Does the news reflect what we die from?

This is a page from the excellent site, “Our World in Data” which describes its mission as:

We believe that a key reason why we fail to achieve the progress we are capable of is that we do not make enough use of this existing research and data: the important knowledge is often stored in inaccessible databases, locked away behind paywalls and buried under jargon in academic papers.

The goal of our work is to make the knowledge on the big problems accessible and understandable. As we say on our homepage, Our World in Data is about Research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems.

This helps us evaluate how we acquire knowledge about the world and how reliable it is. Specifically, this helps us explore the contrast between emotion and reason as ways of acquiring knowledge and gives us some specific materials around the utility of math and data in learning about the world.

Among many questions they ask is whether the news reflects what we die from and why it matters. Great data and visuals along with discussions of the key issues involved.


The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it

From the same site an exploration of macro world trends regarding global living conditions and our misperceptions of them.


Here is a simple handout I made from the relevant text from the above links along with appropriate graphs and images. I’ve added nothing  to these. Just cut and pasted what I thought was most relevant for a class. Haven’t used it yet.

Download Perception vs Truth

Related handouts:

Download Assessing Risk Handout

Here is the article that accompanies the handout above.

Download Ten Ways We Get the Odds Wrong

Some different questions that get at the same point.

Download Alternative Assessing Risk

Here is yet another interesting example from Swedish physician Hans Rosling. He came up with a simple quiz assessing people’s knowledge of human development statistics. Even development experts were woefully unaware. You can take the quiz here: 

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