Are career motivations changing?

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The German news magazine Der Spiegel published a series of articles [1, 2] around career developments. The stories suggest that career aspirations of young professionals today are somewhat different to those of previous generations in Germany.

Apparently money and people management responsibility are less desirable for new starters compared to being able to participate in interesting projects and to maintain a healthy work life balance. Hierarchies are seen as a mean to an end, and should be more flexible, depending on requirements and skills sets. Similar to how they evolve in online communities and projects.

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Sigma motion visual illusion in R

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Michael Bach, who is a professor and vision scientist at the University of Freiburg, maintains a fascinating site about visual illusions. One visual illusion really surprised me: the sigma motion.

The sigma motion displays a flickering figure of black and white columns. Actually it is just a chart, as displayed below, with the columns changing backwards and forwards from black to white at a rate of about 30 transitions per second.

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googleVis 0.2.17 is released: Displaying earth quake data

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The next version of the googleVis package has been released on the project site and CRAN.

This version provides updates to the package vignette and a new example for the gvisMerge function. The new sections of the vignette have been featured on this blog in more detail earlier:

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London Olympics 100m men's sprint results

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The 100m mean's sprint finals of the 2012 London Olympics are over and Usain Bolt won the gold medal again with a winning time of 9.63s. Time to compare the result with my forecast of 9.68s, posted on 22 July.


My simple log-linear model predicted a winning time of 9.68s with a prediction interval from 9.39s to 9.97s. Well, that is of course a big interval of more than half a second, or ±3%. Yet, the winning time was only 0.05s away from my prediction. That is less than 1% difference. Not bad for such a simple model.

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Rook rocks! Example with googleVis

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What is Rook?

Rook is a web server interface for R, written by Jeffrey Horner, the author of rApache and brew. But unlike other web frameworks for R, such as brew, R.rsp (which I have used in the past1), Rserve, gWidgetWWWW or sumo (which I haven't used yet) Rook appears incredible lightweight.

Rook doesn't need any configuration. It is an R package, which works out of the box with the R HTTP server (R ≥ 2.13.0 required). That means no configuration files are needed. No files have to be placed in particular folders, and I don't have to worry about access permissions. Instead, I can run web applications on my local desktop.

Screen shot of a Rook app running in a browser

Web applications have the big advantage that they run in a browser and hence are somewhat independent of the operating systems and installed software. All I need is R and a web browser. But here is the catch: I have to learn a little bit about the HTTP protocol to develop Rook apps.

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