Income, Party and Happiness
Seeing trends

Noble attempt

One can scarcely find a media outlet more committed to printing interesting data graphics than the New York Times.  By printing the following scatter plot, it shows a level of sophistication as yet unmatched.

The graphic has a few problems:

  • confusing labels: it appears that athleticism is equivalent to "elements" so that "better elements" and "more athletic" are the same
  • redundant labels: there shouldn't be a need to print "more artistic" inside the chart and "better artistry" along the axis; it's even more confusing as they point in different directions
  • mysterious line: it's not clear how the line was created; is it a linear regression line?  I'd have thought that a 45 degree line would be appropriate if the scoring scales for artistry and elements are identical
  • bad choice of statistic: even though they have access to two years of data, instead of plotting average or median scores, they showed "highest" score.  Thus, a poor skater may show up on the top right corner on the strength of just one performance during those two years

Reference: "Cohen Cultivates Sublime Status: Quiet Contender", New York Times, Feb 21 2006.


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