Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Hadleyverse

Most of my time, these days, is taken up with dealing with the * it would be professional suicide to report. 

Not so sure discretion is the better part of valor, but there are wheels within wheels within wheels.

Meanwhile I am tormented by an alternative universe. The Hadleyverse. 

This is probably a case where ignorance is bliss. If you don't know about the Hadleyverse, you are probably better off not knowing.  If you're not already programming in R, if you're not already getting the hang of ggplot2, if you haven't installed RStudio and been repeatedly dazzled by all the amazing things you now can do that were a headache in basic R -- if you haven't THEN been seduced by Shiny, if you've never grappled with data and then discovered that Mr Fabulous has released a package or 3 that addresses most-to-all of the problems that were driving you berserk--

If you've never followed this path you probably DON'T want to know more about Hadley Wickham. You're mired down in a professional environment where solving problems is nobody's business. It may well be driving you crazy, but at least you don't have an example of a world where things can be different.

So this is bad, bad, bad, very bad, but there's a terrific profile of Hadley Wickham on Priceonomics, which I am now sharing with people who might well be happier if they knew nothing about it.  The whole thing here.


tony said...

“Fundamentally learning about the world through data is really, really cool.”

Of all the things that Hadley Wickham said, this was the quote that the article opened with? It's such a vacuous statement. It put me off the rest of the article. Of course, I spent my academic career working on "abstruse ramifications of the central limit theorem" (mostly with respect to random matrices). Even so, I use the ggplot2 packages almost daily in my professional work. It's good to see their creator getting some attention.

Helen DeWitt said...

Point well taken. I think I've become inured over the years to what editors, sub-editors and so on consider the best way to present a piece to the public - it's not even that I'm completely uncritical, I somehow don't even see it. People go through a text looking for what I believe are called pull-quotes, and if it's my text I normally can't see why they pulled that particular quote, so then if I'm reading someone else's text the mind filters out the bits someone other than the author thought worth emphasizing. But, gosh - if I had created ggplot2 I might well have felt I could rest on my laurels, but Wickham keeps coming up with new things, it made my day to come across a profile.

Dave said...

Well I thought it was a good start to pull in the general public (like me) having a late Saturday morning breakfast in a Baltimore diner. Actually, the thought of New Zealand dominating this niche field is disconcerting. They barely have enough people to worry a census taker. What made them think so deeply about statistics?

Helen DeWitt said...

OK, well, it may be that writers are not always best qualified to gauge what will draw in the public. I do keep asking myself, anyway, about the New Zealand factor. What's going on? Would I be happier if I moved to New Zealand?