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Fun with Pie Charts

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A pie chart is a round graph divided into sectors that illustrates percentages of a whole. It is named after the way we normally divide a pie into slices. Whether it is effective depends on the type of data you want to present. What really matters is whether you can make it funny.

Year-end Music Chart

Vulture constructed a pie chart explaining Pitchfork's top 100 songs of 2007. They knew what kind of discussion the list would elicit, and went ahead and crunched the numbers.

Pie Chart

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What could make more sense than a pie chart that's all about pies?

Pie Consumption Chart

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A pie chart about the consumption of pie needs a bit more detail. If this were a apple or chocolate pie, I'd believe it. If it were a rhubarb pie, much less would be consumed. But if it were a blackberry pie, the entire pan would be consumed.

Time Spent

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A pie chart showing how we spend our time can be depressing or even frightening. I'd hate to plot mine.

Web Development Time

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A post about how to make pie charts gives us an illustration of how the author spends his time on web development projects. See the full size version at the original site.

The Dating Pool

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A blogger friend of mine wrote about the lack of eligible men in her area. I used the Create A Graph program to make a pie chart out of the data she mentioned.

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Then I made one from my own (made up) data explaining why I don't have a boyfriend. "Picky" means a good man who can pick any woman he wants.

Pac-man

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The self-referential Pac-man pie chart has been around for awhile, but it's still funny!

Rick Astley

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The Rick Astley pie chart doesn't follow the basic premise of a pie chart, but still makes you smile, at least a little.

Anatomical Structure

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GraphJam, the site that collects submissions of interesting charts and graphs of all kind, has some nice pie charts. This one by James L is like the Pac-man chart in that it resembles the subject it explains.

Who Makes the World Go "˜Round

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Michael F. S. submitted this one that illustrates clearly and simply what Queen told us twenty years ago. Pie helps to make it happen.

Pi Chart

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If you experience a typo and drop the "e", you have a totally different kind of pi chart.

I think I might need to go get a pizza now. If you  enjoyed these, you might want to check out Fun with Venn and Euler Diagrams and Fun with Flow Charts.

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The Funniest Word in the English Language? 'Booty,' According to New Survey
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Some words, regardless of their meaning, are simply more chuckle-worthy than others. To determine which expressions in the English language are truly the most comical, Smithsonian reports that psychologists at the University of Warwick in the UK conducted a survey in which they asked people to rate the “humor value” of a sampling of chosen words. They recently published their findings in the journal Behavior Research Methods.

The researchers selected nearly 5000 words, and then used Amazon’s online crowdsourcing tool Mechanical Turk to ask more than 800 individuals to rank the humor value of 211 randomly chosen words from the list, on a scale from 1 (humorless) to 5 (humorous). Likely not surprising to anyone with younger siblings, the funniest word ended up being “booty,” with an average ranking of 4.32. In descending order, the remaining top 12 words—which all received a score of 3.9 or higher—were “tit,” “booby,” “hooter,” “nitwit,” “twit,” “waddle,” “tinkle,” “bebop,” “egghead,” “ass,” and “twerp.”

Why these words are so funny remains fuzzy. But when they analyzed their findings according to age and gender, the researchers did find that sexually suggestive words like “orgy” and “bondage” tended to tickle the funny bones of men, as did the words “birthmark,” “brand,” “chauffeur,” “doze,” “buzzard,” “czar,” “weld,” “prod,” “corn,” and “raccoon.”

Meanwhile, women tended to laugh at the words “giggle,” “beast,” “circus,” “grand,” “juju,” “humbug,” “slicker,” “sweat,” “ennui,” “holder,” “momma,” and “sod.” As for people under the age of 32, they were amused by “goatee,” “joint,” and “gangster,” while older participants liked “squint,” “jingle,” “burlesque,” and “pong.” Across the board, all parties were least amused by words like “rape,” “torture,” and “torment.”

Although humor is complex and dependent on elements like syntax and delivery, the study's researchers say that breaking comedy down to single-word units could demystify its essence.

“The research initially came about as a result of our curiosity,” said Tomas Engelthaler, the study’s lead author, in a press release. “We were wondering if certain words are perceived as funnier, even when read on their own. It turns out that indeed is the case. Humor is an everyday aspects of our lives and we hope this publicly available dataset allows future researchers to better understand its foundations.”

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Watch the Original Spinal Tap Short Film
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Chris Weeks // Staff // Getty Images

Spinal Tap formed in 1979, five years before the classic film This is Spinal Tap premiered. They performed on TV and began developing their personas as idiotic heavy metal monsters.

When the band, along with director Rob Reiner, went to pitch their mockumentary to production companies, nobody "got it." It wasn't clear what an unscripted comedy pseudo-documentary would feel like. So Reiner asked for the screenplay fee—$60,000—to be paid up front as a budget for a short proof-of-concept film.

That skimpy budget went a very long way, allowing the group to produce The Last Tour, a 20-minute Spinal Tap film exploring some of the plot (and many of the songs) that appeared in the later film This is Spinal Tap. There's a surprising amount of concert footage, as various bits that were repeated in Tap (some interview clips were even used in Tap unaltered).

The Last Tour is delightful because it shows a well-developed idea being implemented on the cheap. The wigs are terrible, the sound is spotty, but the vision is spot-on. The characters and the core story of the group (including a string of dead drummers) is already in place, and we get to see the guys improvise together. Tune in (and be aware there's plenty of salty language here):

(Note: Around 4:38 in the clip above, we see Ed Begley, Jr. as original drummer John "Stumpy" Pepys in the "Gimme Some Money" video. Stumpy died in a gardening accident, of course.)

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