People say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think statistical data can also help us make sense of this imperfect world. From my statistics classes, I was fascinated by the concept of false positive and false negative. Particularly, I was surprised to find out that the steroid test for athletes has a false negative rate of 24% and a false positive rate of 13%. Such high error rate makes me wonder how many Olympic medalists used performance enhancing drugs and did not get caught.
I really like the Minard flow map of Napoleon’s march on Moscow that was presented in class. It really bring the data to life. It is even more amazing when it was produced in the 18th century by hand without any help of computer technology. Fortunately, we can use various statistical and data analysis tools, such as Stata, SAS, SPSS, and R, to generate graphs, tables and charts, which would help the audience to understand and visualize the meaning of the data.
I attach this beautiful map of the Internet as an example of data visualization. This partial map of the Internet was based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Lines are colour coded as follow:
- Dark blue: net, ca, us
- Green: com, org
- Red: mil, gov, edu
- Yellow: jp, cn, tw, au, de
- Magenta: uk, it, pl, fr
- Gold: br, kr, nl
- White: unknown
Wikipedia. (2013). Internet map. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_map_1024.jpg