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Jan. 7-13 issue of The Economist

  1. Jan 10, 2006 #1
    Anyone who has the Jan. 7-13 issue of The Economist, look at the graphic on the lower-right corner of p. 70.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2006 #2
    You're saying they used a graphic from the wikipedia?
  4. Jan 10, 2006 #3

    I forgot that Economist has different national editions, I was looking at the US version, in different versions look for the article "Bayes rules" in the Science & Technology section (might be on a different page number).
  5. Jan 10, 2006 #4
    At first I thought they just based their graphic on wikipedia information. But looking more closely at the graphic, Economist's scales are identical to the ones on wiki, though the colors were changed.

    Compare with:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Normal_distribution_pdf.png (first three series)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Poisson_distribution_PMF.png (first two)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gamma_distribution_pdf.png (first three)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pareto_distributionPDF.png (one and three)

    all linked from


  6. Jan 10, 2006 #5
    They definitely used wiki graphics!

    Look at the 'segmentation' of the Poisson distribution plot in the Economist. Compare the locations of the segments with the wiki graphic. Same image, with some photoshop magic.

  7. Jan 10, 2006 #6
    I don't read The Economist. I'm just trying to figure out what you're wanting people to notice.

    I take it you feel this is a bad thing for them to use Wikipedia as a reference?
  8. Jan 10, 2006 #7
    As an only reference, yes.
  9. Jan 10, 2006 #8


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    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:N...bution_pdf.png [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  10. Jan 10, 2006 #9
    Oh I know it's legal. I think it's ridiculous that a major publication titled "Economist" couldn't find a more reliable reference for statistics methods than wikipedia.
  11. Jan 10, 2006 #10
    Yeah, I agree that's odd.
  12. Jan 10, 2006 #11
    I don't have The Economist, but the images that you linked were just distribution graphs. How are they used in the Economist article? Was it just something like "Here's what a Poisson distribution looks like." If so, I don't see any problem with using Wikipedia's graphic.
  13. Jan 10, 2006 #12
    It just seems so unprofessional. You think of journalists of doing "real" investigations and thoroughly researching their subjects... by contrast wikipedia is a pit full of inaccuracies. And the part about them being too lazy to plot their own graphs (a two minute task)?
  14. Jan 10, 2006 #13
    If you looked at that graph and thought it to be accurate, especially for your purposes, what journalistic integrity are you threatening? Besides - what real investigation is a journalist going to do about a probability distribution? At least with the folks at wikipedia, people (plural) who actually understand the material are more likely to write and edit the articles instead of a journalist who might know nothing of the subject at the time. Also, just because the writer sites wikipedia as a source doesn't mean he/she doesn't know enough about the topic to know that the images he/she took from wikipedia are reliable.

    Have you ever seen text books that make sine waves by juxtaposing halves of ovals? I wish they would use wikipedia.
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