but she's a girl...

[Femina geekoides]


Too much geekery

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On Friday, I taught a session of a basic statistics workshop that a colleague and I designed for undergraduates. The idea is that we give a brief overview introduction, then the students work through our worksheet using R commander to get a feel for how to run basic tests, construct graphs, and interpret results. I originally built the worksheet (and the accompanying handbook, which contains more detail) in RStudio using RMarkdown formatting. This allows you to embed actual R commands in the document, and then show the output (including graphs) directly in the document: no copying and pasting of output required, and if you edit the commands, the output will update automatically when you compile the document. I was pretty pleased with the result, and – with a bit of tweaking of a Pandoc template – it produced a very nice looking PDF, complete with a hyperlinked table of contents for convenience.

Towards the end of the session, the students started to leave as they finished the work. One student came up to me and complemented me on the clarity of the instructions in the worksheet. Obviously I was very pleased about this. “Thanks”, I said brightly, “the document is actually built with R, and contains embedded code which produces the examples and graphs you see in it”. At this point, I could see her eyes go glassy as she maintained a fixed smile and glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder to check the nearest exit. When it looked as if I might go into more detail about this crazy document, she started to back away slowly, all the while maintaining eye contact, the way you might do with an unpredictable wild animal. Poor thing, she only wanted to learn statistics, and then she gets subjected to all this senseless geekery by her lecturer.

That – in a nutshell – is why this blog is a lifeline for me. Many of you are fellow geeks and share my enthusiasm for ridiculously geeky things like building documents with embedded statistical output. You are my kind of people. Plus, on the internet, I can’t see the eyes of those of you who are not interested in geeky things glazing over with boredom and despair as you read this.

Favourite things

mumblings View comments

How can it be 11th January already? I had a very relaxed Christmas and New Year, and recharged the batteries a bit, but apparently I’m still trying to wind myself back up again to normal levels of activity. I think I was really in need of a holiday, because ...

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Ranger

It’s nearly Christmas, and what could be more festive than writing about a command-line file manager? I’m pretty sure that I’ve tried Ranger before, but at that point it was early in its development, and I had a few issues with it. I was reminded of it ...

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Abracada-Bra

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Marlborough Bra

I was planning to give everyone a break from my rattling on about sewing this week and write about something else, but then I went and made a bra, and apparently, I can’t shut up about it1.

If you wear a bra, you know that all bras go ...

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Weary winter

life View comments

It seems that winter has arrived. Suddenly all the colour has drained from the leaves and the sky and everything seems dim and desaturated. The day feels like twilight, but without the magic of that transitional time. This is normal, of course, and normally I don’t mind this time ...

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Passing the Bechdel Test

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There aren’t many dramas on TV (or films, for that matter) that pass the Bechdel Test, meaning that they feature at least two women, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. There are even fewer dramas with leading women in positions of some power, who ...

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Making jeans

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Jeans front

Before I started making my own clothes, I lived in jeans as much as possible. Not that it was easy to find jeans to fit me – it certainly wasn’t – but I have always felt comfortable in jeans, and they were my fallback position for clothing my southern slopes. Now ...

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A wheel at each corner

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Hillman Imp

Look! It’s a Hillman Imp!”1

We were visiting Hidcote Gardens while on holiday, and I was practically squealing with delight as I spotted the car in the car park. I took a photograph, and had I not been too embarrassed, I would have given the little car a ...

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Standing to work

WorkFit-A raised

Like many people whose work is primarily office and computer based, I spend far too much of my day sitting. Not only do I sit at my office desk at work for much of the day (when I’m not lecturing and so on), I sit at the computer for ...

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