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In which John discusses some of the maps he uses to try to understand the big stories of contemporary human life on Earth. The maps used in this video and other sources. First, our world in data is an AMAZING resource:

1. The world population divided into tenths:

2. Peru and Somalia are bigger than you might expect: and

3. Mean years of schooling have risen worldwide:

4. CO2 emissions over time have risen.

5. So has the temperature almost everywhere on Earth:

6. This fascinating map of global borders shows how new most nation states are, and how recent their borders were established:

7. A dramatic increase in the percentage of births attended by trained healthcare workers has contributed to a dramatic decline in maternal mortality worldwide:

8. I'm not one of those people who think we're on the verge of conquering death, but we are delaying death significantly, although much work remains to be done, especially among impoverished communities. But in the last 35 years, life expectancy has increased by over ten years in most nations. Nothing like this has ever happened before--we've never seen a consistent, worldwide increase in life expectancy. Like, never. So that is worth celebrating.

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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.
So on the Youtube channel Healthcare Triage doctor Aaron Carroll often says that data is not the plural of anecdote. But in a world where there are so many factual anecdotes out there it can be difficult to see the larger truths that data can tell us; for instance there are terrible crimes every day in the United States, but that doesn't change the fact that the US homicide rate is lower than it was 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years ago. Anyway, to try to understand the world better I often use maps, and here are seven that I found especially helpful.

First, we have this map which divides the human population into tenths. I like this one because it reminds me that Canda, the United States, Mexico, most of the Caribbean, Chile, Peru, and more only constitute 1/10 of the world's population. the world is so much bigger than my world, and the human story is so much bigger than the human stories I usually hear. Also, since I mentioned Peru, Peru is big! As is Somalia. Those are not among the 7 maps, by the way, those are bonus maps. You're welcome. 

Then there's this map from Our World in Data, which shows the average years of school people had around the world in 1950. The yellow is between 0 and 2 years, the green between 2 and 6, and as the colors get darker, people get better educated. Here's 1970, and then here's 1990, and here's what it looked like in 2010. There are still huge gaps between rich and poor countries and between rich and poor people within many countries, but even so, all around the world kids are getting more educational  opportunities, which is good because it means more potential innovators to solve all of the problems we are leaving those kids with.

Speaking of which, here's what global CO2 emissions looked like in 1950, almost all the emissions coming from the world's wealthiest countries. Here's 1970, and here's 1990, and this is 2016: a few countries starting to get lighter, but only a few. Meanwhile, this map shows average temperature changes between 1965 and 2014. Red areas are where the Earth has gotten warmer, white areas are where the temperature hasn't changed, and blue areas are where it's gotten col- there is no blue. 

Then there's this amazing map of global borders and when they were created. I'll put links in the Dooblydoo so you can explore all these maps in detail, but the fascinating thing to me here is just how recent many national borders are. Like, we often think of nation-states as intractable realities and national borders as fixed, but, in fact, most national borders are less than 120 years old.

Okay, let's return to Our World in Data to look at this map of the percentage of births in 1991 that were attended by trained healthcare workers: doctors, nurses, midwives, etc. In Brazil, it was under 70%; in India, 34%; in Mali, 26%. Now let's flash forward to 2015. In Mali, 60% of births are attended by a healthcare worker; in India, it's over 80%; and in Brazil, it's over 95%. The benefits of this are staggering. 522 thousand mothers died in childbirth in 1991. In 2015, 303 thousand did. We still have a long way to go, but that is real progress. 

And lastly, let's look at my favorite map: Life Expectancy. I know this is a controversial position, but I believe that human lives should be long and healthy. Here's what global life expectancy looked like in 1980, and here's what it looked like 35 years later. All around the world, low and middle-income countries, from China to India to Peru to Angola, have seen life expectancy go up by at least 10 years, and, in some cases, 20. 

So thank you, Mapmakers, for giving me hope, and also, when appropriate, fear. Hank, before I go, one thing: I enjoy sponsoring AFC Wimbledon so much, and it has made me want to sponsor other things. So if you're part of a club, or team, or organization, or whatever that could use modest sponsorship (like, think high 3-digits to low 4-digits), email me at with the subject line "Sponsorship."

And when I say "sponsorship," I don't mean "donation," which is a separate thing. I mean getting some kind of "Marketing Value" in exchange for the sponsorship, like our logo on your uniform or something. If it sounds like I said that to make sure I'm cool with the IRS, I did. But right, 

I apologize in advance for all of the awesome things I won't be able to sponsor, but I'm going to try to sponsor at least a few things. Hank, I'll see you on Friday.