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Oscar diseconomy

OscarBusiness Week dissected the beneficiaries of the Oscar show as shown on the right.  Although this doesn't work well as a data graphic, if thought as a variant on the data table, it is more engaging for readers.

Lets have some fun with the Oscar statue.  First, putting a bar chart next to the statue confirms that the height of the segments (rather than the area) is in proportion to the dollar values (below left).

Tufte, Chambers and others have shown that our eyes react to the areas, not heights.  So next, I estimated the areas but stretched them out into segments of equal width.  Squeezing the entire column back down to the height of the statue, the following chart (below right) puts perceived proportions next to the true proportions, displaying visually the extent of distortion. 


Reference: "News you need to know", Business Week, Jan 28 2008.


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The proportions don't seem to have any relevancy so a table would have been sufficient.


I think this type of thing is why I hate 3-d pie charts. Are you aware of any evidence that 3-d pie charts can be distortionary?

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