Equations allow more detailed analysis... if you understand them.
It's not the only way to represent the information. One could also use the equations that were used to calculate the speed of the shark. This lets you get a lot more detailed information, like the density of the water in the San Francisco Bay.
But you can only glean that information if you understand the equations. I have a math degree, and I can tell you that I certainly can't get that information at a glance: you need to know the symbols used, the physics, etc. It may provide great detailed information to experts, but for many people it will be impenetrable, and even for experts it's going to take a lot more time to analyze.
Note: This is part of my presentation on Visual Security Policy for the Web.
The equations photo is by By Tim Dorr and can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/timdorr/3325487594/