Let me continue a a discussion that I started last week on my blog. Perhaps this is the place for it.
I want to explain why stories that contain numbers are powerful for people like me. I sometimes get the feeling that the Constellation regards numbers as part of an academic analysis. So we need numbers in order to support submission to a peer reviewed journal.
I think that there a large number of people (like me) who are persuaded by a numerical analysis. I don't believe that the numbers are just there to be part of a peer reviewed journal.
I want to give 3 examples.
The first is from my entry is the blog last week. My behavour has been changed through an appeal to my values and by a numerical fact that allowed me to act purposefully. Have an accident with a child when you are travelling at 40 mph and there is an 80% chance that you will kill her. Have an accident with a child when you are travelling at 30 mph and there is an 80% chance that she will live. (I use the female pronoun because I can see the girl in the television advert.)
The second is the Phayao story. That graph is tremendously powerful. It is powerful for me and I have seen its power with others on a large number of occasions.
The third is the Richard Holbrooke article from the Washington Post (see attachement). The first sentence starts off with a sentence which just stays in my mind. Here it is:
"On the day you read this column, an estimated 12,000 people worldwide will contract HIV. Ninety percent of them, about 10,800 people, will not learn they are infected until full-blown AIDS hits them --in 2015. Until then, those people will unintentionally spread the virus that lies silently within each of them."
These 3 sets of numerical data tell a story in (for me) dramatic detail.
The first one says, "Here is action that YOU can take."
The second one says, "There is a solution."
The third says, "Here is a very daunting problem."
I believe that there is a large audience out there who are willing to be convinced with data such as these.
We need to be collecting and crafting some of our stories to reflect this 'Way of Thinking'.