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Bad Chart Thursday: Random Axes

I’ve had maybe three hours of sleep over the past few days, and my ability to sentence words is at a statistically significant low. But my sleep deprivation is your gain!

I’m going to share with you some of the random charts I’ve picked up here and there but haven’t written about because they weren’t enough for a full post, they covered ground I’ve already covered before, more interesting or timely charts kept coming up, or some fourth reason I was thinking about when I started this sentence but have since forgotten.

Let’s start with a segment of an infographic created on behalf the Regional Municipality of York, Ontario.

Eating Disorder Sundae

Because nothing says “I’m sensitive to the seriousness of eating disorders” like mapping them on a freaking sundae. (Not to mention the percentages aren’t comparable as the chart implies–35% of girls versus 10% of all teens.)

And speaking of sensitivity and faulty comparisons . . .

Don't care

Let’s motivate people to vote by laying a guilt trip on those groups of people at the greatest disadvantage instead of maybe figuring out ways to make voting more accessible. Bonus points for not acknowledging the overlap among groups.

Next, my challenge to you: Figure out what the chart below means without looking at the context.

love or something

Challenge part 2: Figure out what this chart means even with looking at the context. (Sending you to a Wayback Machine link because they apparently revamped their site since the last time I looked at it, for my Valentine’s Day post.)

And finally, one you’ve perhaps seen before:

Abortion children

I had no idea so many women brought their children with them to their abortions. Is there some sort of family discount package I hadn’t heard about? Bouncy castles and free ice cream when you bring your family to your abortion?

And this chart doesn’t clarify how they were killed. Is the medical staff just clumsy with the surgical instruments and they slip out of their hands and go flying at the children during the procedure like some sort of dark modern-day Three Stooges routine? And why would the children be in the room with the women having the procedure instead of in the waiting room? Or in the bouncy castle, for crying out loud?

But maybe they are in the bouncy castle and the surgical tools somehow go flying, slip under the door, slide across the floor and puncture the castle while the kids are inside?

Or maybe this chart is really hinting at some sort of epidemic of zombie fetuses that crave developing brains. But the massive cover-up required is mind boggling. How could we not have known about this?

Holy hell, maybe that’s what the challenge chart above is hinting at, with those gears instead of brains. Maybe all of these children were secretly turned into steampunk cyborgs after the aborted zombie fetuses ate their brains, and they’re out their somewhere, doing Da Vinci jumping jacks as part of their rigorous physical training to fight the aborted zombie hordes.

Or maybe this chart is just terrible and I desperately need sleep. But on the off chance that I’m right, at least I’ll sleep easy knowing a child army of steampunk cyborg fetus fighters is out there somewhere, protecting me and my children.

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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  1. More on the eating disorders:
    They can’t do arithmetic: 35% = 7 of 20. 7 of 25 = 28%.
    The 35% and the 10% are not at all comparable: 35% is from the set ‘teen girls’, 10% is from the set ‘teenagers with eating disorders’.

    Consider: 0.001% of teenage girls compete in the Olympics. 50% of teenage Olympians are boys. (Those numbers are made up.) Now we plot this with an Olympic medal with a ‘girls’ line at 0.001% and a ‘boys’ line at 50%.

    By their numbers, if we have 900 teen girls and 900 teen boys, then we’ll have 315 teen girls with an eating disorder (assuming 35% is correct) and 35 boys. That is 315/900 = 0.35 of girls have an eating disorder, and 35/(35+315) = 0.1 of teens with an eating disorder are boys.

  2. 1) The traditional chart for any data about eating disorders is a pie chart. I thought everyone knew that.

    2) Dr Who was very very wrong to try to destroy the Cybermen. They are trying to protect us from the zombie hordes.

    3) If that many children have died from abortions since 1973, how many billions died before 1973, when it was illegal and unsafe? Maybe they started the chart in 1973 because data before that was unreliable and hard to obtain? In any case, these dangerous conditions are unacceptable. Everyone write a check to Planned Parenthood today!

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