Category Archives: Visualisations

Solving Humanity With Data Science

Part 01 – The beginning

a perfect world

In the book, A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin says “Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well”. The quote has an impending truth to it, almost as if he is warning us of a dark end to humanity itself. Since the beginning of time, man has faced adversity in myriad forms, from the whimsical destructions of nature to the test of time itself. The most potent enemy that man has had, however, is himself. Civilization has helped us grow out of the wild hunters that we were, into a species who are capable of designing complex systems like money, transportation, politics and even send ourselves to outer space. We as a species have explored and exploited our world, created cities with remarkable architectures and invented concepts overtime that would have baffled our ancestors. Why is George R.R. Martin then, warning us of an imminent and dark danger? Why can’t we, humans, who are capable of anything, create a perfect world to live in, a utopia? The truth is, we can’t, because we’re a troubled species and a very profane enemy lurks in our system; as the proverb “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” elegantly summarizes.

The society that we’ve evolved into today has some serious social flaws, including Gender bias, Poverty, Crime, Resource scarcity and I could go on. On December 16, 2012, a heinous act by a few individuals in abusing and causing a girl’s death saw a nation protest in unison. These crimes are the weak links that scar our society, tumours that terrify the innocent, and incidents that make humanity very far away from creating a perfect world. Barely two years since, on July 02, 2014, a six year old child was abused in a school, an innocent childhood that probably ended too soon. Society is ridden with such problems, problems that bring us down every time we showcase our achievements, problems that ridicule our very being. These problems though, aren’t new, they have a very human element to them – Anger, Greed, Lust, and the like. In some sense, religion has an answer to these weaknesses of mankind. At Gramener, Science is our religion, and we introspect today, if one of our greatest achievements (Science) can create a perfect world.

Science is a methodical system, it’s a study of nature’s behaviour and can be quantified by numbers. Science helps us create models with the help of numbers and equations to represent and answer some of the most complex questions that we have ever faced in our history. We have to use this, our greatest strength, to try and solve the issues that are inhibiting us from evolving into a higher, and more civilized species. The numbers that I talk about, the numbers which can quantify situations and systems, is nothing but data. There is data, hidden everywhere, in our world today. Data about people, data about weather, data about transactions, data about what people are thinking on online media, data everywhere. This burst of data has been a natural evolution of the Internet, one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Can these numbers that are everywhere, help us look at a story that is hidden from the naked eye? Can these numbers help us identify patterns of human failures? Can we scientifically provide a solution that can solve humanity?

Germany beats Bosnia, Belgium

“Germany beats Bosnia to claim FIFA 2014 Slugfest title, Belgium wins bronze”

Yes. You read that right. Those were the results of our exploration of the physique of teams which participated at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Tall & Short Tales

Each team had a squad of 23 players. Each bar here represents a team, the height of the bar is the average height of players in the team and the width of the bar indicates the average weight. Lets start off by arranging the teams based on their average height.

Team heights

In the 2014 World Cup the Germans were the tallest with an average height of 1.86 m and also the heaviest weighing 79.35 kilos on average.

Mia Hamm the American World Cup Soccer champion said,

“If a team wants to intimidate you physically and you let them, they’ve won.”

It was not just their intimidating physique but also their superior skill and team work that helped the Germans win the World Cup. They were the perfect combination of ‘brain’ & ‘brawn’, demolishing anything that came their way.

Germany team height

The players from Chile were the shortest with an average height of 1.76 m.

Chile team height

And the players from Japan were the lightest weighing 71.43 kgs. Mexico was close at 71.65 kgs.

Japan team weight

European Domination

Amongst the tallest teams, the first 5 were all European! – Germany, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belgium, Croatia & England. Spain was the shortest and lightest of the European teams.

European team height

South America

The South American teams were at the bottom half, Brazil being the tallest of the lot with an average height of 1.82 m.

South American team height

North America

With the exception of the United States (1.83 m) the other North American teams – Costa Rica, Honduras & Mexico – were amongst the shortest.

North American team height

Africa & Asia

The African & Asian teams fill the rest of the gap. The Super Eagles (1.83m) were the tallest African team

African team height

while South Korea (1.84m) was the tallest Asian team.


A European Phenomenon?

Let’s arrange the teams by order of Average Weight and study the Europeans. Out of the 6 teams in the bottom half, with the exception of transcontinental Russia, 5 are Western European – Portugal, Italy, France, the Netherlands & Spain. Note: Teams are now ordered by Average Weight.


BMI Scores

Arranging the teams based on their average BMI scores we find that Cameroon has the highest mean BMI score of 23.67 and Russia and Japan the lowest at 22.58.

Team BMI

The Giants & Giant Killers

Lets now move on to the players themselves. Who were the tallest, shortest, heaviest & lightest players in the 2014 World Cup?

Fraser Forster, the English Goal Keeper was the tallest standing tall at an astonishing 2.01 m.

Fraser Forster

Edgar Salli, the Cameroon forward was the shortest player at 1.63 m.

Edgar Salli

Daniel Van Buyten, the Belgian defender was the heaviest weighing 96 kilos

Daniel Van Buyten

and the Brazilian midfielder Bernard Anicio Caldeira Duarte was the lightest weighing 57 kilos.

Bernard Anicio Caldeira Duarte

Tallest & Heaviest by Player Positions

In most teams it was either a goalkeeper or a defender who was the tallest or heaviest. But there were also exceptions. Notice that a forward was the tallest player in these teams – Chile (Mauricio Pinilla), France (Olivier Giroud), South Korea (Shin-Wook Kim) & Portugal (Hugo Miguel Pereira de Almeida ) – while a midfielder(Reza Haghighi) was the tallest player in the Iranian team.

Tallest player by position

Tallest player by position

The tallest players of France, South Korea & Portugal (all forwards) also happened to be the heaviest in their teams while a forward from Italy (Mario Balotelli ) and another from Chile(Jean Beausejour) were the heaviest in their respective teams.

Heaviest player by position

Heaviest player by position

Before we go, who do you think won the 2010 slugfest? Germany? Wrong! It was the Serbians! Gotcha!

Dear Brazil

Dear Brazil,

7 – 1.

Ouch! Did that hurt?

In case you are wondering what just happened, you’ve just been ‘Blitzkrieged’ .

‘Blitzkrieg’ is a German term which means ‘lightning war’; a war conducted with great speed and force. You may want to read a bit about this World War phenomenon of ours here, to really understand what happened on the 8th of July 2014.

You can take comfort in the fact that we haven’t done this for the first time. In fact, ‘Blitzkrieg’ to us is a habit …

Please see the  image below for our rich ‘blitzkrieg’ history.


We’ve been looking for a big one, and thanks for accepting the invitation.

With Love,
The German Football Team 2014
Finalists Smile