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View Diary: Nate Silver's data sourcing leaves me speechless (121 comments)

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  •  This is an awesome diary. (5+ / 0-)

    Not because it undermines Nate so much as it lays out how charts and graphs can be unscrupulously manipulated to make virtually any point.  I have a winger friend who sends such charts all the time.  I don't think even he realizes how the data points are being sk(r)ewed.  Thanks for the analysis.  

    Life is good. Injustice? Not so much.

    by westyny on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:07:19 PM PST

    •  Figures don't lie (9+ / 0-)

      but Liars sure can figure....

      I've asserted for years that lack of knowledge of statistics and charts and graphs has created many, many misperceptions of events, and that doesn't even include stuff like selection and confirmation bias, log scales, and just bad or mis-grouped data as mentioned in this diary.

      My favorite simple example is people who say "Life expectancy has gone up so much in the last 70 years no wonder Social Security has a problem/Ponzi scheme/Deficit creator, etc". Life expectancy AT BIRTH has gone up considerably, but mostly that's on account of improvements around infant mortality - but SS doesn't care about that - it's longevity AFTER REACHING 65 that matters, in actuarial terms. and that HAS gone up as well, but much less than one might think.

      Use the wrong data, interpret it the wrong way, get a wrong conclusion.....

      Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

      by blindcynic on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:09:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You should get to know the work of Edward Tufte... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      westyny, greengemini, madhaus

      ...with his Wiki page link being RIGHT HERE. Personally, his work has been an inspiration to me throughout my career.

      Numbers and graphics are just like words. Using the diarist's own word for it, they may be "arranged" to tell a story; any story one may wish to tell, in fact (or fiction, for that matter)!

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:24:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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