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I'd like to start an association called Scientists Against Green On a White Background. We'd have semiannual SAGOWB (pronounced Sag-o-wab) meetings at AAS each year. We'd apply for NASA and NSF funding to go around to various departments and teach people not to plot their data as green on a white background. We'd talk about how when you use green on a white background in the figures in your paper, the data become invisible when printed on a black-and-white printer.

It would be a heck of a movement. No more would the colloquium speaker have to say, "And as you can see from this figu--uh, oh. Well, it doesn't really show up, but if you could see it, my data clearly show that..."

To demonstrate the problem, look at the following figure and squint your eyes slightly to simulate a typical computer projector. As another test, click on it and print it out on a B&W printer. Hilarity will ensue!


erinjohn said…
even i know better than to plot with green on white background. DUH?!?!
mquinn said…
I'm in as long as I can still write web pages with dark blue text on black backgrounds.
JohnJohn said…
Unfortunately, knowing is only half of the battle. It's not like these people haven't seen an illegible plot in a talk before. Come on astronomers, we can do better than this...

Sorry Quinn, dark blue text on a black background will not be allowed by our bylaws.
mama mia said…
does that green print say "please don't be part of the problem"? if so, perhaps my eyes aren't as bad as I thought!
Anonymous said…
Can SAGOWAB also ban unnecessary use of slide transitions in power point slide shows. The one that sounds like a race car screeching as the slide zooms in from the left slowly kills me every time it happens.
JohnJohn said…
Amy: Hahahahah. Gotta love the powerpoint.

Marie: Yes, the green text kindly asks you not to be a part of the problem. You don't have to have poor eyesight to be forced to read it. That's the point!

I think I'll open up SAGOWB to be a general organization of people against poor data presentation. Blue on a black background, red on a blue background, blinking GIFs on webpages, thin plot axes, distacting slide transitions, Comic Sans font, etc.
mama mia said…
But I live in a Comic Sans world! help me!
Marshall said…
Blue on black is the worst! Especially if the projector is kinda dim. There were some egregiously, wretchedly illegible talks at the CFAO retreat this past weekend.

If SAGOWB ever hires a lobbyist, he/she could pester Apple to make Keynote forbid users from ever choosing terrible color combinations. Draconian enforcement of tasteful design! ...then again, if Apple really believed in tasteful design, they'd never've shipped the transparent menus in Leopard. What the heck is up with that?!?

The master of awesome talks is Mate Adamkovics. His talk was full of so much Keynote goodness and plots so spiffy you'd never believe IDL made them, that Fitz and I independently cornered him during the coffee break afterwards to quiz him on how he'd done it. Oh, and his science results were pretty nifty too. :-)

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