Speaking of R…

On the 16th, TIOBE Software released the Tiobe Index of the most popular programming languages. For the first time ever, R is in the Top 20. The top spots are, no surprise, occupied by Java and C respectively. More after the jump.

Continue reading ‘R Appears Among Top 20 Programming Languages’


Update!: The latest version of Revolution R, which added support for RHEL 6, appears to work (it appears to at least install, run, and perform basic tasks). See this post for more details.

I’ve come to enjoy using R. I had dabbled with it in the past, but found it painfully opaque, and the Effort:Reward ratio when I already used SAS just enough to keep me interested. But then a couple things happened – I went off and learned Python, and all of a sudden about half the things I found “quirky” about R made sense, and I found myself needing packages in R to do things SAS is pretty bad at – meta-analysis, and one particular researcher’s code that comes in an R package, complete with a handy tutorial.

So now I use R maybe…35% of the time?

But this is something of a side note. This review is on Revolution R, a commercial version of R that has some promising stuff in it. Or this review would have been on it, but for some…problems. More after the jump.

Continue reading ‘CBC Reviews: Revolution R (in which this doesn’t go well)’


New Blog!

20Jan12

Because the solution to not updating one blog enough is to start two, right?

Weirdly, for some other parts of my life, that’s actually true. I’ve found I keep up better with things when they’re busy enough to always occupy a little bit of my attention. One thing, and I can always say “Meh, I can put it off until tomorrow”. But many things? They demand attention.

So lets see if that works. I’m moving most of my Apple/OS X centric musings, along with some projects and the like, over to The Academic Mac. See you there, if you’re interested. Keep reading here if you’re not, I’ll have some new posts coming in the next few days.


In the past two months, I’ve had a dissertation proposal, a grant submission, a half-day workshop I ran, two paper reviews, a manuscript submission, an apartment overrun with the mess from the previous bits, 1600 miles of highway driving and…oh yeah, Christmas in two different places.

Hence the blog suddenly going dark, as it seems to do when the leaves start to fall from the trees and the temperature drops. Hopefully it’ll pick up shortly.


From the good people at http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/ , reminding us all that in any community, there is silliness when one applies methods or dogma without much thought:

“Is there evidence that evidence-based medicine outperforms other approaches?”


Sitting underneath the shiny, if somewhat grey UI in OS X Lion is the profoundly useful Terminal.app, which lets you fiddle about in the Unix-based underpinnings of the OS. While using this is almost never necessary, it is often profoundly useful. Most of the time, this is mostly useful (for me) for easy access to Unix clusters for scientific computing, terminal output for programming in Python or C, etc.

But it’s also stupidly useful for customizing your set-up in ways not necessarily supported in the UI, without the use of a third-party utilities, exactly the way you like it. Two of the most useful things I’ve found recently are described after the break.

Continue reading ‘OS X Terminal for Fun and Profit’


It’s always been somewhat puzzling to me that my admittedly small sample of truly appalling data visualization have been from largely right-wing sources: The Economist, and the Laffer Curve. The Laffer Curve particularly is an insult to anyone who has ever fit a line to data, and would just be sad if it wasn’t still being used as the basis for arguments about the tax code.

But thankfully, Nancy Pelosi’s Flickr page has provided me with this:

Continue reading ‘When Bad Graphs Attack: Now with More Bipartisanship’


This seems like as good a day as any to review CrossValidated, and the whole StackExchange constellation of websites. It’s been a month since I joined, exactly, and today I also crossed the 1,000 reputation threshold on the site. So why not give my impressions of it?

First, how I got there in the first place. I’ve been essentially learning Python and C as I go, working on my dissertation research. This, predictably, has resulted in some problems – and I happened across StackOverflow as a decidedly decent place to get answers to what were admittedly pretty rookie questions in a hurry – and at all random hours of the night. From there, I drifted over to their statistics site, CrossValidated, where I hoped I might do a little more good than just the asking of random programming questions.

More after the jump…

Continue reading ‘StackExchange and CrossValidated: An Epidemiologist’s Review’


Inspired by a question posted by a friend of mine on Twitter, I’ve been pondering this article and the use of social networks as a tool for public health research. Since Twitter’s character cap means subtly and nuance are never, ever going to be their strong suit what follows is a longer musing about the question here.

Continue reading ‘On Social Networks and Study Recruitment’


SAS-X (and its cousin, R-Bloggers) is a massively useful resource for learning new tricks with your language of choice, keeping track of news, and generally getting to see cool things people are doing with data software.

Which is why I’m pleased to say that Confounded by Confounding posts with the ‘SAS’ category tag will now be added to SAS-X.

For anyone visiting from that site, welcome! Feel free to look around 🙂