Sunday, January 25, 2009


"Snarge" is the word of the week. It basically means bird goo from an airplane engine.

This is noteworthy because US Airways flight 1549 is suspected to have hit a flock of birds, possibly geese, and researchers have been collecting data about snarge for years according to this NYTimes article.

Of course, birds aren't the only thing that airplanes hit in the air. An old Wired article reports:

"... We've had frogs, turtles, snakes. We had a cat once that was struck at some high altitude," said the Smithsonian's [Carla] Dove. She says birds like hawks and herons will occasionally drop their quarries into oncoming planes. "The other day we had a bird strike. We sent the sample to the DNA lab and it came back as rabbit. How do you explain to the FAA that we had a rabbit strike at 1,800 feet?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The R Statistical Package

R is getting quite a bit of attention lately (which is good!). Daryl and Hal (both quoted, and both of whom I was fortunate to get to know when I was at the company) also have very highly-respected analysis-fu at Google.

There's also funny quote from a director at SAS which doesn't reflect highly on their understanding of open source:

“I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.”