Home > Statistic of the Week > Archive List > Detail

<< Prev 12/10/2006 Next >>

"The Flu" vs. "The Wave"

Consider this unusual set of "facts":

  • Average time required for a flu pandemic to circle the globe in the 20th century: 6-9 months
  • Average time required for a flu pandemic to circle the globe today: 3 months
  • Estimated time required to do "The Wave" in a line of people circled around the globe: 1.5 months

First, given the first two facts, try to explain what is going on here...as it seems like things are going backwards.

Second, check the veracity of the estimate...how many people are needed to form a line around the globe. Set up an experiment: how fast does "The Wave" travel down a line of people...etc.

Third, try to comprehend and explain the implications of the second fact relative to the given estimate for "The Wave."

Source: Fast Company, March 2006, p. 95