« Review: Curve Ball | Main | Review: Curve Ball 2 »


John S.

I think your dot chart would be more informative if you used a log scale. The U.S. and Russian stockpiles are so large that any number less than about 500 looks like zero.

Mike Anderson

This would actually be a good candidate for the dreaded stacked bar chart; it's count data with subdivisions. And as John S says, the 2+ order of magnitude range in the data cries out for a log scale -- or a v-e-r-y long, skinny graph.

John F. Opie

What makes the chart even worse is that the distinction made is specious: we actually don't know how many warheads Israel, Pakistan et al may or may not have, and the distinction between stockpiled and operational warheads is not meaningful when the country involved doesn't talk about their active systems. For all we know, Israel and Pakistan may well have warheads on missiles, or Indian and Israel, or whatever combination you might make up.

The only point where the difference between operational and stockpiled warheads makes any sense is in a detailed analysis of secondary and tertiary threat stances, as well as a discussion on the difficulties of achieving nuclear reduction goals.

And the comment on log scaling is absolutely correct: otherwise there really isn't much of a graph here.

And there really isn't much of a graph here: it's only a table...


I agree with John O in questioning whether such a chart is necessary to begin with.

As for log scale, I try to avoid them if I can. The reason is that it has both benefits and costs. The benefit of inducing separation at the small end of the scale is obvious.

The dreaded cost, for me, is that it makes visual estimation of distance impossible. The same physical distance now means very different things at either end of the scale. The lay person will likely misjudge this.

I'm not a fan of the dot chart. It becomes harder to read the more nukes a nation has stockpiled. A good chart is not stockpile-dependent.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Link to Principal Analytics Prep

See our curriculum, instructors. Apply.
Marketing analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker. Currently at Columbia. See my full bio.

Book Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

The Read

Good Books

Keep in Touch

follow me on Twitter