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Old 02-03-2005, 10:16 AM   #1
JVegVT
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Default Interesting read on misleading presentation techniques

I came across this today and thought it would be of interest to forum members. I haven't read it yet, so I don't now if it will turn out to be as promising as it looks.

It's a chapter from a book Edward Tufte is working on called Beautiful Evidence. Whereas most of the book is supposed to be about techniques that are helpful for presenting evidence such as tables and statistics, this chapter is about how to spot misleading or corrupt presentations of evidence. Here's the URL:
http://tinyurl.com/5athc

Better hurry! The page will be posted for only a few more days.
--Judy M.
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Old 02-03-2005, 01:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by JVegVT
I came across this today and thought it would be of interest to forum members. I haven't read it yet, so I don't now if it will turn out to be as promising as it looks.

It's a chapter from a book Edward Tufte is working on called Beautiful Evidence. Whereas most of the book is supposed to be about techniques that are helpful for presenting evidence such as tables and statistics, this chapter is about how to spot misleading or corrupt presentations of evidence. Here's the URL:
http://tinyurl.com/5athc

Better hurry! The page will be posted for only a few more days.
--Judy M.
Interesting. Very hard to read, though. Mr. Tufte, who is notoriously hard on graphic designers (for “chart junk” and other offenses) ought to learn how to present text on-line so it can be read.

I find I agree with his points more than his remedies. People seem to insist on simplicity even for complex topics, for example. But condemning bullet points out of hand is just silly — relying on them is foolish (for presenter or audience), but using them? There is a school of thought that says that the foils are no more than an outline; the meat is in the speaker’s discussion. (And considerable science that says the bullet points reinforce the speech and then serve as a reminder of its substance.)

But I am not a Tufte groupie.

Thanks for the link.

   
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:47 PM   #3
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Interesting stuff...I particularly liked the part about artitsts, their ages and the "value" of their work...'-}}

I've heard of Tufte and have seen ads for his books but I've never actually seen or read any of his work...

Thanks for the url...

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Old 02-06-2005, 03:37 PM   #4
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I haven't had a chance to read the chapter yet. I agree--it looked rather forbidding as presented online. It was also hard to save because it's not text, but a picture of the pages as printed.

I think he just wanted comments and wasn't concerned with the online presentation.
--Judy M.
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Old 02-06-2005, 04:30 PM   #5
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I think he just wanted comments and wasn't concerned with the online presentation.
Probably so.

I have Tufte’s earlier books, and have what I guess is mixed opinions of them. Yes, there is terrible stuff done in the graphic presentation of data. But sometimes his solution is just draconian. Oh, well.

   
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Old 02-07-2005, 12:26 PM   #6
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KT:

Was there any more to be said after How to Tell Lies with Statistics?

Michael

   
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Was there any more to be said after How to Tell Lies with Statistics?
Not sure.

You do, however, remind me to mention Huff’s adage:
If you can’t prove what you want to prove, demonstrate something else and pretend that they are the same thing.
I am reminded of that every morning as I sit down with my morning paper!

   
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Old 02-07-2005, 02:41 PM   #8
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KT:

'demonstrate something else and pretend that they are the same thing'

Tufte's opening example ('9/11') is a good example of this. After having said that 'America's domestic agencies' were at fault (rather vague, but Americans probably know which agencies are meant—probably not the FDA etc.), he then complains about the use of five passive verbs.

Michael

   
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