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R easily has more than two million users around the world, but where is R activity the most concentrated? That's the question that the team of R users at Rapporter seeks to answer, by combining data about locations of R Foundation members, package authors, package downloaders, and user group members into a single, country-wide "R usage score".

What would it be like if you could actally see the sounds around you, with your eyes? Surprisingly, it's possible to do so, thanks to a couple of fairly simple techniques. One way is via Schlieren Photography, which makes the variations in air density caused by temperature and sound waves to become visible. How that's done is explained in the NPR video below (watch for the Millennium Falcon!).

 

Nate Silver's departure to relaunch FiveThirtyEight.com left a bit of a hole at the New York Times, which The Upshot — the new data journalism practice at the Times — seeks to fill. And they've gotten off to a great start with the new Senate forecasting model, called Leo.

Sorry about the blog being inaccessible for a few days. Our hosting provider TypePad was the victim of a denial of service attack. (The Revolution Analytics main website and systems weren't affected.) But everything seems to be back to normal now, so it should be business as usual from here on in.

by Thomas Dinsmore

Regular readers of this blog may be familiar with our ongoing effort to benchmark Revolution R Enterprise (RRE) across a range of use cases and on different platforms.  We take these benchmarks seriously at Revolution Analytics, and constantly seek to improve the performance of our software. 

Norm Matloff points us to a pithy example that sums up Simpson's Paradox perfectly, captured in the title of a medical paper: "Good for Women, Good for Men, Bad for People". He explains how Simpson's Paradox isn't a paradox at all, but just the consequence of including a minor variable in a model ahead of a more significant variable, and illustrates this with an R analysis of the UCB admissions data.

If you missed last week's webinar presented by Revolution Analytics' US Chief Scientist Mario Inchiosa, Decision Trees built in Hadoop plus more Big Data Analytics with Revolution R Enterprise, the slides and webinar replay are now available for download.

What happens when you offer a dog a treat, but then make it vanish via sleight of hand? This:

 

Like Sullivan, I'm surprised these dogs are fooled at all, and can't tell where the treat is by scent.

That's all for this week. See you on Monday!

The Mountain View Voice is a weekly newspaper serving the Silicon Valley area, and is a familiar sight to anyone wandering the streets of Palo Alto or Menlo Park. Angela Hey writes for 'Hey Tech!', an online blog of the Voice, and has just published a feature on R and the local Bay Area User Group (BARUG).