Thursday, July 22, 2010

"If I can't picture it, I can't understand it." - Albert Einstein

New book recommendation:
Refactoring SQL Applications by Stephan Faroult
I found the book easy to read, well thought out and covers efficiently designing code to access the database, efficiently designing SQL and how to refactor existing applications and testing the results for accuracy and performance. Excellent book. What's that have to do with pictures and visualization? Stephan Faroult includes some new and innovative ways to visually represent SQL statements in such a way as to see patterns and problems. Look to see these methods in a future version of DB Optimizer! In discussion DB Optimizer with Stephan, he mention a quote that rings so true for me:

"If I can't picture it, I can't understand it." - Albert Einstein:

Along the same lines
"It is impossible to even think without a mental picture." - Aristotle:
"Man's mind cannot understand thoughts without images of them." - Thomas Aqunias:
"The evolution of images is a kind of intermediate between that of the perceptions and that of the intelligence." - Jean Piaget:

Mathematics is cognitive process-thinking-that requires the dual coding of imagery and language. Imagery is fundamental to the process of thinking with numbers. Albert Einstein, whose theories of relativity helped explain our universe, used imagery as the base for his mental processing and problem solving. Perhaps he summarized the importance of imagery best when he said, "If I can't picture it, I can't understand it." - NANCI BELL AND KIMBERLY TULEY

One of my favorite examples of the power of graphics to easily, quickly and powerful display quantitative information is Anscombe's Quartet. From's_quartet
Anscombe's Quartet

Edward Tufte uses this example from Anscombe to show 4 datasets of x
and y that have the same mean, standard deviation, and regression
line, but which are qualitatively different. -

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