Quantum Forest

notes in a shoebox

Mid-February flotsam

This coming Monday we start the first semester in Canterbury (and in New Zealand for that matter). We are all looking forward to an earthquake-free year; more realistically, myocarditis I’d be happy with low magnitude aftershocks.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that more pediatricians are ‘firing’ patients that refuse to use vaccines. I’m wondering about practices that will cluster with ‘vaccine refusers’.
  • I am collaborating with a researcher in Electrical Engineering where he and his students develop very cool tools for us (see example in this previous post on dealing with autocorrelation in mixed models). They use Python to control the tools, syringe data extraction and do some basic processing (isn’t that cool?). Python + Scipy have moved a lot towards creating a nice environment for scientific computing; however, pills in my opinion setting an R environment is way easier than dealing with all the versions for python, wxpython, etc. At the end I went for the 32 bit version in OS X because 64 bit is not supported (wxpython targets carbon, meh).
  • Why not publish your data too? HT: @chlalanne. I’ll be uploading datasets that I’ve used in my papers (at least the ones that do not contain industry/confidential data).
  • Timandra Harkness asks Have you been seduced by statistics? in Significance Journal (free access). In the same issue Matt Briggs asks another important question Why do statisticians answer silly questions that no one ever asks?
  • How companies learn your secrets: the creepy side of statistics/machine learning.
  • Feeling all smug in a discussion in Engineering: people struggling with software licensing (Office, Matlab, etc). I pointed out that we didn’t have any licensing issues with R to be at the bleeding edge when teaching. Take that!
  • In the nothing-to-do with-stats category, Retronaut displays a beautiful collection of Soviet space propaganda posters. HT: can’t remember.

Supermarkets in New Zealand, Are they creepy too? Checkouts at Pak N Save, Christchurch (Photo: Luis).

I’ve been running analyses for two to three papers, mostly using R + asreml-R + ggplot2 + plyr. I hope to write one of them using XeLaTeX (I’ll be the sole author), while in the other(s) I am condemned to MS Word (!). Thinking of journals to send the papers to, with the most liberal copyright as possible (hard in forestry).

P.S. Flotsam posts compile small bits of information, twitter favorites, shared links, etc.


  1. On the vaccine denialism thing, I saw an agent-based model presented…two years ago at the American Public Health Association annual conference, suggesting that physician refusal would concentrate vaccine denialists in a smaller number of sympathetic clinics. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a transmission model hooked to it to see what kind of problems this created.

    • Luis

      2012/02/19 at 10:07 am

      The transmission model is what I was thinking about… Could the many individual decisions of physicians ‘firing’ patients have a negative outcome at the population level?

      Cool avatar, by the way.

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