Thursday, December 13, 2012

We're #1! And I still hate infographics

Sometimes I think I should link to my blog on my facebook page.  Then I realize that would mean I couldn't repost ignorant infographics with impunity.  Like this one:

As of this writing, this has been shared over 1000 times, and that's just by one group.

Now seriously, does this even look right?  My guess up front is no more than 5 of these are correct, even before considering reporting issues.

First, I had to dig around for the source data.  I pretty quickly found looks like it might have been the original source for this.  As a test, I tried Total Crimes, and came up with exact list above (US, UK, Germany, France).  Now, this is total crime, not per capita, and at the bottom of the list there's this disclaimer: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report, than actual prevalence.  O RLY?

Seriously though, I'm not even going to get nitpicky on this one.  I just want to see how many of these lists are even accurately copied.  Inaccuracies will be in bold.  Ready?  Let's go:

#1 Total Crimes:  Accurately transcribed
#2 Rape: Nope. Per capita rapes go: Lesotho, New Zealand, Belgium, Iceland and totals are: France, Germany, Russia, Sweden
#3 CO2 Emissions: Accurately transcribed
#4 Divorce Rate: Accurately transcribed
#5 Teen birth rate: US is at the top, but only 40 countries are on here...they all appear to be the OECD countries too.  Anyway, the next 2 are's Bulgaria and the Czech Republic (Slovakia is correct)
#6 Heart attack: Couldn't find an actual "heart attack" category, but heart disease deaths go: Slovakia, Hungary, Ireland, Czech Republic
#7 McDonald's: Accurately transcribed with TOTAL numbers, but per $ of GDP, we're only #4
#8 Plastic Surgery: Weirdly, this is the only one not on the website.  I dug up a chart from the Economist though, and it put the top 4 as South Korea, Greece, Italy, and Brazil.
#9 Prisoners: Accurately transcribed

So that was slightly better than expected.  3 were patently wrong, and I would quibble with the teen birth rate as our leading the list requires that only developed countries be counted.  

Interestingly, out of the nearly 200 comments, only 4 people asked for the source data, and only 2 people offered up some sort of record keeping type objection.  

As I went a little further in to the Nationmaster data, I discovered that China passed the US for CO2 emissions in 2007, so that one was just old info on the website.  I also found that our divorce rate per capita is highest, but not when you compare it to the number of marriages we have.  

So the only ones left are total crimes (by convictions) which would definitely feed in to having a high number of prisoners (that we acknowledge....China I'm looking at you).  McDonald's was started here...I'm pretty sure we have the most Starbucks as well. 

That's 3 out of 9.

Good job internet.  

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