Monthly Archives: July 2014

Code Monkey Monday- The Meme Generator for R

News you can use: There is a meme generator package in R. Because that’s what we all need.

Check it out here. You can use built-in meme photos on the web at sites like or you can link to your own image of interest. Here are some of my creations:

Me coding:
code poorly

In honor of the World Cup:

And one for Maria:

Book Review- The Firm

The Firm
By John Grisham, 1991


Fast-paced lawyer drama, with additional threat of death by the mob. Fast read because you won’t want to put it down. That’s probably why they made it into a movie, but I haven’t seen the movie. Will probably interrupt your daily work cycle and make you less productive. You’ve been warned.

John Grisham was given an honorary degree at my UNC graduation. He has had a very interesting life and is a great speaker, though his speech to us was very short. E.O. Wilson gave the commencement speech.

Theory Tuesday- Statistics’ Place in Big Data

Interesting, but long, talk about statistics place in the Big Data world:

I’d suggest watching from about 10 minutes in to about 40 minutes.

“Statistics”, “data mining”, and “bioinformatics” are all on the decline according to Google Trends, while “Big Data” is booming. Many big data people don’t see the need for statisticians because of their seemingly antiquated/belligerent/unhelpful opinions on model validity, result confidence, and experiment design. However, people who ignore statistics are condemned to re-create statistics.

In my experience, the people who don’t see value in statistics are action-oriented and typically mathematically-ignorant. These people want to do something, and they are not especially interested in how accurate their actions are. More responsible big data teams will be built with people with three skill sets: programming, math/statistics, and domain knowledge.

Book Review- Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled-and Knuckleheaded- Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled- and Knuckleheaded- Quest for the Rocky Mountain High
By Mark Obmascik, 2009

halfway to heaven

While in Colorado for a recent trip, I read Halfway to Heaven. It’s an amusing narrative about the trials and tribulations of hiking all of the 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado—of which there are over 50. The hikes were primarily done in summer, which did not give much guidance for our May trip that saw 4+ feet of snow from the trailhead to the peak for every mountain of interest for us. And the snowy climbs Obmascik describes only worsened my anxiety—slides, avalanches, and post-holing. Nonetheless, it is a very interesting book that gives a great idea of mountain customs, etiquette, and concerns. You’ll learn about the people who hiked all the 14ers in less than 2 weeks, the woman who wants to be photographed naked on each peak, and the modern-day prospectors that still camp out and mine the Rockies, hoping to strike it rich. Recommended for anyone that enjoys hiking, climbing, the Rockies, and/or adventure narratives.

Soccer Kids need to work on their spacing and marking

Kids play blob-ball soccer. They clump together. They don’t spread out. And they don’t stay with people that don’t have the ball. And thus, 55 kids cannot stop 2 pros.

If your kids learn the concept of spacing by the time they are 5, they will be the leading goal scorer and goal stopper on their team.

Also, for good measure, fencing against a crowd:

Crazy Japanese.