[Seth-Trips] Edward Tufte, Stanford, December 8, Free

Praveen Sinha ampere at swcp.com
Wed Dec 1 20:44:38 PST 2004

I once had a phone interview for a job involving extensive data
visualization.  The interviewer was a total bozo (to illustrate this
point, during a phone technical screen he including asked me to name the
rfc number for HTTP, what that has to do with anything at all is, much
less problem solving or programming skills, is beyond me. I had google
open on my laptop, so I got that and all the other questions right [I was
the only one apparently]).

After I passed his technical exam, he then proceeded to grill me over my
design sense, and who may have influenced me.  I figured saying "Bauhaus"
or even better "Cabaret Voltaire" would not win me brownie points, so I
rattled off what he wanted to hear:  Edward Tufte and Jakob Nielson.

Predictably, his voice peppered up, and said "Ahem.  I have *all* of
Tufte's books on my bookshelf right now"  (as did I).  Having stated that,
he went into full trogglodyte mode and started asking me questions out of
chapters from tufte's book (unforutnately, I only remember the "do not
design a duck" quote off the top of my head).

Over the course of the next few minutes as I attempted to satisfy his
questions, I realized that I was truly dealing with a fan boy- "I have
read Tufte and *only* Tufte and memorized him, and therefore I am master
of all display design".  I can thank Tufte for creating a whole class of
geeks, including, admittedly myself sometimes, who sit back and sit
cappucinos and criticizing every display element that comes into
existence with license because I can name drop a famous author and not
cite any other gurus or schools of design.

That said, I'd *love* to see go see him, and will be in stanford in the
event anyone needs a ride. 

On Wed, 1 Dec 2004, Aaron Swartz wrote:

> In addition to bringing his standard (expensive) one-day course to
> Stanford, information design guru Edward Tufte will be giving three
> free lectures, two of which are at Stanford:
> Topic: Beautiful Evidence (Tufte's next book)
> When: Sunday, December 5, at 2:00 pm
> Where: The Skeptics Society, Baxter Lecture Hall, CalTech 
> Topic: An Academic and Otherwise Life, an N = 1 
> When: Wednesday, December 8, at 4:00 pm
> Where: Lucas Conference Center, SIPER Building, Stanford University
> Please RSVP to IRiSS-info at stanford.edu
> http://events.stanford.edu/events/43/4362/index.shtml
> "Tufte is a leading authority on the design of visual data displays.
> In his academic career he was a world-renowned political scientist,
> who transformed himself mid-career into a graphic design expert.
> During this colloquium for Stanford students and faculty, Tufte will
> describe the progress of his life and career through its many
> fascinating stages."
> Topic: Beautiful Evidence
> When:  Wednesday, December 8, at 7:30 pm
> Where: McCaw Hall, Arrillaga Alumni Center, Stanford University 
> http://events.stanford.edu/events/40/4089/index.shtml
> "Beautiful Evidence develops the fundamental theory of analytical
> design and proposes methods for displaying nearly every type of
> evidence (time series, images, causal arrows, data tables, and
> statistical graphics). His discussion will include his analysis (that
> appeared in the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation
> Review Board) of the Boeing/NASA PowerPoint slides created after the
> Columbia was damaged but still aloft."
> I hope to attend both, but I currently have a conflict for the second.
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