Juice TESTING in Competitive Sports

Posted to Mistaken Data  |  Nathan Yau

It’s easy to see how Statistics got this bad wrap because it’s so easy to lie with data, charts, and graphs. Sometimes it’s on purpose — someone might try to present “good” results that actually suck. Sometimes it’s accidental — someone might have misread or didn’t read the documentation that came with the data. In the case of Swivel’s most recently featured graph, it was the latter. A case of mistaken identity so to speak.

The data about doping tests in sports came from here. Now the graph on Swivel would have you believe that the data represent the number of doping cases found in each sports; however, according to the USADA report, the data is actually the number of tests the association conducted inside and outside competition during the first quarter of this year. The report contains no data on the USADA’s findings.

What We Learn

What can we learn from this? It’s great to visualize data, but you have to be careful. Read the documentation. Find out what the data is about, because without context, the visualization or any findings are practically useless. Statistics isn’t to lie. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Statistics came about and exists today to reveal the truth.


Famous Movie Quotes as Charts

In celebration of their 100-year anniversary, the American Film Institute selected the 100 most memorable quotes from American cinema, and …

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.