Here's the comment thread for my Bonobo Conspiracy archive posting.
In 2005 through 2008 I wrote and posted a Web comic called Bonobo Conspiracy. I posted a new strip with a new joke every single day for just over 1000 days, chronicling the lives, thwarted romances, and mad science of Matt, Sun-Moon, Dr. Klaun, Algea, and a host of special guests. Although most strips were designed to stand on their own, I also gradually developed each character over the course of the run, and I ran a few multi-strip specials and storylines.
I'm generally a fan of the IAEA, but this image I just grabbed from their Web site is a textbook example of slanting (literally!) a graphic image so that it misleads the reader.
The chart shows the temperature of two spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi. Until the morning of March 19, UTC, the temperatures were slowly but steadily increasing. After that, they decreased significantly. These data could well be presented with a two-dimensional line chart.
But the makers of the chart above chose to project it into three dimensions in such a way that the lines slant downward even where the temperature is increasing - obscuring one of the most important pieces of information the numbers represent, which is the direction of change. A human being looking at the chart and not reading the numbers would get the incorrect impression that the temperature was consistently decreasing over the entire time period. Thus the chart has failed in its purpose of making the numbers understandable. The chart actually conveys a negative amount of information, because it conveys incorrect information. If you erased all the graphics and left only the numbers, readers would be better informed.
If they were going to make a chart, there is no reason it needed to be a three-dimensional chart; and if they were going to make a three-dimensional chart, there is no reason they had to use that particular choice of projection angle. I hate to ascribe to malice that which could be explained by stupidity, but this really does look the way deliberate deception would look; and it has the same effect as deliberate deception even if it isn't actually deliberate deception.
First appeared in talk.bizarre, July 1997
A great many unusual people may be seen in the marketplace of Damascus on any hot summer day, but the Adept was definitely out of the ordinary. She strode, alone and proud, though the crowd which parted unconsciously. Foreigners have written that one veiled woman looks like any other, but even the quality of the material of Fatima's veil distinguished her from the rest. The locals, accustomed to making the most of whatever they could get, stared outright, all as if they'd never seen a woman before. They undressed her in their minds as she passed by. The year, in your infidel's reckoning, was 738.