Re: [S] S: Pie Charts

Patrick Connolly (PConnolly@grunt.marc.cri.nz)
Mon, 16 Nov 1998 13:28:03 +1300 (NZDT)


According to John Maindonald:
|>
|> I think we need to distinguish between an interest in grabbing
|> attention, and the accurate presentation of information. It seems to
|> me legitimate, in the right time and place, to do a bit of attention

Pie-charts are often used to present as few as 3 figures, typically
brands X, Y and Z and their relative market shares. In fact,
Windows95 unashamedly uses them for only two figures: used and unused
space on a disk. Trivial as that might appear to hardened
mathematicians, it suits the sound-byte information presentation
fashion that shows no sign of disappearing. "3-D" pie-charts are the
cherry on the top of the form-over-substance philosophy. But as Ford
Prefect said, it's "mostly harmless".

|> Scrutiny of the obfuscating use of *'s and p-values etc. in much of
|> the stuff that gets into print is not too encouraging in this respect.

Sad to say, editors of many scientific publications relish these
"tablets of stone" which indicates to me a more serious problem.
While we have scientists believing that it's black when p < .05 and
white if p > .05, being concerned how the great unwashed are using
pie-charts is like worrying about the mouse in the pantry when there's
a tiger in the living room.

Patrick
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