Blog Archives

Sorting out the data, and creating the head-shake manual

December 1, 2016
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Sorting out the data, and creating the head-shake manual

Yesterday's post attracted a few good comments. Several readers don't like the data used in the NAEP score chart. The authors labeled the metric "gain in NAEP scale scores" which I interpreted to be "gain scores," a popular way of...

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Involuntary head-shaking is probably not an intended consequence of data visualization

November 30, 2016
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Involuntary head-shaking is probably not an intended consequence of data visualization

This chart is in the Sept/Oct edition of Harvard Magazine: Pretty standard fare. It even is Tufte-sque in the sparing use of axes, labels, and other non-data-ink. Does it bug you how much work you need to do to understand...

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Political winds and hair styling

November 23, 2016
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Political winds and hair styling

Washington Post (link) and New York Times (link) published dueling charts last week, showing the swing-swang of the political winds in the U.S. Of course, you know that the pendulum has shifted riotously rightward towards Republican red in this election....

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Mapping the two Americas

November 17, 2016
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Mapping the two Americas

If you type "two Americas map" into Google image search, you get the following top results: Designers overwhelmingly pick the choropleth map as the way to depitct the two nations. Now, look at these maps from the New York Times...

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This election forecasting business

November 15, 2016
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This election forecasting business

If you live in the States, and particularly a blue state, in the last year or two, it has been drilled into your head that Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win the Presidential election. On the day before the election, when all the major media outlets finalized their "election forecasting models," they unanimously pronounced Clinton the clear winner, with a probability of winning of 70% to 99%. One…

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Here are the cool graphics from the election

November 10, 2016
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Here are the cool graphics from the election

There were some very nice graphics work published during the last few days of the U.S. presidential election. Let me tell you why I like the following four charts. FiveThirtyEight's snake chart This chart definitely hits the Trifecta. It is...

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How will the Times show election results next week? Will they give us a cliffhanger?

November 4, 2016
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How will the Times show election results next week? Will they give us a cliffhanger?

I don't know for sure how the New York Times will present election results next week; it's going to be as hard to predict as the outcome of the election! The Times just published a wonderful article describing all the...

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Reader’s Guide to the Power Pose Controversy 3

November 2, 2016
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This is the third and final post about the controversy over statistical analysis used in peer-reviewed published scholarly research. Most of the new stuff are covered in post #2 (link). Today's post covers statistical issues related to sample size, which is nothing new, but it was mentioned in Amy Cuddy's response to her critics and thus I also discuss it here. In post #2 (link), I offer the following mental…

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An example of focusing the chart on a message

November 1, 2016
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An example of focusing the chart on a message

Via Jimmy Atkinson on Twitter, I am alerted to this chart from the Wall Street Journal. The title of the article is "Fiscal Constraints Await the Next President." The key message is that "the next president looks to inherit a...

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The idol worship of objective data is damaging our discipline

October 28, 2016
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In class last week, I discussed this New York Times article with the students. One of the claims in the article is that the U.S. News ranking of colleges is under threat by newcomers whose rankings are more relevant because they more directly measure outcomes such as earnings of graduates. This specific claim in the article makes me head hurt: "If nothing else, earnings are objective and, as the database…

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