Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Visual representation of power-dynamics in Afghanistan make things clear for U.S. Generals

Information visualizations are supposed to make the most incomprehensible data crystal clear. But even the sharpest military minds were left baffled by this PowerPoint slide, a mind-boggling attempt to explain the situation in Afghanistan.

'When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war,' General Stanley McChrystal, the US and NATO force commander, remarked wryly when confronted by the sprawling spaghetti diagram in a briefing. []

The conclusion: Trying to include everything is laudable, but to gain useful information, you have to focus.

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