One in Seven Billion

I’m a big fan of the visual display of quantitative information, but which I mean using pretty pictures to illustrative complex concepts and facts.

On the left is a classic example of the art. Produced in 1885, it depicts Napoleon’s advance on Moscow and subsequent retreat, the battles and distances involved, his rapidly diminishing army and the falling temperatures throughout the campaign.

There are lots of more up to date examples at Information is Beautiful, such as How Safe is Flu Vaccine, appropriate at this time of year, at least in the northern hemisphere.

Even so, sometimes you see things that really blow your socks off.

Yorkshire Pudding published this post on population yesterday which in turn lead to this calculator on the BBC website.

According to this, I was the 76,011,685,432nd person to be born since history began and the 2,689,957,420th to be alive at that moment. But then I’ve always suspected that I wasn’t unique.

What really hammered home the population message though was the graph that came with the unimaginably large numbers. That’s it below, illustrating that the number of people living on this planet has more than doubled in my lifetime. And it is climbing.

It really makes us seem like a virus infecting the Earth.


Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • rog 29th October 2011

    love it.
    will steal.

  • Lassa 29th October 2011

    Nice, visualisastion through models and diagrams really has been going on since the dawn of time, it makes me smile about the high strung academics who think that these such models are unique to explaining theory and somehow try to take ownership of them!

  • Yorkshire Pudding 30th October 2011

    Ever heard of the concept of “intellectual property”? Pinching my idea to line your blog is the height of bad manners you bounder and my solicitor will be in touch with you shortly! Solicitors, by the way, have increased in number faster than the expanding population Qatar! So graph that!

  • Yorkshire Pudding 30th October 2011

    …of Qatar

  • Mr Parrot 30th October 2011

    Plagiarism is the sincerest form of intellectual theft and I think the BBC will have something to say to us both!


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