“Graphics can be brutal.” Not to mention grossly misleading. Anyone looking at that graphic is going to compare the area of the dots, but the numbers actually correspond to the diameters. For example, it looks like you could fit 8-10 of the Valdez dot inside the Horizon dot, but the actual amount spilled by Horizon is less than four times that of the Valdez. Likewise, the Gulf War spill looks between 50 and 100 times worse than the Horizon, but the numbers show it’s really about 13. So if the leak continues at the current rate, Horizon will leak more oil than the Gulf War spill in less than two years’ time — but you’d never guess it from the graph.

Don’t draw any conclusions from this graph — look at the numbers instead. A bar chart would have been far more useful, but then it wouldn’t be as artistic.

06/09/2010

“Graphics can be brutal.” Not to mention grossly misleading. Anyone looking at that graphic is going to compare the area of the dots, but the numbers actually correspond to the diameters. For example, it looks like you could fit 8-10 of the Valdez dot inside the Horizon dot, but the actual amount spilled by Horizon is less than four times that of the Valdez. Likewise, the Gulf War spill looks between 50 and 100 times worse than the Horizon, but the numbers show it’s really about 13. So if the leak continues at the current rate, Horizon will leak more oil than the Gulf War spill in less than two years’ time — but you’d never guess it from the graph.

Don’t draw any conclusions from this graph — look at the numbers instead. A bar chart would have been far more useful, but then it wouldn’t be as artistic.

Other chart-makers have made the same mistake: http://www.cringely.com/2009/02/wall-street-cant-count/

06/09/2010

Thanks for that correction… and link.