DIY lamp cover

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Artificial lighting is one of the big inventions we take for granted, and perhaps not rightly so, since its role has really grown in our lives since its inception. Today it not only it lets us work in factories for longer but also to decouple ourselves from the sun; it influences our moods and sleep patterns. We spend our days in places like offices, where we don't really choose what the lighting is and where, and perhaps it is not set up to our benefit - if your workplace always seems super energising, they probably have these casino-style ultrablue lights and you don't even realise. Take control of the lighting when you can, which certainly should be in your own house. In this post I'm going to teach you how to make a lamp cover from readily available materials.

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How to call R from Perl: on inter-process communication

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I'm glad the title caught your attention. Why call R from Perl - or have code in language X call code for language Y, for any X and Y, for that matter? Sometimes it's just hard to choose among languages you're fluent in, especially if you're a bit of a polyglot and don't have a clear favourite. Perhaps you value diversity, just like modern companies value diversity in their workforce: different programming languages, just like employees with different backgrounds, offer distinct advantages and strengths that can be drawn from when creating a product.

I happen to have a language I strongly favour, and I consider my programs are already diverse enough, even though they all got written by a single white male. I also managed to have a job in bioinformatics without installing R for quite a while. I am not riding that streak any more because a specific thing I needed to do only exists as an R package, so I learned how to use R from Perl. This merits celebration with a blog post, so I'm gonna tell you how to call R from Perl and also more generally about IPC.

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Apple and rice bake: cheap dish from bad times

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I learned the recipe from my parents, who learned it from their parents. I enjoy the dish regularly when apples are in season. Apples are in season from August to first frosts. In this post I will also tell you how I figured out the bit of context to the dish I was missing as a child, namely its suitedness to country-wide poverty and institutional disfunction that must have been reality for my grandparents and everyone they knew. I will conclude with musings on a 'cheap dish for bad times', an alternate title I was toying with, but first I will tell you how to make the damn thing which I think should be standard convention for food blogs.

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Instructions for your program from an online spreadsheet

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Suppose you're a programmer contracting for a client who pays you to do analyses on a bunch of data. They give you a slightly different spreadsheet every week, and you're so lazy that you've scripted everything up. The only thing you need to do is take that spreadsheet, save it on disk or whatever, and press "run".

Here's an idea for a workflow that goes one step further, using GitHub's online editing. Of course GitHub's competition offers this too, and I dislike this Microsoft owned company as much as is currently in fashion.

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How to use fewer variables

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Using variables may benefit program readability, but many programmers regard it as a bit of a weak move (source: Yegor Bugayenko- programmer, blogger, and entrepreneur). Giving stuff names is emphasised in beginner tutorials, and I expect many of my programming readers use variables a little bit too much, perhaps not realising it is merely a programming technique. I will explain the drawbacks of this technique, and give some alternatives, so that by eschewing it you might improve your craft further.

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