Articles by John Myles White

Killing Yourself: An Addendum

January 9, 2010 | John Myles White

In further support of the claim that a lot of deaths are partly self-induced, here’s a fascinating piece by Wired on the extraordinary rise in the percent of deaths among the young caused by their own poor decisions. It’s remarkable that, for the young, modern science has already ... [Read more...]

Using Complex Numbers in R

December 18, 2009 | John Myles White

This post is a continuation of my series dealing with matrix operations for image processing. My next goal is to demonstrate the construction of simple low-pass and high-pass spatial frequency filters in R. It’s easy enough to construct simple versions of these filters in R using the Fast Fourier ... [Read more...]

Image Compression with the SVD in R

December 17, 2009 | John Myles White

Over the next few posts, I’m going to be reviewing the use of R to implement the most commonly used matrix techniques for image manipulation. The code will be surprisingly simple to understand, because the real magic behind these techniques lies in the mathematics that R provides an abstract ... [Read more...]

Quick Review of Matrix Algebra in R

December 16, 2009 | John Myles White

Lately, I’ve been running a series of fMRI experiments on visual perception. In the interests of understanding the underlying properties of the images I’m using as stimuli, I’ve been trying to learn more about the matrix transformations commonly used for image compression and image manipulation. Thankfully, R ... [Read more...]

A Lot of Deaths are Partly Self-Induced

December 11, 2009 | John Myles White

I’m a little surprised by Andrew Gelman’s post today, doubting the wisdom of a passage from Gary Becker’s work that reads: According to the economic approach, therefore, most (if not all!) deaths are to some extent “suicides” in the sense that they could have been postponed if ... [Read more...]

Abstract Data Type Operations in R

December 9, 2009 | John Myles White

This morning, I got a chance to read enough of the R Language Definition to finish my implementations of push and pop. While I was at it, I also wrote implementations of unshift, shift, queue and dequeue. Here they are: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 push [Read more...]

R Function Usage Frequencies, Take 2

December 8, 2009 | John Myles White

Yesterday, Hadley Wickham commented on my post on the frequency of calling various R functions that it would be helpful to have the number of packages that call a function in addition to the number of times that the function is called. I compiled the relevant data last night: you ... [Read more...]

R Function Usage Frequencies

December 7, 2009 | John Myles White

A few months ago I decided to apply word frequency analysis ideas to R code. My idea was simple: the functions that one should invest the most effort into learning are precisely those functions that are used most frequently in real world code. In fact, this simple idea can be ... [Read more...]

The Top Scores for Canabalt, Take 2

November 15, 2009 | John Myles White

Introduction As promised on Thursday, here’s my second pass at a statistical analysis of Canabalt scores. There are some useful results I’ll present right at the start, and then there are some results that are more or less worthless, except that working through my own mistakes helped me ... [Read more...]


November 12, 2009 | John Myles White

At the office today, I got into a discussion with two of my fellow graduate students about the distribution of scores you can get while playing Canabalt. Because (1) the layout of the levels in the game is fully randomized and (2) the difficulty of certain actions (specifically jumping through windows) is ... [Read more...]

The Second Coming

June 18, 2009 | John Myles White

Pew Research has found that 79% of Americans believe in The Second Coming of Jesus. What worries me more is not that 4 out of 5 Americans believe in The Second Coming, but that 1 out of 5 believes it will happen in their lifetime. It seems inevitable t... [Read more...]

Marriage and Happiness

April 7, 2009 | John Myles White

The Pew Research Center just published a piece reviewing their finding that people who are married report significantly greater levels of happiness than those who are unmarried. I always enjoy this result, particularly because of contemporary Western c... [Read more...]
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