The Original Bar Chart, or why I prefer chalkboards to whiteboards

November 27, 2019 by Joshua
in Education, Humor, Visualization

I prefer blackboards to whiteboards, which are plastic and chintzy, their markers plastic and chemically.

Blackboards, on the other hand, are made of rock. Chalk is made of chalk. They’re from the Earth.

But my big issue is that markers are nearly always out of ink, which I find out too late, by using them.

With chalk, you can tell by looking, as this bar chart I made shows:

Original Bar Chart

Try that with markers!

My PhD in physics may factor in. Physicists and mathematicians tend to agree. I loved this New York Times photo essay of mathematicians’ chalkboards, Where Theory Meets Chalk, Dust Flies A photo survey of the blackboards of mathematicians.

My home blackboard

I don’t have a good camera to take a picture of my home blackboard, but I dug up some pictures my friend with a good camera took a few years ago that show it.

The medals are from my then-most-recent marathons (I since finished another).

My inspiration

I’ve meant to create the picture above for years, inspired by pie charts floating around online:

A video on chalk and mathematicians

As far as I know, physicists don’t discriminate this way about chalk.

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