For the cyclists out there, I hope you’ll agree that a post-ride banana is about as life-affirming as a cold beer. For me, even in the dog days of a Washington, D.C. summer, a banana is the perfect, portable pick-me-up. So, imagine my delight when a friend sent me a six-way Venn banana diagram, in the most recent issue of the science journal Nature, showing the distribution of gene families in this most humble of fruits. I had to reach waaay back to biology class (and Wikipedia) to recall that monocots are one of two types of flowering plants (distinguished by having only one seed-leaf, for those of you dying to know). For the Venn geeks, the diagram actually uses A. W. F. Edwards’ six-set Venn diagram.
And if you like Venn diagrams more than bananas, here is one of my favorites, by Colin Harman. In math, Venn diagrams show relationships within sets. In real life, they allow cheeky designers to provide clients with a reality check.
And if you’d like to see how NOT to use a Venn diagram, FlowingData recently posted on a Mitt Romney graphic.