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Showing posts from September, 2010

Quick update - two year old Pachyrhinosaurus project

I don't know if anyone remembers this ancient post and this follow-up on my Pachyrhinosaurus reconstruction, but I've just yesterday pulled out my half-finished drawing and started my process of finishing it.  I just realised that my original post was about 2 years ago; it's about time I finished the darned thing.  I've completely abandoned layering by anatomy (e.g. layers of muscle, skins) and reverted to my comfortable method of just fleshing it out the way I like. I've realised it's the only way to get it finished!

I also have to make my post on plotting in R...

R for beginners and intermediate users: reading and manipulating data

I had been preparing a comprehensive tutorial on how to plot in R (The R Project) with different groups differentiated in different colours, but Blogger stupidly erased my post and decided to automatically save my empty draft at that precise moment. Since I cannot reproduce the original post, I decided to break it up into a series of smaller topics.
There are plenty of R resources available in various places but I found that they are frequently one of two extremes; either too basic or too advanced.  I think of myself as an intermediate user (i.e., I can comfortably handle canned packages but want a bit more control than the default settings allow) so the type of info I find are not too helpful. So I thought it would benefit others like me if I summed up some of the simple things I learned over the last year or two.
As a first of such posts, I will deal with reading in and manipulating data.  These may be very simple and basic, but some of the things I wanted to do required a bit more th…

I hate Blogger autosave!

Until now, I quite liked Blogger's auto save feature.  Not any more.  I was hitting Ctrl Z to undo things until for some reason the whole post disappeared, and then at that moment, Blogger decided to auto save.... I lost a whole evening's worth of blogging and I can't remember the phrasing I used which I really liked.

Man-eater!

I have been meaning to write about this for the longest time, but things kept getting in my way.  Now, I have the perfect opportunity, as Paolo at Zygoma has coordinated with me to write a post on this very topic.  When Paolo was at the Bristol City Museum, I used to go bother him a lot, and together we'd go through their extensive cat skull collection.  One day, we came across a very interesting tiger skull specimen.  The box kind of said it all; it was labelled 'TIGER' on one end and 'MAN-EATER' on the other.  So we excitedly opened the box and found an isolated skull with no mandible but with a handwritten label.  The label read:


So this tiger was hunting humans for two years (how regularly, no one knows) until someone shot it dead.  Upon examining the skull it was apparent why this tiger was preferentially hunting humans; its canines are heavily worn down.




The canines even look like they could have broken and were subsequently worn down from continued use.  With…