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Unlike most other statistical software packages, R doesn't have a native data file format. You can certainly import and export data in any number of formats, but there's no native "R data file format". The closest equivalent is the saveRDS/loadRDS function pair, which allows you to serialize an R object to a file and then load it back into a later R session. But these files don't hew to a standardized format (it's essentially a dump of R in-memory representation of the object), and so you can't read the data with any software other than R.

This marble-based Rube Goldberg machine video is strangely compelling: it's simply made, but full of lots of elegant little flourishes, like the uphill "cannon" made of several magetic balls. The magnetic marbles behind many of the tricks are no longer available (they're very dangerous if swallowed), which I guess is a win for safety ... but just look what you can do with them:

 

Microsoft R Open 3.2.5 is now available for download. There are no changes of note in the R langauge engine with this release (R 3.2.5 was just a largely a version number increment).

Apache Spark, the open-source cluster computing framework, will soon see a major update with the upcoming release of Spark 2.0. This update promises to be faster than Spark 1.6, thanks to a run-time compiler that generates optimized bytecode.

If you've been thinking about trying the big-data capabilities of Microsoft R Server but wanted to check out the documentation first, you're in luck: the complete Microsoft R Server documentation is now available on MSDN (and is accessible to anyone). There's lots to explore here, but a few highlights you might want to check out include:

If you're looking for some musical nostalgia this weekend, look no further than How Music Taste Evolved, from design firm Polygraph (and with a hat tip to Pogue). Choose any month from the past six decades, and then sit back and watch the top 5 songs on the Billboard chart of the day move up and down and listen to the top song as time progresses.

Apparently, people have strong feelings about how pasta carbonara should be made. A 45-second French video showing a one-pot preparation of the dish with farfalle instead of spaghetti and substituting crème fraîche for most of the cheese — and not even stirring the egg into the pasta to cook it!