Articles by Ethan Brown

Interactive R Notebooks with Jupyter and SageMathCloud

June 20, 2015 | Ethan Brown

Has the time come for Jupyter/IPython notebooks in R? This format, mixing code chunks, output, and markdown all in the same interface, is already wildly popular among Python users. Here's how to get a quick start using interactive, collaborative notebooks in Jupyter, with the help of SageMathCloud. [Read more...]

The whinny of the exponential horse

May 13, 2012 | Ethan Brown

A Poisson process provides a good model for events that happen rarely. That's what von Bortkiewicz realized in 1898 when he modeled deaths by horse kick in Prussian cavalry; since it would be ungentlemanly to actually kill my readers, I instead represent the events in a Poisson process using a horse's ... [Read more...]

Sensual marimba sunspots

February 25, 2012 | Ethan Brown

Here's the numbers of yearly sunspots, 1700-1988, brought to you by the nimble marimba of R: See ?sunspot.year in R for more information about the data. I did this last spring and just discovered it again. I've been so caught up in the current sound world of playitbyr (see ... [Read more...]

Diamonds vs. water smackdown in playitbyr-powered podcast

February 22, 2012 | Ethan Brown

Apparent Reason, my new monthly podcast, is a boisterous and non-technical discussion of economics and statistics. In that format I don't have the luxury of showing charts and graphs to complement my discussion, so I use the playitbyr package to represent the data as sound. (Apparently February is a great ... [Read more...]

R’s Distrotheque

November 28, 2011 | Ethan Brown

(Update: The csound package is now available on CRAN.) Do your random variables need to groove more? Of course they do. That's why I've been working on the upcoming csound package for R, which connects to Csound computer synthesis software to make any sound imaginable. Your computer'll be the hippest ... [Read more...]

The Work of the 1 Percent and the 0.1 Percent

October 10, 2011 | Ethan Brown

The Occupy Wall Street movement chants "We are the 99 percent, you are the 1 percent." It's a catchy refrain, and there are many excellent reasons to put the focus on Wall Street in the struggle for economic and political justice in the US. But even singling out one percent of the ... [Read more...]

Howling Winds and Stochastic Tones

March 9, 2011 | Ethan Brown

My greatest pleasures in mathematics come from observing--and here, listening to--the interplay of simple and complex. With a few axioms and definitions you can create surprising worlds, and in what seems like a mess you can find beautiful regularities. It's damn sexy, frankly. Here, I use a simple recursive equation ... [Read more...]

Rhythms of Equality and Inequality

February 6, 2011 | Ethan Brown

Today I unveil my very first statistical YouTube video! I will do anything to keep you statisfied, and if that means YouTube, then so be it. But first, some exposition: In Panama, 10 percent of the population owned 45 percent of the income in 2000, whereas the bottom 10 percent owned only 0.6 percent. How [...] [Read more...]

Listening for trends in US baby names over 130 years

January 25, 2011 | Ethan Brown

What happens when you mash together R‘s data crunching magic, Festival‘s speech synthesis power, and the audio wonders of the venerable music language Csound? You fall even more in love with free and open-source software, and you start hearing sounds like this: A single beat of the above ... [Read more...]

Dial-a-statistic! Featuring R and Estonia

January 16, 2011 | Ethan Brown

Did you wake up this morning hoping that you would be able to listen to telephone beeps inspired by Estonian web site metrics? I knew you did! First things first: I came up with the slightly crazy idea of using the bleepy sounds that telephones make, called “dual-tone multifrequency” (DTMF) ... [Read more...]

Newcomb, Benford, and their Dirty, Dirty Logarithms

August 22, 2010 | Ethan Brown

Tom Taverner introduced me to Benford’s Law as we were eating lunch together at a statistical computing conference: If you look at the first digits of data in many naturally-occuring datasets, a startling 30 percent of them are ones. “Pah!” I said. “That belies intuition! Why would one digit occur ... [Read more...]

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