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A Flood of Misinformation

What is wrong with this picture? (Hint: it’s significant!) This graphic from United States National Weather Service depicts forecasted rain amounts from Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall early Saturday near Rockport Texas. The problem with this data visualization is one that can afflict statistics in any form, not just graphics. At only 0.01 inches – about a quarter of a millimeter - the number of decimal places given for cities is considerably overstated. The problem underlying the problem is a lesson for us all: just because our statistical models can spit out a long string of digits doesn’t mean we should publish all of them. We read in this graphic that Houston is expected to get 2

 

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