Finally, a good place for pie charts

The junk food of data visualization has found a home. Pie charts show up everywhere, just like trans fats. Visual analysis expert Stephen Few condemns them, and I’ll bet Tableau Software designers held their noses the day they added pie-chart templates.

Now in Philadelphia near college campuses, you get pie charts with your pepperoni. The Economist, with help from BBDO Worldwide, has sponsored infographed pizza boxes. Ponder “arable and permanent crop land by country” and “mushroom exports to the U.S.” as you chew.

The charts do look tasty. Did you know that the U.S. has 12.3 percent arable and permanent crop land? Percent of what, I’m not sure. Did you know that India has almost as much as the U.S? That’s what the figures say; I couldn’t tell which of the slices was bigger.

At participating pizza joints.

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