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Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 08:31 UK

Can statistics be beautiful?

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Professor Hans Rosling has been credited by Microsoft's Bill Gates as one of his inspirations to give so much to charity - the reason? Beautiful graphs.

Mr Rosling makes animated graphs, like the above graph comparing the UK and China over the last 200 years, for his non-profit organisation Gapminder.org .

Using data from international organisations such as the UN, he hopes his graphs will persuade people to give up their misconceptions about the modern world.

"The Western world is a very powerful illusion in Britain," he says. "It doesn't exist."

"When we discuss about the world we just use mindsets, we don't use data sets. We have a continuous world where most people live somewhere in the middle."

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