The View From 32



Seagulls on ice shelf in Lake ErieQuick thaw 

On Friday the surface of Lake Erie was covered with ice, including this exact spot at Edgewater Beach. But the recent warming trend — temperatures around 20 degrees — have been enough to melt the layer of ice.

The water temperature is 33 degrees, so it's just at the point where it may freeze for real. But not yet.

Some gulls like to congregate on the floating ice shelves while others swim in the water. I've watched them on many occasions, and their social structure (who goes where) is a mystery to me. Are the ones standing on the ice the lucky ones?



Bad info-graphic from Plain Dealer

What's wrong with this picture?

This item from today's Plain Dealer falls into the category called infographic. It should give you a quick visual summary of the information in the article.

Does it make any sense to you?

Look at the two sets of numbers: 119/100 and 34/100. There's a dramatic difference between these two pairs. Yet the main visual elements—the red stick figures—are identical in each instance. The graphic actually obscures the meaning rather than clarifying it.

Edward Tufte, who's written extensively on the misuse of graphics, would certainly call this chartjunk, and I agree. The Plain Dealer needs to invest in and study Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantative Information.