Chilling out with The Economist

By | January 22, 2017

The Economist has a blog called Graphic Detail, which excels at showing complex ideas simply. Engaging, thoughtful, and often surprising.  Some recent graphs:

1) High blood pressure globally, not just affluent countries here         

  • A recent study in Lancet largely dispels the myth that high blood pressure is a rich country’s problem; it’s prevalent everywhere, especially eastern Europe & Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Only in 36 countries do women outnumber men – all of those countries are in Africa
  • Trends show that nutrition and a cleaner environment may be bigger factors than we first thought – it’s not just obesity and lack of exercise

2) US “Stand your ground” laws correlated to more homicides here

  • As background, there are 20 US states which have passed laws which allow citizens wide latitude to assertively use guns (including deadly force) for protection. That is a fancy way to say Americans can shoot you when they feel endangered
  • Journal of the American Medical Association research showed that after Florida passed the law, homicides sustained a 24% jump vs. flat for the rest of the country
  • The rate of “justified” homicides increased 3x

3) What the world worries about here.

  • The majority of the world is unhappy with their country’s progress
  • The Chinese are the most optimistic and the French the most pessimistic
  • Interestingly, the biggest concern varies by country (US = terrorism?)
  • This angst obviously feeds into the “strong-man” populism in the US, France, Britan

4) Spreadsheet errors in genomics research papers here

  • Genome Biology, an scholarly journal, found that between 2005 and 2015, one-fifth (yes, let me repeat . . 1/5) of articles on genomics included excel errors in the data
  • This is particularly alarming since the # of errors is increasing 15% annually
  • Question: how prevalent are these problems in other data sets?

consultantsmind-scientific-papers-with-errors

5) Piracy is less of a problem here

  • Pirate attacks are down globally
  • Indonesia is the hot spot; Nigeria’s coast is problematic; Somalia has settled down
  • Shipping companies are hiring private security guards to protect their ships and investments. leading to a rise in floating armories (fascinating story here)

consultantsmind-high-seas-piracy

6) Increasing number of “Temps” in the US here

  • In the US, 2.9M people (3% of workforce) are temporary workers
  • Temp positions generated 10% of all new net jobs since the 2008 recession
  • No surprise, the quality of these jobs is worse than full-time work; 20-25% less pay
  • See the influence a large number of temps (% of total) may have on overall wages
  • Temp agencies often do not offer health benefits, which inevitable fall the the public

7) Measuring global happiness here

  • BCG’s report called “Sustainable Economic Development Assessment” (SEDA) looks for an balanced scorecard way to measure well-being across 163 countries
  • Looks like economics, investment, and sustainability; 50,000 data points
  • Norway has been top of the list every year since beginning of SEDA in 2012
  • Big takeaway was the correlation between happiness and the % of people over 15 years old with access to bank accounts

consultantsmind-economist-measuring-well-being-2

8) Mismanagement of opioids here

  • Opioids – morphine etc – are incredibly effective at easing pain
  • They are cheap: $2-5 is enough to ease the discomfort of a cancer patient for a month
  • In the US, millions are addicted; it cause 20,000 overdoses in 2014
  • US, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe is 17% of world’s population, but consume 92% of all morphine

consultantsmind-economist-mismanagement-of-opoids

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