IDL Campaign Script

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Less Than 3 Political Math

I found this little gem over on Matthias Shapiro's excellent blog, Political Math*.  As a former Mathematics major and current Mathematics teacher between positions, Political Math represents a breath of fresh air from all the ways I see math (particularly statistics & data visualizations, like charts & graphs) misused on a near daily basis.

His latest post is based on an email I've seen floating around entitled "Three Charts to E-Mail Your Right Wing Brother-In-Law."  The email purports to show how right-wingers are all idiots for believing Obama has any culpability in our current economic problems, and that, of course, it is all Bush's fault.  What Mr. Shapiro does so well, though, is to peel back the curtain on these particular charts, showing the numerous errors and inconsistencies in the hackneyed way the data is visualized and presented.  "But, Nathan, any two-bit pundit could point to a chart and say it's wrong!"  True, but Mr. Shapiro takes the time to show how the data is misrepresented, describe how to fix the chart, and then actually demonstrates what the chart would look like if presented correctly.  

Which is why I <3 Political Math.

*Disclaimer:  Political Math sometimes uses strong language, math and logic to communicate ideas.  If you are uncomfortable with any of these, please do not click the link.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment, critique and kibbutz as you see fit, but please, no profanity or obscenities. Also, please keep incendiary commentary to a minimum, because incendiary comments are like Molotov cocktails: once you start throwing them, everything goes up in flame (wars).