Go watch it, then come back.
No, really. I’m about to reference a specific visualization, so you should see it first. If you get bored, just watch the first sequence (until the flying people-graphs are done).
Ok. Wasn’t that cool?
The instructor in me, though, noticed an implicit message in the visualizations that I think would reinforce incorrect assumptions that my students make all the time. My students are constantly looking at census data, for example, and hoping that they can make talk about how many of these people from this chart in their hands that describe educational levels — how many of these people died in that other chart on accidental deaths. They’re wanting to track individuals rather than talk about probabilities and percentages. And the initial example that Flake uses to talk about mortality and age absolutely reinforces that faulty understanding of the data. Icon-people fly from one column to the next as he filters for different characteristics, making it seem like if you just concentrated enough, you’d know everything there was to know about that one blue guy who started off 3rd from the right of the 4th row.
I really wish the visualizations had figured out a way to make each one appear to be exactly what it was: a snapshot of a sample. Right now it looks like they’re drawing on incredibly detailed longitudinal data.