democracy means voting for washing machines" and you will see a marvellous exposition in English by Hans Rosling describing the energy needs now and in 2050.
E.g. at: the bottom of:

Sep 12, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMJK

I hear myself sounding like a stuck record when I repeat that all this climate catastrophism, and all this anti-capitalism is an 'Extraordinary Popular Delusion and Madness of the Crowd'. Our descendents will live in a comfortable world, brought to them by capitalism.

If we dare.

Sep 12, 2015 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Hans Rosling comes over very well, pity that his views on cagw are straight out of the alarmist handbook, unless he's changed his mind in recent times.

Sep 12, 2015 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Douglas J. Keenan 11:32am - Agenda 21 is about to be superseded by the UN's far more ambitious (and frightening) '2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development'.

Sep 12, 2015 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

'sustainable' as popularly understood is sclerotic and paralytic. It's dead, Jim.

Sep 12, 2015 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Seems to me there is more than one bubble inhabited when a point of view is supported by World Bank and UN statistics.

Sep 12, 2015 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Journalists are usually incompetent, and it is nice to hear them getting told off. However, statistics are statistics, and the way Rosling interprets the numbers are very much colored by his political conviction. Rosling is one of the strong supporters of increased import of muslims into Europe.

Sep 12, 2015 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterHLx

People who have the technology to turn lights on at night, produce fewer children. It must be because they can lie in bed at night, read up on Malthusian theory, and laugh themselves to sleep.

Sep 12, 2015 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The world must be getting better our MPs overwhelmingly throw out Assisted Suicide.

Even they think their is future hope for the sick and dying.

Put more value on a Human life than some old dog you take down to the vet.

Sep 12, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Hans Rosling is effective because he dues not by and large allow himself to be "managed" and will not - as you can see allow the media person to set the agenda and frame the narrative, assigning their own interpretation to selected words from the subject....

Which is why I'd be very surprised to see him live on the BBC... a bit like P. J. O'Rourke. UK media is suffocatingly chock full of goons who see themselves as more important than the actual reporting and will do almost anything to avoid humiliating confrontation with facts / evidence - including - excluding the most authoritative sources on a given subject if they aren't in tune with the desired "house spin" on the story....

Really .... when was the last time anybody heard / saw something akin to the Rosling clip above on UK media? The shred / blend / sieve / PC fake flavouring of UK media should have a health warning.

Sep 12, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Registered Commentertomo

golf charlie


An ex of mine (a parasitologist) lived in a Kenyan village for a year in the 1980s. She said many people there, particularly teenagers were obsessed with Malthusian theory and discussed virtually nothing else. It was almost a national hobby.

Sep 12, 2015 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

jamspid, MP's threw out assisted suicide, but the Labour party elected Corbyn.

Sep 12, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Stuck-Record above uses the term "liberal arts metropolitan elites". Without disagreeing with his/her post, I would like to correct the terminology. Please use the word "clique" instead of "elite". I consider followers of this blog, elite - "an elite clique", whilst the ones above are a seriously deprecated clique.

Summary: don't use "elite" - replace it with "clique" which is far more appropriate for those who are "legends - in their own minds".

Sep 13, 2015 at 5:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichaelL

Clive James in his 2009 book," The Blaze of Obscurity", -
" Nowadays, the material presented as real news is often in itself fake news.The consensus of perception dictates the supposed facts."
At present in Australia, there is a controversy where Minister Peter Dutton was caught on a microphone at a meeting of Pacific Island Ministers telling a mild joke about rising sea levels lapping at the feet of residents of various Pacific atolls.
The media are in a frenzy over this with calls for his resignation.As is commonplace, the Minister has apologised for his "error".
There are no " climate refugees " from Pacific Islands, nor are there likely to be. The MSM in Australia are publishing the outrage of various commentators who recite as a fact that the islanders at present are facing an "existential threat" to their heritage and livelihood.

Sep 13, 2015 at 5:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterHerbert

Kind of off topic maybe but the latest batch of IS footsoldiers to invade the EU - sorry - migrants - will no doubt wind up being called 'climate refugees' by the time we get to the Paris 'climate orgy'.

Sep 13, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Jimmy Haigh:

It must be especially funny for, say, Alawites fleeing Syria to hear themselves described as IS footsoldiers. You're a piece of work.

Sep 13, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

Wow. And we in the US are being subjected to a current President who completely relies on pop-media for his worldview, while we watch a coming campaign season where both sides are dominated by the same.
How refreshing to see Hans Rosling school pop-media in a thoughtful non-reactionary manner.
If only there was a glimmer of hope we could see actual journalists break away from the mediocre oligarchic herd.
And it is almost beyond hope to consider the idea of political leaders take on the pop-media consensus in such a thoughtful and fact-based way.

Sep 13, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Perhaps conscription for 18 to 35 year old new arrivals might occupy a few for a couple of years before they are given their European free to roam passport.

Maybe occupy is the wrong word.

Sep 13, 2015 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn


"Paraguay total fertility rate is below 2 chldren"

The stats I've since read suggest that there is an overall increase in population (1.8%) but I agree that's quite low.
The programme was, understandably, more concerned with the very young pregnancies that were being denied abortions because of local doctrines and customs. I don't think either of us was blaming the RC church for the incest often involved.

Sep 13, 2015 at 6:09 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Anonym. I can't see any clouds or cuckoos from where I'm sitting.

Sep 13, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh


Total fertility rate below two with a speedy population growth so far is typical when old people stop dying for a while and young people, a large subpopulation, start using contraceptives.

An exercise for you. Find a poor man in his seventies in Leningr..St Petersburg. There is none. They all took too much booze. Population pyramid detopped.

Stats are a hard thing, there are so many to choose between. Population growth is a good measure but it doesn't catch what is happening due to population pyramid shaping.

Sep 13, 2015 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterHugh

Population growth is falling in Europe - apart from the Muslim community...

Sep 13, 2015 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Optimism is just not de rigeur.

Sep 14, 2015 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It's just not looking good for Europe. Here's what Mark Steyn has to say:

"Re the demographic character of the "Syrian" "refugees", look at this video of the fleeing "families". Where are the women? Where are the infants? Where are the oldsters? Or even the late middle-aged? It is a - what's the word? - army of young Muslim men.

There is a link between the civilized world's reaction to the Mohamed cartoons a decade ago, and the migratory invasions today. Because we can't be honest about Islam, we can't be honest about the nature of what is happening on Europe's borders: These are not families of "refugees" - young, old, men, women, children - but an army of aggressive young men. Their arrival will further weaken the Continent's wobbly commitment to core liberties. The argument against free speech is increasingly that it is unwise to be so "provocative". With a million more Muslim males in the neighborhood, there will be a million more reasons to tiptoe around lest one accidentally "provoke" someone."

To me, this welcoming with open arms of these "migrants" is like - oh - turkeys voting for Christmas.

More from Steyn: "According to the United Nations, 49 per cent are non-Syrian. As to whether they're refugees, well, usually, refugees flees as families. Yet here, from those UN statistics, is the breakdown of those "refugees":

13 per cent children
12 per cent women
75 per cent men

That's not the demographic distribution of fleeing refugees, but of an invading army."

Sep 14, 2015 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

And just for Anonym... The "Syrian" "Refugee" demographic breakdown, according to the UN, simplifies as this: Picture 8 "refugees". One is a child, one is a woman and 6 are men. To me, that's not Alawite...

Sep 14, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Just watched Hans Rosling programme on BBC2, 'Don't Panic: How to end poverty in 15 years' . Much interesting stuff though he still felt the need to throw in climate change at the end. That would have been more acceptable if he'd pointed out to his audience that bringing people out of extreme poverty is the best way to protect them from the vagaries of the climate. Can be watched on BBC I-player here.

Sep 23, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

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