Palimpsest

happy pigs = happy bacon

Welcome, stranger! I'm Luis Apiolaza and this site is a palimpsest of my notes, images and sounds.

Blog posts on research, statistics, and teaching go to Quantum Forest, transient thoughts make their way to @zentree, photos end up at 500px, and very sporadic writing in Spanish shows up Tren de Carga.

There are a few ways of contacting me.

Selfie in New Brighton, Christchurch (2018-01-01)

Selfie in New Brighton, Christchurch (2018-01-01)

  • Why Not Film

    “Why don’t you try film?”, he asked. “I can’t afford the time and expense required to work with film”, I muttered. Perhaps a truer statement would be that, right now, is not a high-enough prioritary to allocate the time and resources to go for film. My connection with film started in 1980. I got shooting using a Pentax MX, with a fantastic 50mm f1.4 which I still use, and I learnt to process and print in my high school’s darkroom.

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  • Italo Calvino's humanity

    This year requires an extra dose of new perspective, to make the most of time, to bring the best of people. Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification—Italo Calvino in Six Memos For The Next Millennium.

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  • Switching site to Hugo

    I finally accepted that, given all my other interests, I would never set aside the time to write all the additional functionality that I would like to have in publon.py. After evaluating a few static website generators I opted for Hugo because it was closer to what I had in mind. Publon is dead, long live Hugo.

  • Left-to-right

    When I write code I am often amazed by the direction of the statements. I mean, we read and write left-to-right except when we assign statements to a variable. So here we are, doing our business, slowly working in a sentence and, puff!, we get this insight from the future and we assign it to our past, on the left. I commented this on Twitter and @fadesingh pointed me to an artistic creation of right-to-left programing language, except that the assign was left-to-right.

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  • Paying for a job well done

    At the moment I am writing R code that involves a lot of simulation for a project. This time I wanted to organize the work properly, put a package together, document it,… the whole shebang. Hadley Wickham has excellent documentation for this process in Advanced R, which works very well as a website. Up to this point there is nothing new; but the material is also available as a book.

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  • If one were to invent scientific journals today

    While taking a shower I was daydreaming about what would happen if one were to invent journals today, with a very low cost of publication and no physical limits to the size of a publication. My shower answer was that there would be little chance for a model like traditional printed journals. One could create a central repository (a bit like the arXiv) taking submissions of text format of the article + figures, which are automatically translated to a decent-looking web format and a printable version.

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  • My approach to presentations

    I give a fair number of presentations per year, some to university students (in classes from 6 to 90 students), some to people from industry (in groups from 4 to 20), and others in conferences (100+ people). Despite that I have stage fear for most activities (and I could not save my life by acting) I have to admit that I do enjoy giving presentations (a lot, really). Once in a while I like visiting Presentation Zen, which is one of the best resources providing a critical appreciation of different presentation styles and tools.

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  • Teaching statistics with R

    I started writing these notes in March 2009. I have further updates in this blog post, together with some discussion on software tools. March 2009 In March 2009 I started explaining my position on using R (and R commander) for teaching purposes. Forestry deals with variability and variability is the province of statistics. The use of statistics permeates forestry: we use sampling for inventory purposes, we use all sort of complex linear and non-linear regression models to predict growth, linear mixed models are the bread and butter of the analysis of experiments, etc.

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  • ¿Qué perdemos?

    El conflicto, tema, problema o asunto mapuche es una de esas noticias recurrentes en Chile y es frecuentemente presentada en términos de ellos versus nosotros. Mi primer encuentro personal con el conflicto fue visitando la zona de Puerto Saavedra, alrededor 1984, cuando presencié el siguiente diálogo: —’Mari mari peñi’ saludó mi compañero de viaje, haciendo gala de su básico conocimiento de mapuzugun. —’No soy tu hermano, chileno’ fue la respuesta escueta y dura.

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  • Text analysis using Python

    I wanted to do a quick analysis of word frequency and decided that writing a Python script was the way to go. The main reason to use Python was that I wanted to keep on practicing its use so I do not ‘lose it’; of course I could not remember how to do a few things. For example: Removing punctuation marks: this involved creating a translation dictionary that mapped one-to-one for all characters (string.

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