Spaghetti plots? Sashimi? Food-themed Plots for Science!

For whatever reason bioinformaticians and other plot makers like to name (or re-name) plotting methods with food themes. Just saw this paper for “Sashimi plots” to represent alternative isoform expression from RNA-seq data.

Sashimi plots: Quantitative visualization of alternative isoform expression from RNA-seq data

That prompted me to post this from my Tumblr (growing collection of funny bits in scientific publications):


Spaghetti plots? Lasagne? OK then I can do rigatoni plots

This possibly somewhat satirical paper makes the case for “lasagne plots”, following on the spaghetti plots that are popular in some fields for representing longitudinal data. Lasagne plots are presented as an alternative for large datasets though the authors state: ”To remain consistent with the Italian cuisine-themed spaghetti plot, we refer to heatmaps as ‘lasagna plots.” The remainder of the paper is a pretty straight-on discussion and demonstration of why and when these plots are better than the spaghetti plots.

Lasagna plots: A saucy alternative to spaghetti plots

Bruce J. Swihart, Brian Caffo, Bryan D. James, Matthew Strand, Brian S. Schwartz, Naresh M. Punjabi

Interestingly, a recent paper reimagines heatmaps as “quilt” plots (though less satirically so). This opens whole new doors in the thematic renaming of methods for plotting data.

(h/t @leonidkruglyak)

But, in keeping with the Italian cuisine-themed spaghetti and lasagne plots: Now introducing Rigatoni plots!

(no pasta was harmed in the making of this plot. Well, OK. It was harmed a little)

Need to show outliers? Tasty, tasty outliers? No problem! (thanks @Lewis_Lab)

(capers. They’re capers)

via Spaghetti plots? Lasagne? OK then I can do rigatoni plots.