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I've been playing a fair bit of Civilization V: Brave New World recently (a great game, BTW), and one of my favourite parts of the game is the animated map at the end of the game showing the rise and fall of the (virtual) civilations across the globe, and the associated charts showing their dominance through time. Around 1932, John Sparks made a real-world chart for our actual historic civilizations for McNally (now out of print, sadly), and it stood more than six feet tall!

Job-tracking site shows the rate at which certain terms appear in job advertisements. As you can see from the chart below, demand for R language skills is on the rise, while the number of SAS-related job postings peaked in late 2010 and has been declining steadily since early 2012. 

In an overview of several predictive analytics platforms (including SPSS, Oracle and SAS), Butler Analytics offers this 4.5/5 star review of Revolution R Enterprise:

Since 2000, the median US wage has risen about 1%, adjusted for inflation.

But over the same period, the median wage for:

A byte-compiler for R code — which can improve the execution performance of R functions — was introduced in R 2.13.0, and was automatically applied to the bundled packages in R 2.14.0.

Given the summer heat, I thought I'd share something cool this week. Here's what happens when a red-hot nickel ball bearing meets a block of ice:


Make sure you've got the audio on: the sound is kind of terrifying. And if you put it in a glass of water, it almost sounds like it screams.

Keep cool and enjoy your weekend. See you next week!

If you're involved in any projects that involve the implementation of statistical models or data analysis in general, you should read ComputerWorld's excellent article, 12 Predictive Analytics Screw-Ups. It's an excellent collection of common mistakes that can occur, and their outcomes (or lack of outcomes) in some real-world examples.

We meet a lot of R users on our travels, and something we often hear from them is that while they're doing amazing things with R (incredible data visualizations, statistical analysis, and data science applications), their supervisors or peers may not know that the R language is involved, or that others could benefit from using it. It would be great, they tell us, to have something short and sweet to share that describes what makes R so special.