Blog Archives

The language of Statistics

October 25, 2010
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R is the lingua franca of Statistics: R code and R packages is the means by which statisticians communicate ideas and methods for statistical analysis. The reasons why are discussed in this article, but it also begs the question: what's wrong with the spoken or written word? How Statistics and Probability relate to the English language is the subject...

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Because it’s Friday: Arthur C Clarke predicts the present

October 22, 2010
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On the BBC Horizon programme in 1964, Arthur C Clarke made some predictions about the future. He prefaced his predictions with the following caveat: If, by some miracle, a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd, so farfetched, that everybody would laugh him to scorn. So what...

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A workflow for R

October 22, 2010
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Writing an R script is one thing. Organizing your process: where to put the data, how to refer to files in scripts, how to run the scripts, and how to produce and collect and report the results; that's quite another. Every R user has their own workflow for doing data analysis with R, but the best workflows achieve the...

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R is Hot: Part 3

October 21, 2010
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This is Part 3 of a five-part article series, with new parts published each Thursday. You can download the complete article from the Revolution Analytics website. Power from Elegance If the R movement has a genuine rock star, it’s probably Hadley Wickham. He’s an assistant professor and the Dobelman Family Junior Chair in Statistics at Rice University. He’s written...

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Hold on to your hats: it’s World Statistics Day!

October 20, 2010
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Apparently today is the first ever World Statistics Day. I only knew about it because I'd seen a couple of passing references to it from the stats folks I follow on Twitter. But I guess this UN-sponsored event is a big deal, judging from the official website: The celebration of the World Statistics Day will acknowledge the service provided...

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An Old Wives Tale from the 2000 Census

October 19, 2010
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An Old Wives Tale from the 2000 Census

With the data from the 2010 US Census to be published early next year, here's a cautionary tale from the 2000 Census. If you take a look at the ratio of numbers of men to women in the 5-Percent "PUMS" sample from the 2000 census over various ages, you'll see an odd spike near age 65: What causes this...

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Winners of 2010 ggplot2 case study competition

October 18, 2010
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Winners of 2010 ggplot2 case study competition

The winners of this year's ggplot2 case study competition have been announced. I was honoured to be asked to be a judge of the competition this year, but it was a difficult job with so many excellent entries. In the end, the judging panel (which included Heike Hoffman and Hadley Wickham and me) selected three entries which each demonstrated...

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Benoît B Mandelbrot, 1924-2010

October 16, 2010
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Benoît Mandelbrot, the father of fractals, died Thursday at the age of 85. His obituary in the New York Times covers his life and work, and is also a well-written introduction to fractals. Mandelbrot's famous book, The Fractal Geometry of Nature, was an inspiration to me in high school: that a simple question like "How Long Is The Coast...

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Busting gay stereotypes with data

October 15, 2010
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Busting gay stereotypes with data

As a gay guy, you sometimes have to put up with some pretty offensive stereotypes that get thrown your way by extremists in the community and the media. These stereotypes are usually deployed in the form of anecdotes about how gay people are "promiscuous" or "corrupting". These misrepresentative anecdotes have serious consequences, not just in the continued denial of...

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R 2.12.0 released

October 15, 2010
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As announced today, The new R 2.12.0 is now available in source form, and you'll soon be able to download R as an installable binary for Windows, Mac and Linux from your local CRAN mirror. In the meantime, if you're not building R yourself you can check out the list of new features in the NEWS file. As usual,...

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