Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Dubbahdee sends along an article by a design company showing how graphic presentation can make different impressions - all of them true - arise from the data. They disguise their own slant - if they have one - admirably well, though if I had to guess I would think they lean left.

The examples given by Darrell Huff in How To Lie With Statistics are more linear.  This example is a little subtler, not only relying on our immediate visual impression, but on our quiet assumptions as well.  I will repeat, BTW, that the Huff 1954 book, though all the dollar values should likely be increased by a factor of ten now, should be required reading in highschool.  When folks take it into their head to design a canon to suggest for secondary education, that title is nearly never on the list, but immediately assented to once someone suggests it in the comments.  List-makers tend to favor books which teach Great Ideas.  Seeing through Bad Ideas may be more to the point.


james said...

Amen. And I'd put Parkinson's Law on the list, or at least excerpts from it. (I suggested to a couple of professors that they make their grad students read it and The Mythical Man-Month. They nodded politely.)

Dubbahdee said...

It is now on my amazon wishlist and on Emma's HS reading list. You are correct sir. If a HS student is not provided with a highly sophisticated BS detector, they are in deep doo doo.