A Pokémon Charizard Lounger Onesie Thing With Hood, Wings And Tail

This is the $50 Pokemon Charizard Lounger “full-zip kigurumi for cosplay or sitting around the house.” It has a face and ears sewn onto the hood, wings on the arms (complete with finger attachments so you can flap your arms and CAW CAW! all you want), and a fiery tail in the rear

A Short, Satisfying Marble And Rubber Band Rube Goldberg Machine

This is a short video of the rubber band powered two dimensional marble moving machine constructed and tested over the course of a week by Youtuber Kaplamino (previously). He says it took forty attempts and adjustments before finally working correctly. Kind of like me and my current relationship

China Unveils An Artificial Intelligence Virtual News Anchor

Because it was only a matter of time until someone did it, this is a video demonstration of “an artificial intelligence virtual news anchor” created by the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua to read the news

Custom Wrapping Paper With Your Face On It

These are a bunch of examples of the custom wrapping papers available from


Seen here in an outfit that was clearly just purchased from the pro shop, this is an ultra-short video of a woman at Top Golf who can’t hold onto her club and nearly hits the woman behind her after bouncing it off the ceiling. I like the woman in the background laughing at her


This is a video of some ultra-professional tree removers swinging pieces of a large oak right into the back of a hauling trailer

It Happens

This is a video news report from Las Vegas of a tow truck removing a U-Haul from a home’s empty swimming pool (at least it wasn’t full)

Maybe He Just Thought It Was Italian

Because ‘fragile’ and ‘this end up’ mean different things to different people (and nothing to some delivery people), this is a Ring doorbell video of a Fed-Ex guy rolling a box that’s clearly marked fragile with this end up arrows to a recipient’s front porch and shattering the toilet inside in the process

Python Python Python! Python 3 Comes to Wallaroo

If you’ve tried to build a scalable distributed system in Python you could be excused for thinking that the world is conspiring against you; in spite of Python’s popularity as a programming language for everything from data processing to robotics, there just aren’t that many options when it comes to using it to create resilient stateful applications that scale easily across multiple

September 2018

September was another relatively slow month for new package activity on CRAN: “only” 126 new packages by my count

Sharing Data Among Multiple Servers Through AWS S3

When providing some functionality for processing a file uploaded by the user, the file must be available to the process throughout the execution

A Super Mario 3 Themed Blinking Light Holiday Wreath

This is the $20 Nintendo Super Mario Light-Up Wreath. It features a Super Mario Bros 3 theme complete with power-ups and has five green LEDs that blink intermittently in the center of the donut blocks. Unfortunately, it does not play any music, which is a shame because an 8-bit medley of holiday songs would have been a pretty sweet addition

Already Ordered

This is the miniature edition Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy desktop toy. He costs around $8 on Amazon and other places, stands around 18-inches fully erect (about the same as you, stud), and is powered by a 9V battery or A/C adapter (neither included)

Finally, A Decent Pokémon Snorlax Reversible Bath Robe

This is the $40 Pokémon Snorlax Plush Reversible Robe available from ThinkGeek and Gamestop. It comes in three sizes (S/M, L/XL, 2X/3X) and one side makes you look like a Snorlax, and the other has a repeating Snorlax sleeping pattern

Michigan And Penn State Marching Bands Team Up For A Game Of Thrones Halftime Performance

This is a video from the recent NCAA Michigan vs Penn State football game halftime show, where the Michigan Marching Band and Penn State Blue Band teamed up for an 8-minute Game Of Thrones themed musical medley, including such hits as the Main Theme, Rains of Castamere/Light of the Seven, Reign/Spoils of War and Winds of Winter/Mhysa

Need For Speed

This is a video of Scooter the 47-year old African Grey parrot cruising around on a little R/C truck

Oh, Florida

This is a video from (where else?) Wildwood, Florida of an airboat that’s still on its tow trailer pushing the truck its attached to that’s run out of gas off the highway and to the nearest gas station using its fan


This is a video of Youtuber PressTube heating up some lava rocks until they’re molten, then pouring them through an industrial shredding machine (complete with view from below). The result is interesting enough, but nothing SPECTACULAR

Submersible Discovers Thousands Of Deep Sea Octopuses Brooding Upside Down Over Their Eggs

This is a video from the unmanned submersible Hercules of thousands of deep sea octopuses brooding upside-down over their eggs. Why do they do that? No clue. Why does a chicken sit on its eggs? “To protect and incubate them at the proper temperature until they’re ready to hatch, in about 21 days

A Size Comparison Of People, Places And Things From Lord Of The Rings

This is a video from MetalBallStudios comparing the sizes of characters, places and things from the Middle Earth universe (previously: some of their other size comparisons). It starts with the One Ring, and ends with Mount Doom, with a bunch of stuff in the middle. I learned a lot by watching it

A knot of threads

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to write this post in my mind since May 2018. Today I’m finally typing it on the computer. This will be a rather long post that ties in several threads. I’ll talk about Cold Spring Harbor’s Biology of Genomes conference and its relationship to my undergrad in Mexico

AI Has a Barrier of Meaning?

The NY Times ran an opinion piece with the catchy title, Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning. Mostly, there are some decent points about Deep Learning systems not being robust, followed by claims that studying human cognition is the key to developing trustworthy AI systems

Banana Surprise, A Banana Corer And Flavor Injector

Because adding flavor enhancers to the exterior of a banana is for peasants, this is the Banana Surprise, a $26 children’s kitchen tool that cores and fills bananas with the injectable flavor of your choosing

Causal mediation estimation measures the unobservable

I put together a series of demos for a group of epidemiology students who are studying causal mediation analysis

Crew Demonstrates Impressive Finger Dancing Routine With LED-Tipped Gloves

This is ‘Finger Fireworks 2’, a video of dance crew XTRAP (previously seen HERE and HERE) performing a finger dancing (aka tutting) routine with LED-fingertipped gloves so you really appreciate the choreography without having to focus too hard

Fornite Player Single-Handedly Kills 34 Opponents In A Single Game, Sets World Record

Note: Lots of fast movement and flashing color patterns

Fortnite Player Single-Handedly Kills 34 Opponents In A Single Match, Sets World Record

Note: Lots of fast movement and flashing color patterns

How To Build A Virtual Reality Model With A Real-Time Cross-Device Preview

Virtual reality (VR) is an experience based in a computer-generated environment; a number of different VR products make headlines and its applications range far and wide: for the winter Olympics, the US team utilized virtual reality for athletic training; surgeons are experimenting with virtual reality for medical training; and most commonly, virtual reality is being applied to

Minitypes - vector type conversion

This package is built upon R’s type conversion tools and aims to: You can install minitypes from github

NBA scoring is up, and so are lopsided scores

There has been lots of talk recently about the increase in scoring in the NBA this season. The reasons seems obvious: the league’s recent move towards volume three-point shooting continues, and three rules changes have resulted in more fouls, more free throws and more possessions per game

Parsing a favicon with {minitypes}

This package is built upon R’s type conversion tools and aims

Real Products That Exist

This is the entirely too expensive $45 fallen AT-AT tape dispenser created by Hallmark (of greeting card fame). It looks like an AT-AT that just got tow-cabled on Hoth and dispenses tape. Do I need it? No, nobody needs it. Do I want it? More than a bigger penis. “I see.” What do you mean you see? You’re supposed to say it’s already perfect


Tesseract 4 is here! State of the art OCR in R!

Tesseract 4.0 includes a new neural network-based recognition engine that delivers significantly higher accuracy (on document images) than the previous versions, in return for a significant increase in required compute power

The 2018 Midterms are Upon Us

Flowing naturally from that, here’s a long (clocking in at 3,000 words) piece on midterms expectations, justifications, and a preliminary guide to diagnosing what happened on election night — what I’m calling a “pre-postmortem

The Value Of Storyboarding For Product Design

When you think of the word “storyboarding,” you probably think about film, media, and video creation

Very Clever

This is a short and sweet prank of a guy trying to open a glass door. I don’t want to ruin it for you, so you should just watch it. But if you’re really not going to watch it I’ll just tell you what happens (SPOILER): the door handles and signage are actually suspended from above with fishing line and there is no door

Video Of A Giant Mechanical Minotaur And Spider Roaming The Streets of Toulouse, France

This is a video of the giant mechanical Minotaur and spider built and operated by French street-theater/giant puppet company La Machine as part of their Le Gardien du Temple (The Guardian of the Temple) show in Toulouse, France, during the first four days of November

Video Of The World's Tallest Statue, Almost Twice As Tall As The Statue Of Liberty

This is a video of the Statue of Unity in Narmada, India

(R) Election Hacking

This is the sceond part of my “Internet Researc Agency” series. We’ll encounter in-memory computing problems, adress them with tweaks on Windows and Linux, and finally succeed at building a 5.7M x 1

A Unicorn Performing A Gymnastics Bar Routine

This is a short video of a unicorn performing on a gymnastics bar. It’s cool enough, but I can understand why they decided to cut the scene from Harry Potter

Improve Animated GIF Performance With HTML5 video

Animated GIFs have a lot going for them; they’re easy to make and work well enough in literally all browsers

Pytest Tricks

I always try to work following Test Driven Development. I recently used Pytest to write some unit tests and discovered a couple of neat tricks from a work colleague. Context I needed to write a function which determined if a user’s account had been created within a specified time window. The function returns a boolean i.e

RStudio 1.2 Preview - New Features in RStudio Pro

We’ve added some great new features to RStudio Pro for v1.2, which includes not only Server Pro, but also the new and improved Pro Desktop. Let’s get started! Perhaps the biggest new change in v1

Special Requests

PROTIP: Keep your volume in check. This is a video of a pizza delivery man who was requested to scream instead of ringing the doorbell. SHANNON!! YOUR PIZZA!! IS HEEEEEERE!! I don’t care if I did make the special request, I would have had a heart attack if I heard that. Had a heart attack, then eaten a whole large pizza, an order of breadsticks, and downed a 2-liter of Mr.

The price of chicken wings in Philadelphia

A couple of weeks ago, a Twitter user posted a photo of a restaurant menu page with an alarming array of choices

Why should I use the here package when I'm already using projects?

Last year, Jenny Bryan shared some slides from a talk on this subject. I’ll let them speak for themselves: It works with no trouble

Finding Combinations in the Tidyverse

Drama, intrigue, arrogance, dashed hopes, rock-bottom, perseverance, and eventual triumph, this post has it all! It starts with me watching Rachael Tatman’s recent live-coding video, and ends with a thrilling race-to-the-bottom between two pathetically slow functions

R training featuring Pokemon

Matt Dray You teach me and I’ll teach you I recently shared some materials that I made to help some colleagues understand and start to use R Markdown as part of a reproducible workflow. Well, now I’m sharing another thing I made

Visualising force load distribution over time

In this post, we will see how to create a simple dashboard to track changes in force load distribution over time. We will create a simple sparkline to get an overview of the data and then a bubble chart to deep into specific variables. Now that I have imported my ‘force load distribution’ database, I can start working

Learn to write command line utilities in Python

If you read my series of posts on writing command line utilities in R, but were wondering how to do the same thing in Python, you’ve come to the right place

ewenthemes (AKA how to mod hrbrthemes)

Achieve ggplot + website


はじめに インストール 使ってみる タイトルなどで (TeX) geom_text で (TeX) facet_wrap や facet_grid で (TeX) Enjoy! はじめに ggplot2 で (TeX) 記法が使えると嬉しいですよね.


失敗の記録. 目的 ggplotのリストの表示を高速化するで紹介した通り,

A $1,200 Life-Size Harley Quinn Statue From The Batman

This is the 5-foot 11-inch Harley Quinn statue made by the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) from the digital model files of Harley from the Batman: Arkham City video

Guy Carrying 500-Pound Barbell On Shoulders While Mowing The Lawn

Seen here feeling the burn (and looking suspiciously like the spawn of Dog The Bounty Hunter), this is a short video of a man mowing his lawn while carrying a 500-pound barbell on his shoulders. I’m semi-impressed, but I’m going to see him cut the whole yard like that before I’m REALLY impressed

Joining Google

The past five years I’ve been heavily involved in the startup space, both, here in the Silicon Valley and Bulgaria

Learn to write command line utilities in Python

If you read my series of posts on writing command line utilities in R, but were wondering how to do the same thing in Python, you’ve come to the right place. I learned a lot with that original series of posts though, so this time we’re going to switch things up a bit, dive right into a complete working example, and cover it all off in a single post

Man Loses Control Of Segway On Beach Path, It Takes Off Without Him

I’m freeeeeeeeeeee! This is a short video of a man on a Segway losing control of his ride and it speeding off without him (but taking his helmet)

Man Uses Tesla's 'Summon' Feature To Move Car From Work Office, Avoid Parking Tickets

This is a short video of Janeville, Wisconsin based Tesla owner Shawn Kennedy moving his Tesla from one spot to another in a 2-hour parking zone using the car’s ‘summon’ feature (designed to have the car come to your location) from the convenience of his

Prank Candles That Go From Smelling Good To Very, Very Bad

These are the ~$17 Prank

Quick overview on the new Bioconductor 3.8 release

That’s exactly what our post today is about. We looked at the list of new packages as well as updates to find those that we think could be useful for us. That is, packages that we might want to explore further

SmashingConf New York 2018

As you may know, Smashing Magazine runs a conference — four a year, in fact

That's Amazing

Note: Some cursing. This is a super short video from a car passenger who spotted a man that modded his Smart Car into the Flintstone Mobile. He even does a little pretend foot-pedaling

The Breakfast Of Pokemon Champions

Because breakfast is the third most important meal of the day behind midnight snacks and any trip to Taco Bell, this is the $35 Pokémon Poké Ball Waffle Maker available from ThinkGeek

The Treacherous Tangle of Redundant Data

Introduction: we need data redundancy, but how, exactly? You now have your distributed system in production, congratulations! Your cluster is starting at six machines, but it is expected to grow quickly as it is assigned more work

What The?

This is a short, older video of a cat that manages to squeeze through the crack under a door



Art of the Possible

Matt Dray Colour search Searching images by colour is all the rage: Google Arts & Culture Designspiration TinEye Multicolr Google Advanced Image Search Dulux colour match To do this you need to know how much of each colour is in the image

Communicating results with R Markdown

The de facto tools for communication in the enterprise are still Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. These tools, born in the 80’s and rising to prominence in the 90’s, are used everywhere for sharing reports, presentations, and dashboards

Creating password-protected static websites in S3

A Quick Background If there’s one service in AWS that you’ve probably heard about, it’s S3 - the Simple Storage Service

Just A Squirrel Trying On A 'Scream' Ghost Mask

This is a super-short video of a squirrel inadvertently trying on a ‘Scream’ ghost mask while trying to eat the treat (presumably peanut butter) the video-taker has placed in the mask. The result is pretty solid – like a turd you can actually be proud of because you stopped drinking so much and started eating right

Man Tries To Crush Unopened Beer Can On His Head

This is a video of Tegan (or Tegan The Idiot to friends and family) standing in a Seattle, Washington hotel room shower and trying to smash an unopened Bud Light can on his head after a night out at the bars


I was honestly surprised by how much I liked this book

Smokin' And Drankin'

Because one-upping your pals at poker night is how friends establish who has the bigger johnson, this is the $25 Corkcicle Cigar Glass, a double Old Fashioned (aka rocks) glass with a place to rest your Cuban. Why? I’m not really sure – you’re going to have to ash the cigar anyways, why not just rest it in the ashtray? “The world is my ashtray

The 101 Course on Crafting 404 Pages

Why Your 404 Pages Might Be The Unexpected Hero Of Your Content Marketing Strategy A lot of people toss around the phrase, “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.” And those people are telling the truth - until they hit a roadblock

The role of academia in data science education

I was recently asked to moderate an academic panel on the role of universities in training the data science workforce. I preceded each question with opinionated introductions which I have fused into this blog post

Understanding Keep-Alive Timeouts in the Cloud Foundry Networking Stack

Setting up ingress routing is hard. Debugging problems when the routing tier is misconfigured can be even more challenging. At Pivotal, we often run into these types of issues. Below, we examine one such debugging session to understand both best practices in configuration and debugging

Vans x NASA Space Voyager Shoe And Clothing Collection

To celebrate the agency’s 60 years of outer-spacing (and make a lot of money from me in the process), these a bunch of shots of Vans x NASA’s upcoming (drops tomorrow, 11/2/2018) Voyager Collection

Video Of Man Trying To Bomb San Francisco Sidewalk On Skateboard Ends In Pain

A crash helmet but no shirt – I like your style. This is a video of a thrill-seeker attempting to bomb a steep San Francisco sidewalk on his longboard. He seems to do fairly well in the upper part of the run – checking his speed, playing it safe. Then he spins into a 360 and kisses that parked motorcycle

Video Of The Tallest Skyscraper In San Francisco Turned Into The Eye Of Sauron For Halloween Night

Following a successful petition on, a group calling themselves The Fellowship managed to convince Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to turn the LED screen at the top of the company’s tower in San Francisco into the Eye Of Sauron on Halloween night

WTF Is Wrong With You?

Because humans are by nature disgusting monsters, this is a short video from a grocery store’s soup bar of a man sampling some of the product straight from the serving ladle, presumably after swinging by the dairy section for some quick whip-its

Whatcha Doin', Little Guy?

This is a short video of a little bee that appears to be playing with a dust ball

readable, accessible typography (for blogdown)

Ensure your site is nice to read, for a diverse

'RIP', A Trippy Skeletal Animation For Halloween

This is ‘RIP’, a trippy animation created by Cyriak Harris in the spirit of Halloween that features a bunch of skeletons dancing around and getting all freaky deaky. SO MANY SKULLS. Did you count all the skulls? I counted all the skulls. “How many were there?” Too many to count. The video is pretty weird, but I like it, which is similar to how I feel about you. “But I’m not weird

Adorably Creepy Little Girl Carrying Her Own Head On A Plate Halloween Costume

Well folks, today’s the day – All Hallows’ Eve. I’ve got my Ninja Turtle costume on here at work and I’ve already been asked twice if I’m an iguana because my coworkers are idiots

Alladin's Genie

These are several shots and videos of one-legged Paralympian skier Josh Sundquist’s 2018 Halloween costume – the Genie of the Lamp from Alladin (previously: some of his past Halloween costumes). If I were a judge, I would definitely award him a perfect 1010

Bazel with Tony Aiuto

Where can I donate if I’m angry or sad by last week’s

Colorful Inspiration For Gray Days (November 2018 Wallpapers)

How about some colorful inspiration for those gray and misty November days? We might have something for you

Dow's Trick Or Treat

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gave us an interesting, if not a little scary, performance this

Drone Footage Of A Kayaker Plunging Over A 110-Foot Waterfall

Because some people don’t naturally produce enough adrenaline, this is some drone footage of German competitive kayaker Adrian Mattern going over the edge of “a 110-foot waterfall at Alexandra Falls in the Northwest Territories of Canada” and disappearing into the splash-zone

In which we manage multiple versions of Python on macOS

I discovered the hard way recently that Homebrew on macOS will only install the latest version of Python available in its collection of formulae. This frustrated me recently after I accidentally upgraded my Python version to 3


This is a video demonstration of the bicycle-based Star Destroyer costume father Andrew Guy built for his son Aidan. He says it took several months of planning and construction to have ready for Halloween, and includes a hidden speaker that blasts ‘The Imperial March

Man Trying To Wheelbarrow Horse Manure Up Ramp Goes How You'd Expect

When you watch a video of a man pushing a wheelbarrow of horse manure up a ramp into the back of a truck, you know one of two things is going to happen, either 1) he’s going to get shit on him, or 2) the video isn’t going to be worth

Photo Of A Black Cat That Looks Like A Crow

This is a photo of a black cat that, because of the way its head is turned, looks like a crow

Real Products That Exist

Because booze is precious, this is the Whiskey Vault

Using R to Create Custom Color Palettes for Tableau

Have you ever wanted to define custom color palettes in Tableau, but didn’t know how? In this post, I’m going to walk through how we can use R to programmatically generate custom palettes in Tableau


The plots shown below


Python 3 Object-oriented Programming 3rd Edition My publisher unveiled the third edition of Python 3 Object-oriented Programming today! This has been the culmination of several months of work. Editing and updating the second edition was a pleasure


This is a video of the Surf Lakes wavepool built in Yeppoon in Queensland, Australia