Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fun With Charts, Part One: the Power of Pies

I have to admit that I was always one of those people to whom the mysteries of Microsoft Excel were... well, exceedingly mysterious. But the power of procrastination does wonderful things. So this morning, while I was (unsuccessfully) trying to study for a dangerously close exam, I suddenly thought to myself, "By golly! I sure don't know how to use Microsoft Excel! Perhaps I should go and teach myself. That would be a productive and intelligent use of my time!"

And, indeed, that's exactly what I did. Because after all, what's more important than learning to create meaningful visual representations of data? The only problem was, of course, that I didn't actually have any data.

But I didn't let that stop me, oh no! Luckily I'm the sort of person who records every single book they read in a little notebook, and so pulling out my handy notebook I got to work. The problem was, once I made one graph, it just wasn't enough. I was spookily reminded of that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Marshall becomes addicted to making charts. My favourite, which I will never forget, being of course the Cecilia chart. Pure genius.

"This circle represents people who are breaking my heart." Source.
Unfortunately, Excel won't let you do Venn diagrams. I checked. But I still managed to have a little fun anyway. I thought I'd share the finished results, partly because I was so proud of myself at getting it to work, and partly because I just thought they looked kinda cool.

As you can see, I have a pretty good idea about how I should be spending my free hours of study break. But as you will also see...

...the reality is vastly and disturbingly different. Let's face it, I might have been generous by suggesting that 1% of my time is spent studying. It's probably more like 0.2%.

Fascinating, right? Oh, and by the way, 'shonky' is totally not my word. I heard it on the bus the other day, and since then I've been trying to slip it into every conversation as casually as possible. It's actually quite fun.

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