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In June 2013, the conflict between opposition and government forces around the Syrian city of Aleppo had intensified. Rockets struck residential districts, and car-bombs exploded near key facilities.

 

Many people died. But as is common in conflict areas, the reports of the number of dead varied by the source of the information. While some agencies reported a surge in casualties in the Aleppo area around June 2013, others did not.

The worldwide R user conference, useR! 2014, will take in Los Angeles, June 30-July 3. If you're an R user, or just interested in learning about what R can do first-hand from members of the R community, this is the conference to attend.

In case you missed them, here are some articles from February of particular interest to R users: 

A statistical analysis of various forecasting methods (using R) leads to correct predictions for 21 of 24 Oscars awards

In 1990, 87% of Americans could be uniquely identified given only their gender, date of birth and the 5-digit ZIP. You can check how easily you can be identified using those three data points here, and vastly more data is available about individuals today compared to 24 years ago. In this brave new world of social sharing, open data and data security revelations, data privacy is a big issue for consumers and businesses alike. 

The image below alternates between two versions of the same photograph. There is one difference between the two pictures. Can you spot the difference?

(Image below the jump — the flashing can be a bit taxing on the eyes.)

R-core member Peter Dalgaard announced yesterday that R 3.0.3 is now available. This is the final update to the R 3.0 series, and includes several small but handy new features and minor bug fixes. Improvements include support for writing very large tables to disk, better handling of foreign-language calendar dates, and more accuracy when calculating extreme quantiles of the Cauchy distribution. 

Will we always need data scientists, or will the Data Science role be replaced by easy-to-use automated applications? Mikio L.