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Envisioning information: The Economist  way. The Economist is beyond question the best English-language weekly magazine. A high level of reporting covers the whole globe, mixing short news and in-depth reports (many of them being good stand-alone essays) supported by the wealth of graphical presentations. And recently, a year or so, Iíve noticed the graphics raised to a higher level of information envisioning; a good example is the graph below. The importance of a good data envisioning canít be overstated: the world is complex and multidimensional while numbers in tables and text belong to a flatland, an arrow at best. Data by themselves are not information: the perception of data related to an existing mind-frame becomes an information. It is the goal of data graphical displays to facilitate data rendering into information.

Japanese population: 1950-2050

Here is the text related to the above graph (The Economist, December 1st - 7th 2007):

The reform of Japan's labour market is being driven by the need to become more competitive and flexible in the face of global competition. But Japan also needs to tackle a longer-term threat: the aging of its population. The share of its population aged 65 and over, currently 21%, will rise to 25% by 2014 and 36% by 2050. Japan's fertility rate has also been declining, hitting a low of 1.26 in 2005, though it has since risen slightly, to 1.32. But that is still far below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. So as well as ageing, Japan's population is now shrinking. By 2030 Japan will have two workers for every pensi-oner; by 2050 there will be only 1.5. Large-scale immigration, the solution favoured in other rich countries, is not culturally acceptable in Japan. So it will have to put more women and old people to work in order to maintain its workforce.

 2007-12-02 

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Krešimir J. Adamić