Graphing the prices of different solids

Andrew Gelman comments on the prices of liquids graph I posted on Friday. I agree with his points, and given I'm enjoying another lazy weekend and I've already covered the effect daughters have on a President's politics, I thought I should post a nice graph with the retail prices of different solids.

For my first attempt, I take what excel gives me; but avoid a couple of graph no-no's. 3D, unless absolutely necessary, is evil; and given the humongous differences between the prices of the goodies I chose, a linear scale is out of the question.


The colour in the second graph hurts my eyes. The first graph is not as unpleasant, but what a waste of space. Reverting to dots (after struggling with formatting for a while) does little to improve the situation:

It looks like excel won't do it for me - there's something to be said about the effect of Bill Gates and Co. on the abundance of inefficient (and plain ugly) graphs out there, but I'll refrain from saying it now. Also, it's a bit too late for Stata now, so the job will have to be finished - inefficiently - on Photoshop.
Now, the y axis is neat, figuring out what each dot represents is straightforward, and hardly any space is wasted. I know, colour is unnecessary; but hey, it makes the graph stand out and it should't cause any problems even if you print it in black and white.

I'd be happy to email the data to anyone who may be interested - for the original sources, click on moondust (also here), weapons grade uranium, Viagra (note: based on the price of four 100mg tablets), gold, uranium. Lobster (John West's dressed, 43g) and butter (Anchor, 500g) prices come from Tesco's pricecheck.

Before leaving this post, one more thing. As I've mentioned before, Andrew Gelman is my favourite blogger - well, why not, a hero of mine. So, having him linking to me twice - even though the first time followed my emailing him and the second was to comment on something I didn't produce myself - is one of the greatest rewards I've reaped in the three or four months I've been blogging. Thanks, and I hope visiting here from time to time proves to be worth your while.


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