Branding and Automating with R Markdown

At the 2018 RStudio conference in San Diego, my colleague Jon and I gave a talk about how we use R Markdown to quickly go from nothing, to analysis, to a branded report that we can pass off to clients. This workflow took some time to set up, but like most automation tasks, has ultimately saved us more time and headache than it cost. If you want to skip to the talk,

Bayes' Puzzle Powers

A while ago, the popular data journalism site 538 posted a challenging probability puzzle: On the table in front of you are two coins. They look and feel identical, but you know one of them has been doctored. The fair coin comes up heads half the time while the doctored coin comes up heads 60 percent of the time. How many flips — you must flip both coins at once, one with each hand — would you need to give yourself a 95 percent chance of correctly identifying the doctored coin?

Deranged X-Mas - a Gift Exchange Puzzle

While planning a holiday gift exchange this week, my wife casually challenged me with a sort of tricky probability puzzle: Sara and I were talking today and realized that we were off by one on the rotation because last year we went sledding instead of buying gifts. It should actually be: * Sara gives to Jonny * Jimmy gives to Thurop * Amy gives to Lisa * Jonny gives to Sara * Thurop gives to Jimmy * Lisa gives to Amy

How to Add a Logo to ggplot by Magick

We recently wanted to brand several of our plots for publication in the local press. I looked around and found a couple suggestions on how to add images to plots, but nothing that seemed modular or customizable. My colleague reccomended the relatively new Magick package, which provided all of the functionality I needed (plus a lot more). Here is a simple example along with the code to replicate it: library(ggplot2) library(magick) library(here) # For making the script run without a wd library(magrittr) # For piping the logo # Make a simple plot and save it ggplot(mpg, aes(displ, hwy, colour = class)) + geom_point() + ggtitle("Cars") + ggsave(filename = paste0(here("/"), last_plot()$labels$title, ".

The Prison Analyst's Dilemma - Using R to Model Recidivism

Recidivism, the rate at which those released from incarceration return or commit new crimes, is one of society’s most difficult social problems. The official estimate is that 55% of former prisoners will return within 60 months. Recidivism is also, I discovered, one of the most challenging things to model and understand statistically. In this blog post, I describe our efforts to build this simulation, including how we settled on some fairly basic control structures (for loops) without giving up too much in terms of efficiency and readability.

From Jupyter Notebooks to R Markdown

Edit, 3/28/18: RStudio just announced Python interoperability through the reticulate package. Rmd Notebooks are unbeatable, in my opinion. Original Post: I started using Jupyter Notebooks back when they were called IPython. I even remember having to set up a virtual Linux environment because they were not available on Windows. As much as I have enjoyed their functionality, I recently switched entirely to R Markdown in an RStudio environment. Here’s why.

Lessons From My First Kaggle Contest

Kaggle is a forum for interacting with other data scientists and competing to see who can write code that will best predict features of data. It’s a way to test your skills at statistics and machine learning, and to do a lot of human learning in the process (sorry, bad pun). When I entered the contest to categorize crimes that occurred in San Francisco, my initial goal was to do better than random chance.

How to Build a Data Dashboard using R (knitr), HTML, and Javascript (e.g.,Highcharts)

R has been the perfect language for the back end of this government data dashboard I am developing. It has excellent packages to pipe in data from every significant source Tools like dplyr and tidyr make cleaning and munging data trivial It is ideal for automating analysis In the R script that powers my dashboard, I have everything from simple averages and frequency tables, to a complex algorithm that converts timeseries figures to Z-Scores and then selects the top 3 variables to display based on standard scores from the last 7 days.

The Top Urban Planning Articles of 2014

For my job, I read a lot of articles on urban policy and planning. I believe that the best policies are usually borrowed from other cities rather than fabricated from nothing. In that spirit, I even borrowed from other top ten lists to create this post. I like to think that my list is more comprehensive than some of the others since I have no incentive to link to my own content.

The Most Magazine Covers of All Time

Time is a weekly news magazine that was first published in New York City in 1923. After my last post, a generous redditor offered to share with me a dataset of every person who has appeared on the cover since its first issue. It turns out he had painstakingly collected this data for a very cool website he created called hugequiz.com, where there are multiple quizzes on this subject. Fortunately, I don’t think it will spoil any of the quizzes to see this chart of the most frequently featured people: