Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.

The tiny-little-bomb and the tiny-little-murderer: visualizations and infographics

I’m a big fan of smart infographics and data visualizations. We best assimilate information when we can picture it in our minds, empathize with it and when it incites our imagination. And infographics can do these tricks in the best ways possible.

But is visualizing which dictator killed most people something we should do?


By comparison with Mao and Stalin, Yakubu Gowon, looks like an amateur. Maybe it’s a mistake he’s on the list, was he really a dictator? North Korea’s Kim Il Sung also seems pretty fine. 1 million people is just one drop, a dot, and what does that mean?


The dictators visualization reminded me of the image above. By comparison with Tzar Bomba, Bunker Buster seems to be a firework for New Years and Mike is a baby-bomb, even a bit cute.

But there’s also Hiroshima.

I don’t remember numbers or size, but I remember the photos and the suffering and everything that happened after. And maybe, to understand all these, empathy is most important and a bit of imagination. Maybe we don’t need to simplify this kind of information to put it in one image. Maybe it’s enough to hear some stories and understand them each in context, instead of comparing numbers.

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