Sunday, 12 March 2017

#NewsSpeak: Hans Rosling one of my heroes

Could Hans Rosling, educator extraordinaire, change the world of MS? #NewsSpeak #MSBlog

In recent months I have found myself becoming increasingly depressed by the news and the state of the world. The news cycle has become so dominated by Donald Trump and nationalistic, or jingoistic, issues that I made a conscious decision to stop nearly all my news feeds (BBC, Yahoo News, Espresso Economist, The Economist and Twitter) and stopped reading the newspapers. The only feeds that I now allow through are from the the technology section of the New York Times and my cooking feed, ChefSteps. I have stopped reading the Evening Standard (London tabloid) and the weekend newspapers, and I have tried to avoid, sometimes unsuccessfully, the BBC News at 10, Newsnight and the Andrew Marr Show (Sunday political talk show). I still read my daily Pub-crawler and Google Alerts that are programmed to summarise all new publications and patents relevant to MS and my weekly/monthly medical (NEJM, BMJ and Practical Neurology) and science journals (Science, Nature and Nature Medicine). However, even in these journals the editorials and commentaries have become dominated by Trump and Brexit.

I was therefore very saddened to hear that Hans Rosling, one of my heroes, died over a month ago. I am so sorry that I missed this piece of news. It makes me worry about what-else I have missed by hiding from the news? 



I would recommend read Rosling's obituary in this week's BMJ (Obituaries: Hans Rosling. BMJ 2017;356:j888). He co-founded Gapminder to educate the world, and became public educator extraordinaire. He referred to himself as the Edutainer. Millions of people use the Gapminder tools to share his vision of a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand.

I wonder if Gapminder can be adapted to the field of MS? There are so many misconceptions and alternative facts in the field of MS that an MS version of Gapminder could address. The following TED talks speak to the power of education and a worldview that is not Trumpest, nationalistic or jingoistic. I will miss Hans Rosling. I am also missing the sanity of the liberals.



12 comments:

  1. I was very upset by all the negative news after the election, so I started to read breitbart to understand these crazy people. After reading breitbart for a few weeks I took the red pill and am now shocked at the liberal nonsense I used to believe. My advice is; take the red pill.

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    1. Re: ".... take the red pill."

      I would prefer a purple pill; wouldn't it be nice if the blues and reds got together and made government work?

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    2. If I ever started to read the horrible Breitbart, I would take the black pill.

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  2. You are so lucky, Prof G, to live in the first world so only you have to do is remove news channels from your feed and be happy again.

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    1. I am not sure being denial has made me happy again. I'm in limbo!

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  3. It is indeed very sad these, especially across the pond, in the United States. With the pathetic replacement for ACA proposed by Republicans, I am afraid of the kind of challenges that face me and other MS patients.

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  4. Hans Rosling RIP. I agree he was a true giant. Prof G you should take-up the challenge and try and learn from his techniques. If he can do it in relation to economics and poverty you could do it in relation to MS.

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  5. Don't you find change exciting? Uncertainty isn't all bad. What would the media do without Brexit and Trump? I'm looking forward to the Dutch and French elections. You need to think why people are voting for politicians / parties who don't fit with your views. It's strange that you can't bring yourself to read the news - you used to moan at some MSers for burying their heads in the sand.

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    1. I am not putting my head in the sand; I just can't handle the avalanche of news and the way it is distracting me from my tasks in hand. Hans Rosling's task was a noble one; he was positive and upbeat about the future. That's what I am going to be positive and upbeat about the future and focus on what I do best.

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    2. One of my friends has worked for the police for 30 years. We don't chat about current affairs because she doesn't watch the news. She deals with vile people who do vile things, the sort that feature in the news. It is tough work and takes it's toll, when she goes home the last thing she needs is a brief on all the bad stuff going on in the rest of the world. What she achieves at work is a service to the community in which she lives, if everyone did that there may well be a little less of the bad news to report.

      Head in the sand, or the 'ability to accept the things one cannot change, courage to change the things one can, and the wisdom to know the difference'?

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  6. Ever since I saw his TED talk a few years ago I have been fascinated by the science of data visualisation. As a consequence, I have time and time again redone presentations, graphs, etc., as if I asked myself: how would Hans Rosling do it.

    I have also been forcibly trying to stay clear from all the noise in the news and sadly I too missed the news of his death. I can see how you admired him because like him you are "obsessed" with communicating science in a simple fashion.

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  7. I can't stop reading the BBC news website, the health section in particular every morning before I check this blog. I find the internet distracting and have to be strict with myself if I am going to achieve much in the day.

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