Blog posts

2018

purrr for analysis in R

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In my postdoc work, I was running a lot of models on data. I found R really useful to doing the models, but I often struggled to write nice code around running many models. Until I discovered purrr.

2017

2016

The origin of the “transient” skin microbe concept

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There is a growing appreciation that microbes are not all pathogens. Some of them are important to our health, and many of them seem simply irrelevant to our concerns. It was only a matter of time before Purell put the following question and answer on their webpage’s FAQ:

Trump and Tribunes

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I was delighted and dejected when reading this interview (titled “Trump: Tribute of Poor White People”) with J. D. Vance, who wrote Hillbilly Elegy. Vance came from a poor white family, spent time in the Marines, and is a Yale Law graduate.

2015

A polemic on pronouns

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English speakers used to distinguish between thou, a word used to address a single person, and you, a word used to address more than one person. Just as kings used a royal, plural we when referring to one person, English speakers came to use a flattering you when addressing a single person. The Quakers retained thou to avoid elevating anyone with you. To non-Quakers, this standing on principle sounded antiquated and pedantic.

Using git with Word documents

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I like git, and I like to use it with most of my projects. But I mostly need to use Word to write manuscripts because it what and my co-authors and journals know how to work with.