The Grinch Comes Back

December 5, 2012

(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Wayne Folta writes:

In keeping with your interest in graphs, this might interest or inspire you, if you haven’t seen it already, which features 20 scientific graphs that Wired likes, ranging from drawn illustrations to trajectory plots.

My reaction:

I looked at the first 10.
I liked 1, 3, and 5,
I didn’t like 2, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
I have neutral feelings about 4 and 6.

I won’t explain all these feelings, but, just for example, from my perspective, image 9 fails as a statistical graphic (although it might be fine as an infovis) by trying to cram to much into a single image. I don’t think it works to have all the colors on the single wheels; instead I’d prefer some sort of grid of images. Also, I don’t see the point of the circular display. That makes no sense at all; it’s a misleading feature.

That said, the graphs I dislike can still be fine for their purpose. A graph in a journal such as Science or Nature is meant to grab the eye of a busy reader (or to go viral on the web), not necessarily to allow data exploration.

Please comment on the article here: Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science