The Poetry of Statistics

Helen DeWitt is my kind of major literary figure: Not only has she written one of the most spectacular novels I have read, she also dreams of becoming a statistician!

I have to recruit my students among aspiring English Literature majors, most of whom just cannot see the poetry of statistics. But then, some of them cannot see the poetry of poetry, either.

PS: Don’t jump, Helen, and I say this out of selfishness (I want to read those five books you’re trying to finish this year).

PPS: Oh, but Inference for R is evil. Why take a great piece of open source software and shackle it to MS Office? LaTeX with Sweave rules!

7 Kommentare zu „The Poetry of Statistics“

  1. OK, OK. In theory, yes, LaTeX is terrific. But it’s dangerous. Before you know it you are adding in all kinds of amazing packages which are sure to come in handy one day. From this point of view, anyway, MS Office is beautifully safe. I don’t trust myself with Sweave.

  2. MS Office is beautifully safe

    “MS” and “safe” contradict each other… :P

  3. Hey, all you need to do is not to click on links in suspicious emails, not to open suspicious attachments, and to have an antivirus program installed. In other words, all you need to do is not to behave like a Mac user who believes nothing can happen to them.

    <duck & cover>

  4. David Marjanović (#3),

    all you need to do is not to behave like a Mac user who correctly believes nothing can happen to them

    Fixed it for you 8-) .

  5. @David,
    I don’t restrict “safe” to “internet security” (as I think, Helen doesn’t so, either), it is more something like “safe from crashes that destroy your work just in the moment you want to save your work”… Another aspect is the “safeness of input-output”: MS-wysiwyg is nothing about “What you see is what you get” but something like “what you see is what microsoft wants you to get”. …Which reminds me of this little story

  6. So you missed the two Mac viruses last year? :-)

    Concerning crashes, I’ve seen pretty spectacular ones on Macs. Safari for Mac crashes all the time. So do Microsoft products for Mac; those for Windows are much, much more robust.

    Well, I haven’t tried Windows Vista. And I don’t think I should. 8-)

  7. Poor David, you must have a *really* corrupted system! And heaps of outdated extensions, dangerous haxies, and the like… Or just a bad machine — it is little known that RAM modules can be defective as well. The resulting crashes are indistinguishable from software glitches for the user.

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