September Newsletter - Give No Quarto


Jilly MacKay


September 28, 2023

Highlights this Month

A new look

If you’re a regular visitor, first off, I’m sorry, the loss of Twitter has really hit you hard, hasn’t it? But second off, you may notice the website has a new look! That’s because I’ve converted from the previous blogdown iteration to a Quarto site.

I will at some point go into more detail, but it was surprisingly quick and easy, particularly as I didn’t have a huge amount of posts. I essentially changed the extension of all of my blogdown posts to quarto and tweaked some the yaml frontmatter. I am very pleased that I’ve mostly been able to replicate the look of my Wowchemy Academic Hugo Theme with Quarto, and I’m pretty sure once I have the time to work out .ejs I’ll be able to get even closer. I achieved this through an interesting structure of sub-blogs, which has definitely affected the ability to tag things, although I’m hoping I can fix that with my yml taxonomies in future. It worries me how much github now thinks I’ve written in javascript and scss as I absolutely have stolen it all from other people.

Some useful resources I found:


This month I attended posit::conf(2023)! I was so delighted to be accepted for a talk, and while I’m a little sad I didn’t attend in person, the remote stream was really smooth. I’ve already blogged about what I got from the conference here

From a personal point of view, when I saw the call out for posit::conf(2023) I knew I wanted to submit something, but I also only felt able to do so because it had the hybrid stream. I didn’t have a budget (although I could probably have begged one off my boss if I’d tried) but I also just wasn’t ready to contemplate being in a different country from my kid. I know for a lot of people that’s ‘a bit much’, but it was something I needed to do, and felt afforded to do because of the support of my employers. Its okay to say no to things

Saying no

On that note, I’ve had to say ‘no’ to a few things lately. I think we often characterise this as an important academic skill, but don’t often talk about it. There are a few very cool secondments going at Edinburgh in the Curriculum Transformation Group and I was really excited to apply for one in particular. In the end, after some careful reflection, I decided against applying. Its sadly not the right time in my career to do this kind of work. I need to recover from mat leave and get to grips with my new role as Director of Quality Assurance and Enhancement. It is gutting, however.

R@R(D)SVS Update

R @ R(D)SVS is now updated to reflect native pipe usage and changes to posit. Yes, I also intend on moving this to quarto soon, and I have some big ideas about interactivity in it.

Stuff I found

Hedley Thompson and Skau ‘On the scope of scientific hypotheses’ was food for thought. I think this will be particularly provocative:

Given the previous section, it is elusive to conclude that the hypothesis should be as narrow as possible as it entails maximal knowledge gain and scientific novelty when formulating hypotheses. Indeed, many who advocate for daring or risky tests seem to hold this opinion. For example, Meehl [46] argues that we should evaluate theories based on point (or interval) prediction, which would be compatible with very narrow versions of relationships. We do not necessarily think that this is the most fruitful approach. In this section, we argue that hypotheses should aim to be narrower than current knowledge, but too narrowmay be problematic.

I shall be stealing Håvard Karlsen’s great blog on data processing for teaching and Daniel Lakens’ shiny app characterising the F distribution and p value distribution in a t-test


Achievement unlocked: first family holiday

I made AriNicoCosplay’s witch’s hat for my toddler which you can see over on my craft-related instagram