Hans Rosling on population growth and other, related things.
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There’s a lovely piece in Pieria about a data visualisation exhibition at the British Library, positing John Graunt’s analysis of London deaths as an early spreadsheet. And yes, there were some errors in it.
Randall Munroe, over at xkcd, does some really funny cartoons, and is a physicist by training. Every week he answers a hypothetical question: this week it’s How much of the Earth’s currently-existing water has ever been turned into a soft drink at some point in its history? His answer, by the way, is “not much”. […] Read more
A few days ago I noted the difficulty of thinking in terms of dependency ratios: being economically active is a continuum, rather than black or white. There’s another side to the story, too. An aging population can provide opportunity, not only by producing products that appeal directly to a growing segment of the population, but […] Read more
Tags: dependency ratio
Frances Coppola makes some interesting points about dependency ratios, sparked by this article from The Economist. We often see charts showing the proportion of the population aged over 65 compared to those between 16 and 64, based on the assumption that the former aren’t working and the latter are. The trouble is, as Frances points […] Read more
Tags: dependency ratio
Last autumn I was at an actuarial event, listening to a presentation on the risks involved in a major civil engineering project and how to price possible insurance covers. It must have been a GI (general insurance), event, obviously. That’s exactly the sort of thing GI actuaries do. The next presentation discussed how to model […] Read more
On 1 March I gave the Worshipful Company of Actuaries lecture at Heriot-Watt University. Here’s the abstract: Being an actuary nowadays is all about modelling, and in this lecture I’ll discuss how we should go about it. We all know that all models are wrong but some are useful – what does this mean in […] Read more
Apparently, in the USA at least, death rates rise during periods of economic expansion and fall during economic downturns. I don’t know whether this holds in the UK as well. One possible reason for this is that when people feel well off they eat and drink more (and more unhealthily). Another is that people drive […] Read more
Cause of death statistics are notoriously unreliable, for several reasons. Most notably, most of the information comes from death certificates, which only have space for a single cause. Often, there are a number of factors which together resulted in the death, and it’s rather random which cause is chosen, and which manifestation of it: proximate, […] Read more
A month ago I, like many other general insurance actuaries, was at GIRO, our annual conference. There were around 650 people there, slightly under 20% of whom were women. And the proportion of speakers who were women was even lower (many thanks to Kathryn Morgan for the stats). I think it’s fair to say that […] Read more