Oh, What Data I Would Love to Have

If I were to have a complete set of data on any topic(s) I would probably choose the topics that affect my everyday life and my own personal interests.

Commuting on the train to class every morning I’m curious as to the story behind everyone else’s choice to take the train that I take. Data wise, I would love to know just how many of the people on my train are active students (presumably on their way to class like myself), how many have finished with school and are on their way to work and even how many people take the train in the morning simply to spend the day somewhere besides where they live.

I would also be interested in more specific details on income, the type of housing and possibly their ability to transport themselves using methods other than the train.

Using this data I would hopefully be able to understand a bit more about the people I see so often on the train and possibly piece together some sort of narrative of us train commuters. Are we all wildly different in our situations outside of the train, or are we possibly more similar than we’d expect.


Another topic that I would be intrigued to have the data for, is something not so personal to my daily life, but rather data on the Mongol people under the administration of Genghis Khan (and later his sons) over the course of the empire’s lifespan.

I’m fascinated with the success the Mongols had over the course of the empire’s ‘golden period’ of conquering, and I would be interested in seeing how the massive amount of wealth surging into the Mongol’s pockets influenced them personally. DId they become softer and less like the rugged steppe ancestors that lived before the new influx of wealth.

I would be very intrigued to know just how much money the average Mongol soldier, engineer, officer, etc. made during this period of conquering. Other pieces of data involving life expectancy, infant mortality, rate of disease (with all of that gold switching hands so quickly) and other elements of health would all be fantastic to have.

Organized together in a sort of narrative I think it would be a fantastically interesting story to watch unfold as some of the poorest (to my own understanding) people on the planet became some of the wealthiest very quickly. How did this affect the Mongols during their time in the spotlight as the world’s most successful conquerors?

Unfortunately I probably won’t ever have these types of data sets, but the idea of storytelling through data is simply fascinating — even in theory.


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