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In the mid-1990s, a Statistics professor at UNC reported an IT problem: he couldn't send email more than 500 miles away. He'd had geostatisticians plot the sites where emails could be sent successfully and where they bounced, and found they described a circle a radius slightly over 500 miles. Some sites within the circle could sporadically receive email, but definitely none outside them. The solution to the problem, which involves old formats and the speed of light, is well worth a read.

O'Reilly Radar tracks technology adoption via its annual "State of the Computer Book Market" report. In the latest report of 2011 book sales (amongst all publishers), books about R show a 127% increase in 2011 over 2010:

The open-source RHadoop project makes it easier to extract data from Hadoop for analysis with R, and to run R within the nodes of the Hadoop cluster -- essentially, to transform Hadoop into a massively-parallel statistical computing cluster based on R.

Hans Rosling, the statistician behind the Joy of Stats documentary, the creator of Gapminder (which in turn inspired Google MotionCharts), and boundlessly enthusiastic presenter of statistical conc

Douglas Merrill, former CIO/VP of Engineering at Google, writes in Forbes about using the R language for data analysis:

Most folks with math-oriented graduate degrees will have written something in R, a non-commercial option for your big data analysis.  So, great graduates from great graduate schools know great tools.

Github has made data on its code repositories, developer updates, forks etc. from the public GitHub timeline available for analysis, and is offering prizes for the most interesting visualization of the data. Sounds like a great challenge for R programmers!

The latest local R user group to join the fold is the Köln R User Group, now the sixth R user group in Germany. Their first group meeting will be on July 6, with presentations on ANOVA, ggplot2 graphics in Deducer, and writing R code with Emacs's Org-mode. If you're in the Cologne area, this would be a great group to get involved with.

MeetUp: Köln R User Group

Information Age recently published a feature article devoted to the R language, "Putting the R in analytics". Says author Pete Swabey:

Already popular in universities, there are signs that R is finding increasing adoption in the enterprise. This promises to lower the barriers of entry for advanced analytics, and may accelerate the mathemitisation of business management.

Check out this cover of Goyte's "Somebody That I Used to Know", played on a single guitar by all five members of Walk Off The Earth:


With more than 5,000 R packages now available (from the CRAN and BioConductor repositories), for any statistical or data analysis procedure you can confidently say, "there's a package for that".