We have combined a versatile statistical program, R with a versatile text editor, Emacs. These are the tools we Rgyles use to quantify and write about our scientific interests. We use the two in combination and that makes us superior. We shall rule the world. (Maniacal Laughter).
Rgyles is a happy few of brilliant rebellious minds. Well, ‘brilliant’ is an exaggeration for some of the members (you know who you are) and ‘happy’ is an outright lie. Though ‘rebellious’ is quite apt. A tale of woe is about to begin.
Just imagine young, brillant, ambitious (again, all lies) huddled masses of graduate students yearning to be free from the typical statistical package shackles. We did not want to be cardboard graduate student cut-outs, just zombies performing the same T-Tests and ANOVA’s. We desired to understand and implement varied measures, methods and statistics. Hamstrung by SPSS. Distraught with SAS. A statistical program should allow the user to perform any and all operations: to choose which missing data procedure to use and print out only what we want printed out. Then, while lost in the cold dark woods of measurement, statistics and methodolgy, we heard a beautiful Siren’s call towards shelter. This cabin in the woods called R could shelter us from the limitations and problems of other statistical packages and financial thievery (Capitalism, nuts to that). This free package will also work on any computer operating system. The package also happens to be made out of gingerbread with candy all over. It wasn’t until we were inside did we start to sense the dire consequences (why oh why don’t we all pay attention to Hanzel and Gretal).
Our Siren, a fightin’ Irishman, spun a yarn about versatility, open-source, Atlantis and statistical proficiency. Just as Lewis and Clark followed Jefferson’s command or the children following the Pied Piper, we were intrigued and spellbound. So we set out to explore an undiscovered country (it’s from Shakespeare damn it) called R in combination with Emacs (not really a good name for a country; I like Candyland). This never-ending exploration has both untold wonders and terrible tragedies. The versitility of R and Emacs is everything a scientist can dream of. The price to be paid for this versatility is the comprehension and utilization of syntax and shockingly, statistics. You see R is not a graphical user interface. Operations require you to explicitly know what you what to accomplish. This means knowing how to ask for a specific statistical procedure and knowing how the procedure is conducted. This little bit of declarative knowledge comes by way of a steep learning curve. Many trials, sleepless nights and painful days will be spent staring at a blinking cursor wondering why the last fifty iterations of a code did not work. Personally, I sacrificed a goat to be better. I know, I know; it was wrong. I have made restitution to his family. Now, we feel all superior and know we can do anything we want with the tools we have and knowing is half the battle. We’re on top of the world ma!
Our coven created this wild and wacky wiki page for helping the not-so-brilliant, again you know who you are. The categories are-problems encountered in our data analysis, helpful hints and solutions, R functions and a comprehensive how-to install and use the programs.