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Watch A Real-Time Simulation Of All The World’s Births And Deaths
October 15, 2013
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Every hour in Canada, about 43 people are born and 29 people die, which means that if you watch this striking new visualization by Brad Lyon for about a minute, you should see a little red or green dot appear somewhere within our borders.

As its name suggests, "World Births and Deaths in Real-Time" is an interactive display which maps out the beginning and ends of life around the world. The data is simulated, of course: there's no central planetary database of births and deaths. Instead, Lyon combines countrywide statistics with city location and population data, and plots it all in real-time.

To lessen the computational burden, Lyon limited the locations to cities with populations of at least 10,000 — even still, he ended up with more than 21,000 locations for his map. "There are so many cities I just had no idea existed," he writes on his accompanying blog post. "And seeing the simulated events in such specific geographic context as the simulation progresses adds a sobering poignancy."

Lyon had previously created a similar visualization limited to just the United States, a sort of trial run for this world-wide edition. He talked to The Atlantic Cities about how the experience of watching the two differs:

Since the events occur at a fairly higher rate [on the world model] than for the U.S. (of course), the experience of watching them is quite different from the U.S. simulation. For the U.S. visualization, there is usually a several-second gap between events. This allows time for a reflection on what must really be happening across the country as you watch the simulation. For the world visualization, the events are occurring relentlessly at an almost overwhelming rate.

Via The Atlantic Cities


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