Category Archives: serious

Maſſachuſetts

Although well known to day for its social liberalism, Massachusetts was formerly a notorious Puritianic stronghold. This can be easily seen in looking through the current (!) laws.

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Same name, same ideas

If you live in the United States, or are familiar with United States policy disputes, you are probably aware that the (US) FCC is collecting comments on their Internet regulatory policy known as “network neutrality”.

Unsurprizingly, people are accusing other people of astroturfing by making fake comments on the proposed changes. I checked to see if my name was so (mis)used and found that there was someone of the same name – and same views – living on the other side of the country!

Graphiqual entertainment and education

A Wikipedian post for today, I discovered, within a short amount of time, two very highly worthwhile pieces of media from the English Wikipedia. They are both on the subject of graphical display of information.

First, the serious one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misleading_graph

I remember in 7th grade algebra we very (Very) lightly touched on this, but didn’t go into it at all. This is a valuable description of crap graphs that can easily make things look both different from what they are, and authoritatively so. I remember reading a book by Tufte that had some of this in it, but here it is for free. I was unsurprized, and put out, to find out that graphs in finantial statements are not required to be, essentially, true. In other words, they won’t be, because they don’t have to be. Offencive.

Second, the silly one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chernoff_faces_for_evaluations_of_US_judges.svg

The fact that these represent various attributes of individual people just makes it even harder to not imagine these are actual people’s faces. Now, I understand the idea behind Chernov faces: You can pack alot of data into a face. However, faces bring up biases. None of these look like a mother-in-law, but look @ S. S. Cohen. S/He sticks out completely because their face is round and the rest of them aren’t really. They also look bummed @ something. Maybe that their neighbor, R. J. Callahan, has an absolutely massive jowl? And why does J. J. Bracken have eyebrows that are actually growing out of their eyeballs?