From the description of the
memisc package for R:
One of the aims of this package is to make life easier for useRs who deal with survey data sets. It provides an infrastructure for the management of survey data including value labels, definable missing values, recoding of variables, production of code books, and import of (subsets of) SPSS and Stata files. Further, it provides functionality to produce tables and data frames of arbitrary descriptive statistics and (almost) publication-ready tables of regression model estimates. Also some convenience tools for graphics, programming, and simulation are provided. [emphasis added]
How did I miss this package before? It makes analyzing NES data—heck, any data with value labels and missing values—in R an almost sane thing to do.
Michelle Dion has posted her thoughts on the recently-concluded political methodology conference at Penn State. I’ll echo her kudos to the organizers among the Penn State faculty and grad students, most notably Burt Monroe (who took time out to check in with the participants over the course of the meeting) and Suzie DeBoef. I also got some useful feedback and interest regarding the poster, which will be strong motivation to finish up the paper and get it out to the Working Papers archive and off to Political Analysis.
Like Michelle, I do wonder sometimes about the ability of the “core group” to reach out to the practitioners who don’t attend PolMeth and whose dues support the viability of the section and its journal. Notably, there has been some discussion of the section getting more actively involved in the Teaching Research Methods track at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, although I wonder if there is an awareness of what that track has done in the past on the part of the appointed committee (I’m pretty sure none of its members have been within 100 miles of a past TLC, and only one represents a non-research-oriented department), which may make for some interesting toe-trampling over the next few months.
My departure from State College was rather more eventful than one might have hoped; Northwest cancelled my 6:00 a.m. flight to Detroit and rebooked me on Delta via Atlanta, an airport which I’m pretty sure is foreseen somewhere in Dante’s works. As a special bonus I also got to enjoy the thrill and excitement of being SSSS'd by TSA. The good news is that at least I made it back in one piece.
Anyway, back to packing; Dad arrives tomorrow and I’d like it to look like I’ve made at least a modicum of progress here.
Stephen Jessee and Alexander Tahk, two Ph.D. candidates at Stanford, have put together a website that attempts to estimate the ideological positions of Samuel Alito and John Roberts from their votes on the Supreme Court this term.
Perhaps the most interesting result thus far is that Roberts’ estimated ideal point (position in the unidimensional ideological space) is virtually indistinguishable from that of his predecessor as Chief Justice, William Rehnquist, although that is of course subject to change as more cases come along. (The Alito estimates seem to solely reflect the uninformative prior that Jessee and Tahk have placed on him thus far.)
My email today included something that seems dangerously close to a teaching award:
Recently you should have received an invitation to the first HOPE Banquet sponsored by Residence Life and Housing Services. The celebration will be held on [redacted].
HOPE stands for Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence, which is the entire purpose of the evening. Each of our Resident Assistant and Graduate Assistant student staff members were offered the opportunity to nominate one Duke faculty member to be invited to this event. The students were asked to select a faculty member who has made a tremendous impact upon them, either inside or outside of the classroom. You were nominated as one of those faculty.
Between this and going to the Teaching and Learning Conference, I may be drummed out of political science (or at least the methods section) in short order…
The piece that Dirk and I wrote for The Political Methodologist on Quantian is now out in the Fall 2005 issue, along with a mostly-glowing review of Stata 9 by Neal Beck that no doubt will annoy the R purists, as he suggests he will be ditching R in favor of Stata in his graduate methods courses; a review of a new book on event-history analysis by Kwang Teo, whose apartment floor I once slept on in Nashville; and an interesting piece on doing 3-D graphics in R.
In other methods news, I had the privilege (along with a packed house) of hearing Andrew Gelman of Columbia speak this afternoon on his joint research on the relationship between vote choice and income in the states, which uses some fancy multi-level modeling stuff that I have yet to play much with.
Incidentally, it was fun to see someone else who uses
latex-beamer for their presentations; I could tell the typeface was the standard TeX
sf (sans-serif) face, but I wasn’t sure which beamer theme Andrew was using off-hand.
My first real publication (broadly defined) in political science is now officially “forthcoming”; while it’s only a short piece in The Political Methodologist, the biannual newsletter of the Society for Political Methodology, I figure you have to start somewhere. It’s a brief overview of Quantian, a “Live Linux” DVD that’s geared toward use by social, behavioral, and natural scientists.
My co-author and Quantian’s developer, Dirk Eddelbuettel, has the current version of the piece up at his website, for the morbidly curious. The article probably will appear in the Fall 2005 issue, whenever that emerges.