I am always fascinated by books that represent reality in a new way and The Best American Infographics 2016 edited by Gareth Cook nails it. There are many surprising graphics that expose things that you might have felt but didn’t bring to consciousness. For example, it seems obvious that an environmentalist would be wholly Democratic and an oil worker a Republican, and a union organizer would be Democratic and a business owner a Republican. But, who would expect missionaries and a Catholic priest to be Republican and rabbis and Episcopal priests to be Democratic? Academia is, of course, loaded solid with Democrats except for the Economists who are Republican.
A graphic on page 60 that was done early in the 2016 Presidential campaign displayed the 13 candidates with a computer analysis of the complexity of their speech patterns. On the X axis were negative words versus positive ones and on the Y axis the complexity of words and sentences. Using the same computer analysis on the same chart were 72 well-known works of literature. Ted Cruz came out as the most complex political candidate, at the same level as then President Obama. And, unsurprisingly, Donald Trump used far and away the most simple words and sentences. He was on the same level as the children’s book Peter Pan. John Kasich was the most positive candidate, with Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders being the most negative.
The real shock for me on that chart was a cluster of three famous Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes books with the book Dracula by Bram Stoker right in the middle of the cluster. This graphic was created by a computer without any human intervention. Back in the early 1990s I was pursuing Conan Doyle and his hoaxes and I had proved to my own satisfaction that Doyle had cowritten Dracula. Here, almost thirty years later, is another “soft-indicator” of his involvement with that book. As with his other hoaxes he had encoded his name into the chief feature of the crime. Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle used his title of Doctor, the first two initials of his name and the meaning of his family name to form the clue. Doyle means of the eye and thus this combination forms the title of the book. Dracula = Dr A C Ula. The Ula is the key part of the word ocular. Doyle also encoded his name into Jack the Ripper and some other crimes.
I have moved on to other funny little games now.