Guide to spotting data BS

Jul 25, 2016

As we delve deeper into election season, politicians will spit out more and more statistics to lend some factitude to their talking points. Some are real, and others will be less real. David Spiegelhalter for the Guardian provides a nine-point guide on how to sift out the latter.

On estimates and margin of error:

Next time you hear a politician boasting that unemployment has dropped by 30,000 over the previous quarter, just remember that this is an estimate based on a survey. And that estimate has a margin of error of +/- 80,000, meaning that unemployment may well have gone down, but it may have gone up – the best we can say is that it hasn’t changed very much, but that hardly makes a speech. And to be fair, the politician probably has no idea that this is an estimate and not a head count.

Ah, that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

Favorites

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but …

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.

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.

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.