Graph of the year – Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

Bill James (and others) have pointed out that true racial equality in baseball came, not when superstars such as Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays started joining major league rosters, but when there was room for ordinary black players to join their equally unexceptional white colleagues on the bench.

Similarly, graphical methods have truly arrived when journalists use graphs to make ordinary, unexceptional points in a clearer way. When making a graph, and including it in an article, is easy enough that it’s done as a matter of course.


Helen DeWitt, Chart 2008

The things that drive us crazy don’t do so once a month, or once a week, or even once a day: we have to fight them minute by minute, hour by hour.

In a fascinating piece over at Incongruous Quarterly, DeWitt recalls charting her year. The red blocks signify days she didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, or went to the gym. Very Lodwickian.

Graphing the accepted spelling of “ThunderCats, ho!”

ThunderCats, H--?
Based on some keyword research I did this afternoon. “ThunderCats, ho!” is a natural winner in Google search results. The long tail of enthusiasm extends to over 35 o’s, after which point I gave up.

The most interesting part is that HUGE drop in hits for the 3-o version. Among its neighboring easy-to-type competitors, “ThunderCats, hooo!” is a clear loser. If you want to stay in the safe, accepted, comfortable range, stick with the 1-, 2-, 4-, 5-, or 7-o versions. I’m drawn to the 10+ range for sheer exuberance.