David McCandless on Context

For those of you suffering from “data overload”, I’ve got good news. The solution isn’t to ignore data, but instead to make data convey more information in context. That’s the focus of one of the better TED Talks I’ve seen.

David McCandless shows us a variety of data visualizations, and points out how context can often be more important that absolute data. Even a self-described ‘leftist’ argues more subjective, less absolute reasoning should help us understand what is ‘important’. Some of the data is just beautiful, like this graph, which addresses a pet peeve of mine. Journalists throw out dollar amounts without much context. The war cost x much, the bailout will save y dollars, fair enough, but what does that mean? David created this contextual chart.

Click to expand

*A single guy laughs at David’s repeated use of the sound effect “DOUCHE!” It is not me, but I did snicker.

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