Serial views

Posted to Statistical Visualization  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Like many, I’ve been listening to Serial every week, but I always just listened through my podcast app. So I missed this little bit from Adnan Syed way back in the second episode. He sent the two graphs above to the host Sarah Koenig. The graphs show tea price changes over time for two stores and Syed asks Koenig which store she would get her tea from. She says the first one, which has a more steady price.

Look again, Adnan said. Right. Their prices are exactly the same. It’s just that the graph of C-Mart prices is zoomed way in — the y-axis is in much smaller cost increments — so it looks like dramatic fluctuations are happening. And he made the pencil lines much darker and more striking in the C-Mart graph, so it looks more…sinister or something.

This was Adnan’s point: See how easy it is to look at the same information, but, depending on how it’s presented, come to two different conclusions about what it means? The 7-11 graph is the “innocent” graph. The C-Mart graph is the “guilty” graph. But they contain the same information.

See also: the baseline.

Favorites

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

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 …

Divorce Rates for Different Groups

We know when people usually get married. We know who never marries. Finally, it’s time to look at the other side: divorce and remarriage.

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.