Feel Better Now?

December 9, 2009 12:56 p.m.

I think I may have felt better about the build-up in Afghanistan before I saw this DOD-commissioned chart that explains it.

(Click image to see full-size image and chart.)

image contentA few of you have written in to say, in so many words, WTF, Josh? Just because something’s complex and not easily digestible to a sound-bite, it deserves ridicule?

Well, that’s not true and that’s not fair. But I can see I should make myself a little more clear.

I think all of us know after eight years, if we didn’t know before, that big important plans are often very complicated. But that’s not what I was mildly mocking. As some of you know, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the graphical presentation of complex data and systems. And this did not strike me as a particularly good example of that.

If this is a topic that is of interest to you too, here’s a site one reader sent me in response to that earlier post: visualcomplexity.com.

This page about the evolution of subway maps. In particular see this transformative development from the early 1930s.

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