These charts are undeniably beautiful, but they violate Tufte principles 1, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12.
Here it seems like the talented artist has tried to “add some sparkle and theme” to “boring numbers” — rather than accentuating what’s exciting about the numbers themselves. To my way of thinking, if the message the numbers are telling you is interesting, then that makes the numbers worth looking at.
- Did you say I could get a 25% raise?!
- Did you say people are 30% taller than they were 250 years ago?
- Did you say a 19% chance of rain on our wedding today? Or 90%?
- Did you say the cost of electricity is one-one-hundredth of what it was 90 years ago?
- Did you say my heating bill is double what it needs to be if I insulated better?
- A man and a mouse are only one order of magnitude apart?
- I could commute across America on a bike if I were two orders of magnitude faster?
- Did you say that 99% of the people own 1% of the wealth? Or was it 99.999% of the people owning .000001% of the wealth? Or both? Wait, these numbers are actually crucial to the story!
What it’s talking about:
- a local linear elasticity — the magnitudes of which are necessary to informed, non-ideological economic discussions
- passed through different parts of a graph connecting all the people
As in the wieners I drew, it’s not easy to make the logically beautiful look visually beautiful.