Lab Notebook: July 9

While I took my five day weekend, the heatsink for Mike's new analysis workstation finally arrived. However, all of the small and expensive parts were in my locked desk, and there was a brief struggle with the lock involving a pair of pliers. Eventually someone had the idea to get the spare key from facilities to get it open. Once the parts were freed and installed, they couldn't do anything with the workstation since it was missing a graphics card. Whoops!

The graphics card came in today and I popped it into the machine, but it overheated almost immediately. I suspect that the thermal paste between the processor and heatsink is either missing or inadequate. So now we're waiting on some thermal paste.

I helped Jeff today with some code. The plyr package for R is incredibly useful; basically, we had a data frame that looked like this:

species, value
sp_1, 10
sp_1, 15
sp_2, 12
sp_2, 14

And needed to take the average of all the values of sp_1 and sp_2. Well plyr lets you do that in one line with a really intuitive syntax:

ddply(df, ~ species, summarise, mean=mean(value))

You get back a data frame that looks something like this:

species, mean
sp_1, 12.5
sp_2, 13.0

Pretty handy trick. Zack wrote a Java program to do the same thing, but we couldn't figure out how to get it working. I think working with the data in R is probably a better approach anyway.

Other than this, I didn't really get much work done today due to teaching. Ryan gets back from Evolution soon and I still need to finish writing a draft of that paper, so I have a lot of work to get through tomorrow.