Archive for March, 2013

On Pie Charts and Their Utility

March 29, 2013


Edward Tufte has long claimed that pie charts are entirely useless. The polemic linked in these images and below argues that there are cases where not only are pie charts useful, but they are clearer than bars or other types of charts. Consider the images above: when comparing individual segments, the bar chart is clearly superior and makes comparisons elegant and simple. However, if the intended point is to show that companies B and C control the majority of the market, then a pie chart is enormously effective. Click through for a well reasoned championing of pie charts.

Why Tufte is Flat-Out Wrong about Pie Charts


How Money Moves in the US

March 28, 2013

This map shows how money moves across the US. Using data from, a dollar bill tracking site, Dr. Dirk Brockman, a theoretical physicist, found the borders which dollar bills do not cross. An interesting map, with quite a few non-surprises. Many of these borders seem logical and map well to other, similar types of border studies.



Income inequality and life expectancy

March 19, 2013

Not really a surprise, income inequality and life expectancy are related. From WAPO.

American Food Spending 1984-2011

March 11, 2013


The American grocery bill has been steadily shrinking since 1984. Americans now spend less of a percentage of income on food than any other nation (11.2%).

–from Business Week

Inequality in America

March 4, 2013

Occupational Backgrounds of Politicians

March 1, 2013


This chart shows the previous jobs of politicians for lawyers, civil servants, professors, and economists. There a number of notable different compositions, but the United States has a clear, comparative lack of professors, Greece has the most economists, The Netherlands has the most academics, and many countries use predominantly civil servants.

–from The Economist