Light entertainment: the Wired touted pie
Lunch and talk Wednesday

The incredibly expanding male

It's a mystery to me how there are always people who ignore certain rudimentary rules of graphing data. I'm talking about such clear guidelines as:

  • Bar charts encode data in the heights of the bars -- therefore:
  • You should start each bar at height zero, and
  • You should not vary the width of the bars (unless you are introducing another dimension), and
  • You should space the bars unevenly if your measurement times are unevenly spaced.

I mean, how is it in the year 2013, the BBC shows viewers this? (tip from UK reader Clarke C.)


The chart is absurd on its face. Men did not double in height between 1871 and 1971.  This chart was broadcast in the show "breakfast" which apparently is the BBC UK version of Good Morning America.

I'd just use a line chart. The figurine construct is cute but too much trouble because you have to grow the width while growing the height. If you encode data in the area, then the height is no longer proportional to the real height.

Years ago, we featured something similar: how penguins evolved into humans (link). Curiously, also a gift from British media.


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