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Modest Advice to grad students

When I started my Masters degree the ranking grad student in our group handed me a many-generation photocopy of a pair of articles, Steve Stearns' Modest Advice to grad students, and Ray Huey's reply to Stearns.

Pdf versions of these (they deserve printing and posting above the desk of every grad student) are available here (advice), and here (reply).

More advice

The best academic advice I ever got was: "Spend at least an hour every day on the manuscript closest to publication".

Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast, a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for natural land and the west; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still there... Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards. --Ed Abbey.

The best climber is the one having the most fun. -- Alex Lowe.

You are a fool if you don't climb Mt. Fuji; but you are a bigger fool if you climb it twice. -- E Matsuzawa.

Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of other things. And it is not by any means certain that a man's business is is the most important thing he has to do. -- RL Stevenson.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. -- E.F. Schumacker.

Administrivial denial of service attack / Declaration of Organizational Bankruptcy

"The effect of new technology has been to draw even senior managers into minutiae. People paid to think and lead now spend much of their time typing and responding to or sending an endless stream of unnecessary messages, simply because communications technology invades every second and every corner of their lives. This bureaucratization of both the leadership and the creative process makes thought seem irresponsible and clear action seem unprofessional. It provides a sensation of activity while creating a broader sense of powerlessness. This is what used to be called being nibbled to death by ducks." -- John Ralston Saul

Hurd's Laws

Hurd's First Law: All good things are followed by laundry.

Hurd's Second Law: If you can't fit your rock into a van, you're not ready to tour. (inspired by the 118 tractor-trailers required to bring U2 to play Edmonton)

Hurd's Third Law: The dumber the organism, the better its behaviour will be predicted by game theory.

Some statistical functions in R

Little things here so I can find them

sem <- function(x){sd(x,na.rm=T)/sqrt(length(x[!is.na(x)]))}

combine.p(): Combine p.values from separate tests using one of the Fisher, Winer, or Stouffer methods.

Rationale: A set of tests, all testing the same hypothesis, may all approach significance without any of them being significant. These methods calculate the probability that the null hypothesis is true given the p values of a number of separate tests.

Bugs: The Winer and Stouffer methods don't deal with effects in opposite directions correctly (neither does Fisher, but that's the way Fisher's method is supposed to be).

Here's the combine.p function, combine.p.r, and combine.p.Rd

Examples of combine.p() can be found in the combine.p.Rd file.

get.d(): Calculate effect size Cohen's d.

Rationale: Because it's not there.

Bugs: Once needed a signed version, but I cannot remember why now.

Here's the function (includes an option for dependent samples pooled standard deviation sent in by SylviaDKreibig), cohens-d.r.

boot.d.ci(): Bootstrap a confidence interval on Cohen's d.

Rationale: I seem to wind up doing this a lot, so I wrote a function...

Bugs: Purges NA by default, may throw hissy-fits with lots of NAs otherwise, includes old get.d() version.

The function, boot-d-ci.r, defaults to 95% confidence intervals with 1000 bootstrap resamplings, arguments override the defaults.

threeD.toi.test(): Tests of independence for three dimensional data matrices

Rationale: The native R chisq.test() and the log-likelihood ratio test above do not handle three dimensional data matrices. This function defaults to log-likelihood ratio, but adding the argument 'method="c"' will invoke chi-squared.

Bugs: Omnibus tests only, no corrections, poor documentation, inexplicably ugly output.

Here's the threeD.toi.test function, 3d-toi.r,

residuals.with.na(x,y): ugly kludge wrapper to return a vector of residuals with NAs where they belong

Rationale: Why isn't this default behaviour? Maybe there is an obvious option to do this that I have overlooked...

Bugs: Uses a for() loop, which is ugly bad.

Here's the function, resid-na.r,

latex2ps shell script for Nautilus

latex2ps, a nautilus script to latex & dvips a file.


Pit, late 1980s Pete's Back Too hot for dog walking Sixpack Fleataxi Not escapism, but genuine escape! Bouldering in Sollentuna Spring in Lappland Spring in Lappland Edith Cavel Summit Topping out on the Grand Sentinel On skateboard 1976 On skateboard 2004

1) Riding the crowd, keeping an eye on the bouncer (late '80s DOA show?), photo Shawn Scallen 2) Pete's head, West Coast Trail, Photo by KJB; 3-4) Sixpack Fleataxi; 5) Brian Kuchinka on approach to Slesse's South Ridge Route; 6) Bouldering in Sollentuna with T Ekefalk; 7) KRW in 24hr daylight of Lappland; 8) Short walk in the snow, Photo GKH; 9) Why rush a good thing? traverse of Mt. Edith Cavel in 24hr 15min, with SNW & Zoe, Photo Zoe. 10) Topping out on the Grand Sentinel with Sisterijah (white helmets), Photo KRW. 11) Pete Hurd on his first skateboard, 1976 12) Professor Hurd on his new skateboard, 2004


Rtips, (not StatsRus), a super-useful list of frequently asked questions about R usage.
Quick-R for SAS, SPSS, Stata users.

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