data and information

I went to a really cool day-long seminar yesterday – noted information design guru Edward Tufte was in town presenting his course on Presenting Data and Information. Totally fascinating – he pulls together sources from all over to demonstrate effective and ineffective presentation of data. There’s a ton of information on his site, and in his fantastic and beautiful books too.

Examples of effectively presenting data which he cited were Galileo’s documentation of his evidence of sunspots, Jupiter’s rings and the almost infinite number of stars, and also the first English translation of Euclid. He even brought along first editions of the books – wow.

Examples of ineffective presentations of data were a bit more up-to-date and focused a lot on the inappropriate use of PowerPoint. It’s worth following the link to see his detailed essay on how use of PowerPoint caused extremely poor decisions to be made at NASA.

Overall, really inspiring, thoughtful and stimulating. I hope that I’ll be able to use what I learned.

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