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useR2011 highlights

useR has been exhilarating and exhausting. Now it’s finished, I wanted to share my highlights.

10. My inner twelve year old schoolgirl swooning and fainting with excitement every time I chatted with a member of R-core.

9. Patrick Burns declaring that his company consists of himself and his two cats. And that one of the cats keeps changing the settings on his mail reader to spite him.

8. Søren Højsgaard and Robert Goudie both patiently answering my bazillion stupid questions on Bayesian networks.

7. Audience members high-fiving each other during my talk.

6. Peter Baker coming up with ideas for a don’t-repeat-yourself workflow, so I can spend more time doing analysis that matters.

5. Peter Baker coming up with ideas for a don’t-repeat-yourself workflow. Oh, wait.

4. Jason and Tobias from OpenAnalytics talking about lab automation, so I can get those darned chemists off my back. (Just kidding, chemists; I love your data.)

3. Blogist Tal Galili volunteering as my speaking coach. (The big secret: talking really slowly to yourself before a presentation stops you overloading on adrenalin before you get up.)

2. Jonathan Rougier getting the audience to go “ah” every time he mentioned donkeys. And getting me to understand what the point of nomograms are.

1. Ben French teaching me that there is a third joke about stats. (I’ll tell you the other two another time.) It goes like this:

An engineer, a chemist and a statistician are staying in a hotel. (It’s a triple room, very cosy.) The first night they are there, a fire breaks out and wakes them up. The engineer gets up, grabs the fire extinguisher and puts out the fire. Later, they’re all woken by another fire (very dodgy health and safety). The chemist thinks “the fire reaction requires oxygen”, grabs a fire blanket and smothers the flames until they go out. Even later, the engineer and the chemist are woken by the statistician lighting a series of fires in the corner. “What are you doing?”, they cry in unison. “Increasing the sample size”, replies the statistician.

  1. 20th August, 2011 at 13:47 pm

    And there was of course this great talk about easy interactive ggplots graphics. Cheers!

  2. 23rd August, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Hi Richi:
    1) It was GREAT to meet you.
    2) Cool joke (pun intended)
    3) You gave a great talk on gWidgets. It looks like a cool thing to play with… (BTW, combining that with iplots is probably a very natural combination. Any chance you’ll play with that?)

    • 23rd August, 2011 at 10:33 am


      Great to meet you too. iplots is on my list of things to learn how to use. In fact, playing with it now would be a good way of avoiding finishing the technical support documents I’m in the middle of…

      • 23rd August, 2011 at 10:37 am


        Just to be clear,
        I was actually talking about iplots extreme, which is actually Acinonyx:
        Since it now includes functions for manipulating the plot from within R (which is what Simon showed us).
        I suspect that the latest working version is not out yet though, so you could finish your document first 😛

  3. heuristicandrew
    23rd August, 2011 at 19:14 pm

    Ha. I first heard that joke >5 years ago as a engineer, physicist, and a mathematician. 🙂 I found it again here

  1. 20th August, 2011 at 17:50 pm
  2. 22nd August, 2011 at 15:24 pm
  3. 23rd August, 2011 at 11:51 am
  4. 23rd August, 2011 at 11:51 am
  5. 24th August, 2011 at 4:01 am

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