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Sean Carmody

Good post, as usual! While I understand separating lunch and recess, presumably part of the reason that they would be included in the main group is to highlight the fact that more time is spent on lunch than music. I would suggest that the decreasing order be maintained but that lunch are recess are given a different colour to separate them visually from the other bars.

Robert Kosara

Actually, that left chart is a really nice extension of the square pie chart/waffle chart into 3D. I think it shows the differences quite nicely, and is certainly visually a lot more appealing than a boring old bar chart.

I agree about the comparison, though I guess they asked about the times per week in their survey (kids will hardly spend the exact same amount of time on each subject or activity every day).

The numbers also seem flawed: they only account for a little over one day per week. What do they do they do with the remaining 8408 minutes/140 hours? Perhaps they should invest some of that in more relaxed lunches ...

Sean Carmody

The totals look ok to me: around 28 hours per week or 5.5 hours per day. Given that these figures only cover the school day (so travel, sleep, etc are not included) they are at least the right order of magnitude. There could be some lesser activities not included and I'm not sure how long the typical school day is in the US.

P.S. Is there any means of contacting the author with ideas other than posting comments?


Sean: Not sure if you are wanting to talk to me or the author of the NYT article. If it's me, then the answer is yes. Click on the About this blog link to find my email address. Lots of readers have sent in suggestions. The only problem is for me to keep up!

Also, using a different color for lunch & recess is definitely an attractive option.

Robert: I thought about the total hours and came to the same conclusion as Sean. Seemed like it made sense. I'm not a big fan of square pie charts/ waffle charts. I'd be happy to use a dot chart in this case.


I think the original chart is better than the bar graph. However, a pie chart would have worked best here. Only because you can visually see each category against one another as a percentage of the entire circle. But that's just my opinion.

Hisham Abdel Maguid

Epic Systems together with Beemode (www.beemode.com) have developed a Data Visualization software "Trend Compass" almost ready to be released soon. It is an extension to Gapminder which was invented by a Swedish Professor. You can view it :

- www.gapminder.org

It is a new concept in viewing statistics and trends in an animated way. It could be used in presentation, analysis,research, decision making, etc.

Here are some links :
- Part of what we did with some Governmental institution:

- A project we did with Princeton University on US unemployment :

- April 2008 Media Monitoring on Cars TV ads (ad duration vs occurences over time) :

- Ads Monitoring on TV Sattelite Channels during April 2008. Pick Duration (Ads daily duration) vs Repeat (Ads repetition per day).

I hope you could evaluate it and give me your comments. So many ideas are there.

You can test the software by uploading data on our website and getting the corresponding Flash charts. This is for a limited number of users.


Eng. Hisham Abdel Maguid

Victoria Dean

The first graph is very misleading. The pictures are the wrong size and very distracting. Lunch and recess should be seperated bcause they are not classes and the scale should be shortened. I would have gone with a pie chart in-order to convey the information. A pie chart would have given a clearer indication of the differnce in time spent in each subject.

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