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Archive of posts filed under the Statistical graphics category.

An unconvincing analysis claiming to debunk the health benefits of moderate drinking

Daniel Lakeland writes: This study on alcohol consumption (by Craig Knott, Ngaire Coombs, Emmanuel Stamatakis, and Jane Biddulph) was written up in the BMJ editorials as “Alcohol’s Evaporating health benefits.” They conveniently show their data in a table, so that they can avoid graphing a “J” shape that they constantly allude to being wrong… But […]

Draw your own graph!

Bob writes: You must have seen this. I like it. But not enough to spend time blogging about it. I’ll try blogging it myself . . . OK, yeah, this interactive graph is great. It reminds me of “scatterplot charades” exercises we do in class from time to time. Somebody should write a program so […]

Why is this double-y-axis graph not so bad?

Usually I (and other statisticians who think a lot about graphics) can’t stand this sort of graph that overloads the y-axis: But this example from Isabel Scott and Nicholas Pound actually isn’t so bad at all! The left axis should have a lower bound at 0—it’s not possible for conception risk to be negative—but, other […]

Meet Teletherm, the hot new climate change statistic!

Peter Dodds, Lewis Mitchell, Andrew Reagan, and Christopher Danforth write: We introduce, formalize, and explore what we believe are fundamental climatological and seasonal markers: the Summer and Winter Teletherm—the on-average hottest and coldest days of the year. We measure the Teletherms using 25 and 50 year averaging windows for 1218 stations in the contiguous United […]

“Another bad chart for you to criticize”

Stuart Buck sends in this Onion-worthy delight:

Vizzy vizzy vizzy viz

Nadia Hassan points me to this post by Matthew Yglesias, who writes: Here’s a very cool data visualization from that took me a minute to figure out because it’s a little bit unorthodox. The way it works is that it visualizes the entire world’s economic output as a circle. That circle is then subdivided […]

ShinyStan v2.0.0

For those of you not familiar with ShinyStan, it is a graphical user interface for exploring Stan models (and more generally MCMC output from any software). For context, here’s the post on this blog first introducing ShinyStan (formerly shinyStan) from earlier this year. ShinyStan v2.0.0 released ShinyStan v2.0.0 is now available on CRAN. This is […]

An Excel add-in for regression analysis

Bob Nau writes: I know you are not particularly fond of Excel, but you might (I hope) be interested in a free Excel add-in for multivariate data analysis and linear regression that I am distributing here: I originally developed it for teaching an advanced MBA elective course on regression and time series analysis at […]

“Menstrual Cycle Phase Does Not Predict Political Conservatism”

Someone pointed me to this article by Isabel Scott and Nicholas Pound: Recent authors have reported a relationship between women’s fertility status, as indexed by menstrual cycle phase, and conservatism in moral, social and political values. We conducted a survey to test for the existence of a relationship between menstrual cycle day and conservatism. 2213 […]

Hey, what’s up with that x-axis??

CDC should know better. P.S. In comments, Zachary David supplies this correctly-scaled version: It would be better to label the lines directly than to use a legend, and the y-axis is off by a factor of 100, but I can hardly complain given that he just whipped this graph up for us. The real point […]

You can crush us, you can bruise us, yes, even shoot us, but oh—not a pie chart!

Byron Gajewski pointed me to this several-years-old article from the Onion, which begins: According to a groundbreaking new study published Monday in The Journal Of The American Statistical Association, somewhere on the planet someone is totally doing it at this very moment. “Of the 6.7 billion inhabitants of Earth, approximately 3.5 billion have reached sexual […]

I actually think this infographic is ok

Under the heading, “bad charts,” Mark Duckenfield links to this display by Quoctrung Bui and writes: So much to go with here, but I [Duckenfield] would just highlight the bars as the most egregious problem as it is implied that the same number of people are in each category. Obviously that is not the case […]

In criticism of criticism of criticism

I do a lot of criticism. I’m sure you can think of lots of things that I like to criticize, but to keep things simple, let’s focus on graphics criticism, for example this post where I criticized a graph for false parallelism. At this point some people would say that graphics criticism is mean, and […]

Forget about pdf: this looks much better, it makes all my own papers look like kids’ crayon drawings by comparison.

Mark Palko points me to this webpage which presents a recent research paper by Joanna Shepherd and Michael Kang. I have no comment on the research—I haven’t had a chance to read the paper—but I wanted to express how impressed I was about the presentation. It starts with a dedicated url just for this paper […]

Go to PredictWise for forecast probabilities of events in the news

I like it. Clear, transparent, no mumbo jumbo about their secret sauce. But . . . what’s with the hyper-precision: C’mon. “27.4%”? Who are you kidding?? (See here for explication of this point.)

“For better or for worse, academics are fascinated by academic rankings . . .”

I was asked to comment on a forthcoming article, “Statistical Modeling of Citation Exchange Among Statistics Journals,” by Christiano Varin, Manuela Cattelan and David Firth. Here’s what I wrote: For better or for worse, academics are fascinated by academic rankings, perhaps because most of us reached our present positions through a series of tournaments, starting […]

“Another bad chart for you to criticize”

Perhaps in response to my lament, “People used to send me ugly graphs, now I get these things,” Stuart Buck sends me an email with the above comment and a link to this “Graphic of the day” produced by some uncredited designer at Thomson Reuters: From a statistical perspective, this graph is a disaster in […]

The publication of one of my pet ideas: Simulation-efficient shortest probability intervals

In a paper to appear in Statistics and Computing, Ying Liu, Tian Zheng, and I write: Bayesian highest posterior density (HPD) intervals can be estimated directly from simulations via empirical shortest intervals. Unfortunately, these can be noisy (that is, have a high Monte Carlo error). We derive an optimal weighting strategy using bootstrap and quadratic […]

Interactive demonstrations for linear and Gaussian process regressions

Here’s a cool interactive demo of linear regression where you can grab the data points, move them around, and see the fitted regression line changing. There are various such apps around, but this one is particularly clean: (I’d like to credit the creator but I can’t find any attribution at the link, except that it’s […]

Defaults, once set, are hard to change.

So. Farewell then Rainbow color scheme. You reigned in Matlab Far too long. But now that You are no longer The default, Will we miss you? We can only Visualize. E. T. Thribb (17 1/2) Here’s the background.  Brad Stiritz writes: I know you’re a creator and big proponent of open-source tools. Given your strong interest […]