MacPhedran’s Musings, Part 1

I see a number of blogs (I won’t go so far as to say that I actually read all of them) and forward things I feel are of interest to people. I have been asked to present some of these items to a wider audience. I hope that you’ll find them of interest, or perhaps even of use.

Visualisation of data is an important use of computers for researchers. We have presented information in the past on Paraview, but that company also has other free software  for visualisation. Over the summer Kitware announced a new version of Avagadro, a component of the Open Chemistry suite for chemists. More recently, they announced an update for Bender, which allows the reposing of anatomical models based on medical imaging – your CT scans can follow the repositioning of the model.

“Good, old fashioned” visuals (i.e. Tufte circa 1983) are still being discussed as well. A recent blog post reminds folks to keep their data to ink ratio to a minimum. However, I think that the example they use goes too far in getting rid of “chartjunk”. Reducing the weight of the border ink doesn’t help their example, and eliminating that entirely is worse. (Others feel the same, apparently.)

Statistical analysis of data is important field for many researchers. The “R” package is a popular statistics package that is seeing a lot of blog interest. Over 450 blogs that follow R development and use are aggregated within the R-Bloggers concentrator site. The resulting posts include acquiring data from open data sites and using that within R; lengthy tutorials on producing presentation quality output; or even just how to start using R.

Something that you will be seeing more of in future blog articles is research data management (RDM) information. The University of  Edinburgh has an online course that leads people through the concept of RDM, with short quizzes and examples. Check it out if you’re looking to get more up to date on this.

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