Five things I learned this week (Pride edition)

June 24, 2012

Pride Parade, San Francisco 2012. Photo by torbakhopper.

This week’s edition of “Five Things” is brought to you by the letter Q and all the colors of the rainbow! That’s right, it’s pride week in San Francsico and the city has been celebrating in its usual colorful, costumed, semi-clothed and totally fabulous fashion. So put on your hottest, tightest, most colorful dancing socks, and away we go!

  • According to this fascinating article by David H. Freedman in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly, the no-longer-so-notorious behavioral theories of B.F. Skinner are alive and well in the growing field of mobile health and dieting applications development. The article is well-written and raises a bunch of questions about everything from scientific ethics to the politics of technology to agency and theories of progress and well-being.
  • For you current or aspiring R users out there, I just came across this Cookbook for R by Winston Chang. It has some excellent code examples. Also, in the course of refining some figures for a paper earlier this week, I discovered that Hadley Wickham recently made some significant updates to ggplot2 and has released new documentation for the package.
  • Amara, a.k.a. the program-formerly-known-as Universal Subtitles is an awesome piece of free (as in freedom and beer) subtitling and transcription software. I’ve been tinkering with it over the past few weeks in an effort to help design a system for crowdsourced video transcription and while it isn’t quite optimized for that purpose just yet, it seems terrific and I hope to find more reasons to use it soon.
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