There’s a very confusing graphic in today’s New York Times:
Take the last column for instance. It seems to say that the approval rating among blacks is 57%, and the difference between democrats and blacks is 77%. By using the sophisticated mathematical identity
(democrats – blacks) + blacks = democrats,
I find that 134% of democrats approve of stem cell research.
Is just an editing error? Should the label “democrats minus blacks” just read “democrats”? That’s the only way I can make sense of it.
As long as I’m here, I’ll whine a bit more about the Times’s choice of graphics. The Times magazine usually runs a small chart to illustrate a point related to the first short article in the magazine. It’s clear that the editor has decided that making the graph interesting-looking is more important than making it convey information. Here’s a particularly annoying example:
If you wanted to design a way to hide the information in a graphic, you couldn’t do much better than this. The whole point of the pie slices is to allow a comparison of the areas, and they’re drawn in a perspective that almost perfectly hides the areas from view. Where’s Edward Tufte when you need him?