Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Joy of Stats

I found the clip below, from a BBC program(me) called The Joy of Stats (!), fascinating in both form and content. It may also be the most I've learned in any given span of 4 minutes since the day I figured out that liquid + air = bubbles. Worth a look, I think. It reminds me of James Burke's Connections, which I remember as one of the greatest things ever committed to video.*

*Please don't tell me if I'm remembering wrong.



Jim O'Kane said...

Brian, I trust you've read Edward Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. It's the benchmark for books in this subject.

Tufte is the fellow who popularized the Minard graph of Napoleon's army, where deaths were displayed as a function of line segment thickness, and compared against a table of daily temperatures. Stunning stuff.

R said...

Very cool! :)

Jim O'Kane said...

Hmm - - Blogspot ate my post, but I was asking if you've ever read Edward Tufte's amazing book on graphs called The Visual Display of Quantitative Information? It's really an astonishing explanation of how to convey statistics in pictorial form.

Housefield said...

Brian, not to worry, your memories are correct - James Burke's works are some of the greatest things ever committed to video. Personally I find "The Day the Universe Changed" more satisfying than "Connections," but they are both in a league of their own! Thanks for the stats... perfect timing for those of us reading Edward Tufte's and Norman Juster's works!

Brian Fies said...

Glad you liked it, R.!

That's weird about your first post, Jim. I received the usual e-mail with its contents and waited for it to show up in the blog, but it never did. I'm aware of Tufte's influence but haven't actually read him--never underestimate my ignorance and I'll never disappoint you! Your missing comment also linked me to the Minard graph of Napoleon's army, which I've seen and always thought pretty cool (pun intended). Gotta be careful with graphs like that, though--they can be very persuasive but muddle correlation, causation, etc.

James, it's so nice you're keeping in touch! Your Design 1 class is just about finished, right? I think I need to find some Burke on DVD.

Jim O'Kane said...

Episode 1 of "Connections" is ominously prescient, as the opening scene takes place in the courtyard of the World Trade Center - - all while James Burke discusses "technology traps."