The last section of Chapter 5 may feel a little out of place: after examining the ins and outs of statistical testing, using flight safety and lotteries as a backdrop, I tagged on a coda on the laudable but poorly-executed attempt by the government to make flight safety data available to the public. I remarked: "a few well-chosen numbers paint a far richer picture than hundreds of thousands of disorganized data." (p.154)
At the time, I debated whether to drop this section because it has little to do with the key concept of the chapter (statistical testing). In hindsight, the decision to leave it intact is wise. An exact parallel has developed in the case of the Fed making credit card terms and conditions available to the public.
As reported in the New York Times, the Fed merely dug a hole in the ground, and filled it with piles of PDF files. They provide a simple search engine so if you know what you want to know, you may be in luck; and if you want to understand the big picture, you are on your own.
Lest you think this interface was designed for experts only, the left margin proclaimed this the "Consumer's Guide".
Maybe Ed Tufte will get around to fixing this (and a myriad other government databases).
On to political culture. I found two headlines for the NYT article, one more favorable to the administration and one more descriptive of reality. I leave you to decide. The paper version I looked at has the headline shown on the right.
Reference: "Credit Card Database is Heroic and Mystifying", Sewell Chan and Andrew Martin, New York Times, May 24 2010.