Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Internasjonalsnakksomplagiatorstatistiekpathy: International Talk Like a Statistical Pirate Day Sadness

Enthusiasts of strongly functional languages and environments to statistically explore data sets will almost certainly recognize the desolation of attempting statistical analysis without R.

Pirates who have had their tongues cut out due to a slight misunderstanding about the intended functionality of the captain’s peg leg, likewise, will almost certainly recognize the desolation of transmitting thoughts into speech in a world without “Arr.”

In the blended centre of a Venn diagram describing the intersection of these two groups, there is a very special kind of sadness.

You must understand that in this capricious universe there is a malignant trickster force, known by many as “God”. Once a year, for one magical day, it employs an arcane magic that calls into existence both a GNU project similar to the S language and environment for statistical computing and a guttural noise for expressing the emotions arising from a life of treachery on the high seas.

The sadness that this day inspires is a kind of preemptive nostalgia, combined with a sense of the fragility of happiness. Some would say (a thin slice at the centre of the diagram) that it calls upon that infinite pit of blackness in the human soul, the recognition of mortality and the steady chasing footfalls of the beating clock as your life’s time passes. Others have noted it’s similarity to the disappointment experienced when anticipation proves greater than reality [hyperlink to Sequel Sadness].

Either way, at the end of this annual day of unbounded joy for the very few and temporally/geographically non-contiguous members of this group, as the sun sinks low into the horizon, and the last linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, and sighs of “Arr” spread across the land, there is a distinct feeling of:

International Talk Like a Statistical Pirate Day Sadness.

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