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Infographics worthy of the name

The Guardian (via Graphic News) has put out some fantastic infographics posters, so we can't say they are all bad. This is a big collection created in anticipation of the London Olympics. Here's one illustrating the 10,000m race: (link)


It's nice that they give an overview of the race, plus the calendar. The evolution of men and women times is shown on the same scale. In order to stress the improvement over time, they omitted those years in which the times did not improve (I think, although there are some mysterious omissions of data labels).

They have charts for all the different events and also in water sports, gymnastics, etc.

PS. I do not know why the women's times were omitted from some of the charts (100m, 200m etc.) In those charts, the lines for men are better colored blue to align with the dots on the calendar.



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Rick Wicklin

Usually I comment on the statistics/information, but for this poster I'm rather impressed that the runner's leg is used to draw the reader's eye down the slope of men's 10K records and her arm is used for the women's records. Think about it: there's no reason to think that one static image of a runner in mid stride should fit both slopes, even if you allow for scaling and translation of the image. In this case, the feat is accomplished because the average slope for men's and women's records are about the same, and Tirunesh Dibaba's arm and leg are approximately parallel. If the slope of the women's records were substantially flatter, this image would not have worked as well.

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