Reason; as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, or conduct

Category: Statistics


A very clever article putting wealth in perspective.



Different routes to the same destination

Different routes to the same destination

A fascinating representation of statistics on causes of death in the 20th Century.




Today there are considered to be around 6900 living languages. Although the different word structures of languages like Cantonese (as well as the varying definitions of what constitutes a word) make comparisons of the number of words in a language difficult, English is considered to be the largest. Various major dictionaries place the number over half a million; however, a study by Harvard and Google that analysed over five million books found that the language had over a million words (1,022,000 at the time of the study). They also found that this number grows by around 8,500 words per year. Mind you, if Shakespeare was still writing today it might be increasing faster still. He was attributed, in his published work, as either inventing or first recording around 1700 words.


TED talk: David Pizarro: The strange politics of disgust

TED talk: David Pizarro: The strange politics of disgust

There is, at all times, a fascinating interplay in our minds between the higher conscious control that we are afforded today, and the more surreptitious direction we receive from our emotions. There is real wisdom in the practice of considering your judgements when you are not emotionally stimulated. Just as fear will course through your body and influence your decision making, so too will other emotions have their say in your views; albeit perhaps only to be ironed out of our memories in their tirelessly active editing rooms. David Pizarro is describing a topic many would readily reject as contradictory to their personal experience. As such, he needed to be extremely thorough with the data that could be used to describe this phenomenon, and to his credit he has covered every base.


How to be best understood

According to censuses from 2007, the most recent globally available data, the five most spoken languages, by native speakers, are as follows: Mandarin (935 million speakers); Spanish (387 million); English (365 million); Hindi (295 million); and Arabic (280 million).

The overall figures of how many people speak particular languages (including non-native speakers) are available from 2010 data: Mandarin (1151 million); English (1000 million); Spanish (500 million); Hindi (490 million); and Russian (277 million).