Software

1 posts
Value of R, the Statistics-specific language

Paul Ford has been learning R to better understand the field of Statistics. The takeaway: Deep in its heart, R is a language for making charts, and it’s genuinely fun to go into its world: statistics, natural sciences, sociology — all right there. You will never pry me away from JavaScript or Python or the whole web stack of standards and protocols. They’re how I make things happen in the...

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Spatula, a Python library for maintainable web scraping

This looks promising: While it is often easy, and tempting, to write a scraper as a dirty one-off script, spatula makes an attempt to provide an easy framework that most scrapers fit within without additional overhead. This reflects the reality that many scraper projects start small but grow quickly, so reaching for a heavyweight tool from the start often does not seem practical. The initial overhead imposed by the framework...

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Stumped by the ATM

The neighborhood bank recently installed brand new ATMs, with tablet monitors and all that jazz. Then, I found myself staring at this screen: I wanted to withdraw $100. I ordinarily love this banknote picker because I can get the $5, $10, $20 notes, instead of $50 and $100 that come out the slot when I don't specify my preference. Something changed this time. I find myself wondering which row represents...

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Observable Plot, a JavaScript library for more straightforward visualization of tabular data

If you’re into the notebook workflow, Observable Plot is a JavaScript library built for you: We created Plot to better support exploratory data analysis in reactive, JavaScript notebooks like Observable. We continue to support D3 for bespoke explanatory visualization and recommend Vega-Lite for imperative, polyglot environments such as Jupyter. Plot lets you see your ideas quickly, supports interaction with minimal fuss, is flexible with respect to data, and can be...

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Send postcards of plots made in R

How many times have you made a plot in R and thought, “I wish I could send this as a postcard to my best friend.” Probably a million times, right? Wish no more. The ggirl package (that’s gg-in real life for short) by Jacqueline Nolis lets you send a plot over the internets to a postcard API, which sends a physical card to an address you specify. Tags: ggirl, ggplot2,...

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Turn images into LEGO builds in R

The brickr package in R by Ryan Timpe takes an image, converts it to a mosaic, and then provides a piece list and instructions for the build. While not officially affiliated with the LEGO group, Timpe is a data scientist for LEGO, so it’s probably as close as you’re going to get to real deal. Timpe made a package a couple of years back, but when I went to use...

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Book Review: Visualizing with Text by Richard Barth

The creative process is sometimes described in terms of diverge-converge cycles. The diverge step involves experimentation and rewards suspending disbelief, while excesses are curbed and concepts refined during the converge step. Richard Brath's just-released book Visualizing with Text is an important resource that expands our appreciation for the place of text in visual displays. Books on data visualization fall into recognizable types, of which two popular ones are the style...

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Why you should expunge the defaults from Excel or (insert your favorite graphing program)

Yesterday, I posted the following chart in the post about Cornell's Covid-19 case rate after re-opening for in-person instruction. This is an edited version of the chart used in Peter Frazier's presentation. The original chart carries with it the burden of Excel defaults. What did I change and why? I switched away from the default color scheme, which ignores the relationships between the two lines. In particular, the key comparison...

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Arquero, a JavaScript library to query and transform datasets

An often painful yet necessary step in visualization is to get your data in the right format. Arquero, from the University of Washington Interactive Data Lab, aims to make this part of the process easier: Arquero is a JavaScript library for query processing and transformation of array-backed data tables. Following the relational algebra and inspired by the design of dplyr, Arquero provides a fluent API for manipulating column-oriented data frames....

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Two.js for two-dimensional drawing and animation in modern web browsers

“Two.js is deeply inspired by flat motion graphics. As a result, two.js aims to make the creation and animation of flat shapes easier and more concise.” It also renders in webgl, canvas2d, and svg, with not much change in your code. Two.js is definitely going on my list of things to try. Tags: animation, JavaScript

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