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September 15, 2008


Dan, this is fascinating stuff, and I enjoy seeing your work. The power of the artwork, unfortunately, masks the lack of causal relationship in the data. If you were to graph Clinton's first two years (under a Dem Congress) vs his last 6 years (under a GOP Congress), it would show a pretty stark difference. Same to show Bush's first 6 years under a GOP Congress vs last 2 years under a Demo Congress. On some scales, I suspect the Congressional party will show a stronger effect. (Though still no way to discern cause and effect from the artwork!)

I know your intent with that audience was to be partisan and subjective, so I can hardly complain about a lack of objectivity. You demonstrate how powerful sketches can be, but (unintentionally) how a powerful medium can be used just as easily to distort or mislead as to inform.

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I like the way you presented the data.

I wonder what was the conclusion they got from the process (I know they focused a lot on what the data represented, this is great for them).
Did they "get it"?
Were there more follow ups about how to use this so the representatives use more images to explain ideas?

I work in DC and I know they love to just talk talk talk, and it seems that they use a confusing, overly-refined language on purpose.

I hope many of them start using these techniques to present information in a better way, and to simplify their communication style with the public.

She pulled my face against her ass, I began licking along her crease, she reached behind and spread her ass open for me my tongue circled her tight anal bud before moving down to her wet slit, youtubeporno

But-but-but, Clinton got a BJ!

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I found a clear representation of the roots of the subprime mortgage problem. It's a google slideshow using stick figures. Warning: some profane language.

Also, it's more of a dialog than an infographic. Still, excellent stuff.


While I'm no bush fan, it's not really a "comparison" of bush vs clinton - it only shows the end of Clinton with the end of Bush. It says nothing about how Clinton actually did (compare end of Clinton to the beginning of Clinton). Doing so might make the case stronger, but probably not in every category. The link provided by GW (http://www.legalhardware.com/economics/charts.htm) does a better job of this.

Wow, now I have a notion of how bad things are in the US. Thanks for making it easier to understand with your graphs.

no, they won't.

Looks like your politics are showing too! It'd be interesting to see the other side of the aisle as well.

You should actually have drawn them a picture that shows any US Senator with words coming out of his/her mouth -- then show a simple arrow that points to it and says "lying." Most of the these a-holes (D) and (R) need to be booted.

I can only hope that the Republicans invite you in to show the rest of the story. This is a great example of how drawings effect us emotionally. I think that is the key to why hand drawings can be more powerful than digital charts - they speak to us on an emotional level.

Works for me. I posted it under Cool Alert...

If you want to see computer-generated charts of the same thing:

Though they're not as much fun!

Thanks Jonny -- since my wife is in real estate, I get "paid" every day to try to figure out what the heck happened. :-)

I've been working on a series of pictures to explain it, but every time I get one done another aspect of the real estate economy explodes, so I go back to the drawing board.

Case in point, 2 months back -- just the time when the first whispers about trouble at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were heard -- I started working on visuals to show how solid they were.

Glad I never published those! Same for AIG. Egads: when does this end??

I'm guessing Nov. 5.

But I wouldn't bet my life on that picture either.

Mark F., the official inflation rate is an average of a certain group of goods and services. Individual products may go up or down at a different rate than that average.

OK Dan, next, please find someone to pay you to do some visuals about what caused the real estate bubble. That's crying out for some visual explanation.

Good stuff Dan!

Thanks for everyone who commented -- much appreciated. Let me respond to a bunch of comments, item by item:

Mark & Chris: Over the past twenty years of making business pictures, I have become convinced that nothing is more powerful than a hand-drawn sketch. By virtue of being hand-drawn, your audience knows that you put time into thinking about it and creating it and therefore is more willing to put equal time into looking at it -- and believing it. Think of hand-drawn pictures as the difference between hearing the studio-recorded version of a song and seeing the artist perform it live, unplugged. Which song do you "believe in" more?

Steve & jra: yes, there are potentially lots of "better" and "more accurate" sets of data to be presented. What you see here is the total set of data I was supplied. You touch on the entirely correct view that often the most insightful data is that which is NOT shown. Had I been able to compare quarter-by-quarter or collect more granular data, things could look different. That's always the problem with data, isn't it? You can only show what you got... regardless, I find even this "skewed" data set compelling.

Mark F.: I don't pretend to be an economist. What I do know is that total US inflation during both administrations averaged 2-3% per year. The price rises shown here are in the range of 50%-60% during an 8-year period. That's more than double "total standard inflation".

Karen: thanks for noticing the occasional negative Y axis. Yes: I tried to think not just about the number, but what it *meant* and how best to convey that cognitively.

Thanks again,

Really effective charts. For some reason they look more "real" when they are hand drawn. They reinforce the message of your book, that's for sure.

A couple quibbles -

You're measuring electricity in terms of annual cost, and not per kilowatt

Americans in poverty should be a percentage, not an absolute number, as should number of people without insurance.

the prescriptions drugs of today compared to eight years ago cannot be accurately compared. Measuring it per unit of time is especially pointless.

Congratulations on this tremendous achievement Dan.

Its a tribute to your work and the optimism and imagination of the USA.

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