16 June 2013

Tufte on the NSA Prism Slides

The standard retort to Ed Tufte's criticisms of Power Point is that 'it is not the program but the damned users!' I think that reply actually misses his claim about the data density of PP slides. But the retort is pretty poor on its own terms. I guess the real question to ask is whether any program that seeming invites and infinite number of bad uses isn't itself a problem. Can the defenders produce large numbers - even small numbers - of truly excellent PP presentations? Unlikely. Does it matter if government officials are relying on truly opaque PP presentations in their decision-making processes? In any case, here (from WaPo) is Tufte tweeting comments last week on the NSA presentation of their (apparently totally unconstrained) domestic spying program:

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