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The Joy of Stats: Statistics Explained

Hans Rosling is best known for his visualization of statistics data: he makes engaging animated displays that show how statistics (like AIDS rates, economic data, and even census data) change over time. By animating the data, Rosling helps laypeople understand what the statistics mean over time, and how to draw meaningful comparisons between data points. Last month, fellow blogger Ransom posted a short clip from Rosling's documentary The Joy of Stats, an engaging hour-long look at Rosling's work, and an explanation of how statistics are useful in daily life. This film is light on math and heavy on practical applications -- it's worth a look if you're interested in statistics, or if (like me) you don't know much about them but want to understand more. The whole hour-long documentary is embedded below. Here's the hyperbolic YouTube description:

Documentary which takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the wonderful world of statistics to explore the remarkable power thay have to change our understanding of the world, presented by superstar boffin Professor Hans Rosling, whose eye-opening, mind-expanding and funny online lectures have made him an international internet legend.

See also: Rosling's TED Talk on AIDS from 2009. Also interesting is Rosling's Gapminder project.

(Via Kottke.org, via Waxy.org.)

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Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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What's the Saltiest Water in the World?
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Saltwater is common around the world—indeed, salty oceans cover more than two-thirds of the globe. Typical saltwater found in our oceans is about 3.5% salt by weight. But in some areas, we find naturally occurring saltwater that's far saltier. The saltiest water yet discovered is more than 12 times saltier than typical seawater.

Gaet’ale is a pond in Ethiopia which currently holds the record as the most saline water body on Earth. The water in that pond is 43.3% dissolved solids by weight—most of that being salt. This kind of water is called hypersaline for its extreme salt concentration.

In the video below, Professor Martyn Poliakoff explains this natural phenomenon—why it's so salty, how the temperature of the pond affects its salinity, and even why this particular saltwater has a yellow tint. Enjoy:

For the paper Poliakoff describes, check out this abstract.

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