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## Breakthrough In Drawing Complex Venn Diagrams: Goes to 1183

00_NOP writes "Venn diagrams are all the rage in this election year, but drawing comprehensible diagrams for anything more than 3 sets has proved to be very difficult. Until the breakthrough just announced by Khalegh Mamakani and Frank Ruskey of the University of Victoria in Canada, nobody had managed to draw a simple (no more than two lines crossing), symmetric Venn diagram for more than 7 sets (only primes will work). Now they have pushed that on to 11. And it's pretty too."
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## Breakthrough In Drawing Complex Venn Diagrams: Goes to 11

• #### 3D? (Score:4, Interesting)

<mattr@NOSpAm.telebody.com> on Sunday August 12, 2012 @10:07AM (#40964221) Homepage Journal

IANAM but would 3D help? Since now we have 3D printers one could build a program that would make a disassemblable colored object.

• #### Re:Misses the point... (Score:5, Interesting)

on Sunday August 12, 2012 @11:14AM (#40964547) Homepage

Venn diagrams do not show proportion (what I assume you mean by amounts)!

If you draw a Venn diagram with a tiny little overlap, or a huge overlap, in order to make some point, [b]you are doing it wrong[/b].

Now it's one thing to do this for comedic effect, but I see this all the time when people are trying to be serious and it makes me stabby.

Venn diagrams are a way of visualizing overlaps in sets; the ONLY thing that matters is what region an element is placed, not how big that region is.

A Venn diagram is a precise tool which displays particular information with no ambiguity, and trying to shoehorn proportions into it just makes it muddy. Plus, humans are fucking terrible at telling how much larger one roughly circular area is than another; make those areas slightly different shapes, and it's even less helpful.

• #### Re:Looks nice, but let's be honest (Score:4, Interesting)

on Sunday August 12, 2012 @11:32AM (#40964661) Journal

This. They just found a clever way to jam too much information onscreen at once.

Of course it's pretty -- Spirograph drawings are!

This reminds me vaguely of Chernoff Faces [wikipedia.org], which were an attempt to give people viewing 4D or higher data a "feel" for it, since you can't really visualize 4D drawings. It takes advantage of brain circuitry for recognizing faces using many different little hard-wired things, like eye position, mouth width, and so on.

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