Sunday, November 10, 2013

xkcd and numbers

As economists, our profession is numbers, no less than for mathematicians. But we often forget to put numbers into context. Say, cost of the financial crisis, 6 billion dollars (or 14, or whatever figure you personally prefer). How much is that in terms of lost value? Do you know the world's GDP by heart (you should though). A tiny add-on to your browser can solve that, by adding automatic "contextual statements". It will tell you for example 6 billion dollars presumably lost in the crisis is the whole China GDP of 2011.

Or it could tell you that your credit card balance is roughly average CEO's hourly pay, or a per capita income of Brazil a few years ago.

And it does all that on the spot, making inline adjustments to webpage code, without any additional input from you.

I should not have to tell you that if you are not reading xkcd, you are missing out. Go read it, as in - right now.
But apart from an amazing comic and a 'what if' series, Randall Munroe also made this amazing chrome extension, which is free for downloading (and yes, i, as well, want it for opera. Proper opera, not that chromium thing).

Get it here.

And, yes, xkcd's hat guy will have access to all your data on all your websites. I am not sure whether that's scary or awesome.

For those of you, who are more interested in xkcd than in economics - there is a leopard<->keyboard extension too over here. Browse the internet with word keyboard being replaced by leopard on every webpage. :)

Maybe someone can make a mandatory extension to replace the "devaluation" with "depreciation" in all those texts online, written by those poor stupid bastards, who confuse fixed and floating exchange rate systems. But i am afraid the hope is lost in that department.

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