[Beowulf] Re: about clusters in high schools

Andrew Piskorski atp at piskorski.com
Sun Jan 29 19:28:03 PST 2006

On Sun, Jan 29, 2006 at 04:04:48PM -0800, Jim Lux wrote:
> At 01:31 PM 1/29/2006, James Cownie wrote:

> >A whole class may be more than is necessary, but the inability of
> >the Morton Thiokol engineers to produce a convincing presentation
> >of their results which made

No.  As Tufte pointed out, those engineers produced poorly analyzed
chart-junk filled graphs which obscured rather than helped reveal the
meaning in the data.  They could have instead easily produced an
informative graph which would have helped illuminate the known and
very severe risk of O-ring burn through.  They did not, and indeed,
the graphs they DID generate were WORSE than useless.

That was an ENGINEERING failure, and not one that would have been
helped by any class on what is colloquially known as "presentation
skills".  A serious, hard-core treatment of graph and information
design, yes, that could have helped.  "Presentation skills", no.

> Actually, the problem in NASA is that too much reliance is made on 
> "presentations" which are fundamentally "selling tools", and not enough on 
> writing engineering reports.  See Edward Tufte's comments on PowerPoint for 


Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com>

More information about the Beowulf mailing list