Easily write your own custom functions in Excel and Google Sheets with LAMBDA

Just in case modern-day spreadsheets don't already have enough functions for you, I learned that both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets have added the ability to define your own custom functions, even without having to learn a new programming language. If you can express what you want your function to do in terms of standard … Continue reading Easily write your own custom functions in Excel and Google Sheets with LAMBDA

A super fast and flexible near-optimal matching method using the quickmatch library in R

Sometimes we don't have the luxury of running a gold-standard randomised controlled trial when wanting to understand the effect of some intervention on some population. Perhaps the required experiment would be unethical, too costly, or otherwise unfeasible. Or maybe the powers that be just never thought about doing a proper experiment, but yet want to … Continue reading A super fast and flexible near-optimal matching method using the quickmatch library in R

How to install a CRAN package that has been archived

Sometimes you may come to install a copy of one of your favourite R libraries from CRAN, only to be confronted with the nightmare scenario of it no longer being available. If you try and install the package in the conventional install.packages() way then you'll get the error "package is not available for this version … Continue reading How to install a CRAN package that has been archived

The Follower – an art project highlighting another way your data can be used to surveil you

Dries Depoorter's art project 'The Follower' is a clever use of publicly available video and image data and a fun glimpse into the how those "casual" Instagram shots are really taken. It's also a somewhat harrowing warning about what information us members of the public are unknowingly sharing in a world where tools can process … Continue reading The Follower – an art project highlighting another way your data can be used to surveil you

Should artificial intelligences win art competitions?

Vice reports that the Colorado State Fair's fine art competition has been won by a person called Jason Allen, who submitted this AI-generated piece of art. I do quite like the picture, but, as you might expect, it's created a bit of uproar amongst some artists of a more traditional nature. One of the more … Continue reading Should artificial intelligences win art competitions?

Why the majority of England’s Covid deaths are now from vaccinated people despite the fact that the vaccines work well

It may be more than two and a half years into the pandemic, but the battle of "what is true?"" regarding many aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Many of us have probably seen a chart like this floating around social media in recent times. A representative example of these charts, this one from The … Continue reading Why the majority of England’s Covid deaths are now from vaccinated people despite the fact that the vaccines work well

The Great Resignation of British Ministers

Last week was a pretty dramatic week for UK politics. On Tuesday, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, the UK's chancellor and health secretary respectively, resigned from their cabinet posts within minutes of each other, citing the incompetency and impossibility of working with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as their motivation. Over the next couple of days, … Continue reading The Great Resignation of British Ministers

Study estimates that the Covid-19 vaccines saved 15 million lives last year

In a new study published in the Lancet, Watson et al. estimate that by the end of 2021, the Covid-19 vaccines have prevented an estimated 14.4 million deaths (with a 95% credible interval of between 13.7- 15.9 million deaths) . The estimate would rise to 19.8 million (19.1 - 20.4 million 95% CrI) if they … Continue reading Study estimates that the Covid-19 vaccines saved 15 million lives last year