Creative visualization of World War II deaths

Here’s an example of visually presenting complex data:

It is really difficult to grasp 400,000 American battle deaths in WWII, or a million deaths at Stalingrad, or many millions of Chinese slaughtered by the Japanese, or the death from the 2 nukes or daily firebombing of Japan.

The Fallen of World War II does a superb job of putting the tragic cost into visual form. The video is 15 minutes and presents a huge amount of info.

If you are interested in history, especially military history, you will get a lot out of the presentation.

If you want to see a brilliant visualization and draw some ideas on how to present complex information, you will want to check it out.

You can see it on vimeo here.

Covering the controlled territory, battles, and casualties of the Civil War in a very short video? A superb creative visualization.

How’s this for a very creative visualization? A four-minute video that tells the story of the American Civil War through the amount of territory controlled by the Union and Confederate forces with mention of major battles and a casualty counter in the corner.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum created The Civil War in Four Minutes.

You can view the video here at what appears to be the only authorized place to host it.

Update on 1/19/19: Video is no longer available online. You need to buy a copy if you want to see it. A bootleg copy can be found online, but I won’t link to it.


4,000 years of history in 1 chart – superb visualization

Think you could map out the history of the world over the last 4,000 years, showing the relative power of all the major governments and people groups, and then put all that info into one chart?

John B. Sparks did just that back in 1931. His five-foot-long chart can be seen at Slate – The Entire History of the World – Really, All of It – Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart.


“Deck the Halls with Macro Follies” – Economists sing your favorite holiday carols

Remember the rapping economists we saw here and here?  They’re back!

Just in time for Christmas, EconStories imagines their fantasy Christmas album featuring the classic hits from Keynes, Hayek, and other renown singers you know and love.

Enjoy the greatest collection of economic hits ever aggregated.


 Remember, the only one who has the power to create presents out of thin air is Santa himself.

If you want a few 20 second explanations of how to slow or increase the economy, check out the new interpretations of your favorite songs of the season.

Link, if you need it:

hat tip Cafe Hayek

Moving up the value chain – data, information, knowledge, wisdom

What’s the difference between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom?

John Bredehoft pointed me to an academic definition from Sujatha Das, in her post Difference between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom.

Value increases dramatically with each step up. Knowledge is far more valuable that just information. Wisdom far surpasses knowledge in value.


Words as a creative visualization? Part 2

Previous post introduced the idea that software could take raw data and convert it to a usable news article.  My friend John Bredehoft introduced the idea to me.

I think it is a great way for creative visualization of raw data.  Good way to help us understand a mass of numbers.

What does an auto-written article look like? 

Here are a few examples I found.  They are all on the Forbes website, where Narrative Science is credited as the author.


Words as a creative visualization? Part 1

I enjoy watching for creative ways to explain things.

I’ve discussed rap videos to explain economics, the federal budget illustrated on a one-page chart, and using one map to show the destruction of Napoleon’s army during his invasion of Russia. That one map does a better job of telling the story that a 1,000 word article and far faster than a 100 page book.

I have tried my hand at creative visualizations by producing two animated cartoons.  They tell the story of setting up good internal controls in a local church. Part one has received over 900 views on YouTube. Part two is here.

Here’s a big brain stretch for you – using a computer program to turn raw data into a story – creative visualization using words


Economic development makes every country healthier and richer

Incredible visualization of 200 years of economic development and improvements in health around the world.  A professor creates an entertaining visual of how health and wealth has increased in 200 countries over 2 centuries.  Does it all in under 5 minutes.  (more…)