Should You Ever Use a Pie Chart?

The genesis of the Pie Chart :

Some scholars believe the pie chart may have been inspired by the use of circles in representing concepts in philosophy and mathematics. Playfair’s brother John was a highly regarded Enlightenment mathematician and scientist. It is likely that through John, William saw a divided circle used to display the component parts of a category. Mathematicians and philosophers used this type of illustration as far back as the 14th Century.


Today’s leading data visualization experts like Edward Tufte and Stephen Few dislike pie chart. Tufte writes that “A table is nearly always better than a dumb pie chart”, and in a long screed against the pie, Few admonishes data visualizers to “save the pies for dessert.”

→ Priceonomics

Unclouded Vision

Prediction, like medicine in the early 20th century, is still mostly based on eminence rather than evidence. The most famous forecasters in the world are newspaper columnists and television pundits. Superforecasters make for bad media stars. Caution, nuance and healthy scepticism are less telegenic than big hair, a dazzling smile and simplistic, confident pronouncements. But even if the hoped-for revolution never arrives, the techniques and habits of mind set out in this book are a gift to anyone who has to think about what the future might bring. In other words, to everyone.

→ The Economist

All Credit To Them

On consumer lending :

The most creditworthy customers, it turns out, are the least keen to splurge when extra credit is offered. For every dollar their credit limits increase, they boost their borrowing by $0.23. Even that is an exaggeration: by further digging through the data, the researchers establish that the borrowers with the best credit records are only shifting their borrowing from card to card to take advantage of improved terms—not borrowing any more in aggregate. At the other end of the scale, those with the muckiest credit histories borrow an extra $0.58 for every $1 hike in their credit limit.

But that is not the whole story. The researchers then take a bank’s perspective, and ask to whom it makes most sense to lend. Boosting credit limits draws in extra interest payments and charges, but there are costs too. If it is mainly the highest-risk borrowers who take advantage of higher limits, or if the higher limits encourage more reckless borrowing in general, then default rates will climb, eating away at profit margins.

→ The Economist

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.

A great reminder that medias can easily be fooled and help propagate false informations with pointless headlines.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Here’s how we did it.

→ io9