Interesting Links

In Introducing Excel Formula Helper Chandoo is taking on the Microsoft Office Help system. It’s still pretty small, with about 50 commonly used formulas. It uses plain English to describe the purpose and syntax of the function, and gives a couple usage examples for each.

Chandoo's Formula Helper - Max

Tidying Up Art by Ursus Wehrli

Chandoo makes the list twice today (wait until he gets my invoice). In Fun way to clean up modern art with visualization he points us to a TED talk by Swiss artist and comedian Ursus Wehrli, Ursus Wehrli Tidies Up Art. The author of  Tidying Up Art (right), Ursus reveals his orderly Swiss upbringing by straightening out some rather chaotic modern art. For example, he turns the Keith Haring painting Untitled into an orderly collection of shapes, sorted by size and color. This is not unlike the deconstruction I attempted on a donut chart in Leave the Donuts for the Cops, and Stick with the Bars (below).

Ursus Wehrli tidies up Keith Haring

Leave the Donuts for the Cops, and Stick with the Bars

Tony Rose treats us to a bar chart of European male life expectancy in The Healthy Years of Life [Chart Review]. The chart is from The Economist, but it’s more like the puzzle in back of People magazine: find ten differences between the two pictures. Hmm, the runner lost his shoes, his shirt is missing, he put on a headband, he’s lost ten pounds, his bald head is covered with a sweatband. Let’s see, that’s five. Oh hey, there’s a chart behind him, didn’t see it there. Um, the scale doesn’t start at zero, the tan bars (while reminiscent of one’s diseased later years) are not nearly as visible as the yellow, so I missed them aat first, the bar shadows make it hard to judge where the bars end.

Prancing through the daisies

In The Art of Nomography I: Geometric Design Ron Doerfler describes the theory and mehods of construction of nomograms, graphical tools that simplifies derivation of an unknown quantity when other quantities are known. A simple nomogram is a conversion scale between the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales, shown below at left. More complex nomograms can be used to interpret more intricate relationships. The scales in the S-P-V nomogram below center has nonlinear scales to incorporate exponents in the relationship. Intricate relationships may even use inclined lines and curves. The figure at right reminds me of transparency overlays we would use in grad school to determine crystallographic orientation of our samples from x-ray diffraction patterns.

Celsius to Fahrenheit S-P-V nomogram The Art of Nomography

Peltier Tech Chart Utility


  1. Hmm… invoice for links ? :P thanks for the mentions anyway…

    I like the old man running chart… It produces the perfect wtf reaction to almost anyone…

  2. I don’t mind the color in the life expectancy chart (yellow is complementary of the blue sky background), though agree it has flaws.

    The obvious :
    the title refers to life expectancy but the brown bar component is called unhealthy years of life….. To most people life expectancy means the time one is expected to be alive, whether healthy or unhealthy.

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