Tuesday Links

  • “Much more than a heart of darkness, the Congo is the heart of brightness.” – Countering the ever-present, all-too-simple explanation of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a giant morass of death, decay, and damnation
  • An epic rant against the use of the pie chart, during which the author quotes Edward Tufte, who compares using a pie chart with not knowing the difference between their/there/they’re and its/it’s. I love Tufte’s work, but here I think he’s being a bit overly-dogmatic; sure,  a poorly-conceived and poorly-executed chart is going to be awful, but that’s true of any chart. For quick glances – and for ensuring the viewer knows that the information he/she is looking at is the sum of a whole, a pie chart can be the most effective way to present the information
  • Steven Levy’s insider view of Project Loon, the audacious internet-by-balloon project by Google’s audacious arm, Google X, is great for a lot of reasons – like how, during research, if a civilian were to find one of the failed experiments, it read “HARMLESS SCIENCE EXPERIMENT” – but mostly because it highlights a guy named Rich DeVaul, a “rapid evaluator,” whose job is to evaluate seemingly-crazy ideas and “kill a project as fast as [he] can”
  • Malcolm Gladwell’s review of a biography of  Albert Hirschman is worth a read, as I imagine the biography is

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