Hans Rosling is a professor from Sweden who is an expert in world health, but has pioneered some amazing ways to look at massive amounts of data. I mean truly AMAZING. I can think of at least a dozen uses for this software to help visualize changes over time. Don't let the topic scare you, this is incredible to watch.
The Trendalyzer software (recently acquired by Google) turns complex global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop.This video is one of the TED Talks videos from the 2006 TED Conference.