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It's been a little while since we've rounded up the new local R user groups around the world, so here are the latest ones on the scene:

451 Research analyst Matt Aslett created this Database Landscape Map:

Wolfram's Mathematica is the lastest software to add a connection to R, joining a long list of applications providing R access to their users. Mathematica 9 will use a Java-based link allow users to exchange data between Mathematica and R and to execute R code from within Mathematica.

O'Reilly's Edd Dumbill observes that with the ubiquity of powerful computers now tied into all levels our daily lives, programming is getting dangerous: today's programmers are "like ambitious waiters stacking one teacup on top of the other". His prescription? All programmers will have to adopt programming paradigms that have previously been the domain of specialists: distributed computing, device computing, democratized computing and data computing:

In two weeks (on January 24), Think Big Analytics' Jeffrey Breen will present a new webinar on using R with Hadoop. Here's the webinar description:

The go-to bible for this data scientist and many others is The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction by Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, and Jerome Friedman. Each of the authors is an expert in machine learning / prediction, and in some cases invented the techniques we turn to today to make sense of big data: ensemble learning methods, penalized regression, additive models and nonparemetric smoothing, and much much more.

This year's R/Finance conference on applied finance with R is scheduled for May 17-18 in Chicago, and promises once again to be the go-to conference for anyone using R in the finance industry. The keynote speakers have been announced, and it's a great lineup:

Melbourne's transit operator Metro Trains wanted to create a campaign to get out train safety messages to people who normally wouldn't pay attention to them. They succeeded: this adorably dark PSA (with a song in the style of — but not, as I thought, by — the awesome Of Monsters and Men) was a viral hit, generating more than 35 million views and a worldwide top-10 song on iTunes:

 

We've mentioned before how you can use R to design 3-D objects. Now, thanks to the latest version of the rgl package, you can produce real-world 3-D objects with R as well.

The rgl package has long made it possible to create virtual 3-D objects in R, and export them as animations like this: