Chris Holdgraf in Berkeley Science Review:
I just came from the lab with an amazing new discovery, one that will change the landscape of fruit-based research: bananas get you jobs. That’s right, I’ve uncovered evidence that studying bananas in your graduate years significantly improves your post-graduation salary. Don’t believe me? Check out this great bar graph I put together:
That’s right – the proof is in the pudding. Bananas increase your wage. Case closed.
“But wait”, you might say, “not only is this argument completely stupid, but your graph is totally meaningless.”
And you would be right, but stuff like this happens in the media, on the web, even in academiaall the time. Setting aside for the moment the numerous problems with the above argument, there’s one in particular that takes the cake in terms of it’s common (mis)use. I’m speaking, of course, about error bars.