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Comment: IPython uses markdown (Score 1) 204

by aisaac (#45187859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Use Markdown and Pandoc?

For those doing scientific programming, the IPython notebook is a joyful place for interactive exploration and can be appropriate for document creation. Notebook cells can have code, images, or text, and text can mix Markdown and LaTeX (rendered in the cell via MathJax). Notebooks can be converted to HTML or PDF (via LaTeX), using the nbconvert utility (which depends on pandoc). For serious document production, this is not even remotely a replacement for LaTeX, but it can be a great place for interactive work.

Comment: Re:What about pictures? (Score 2) 300

by aisaac (#43386697) Attached to: Extended TeX: Past, Present, and Future

Think it's graphicsx. One of the packages, anyways, lets you include PNGs, JPGs, etc. ... I also don't like the fact that vector images require you to master Asymptote, Metapost and an armful of other systems. ... So, whilst I agree that TeX has crappy image handling, it's not nearly as bad as you depict.

It is also not nearly as bad as you depict. Vector drawing is handled nicely by pgf/tik. If you want meta-control of tikz, you can use the wonderful tikz backend for matplotlib. There are also beautiful ways to produce EPS or (better yet imho) PDF for LaTeX, with embedded TeX fonts, including Matplotlib and the amazingly powerful PyX. Btw, the graphics inclusion package is graphicx.

Comment: Re:Yay (Score 1) 2987

by aisaac (#42298873) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

I think Lott is opinionated, inflammatory, and important. I suspect he is probably wrong in his concealed carry conclusions. However in a complex matter like this, as in pretty much any scientific inquiry, those of us who are not specialists should rely on the consensus of the experts. In this case, there is no consensus on how concealed carry affects murder rates, so holding a strong opinion is unjustified. (It follows that we can expect a lot of ideological shouting.)

One thing that is known to raise murder rates is high and sustained unemployment. Neither concealed carry laws nor unemployment rates appear relevant to this shooting, however.

Comment: Re:Numerical Python (Score 2) 204

by aisaac (#39725073) Attached to: Julia Language Seeks To Be the C For Numerical Computing

I mostly use python these days [snip] Matlab's syntax is just so slick by comparison:

Matlab: foo = [1 2;3 4] Python: foo= array([[1,2],[3,4]]) R: foo - matrix(c(1,2,3,4),2,2)

NumPy includes a matrix library: foo=mat('1 2;3 4'). In general, Python's syntax beats Matlab's syntax
hands down. (In this particular case there is almost a tie, but a trivial advantage for Matlab. I spend apporximately 0% of my time typing in data for array construction, and I suppose that is true of most users.) For help transitioning, see http://www.scipy.org/NumPy_for_Matlab_Users.

Comment: Re:Politics (Score 1) 874

by aisaac (#30304010) Attached to: Scientists Step Down After CRU Hack Fallout

On the contrary, this is quite normal. Ice caps expand and recede all the time and have been for centuries. As MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen pointed out in WSJ today, you're discarding a well-established understanding of the history of the planet by making that claim.

I also wonder how many who quote Lindzen on climate change also quote Lindzen on smoking?

Comment: Re:Show me some example code (Score 1) 382

by aisaac (#26370441) Attached to: The Power of the R Programming Language

R handles non-matrix data structures much, much better than Matlab does

This advantage is even larger for Python. Use the NumPy package for efficient array handling and basic linear algebra. Use SciPy for optimization and statistics. Use Matplotlib for amazingly powerful 2d graphics. And if you occasionally need R, which does have an wonderfully deep statistical library, you can access it with rpy.

Censorship

+ - Libraries Defend Open Access

Submitted by aisaac
aisaac (247911) writes "
Publisher plans to equate public access to federally funded research with government censorship and the destruction of peer review were exposed earlier this year (Nature, January 25, 2007). In an open letter last month, Rockefeller University Press castigated the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine (PRISM) for using distortionary rhetoric in a coordinated PR attack on open access. Now the Association of Research Libraries has released an Issue Brief addressing this PR campaign in more detail. The Issue Brief exposes some of the distortions used to persuade key policy makers that recent gains open access scientific publishing pose a danger to peer reviewed scientific research, free markets, and possibly the future of western civilization. As an example of what the publishers backing PRISM hate, consider the the wonderfully successful grants policy of the National Institutes of Health, which requires papers based on grant-funded research to be published in PubMed Central.
"

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