Site is calling BS on crappy data visualization and other annoyances


Originally published at:


OH wow that books one is so not the right proportions it isn’t even funny…


Did you notice where the horizontal “0” line is on the chart? It makes the whole thing even worse.


I, for one, would love to bring back more boring looking graphs. Reading 4-5 easily read high contrast graphs is much better than one bullshit color explosion.


That graph is also craptacular because “Most Read” >< “Most Sold.” Get rid of the # of bibles sold to hotels/motels and maybe it’s still the most read book, but not the most most most read book.


The brief “Case Studies” are well worth reading. Here, from one about a flawed analysis of the rapidly closing ‘gender gap’ in 100m race times includes this gem.

A. J. Tatem and colleagues calculate that women may out-sprint men by the middle of the twenty-second century (Nature 431,525; 2004). They omit to mention, however, that (according to their analysis) a far more interesting race should occur in about 2636, when times of less than zero seconds will be recorded.

The case study on “Traffic Improvements” also includes this lucid point, vital in current times:

“…How can you call bullshit on something that is true?”

Good question. How can you call bullshit on something that is true? The answer is that true statements can be bullshit if they distract you from more important facts or give you the wrong impression about an overall situation.


The book graph is so incredible wrong…

They neglected to include Dianetics!


The calculations on the caffeine one are all wrong (though their conclusion isn’t), because they made the fatal mistake of assuming that a fluid ounce actually weighs an ounce.


There are other ways of combining these kinds of data into a single chart, but…


The ones that boil my blood the most are things like this:

Note what they did to the Y axis.


Not to mention, there is absolutely no way that more people have read The Da Vinci Code than the Q’ran. No way.

And, they’ve got books mixed in with series of books etc. etc. etc.


Brass Eye FTW!


Wait, did they put the zero at the TOP of the Y axis as well?


It is on Faux News so it’s not a surprise it’s screwed up.


That’s not even one of their worst offenders.


Meta here:

Why is it that every time someone learns something we in the field have known for 50(0)(0) years there’s a new Tumblr or viral video?

It’s like the Internet version of dorm room philosophy. Every new generation gets to declare water is wet. (Side observation: Internet generations are much smaller than traditional cohort generations.)

Meta meta: including this comment.



Do they not realize that 7.1M is a greater number than 7M???


“Let’s let the viewers decide.”


Fuck; that’s even worse than the ‘Egypt is somehow not on the continent of Africa’ map…


A: “But Egypt is in northern Afri—”

B: “FAKE GEOGRAPHY. Take it somewhere else, snowflake!!”


Who knew security gates could be sentient enough to meet a diplomat?