Month: June 2013

It’s e-MER-ging…MERS-CoV Spread Map

Another thing I’ve been doing while unemployed is trying to learn some new com-pewter skills.  I have been trying out some things in R, Python, etc., but because I didn’t really try programming before, I didn’t even understand the concept of how to write loops (it is still questionable whether I really get it yet, but it’s coming along).

I decided it would be interesting to see where the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has spread geographically so far (at least up until a few days ago) and show these data relative to the number of infections and number of deaths.

I tried Quantum GIS, which is nice to use, but I wasn’t sure if I could get transparency options for the pie charts.  I found out that R would probably work.

It took me an inordinate amount of time to produce this map, since I am so new to programming and R in general. I needed to peruse blogs such as the Molecular Ecologist to help me out (Kim Gilbert did a nice post about mapping in R).  I also looked at the WHO Global Alert and Response reports to try to figure out what the number of deaths and infections were and from which countries these numbers were reported.

Below is the map showing pie charts.  The slices represent the number of infections (yellow) relative to the number of deaths (red).  The size of the circles (by radius) indicates the relative number of infections between countries.  I know that my Saudi pie chart looks gargantuan compared to the other little tiny ones (e.g. German one) but it shows that most infections are happening in Saudi Arabia.  I know pie charts are typically frowned upon by statisticians for a bunch of reasons, but it depends.  I should really do something like this using bar graphs and I know I need to make some adjustments to the layout of text in the figure, but the point was for me to practice R.

Countries affected by the MERS-CoV are outlined in blue.  Pie charts illustrate the number of deaths relative to the number of infections in each country.  The size of the pie chart (by radius) is based on the relative number of infections amongst all countries.

Countries affected by the MERS-CoV are outlined in blue. Pie charts illustrate the number of deaths relative to the number of infections in each country. The size of the pie chart (by radius) is based on the relative number of infections amongst all countries reporting infections.

Food Blogging More Popular Than Complaint Blogging

I don’t have any actual evidence to test the statistical significance of my statement, which is that my earlier post on the tarts I made actually got more likes and blog follows than any posts that involve me complaining and whining about being unemployed or other injustices, but it seems to be that food is the bigger winner here.

Maybe I should consider making tarts for a living!  Not that I think being a pastry chef or chef in general is not a worthwhile pursuit – I’ve considered it, but it’s just that after having spent a lot of time obtaining a graduate science/engineering degree, I still hope to find something in my field.

In the meantime maybe I can just put pictures of tasty food I’ve made in between my complaint posts to lure people into thinking that they’ll get to find recipes to be excited about on my blog, and BAM! they get hit up with a true “Why We’re Screwed” post and just end up feeling bad.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to let the tears drip into the food, guys.

South American Seco de Pollo

South American Seco de Pollo (haha!  Made you look!)

Tarts

Being unemployed doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t eat well, so while I have the time, I have enjoyed cooking and baking.  I bought a tart pan a little while ago and made enough dough for three tarts.  I know it is a trend for people to post his or her own food porn and with sites like pinterest, it gets a bit crazy.  My photos aren’t so professional/glamorous, but the tarts were very tasty.

Chocolate tart

Chocolate tart

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

Raspberry, while chocolate and cream cheese tart

Raspberry, white chocolate and cream cheese tart