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EdwardTufte / NASA Image of Venus Deceptive

NASA Image of Venus Deceptive

Mountain on Venus

This example, from Tufte’s Visual Explanations, p. 24, shows blatant lying through the use of extreme vertical exaggeration without any notation of scale. The actual average slope of the “mountain” shown here is 3 degrees! Not only does this image have an UNREPORTED vertical exaggeration of 22.5 (much larger than geographers typically use), but the sky is BLACK. Whether one could even see through the atmosphere of Venus at the distance suggested in this image is doubtful, but the sky would be a dismal yellowish gray.

I suppose stunning mountains and a black sky at noon are presumed to be more interesting to the public who pays for NASA's excursions than rolling plains and a washed out dismal eternally cloudy sky (with an extremely corrosive atmosphere).

return to Presenting Data and Information Seminar


How soon the labor of men would make a paradise of the whole earth, were it not for misgovernment, and a diversion of all his energies from their proper object — the happiness of man — to the selfish interest of kings, nobles, and priests.

Thomas Jefferson
to Ellen W. Coolidge, 1825

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