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I think the imagery they are trying to show is that of a windshield - the dark blue quarter circle represents the area of a windshield that a wiper wipes clean.


Last night I wrote that we should start calling this kind of graphic "data decoration":


I can't claim ownership of the term, I believe. I think that Tufte and Few have used similar terms themselves.


It's interesting that a graph isn't needed to support the article, which only says "...windshield wipers have been re-engineered again and again." If the sentence said "hundreds of times", or "almost 3000 times since 1920", maybe some evidence world have been worthwhile.

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