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

Who is Older and Younger than You

Here’s a chart to show you how long you have until you start to feel your age.

Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016

Here are my favorites for the year.

Causes of Death

There are many ways to die. Cancer. Infection. Mental. External. This is how different groups of people died over the past 10 years, visualized by age.

Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically

There are a lot of great craft breweries in the United States, but there is only so much time. This is the computed best way to get to the top rated breweries and how to maximize the beer tasting experience. Every journey begins with a single sip.