Blog Archives

Race Statistics for Comrades Marathon Novice Runners

May 15, 2014
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Race Statistics for Comrades Marathon Novice Runners

Most novice Comrades Marathon runners finish the race on their first attempt and the majority of them walk (shuffle, crawl?) away with Bronze medals. What is a Novice? To paraphrase the dictionary, a novice is “a person who is new to or inexperienced in the circumstances in which he or she is placed; a beginner”.

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Hazardous and Benign Space Objects: Orbits in the Solar-Ecliptic Reference Frame

May 12, 2014
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Hazardous and Benign Space Objects: Orbits in the Solar-Ecliptic Reference Frame

In two previous posts in this series I have wrangled NEO orbital data into R and then solved Kepler’s Equation to get the eccentric anomaly for each NEO. The final stage in the visualisation of the NEO orbits will be the transformation of locations from the respective orbital planes into a single reference frame. Reference

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Comrades Marathon Negative Splits: The Plot Thickens

May 10, 2014
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Comrades Marathon Negative Splits: The Plot Thickens

I have been thinking a little more about those mysterious negative splits. Not too surprisingly, this thinking happened while I was out running along the Durban beachfront this morning. Let’s have a look at the ten most extreme negative splits from Comrades Marathon 2013: Below are the splits data for these runners (in the same

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Hazardous and Benign Space Objects: Solving Kepler’s Equation

May 8, 2014
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Hazardous and Benign Space Objects: Solving Kepler’s Equation

Following on from my previous post about Near Earth Objects, today we are going to solve Kepler’s Equation to find the eccentric anomaly, which is the next step towards plotting the positions of these NEOs relative to Earth. The Eccentric, True and Mean Anomalies The relationship between the eccentric and true anomalies are depicted in

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Comrades Marathon: Negative Splits and Cheating

May 6, 2014
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Comrades Marathon: Negative Splits and Cheating

With this year’s Comrades Marathon just less than a month away, I was reminded of a story from earlier in the year. Mark Dowdeswell, a statistician at Wits University, found evidence of cheating by some middle and back of the pack Comrades runners. He identified a group of 20 athletes who had suspicious negative splits:

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Hazardous and Benign Space Objects: Getting the Data

April 28, 2014
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Hazardous and Benign Space Objects: Getting the Data

The recent story about a skydiver nearly being hit by falling meteor got me thinking about all the pieces of rock floating around in near-Earth space. Despite the fact that the supposed meteor was probably just a chunk of rock mistakenly packed in with a parachute, the fact that something like that could actually happen

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R Interface to Myfxbook

April 17, 2014
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R Interface to Myfxbook

Myfxbook provides an interface to your FOREX trading accounts as well as an active trading community. It has a broad range of functionality including a responsive interface to the FOREX market; tools for performing statistical analyses on your trades; the facility to mirror trades from other traders or systems; and provides a platform for publicising

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Transitioning to Stan

April 14, 2014
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Kevin Cartier writes: I’ve been happily using R for a number of years now and recently came across Stan. Looks big and powerful, so I’d like to pick an appropriate project and try it out. I wondered if you could point me to a link or document that goes into the motivation for this tool The post

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Earthquakes: Land / Ocean Distribution

April 13, 2014
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Earthquakes: Land / Ocean Distribution

The next stage in my earthquake analysis project is to partition the events into groups with epicentre over land or water. Since our existing catalog contains the latitude and longitude for the epicentres, it was a relatively simple matter to pipe these into gmtselect and label the events accordingly. The resulting data when sucked into

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Largest Volcanoes in Recorded History (and other statistics)

April 11, 2014
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Largest Volcanoes in Recorded History (and other statistics)

Around 199 years ago the largest volcano in recorded history, Mount Tambora, erupted, spewing an enormous volume of molten rock and ash into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding land. How is the intensity of a volcanic eruption quantified? Most people know about the Richter Scale which quantifies the energy released in an earthquake. The

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