Warning . . . Worldometers is a virtual, real-time, worldwide, statistical, mashup that may cause dizziness and vertigo . . .

December 20, 2010 | Richard

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The first time I visited Worldometers I had the feeling that I was suddenly put into orbit and looking down on the collective activity of all earth's human inhabitants: here presented in real-time are statistics on 'World Population', 'Government and Economics', 'Society and Media', 'Environment', 'Food', 'Water', 'Energy', and 'Health'. Within these broad categories are spinning clocks, some going fast, others moving slowly, recording total numbers on things like: "Births today", "Cellular phones sold today", "Carbon dioxide emissions this year, in tons", "Tons of food produced this year", "People with no access to safe drinking water", "Days to the end of oil", and "Road traffic fatalities this year".

Where do these statistics come from and how accurate are they?  According to their website, Worldometers is managed by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers "with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world". It is further claimed that "sources are carefully selected to include only data published by the most reputable organizations and statistical offices in the world". Indeed, it is an impressive list, and includes our very own Statistics Canada (1). For each hyper-linked clock, you can see what statisical sources are used to compile the figures. However, there are many clocks for which there are no sources linked - and in these cases, there may or may not be footnotes.

And what about the real-time aspect . . . how does that work? According to Worldometers, the real-time numbers are based on Worldometers’ algorithm "that processes the latest and most accurate statistical data available together with its estimated progression to compute the current millisecond number to be displayed on each counter based on the specific time set on each visitor’s computer clock". You can consult their frequently asked questions page to learn more about the mechanism.

All in all, it's a very informative and intriguing site.

(1) Because TRL has full depository status, we can provide access to the Stats Can E-STAT service - containing CANSIM and the Censuses. E-STAT is available in all 99 Branches of Toronto Public Library - unfortunately, these databases are not available remotely.

p.s. According to Worldometers, at the time I submitted this entry to our site, worldwide there were already 378,950 blog posts published today . . . or is that 379,015 . . . ? . . .