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A historic day for anyone who cares about charts and graphs

Most people probably don't know that Barack Obama has appointed Edward Tufte to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (the inspectors who watchdog the stimulus funds). And most people probably don't know that it's really, really cool that Obama has appointed Tufte to the RATB. But he did, and it is. Andrew Romano explains.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 10, 2010; 9:06 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'm sure Ross Perot will be thrilled.

Other than that, maybe Ezra too.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 10, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Tufte is basically the Mozart of taking complex data and making it understandable through visual representations (charts, graphs, etc.). This really IS cool.

Posted by: rt42 | March 10, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

How how how did I not know this? Very exciting!

Posted by: slag | March 10, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Heh, I saw this on Andrew Gelman's blog. I'm scheduled to go to one of Tufte's one-day seminars next week... I bet everyone asks him about it. Well, if they don't, I will :P

My only worry is precisely that Tufte likes to use data-heavy presentations - that is, he likes to present a lot of information in as little space as possible. Maybe I'm not giving the average American enough credit, but many Americans simply don't have the patience to figure out Tufte's cute tricks for condensing information. They're used to pie charts and bar charts and don't know how to read other types of visual information. But, this will be interesting to watch...

Posted by: madjoy | March 10, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I saw this yesterday on information aesthetics. It is very cool...

http://infosthetics.com/archives/2010/03/obama_loves_infographics.html

Posted by: staticvars | March 10, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

What rt42

Tufte is a master at visualizing all kinds of datasets. He is a leader in the field (one that my profession is somewhat related to). I have one of his books on my shelf. This is a good day for helping people understand charts and graphs.

Posted by: srw3 | March 10, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

What rt42 and srw said. And the last couple of sentences got me even more excited:

"The dream is that someday the recovery effort would be a template for providing transparency and accountability in all government spending," Tufte says. "This is a start."

Hope springs eternal.

Posted by: onewing1 | March 10, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

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