Blog

Damaged and can’t be opened

Perhaps you tried to open some application or mount some DMG on your Mac and encountered the following alarming message

“[Application] is damaged and can’t be opened. You should move it to the trash.”

Perhaps it is indeed damaged. But more likely it is just not signed by its developer or not made available from the AppStore, depending on how tight your security preferences are set. A less misleading message would certainly be nice.

If it’s not really damaged then how do you get the application to open?

If you trust the people from whom you are downloading things you can bypass the warning by adjusting your ‘Preferences > Security & Privacy’ to

Allow applications downloaded from: Anywhere

It is sufficient to do this once when you first open the application, and it’s probably best to re-tighten the preferences once it is successfully launched.

So who is it that does not sign their applications and causes you all this trouble?

Me, for one. None of my software is signed and none of it is distributed via the AppStore. The ability to sign software depends on paying one hundred dollars a year to Apple become a ‘registered developer’. (I understand that similar plans are in the works for Microsoft developers). As a result, many of us open source software developers have not signed our applications.

Now, as it happens I have just ponied up so as soon as I figure out how to get my code into XCode and sign it you won’t get the warning from my software. But before then, if you’re wondering whether you should trust me enough to put your shields down, you can always ponder the source code, or be reassured that others can.

So now you know what the alarming message probably actually means, and also what you can do about it.

Which political science journals will have a data policy?

Making available replication materials for the research you do is A Good Thing. It’s also work, and it’s quite easy to never get around to. Certainly I claim no special virtue in this department so I am always happy when there’s an institutional stick to prod my better nature in the right direction. One such institutional prod comes from academic journals and their data policies.  If you have to give them your replication data before you they’ll publish your paper, then you probably will. What sorts of journals have data policies?
Continue reading Which political science journals will have a data policy?

R to Latex packages: Coverage

There are now quite a few R packages to turn cross-tables and fitted models into nicely formatted latex. In a previous post I showed how to use one of them to display regression tables on the fly. In this post I summarise what types of R object each of the major packages can deal with.

Unsurprisingly, there’s quite some variation…
Continue reading R to Latex packages: Coverage

Tools for making a paper

Since it seems to be the fashion, here’s a post about how I make my academic papers.
Actually, who am I trying to kid? This is also about how I make slides, letters, memos and “Back in 10 minutes” signs to pin on the door. Nevertheless it’s for making academic papers that I’m going to recommend this particular set of tools.

I use the word make deliberately because I’m thinking of ‘academic paper’ broadly, as the sum of its words, analyses, tables, figures, and data. In this sense, papers can contain their own replication materials and when they do it should be possible in a single movement to rerun a set of analyses and reconstruct the paper that reports them.

To get anywhere near that goal, I use a mix of latex, its newer bibliography system biblatex, and the R package knitr. Also, I use a Mac, though that won’t make very much difference to the exposition.

Here’s how this currently works…
Continue reading Tools for making a paper

Quantifying the international search for meaning

Inspired by Preis et al.’s article Quantifying the advantage of looking forward, recently published in Scientific Reports (one of Nature publishing group’s journals), I wondered if similar big-data web-based research methods might address a question even bigger than how much different countries wonder about next year. How about the meaning of life. Who is searching for clarification about the meaning of life? And how is that related to the more obvious life task of getting richer?
Continue reading Quantifying the international search for meaning

No more ascii-art

At least fourfive R packages will turn your regression models into pretty latex tables: texreg, xtable, apsrtable, memisc, and stargazer.  This is very nice if you happen to be a latex document or its final reader, but it’s not so great if you’re making those models to start with.

What if you wanted to see these as you were working on them? In particular what if you wanted to see all your models lined up as if they were already Table 4 of the Masterwork Yet To Be Named that is only now slowly taking shape in your mind?
Continue reading No more ascii-art

On the use and abuse of weasels in science journalism

Dean Burnett writes a column in Guardian, sometimes about science but more entertainingly on pseudo-, wannabe-, and not-actually- science. Most of the time this is good BS-shovelling fun and I recommend it. Unfortunately today we get some ill-considered overreach under the guise of shovelling.

The subject is a silly equation purporting to define how depressing any day of the year is, and thereby to identify the most depressing one. It is sufficiently silly that it doesn’t deserve a link, has no redeeming features and if you’ve not read it yet you’re just lucky. He’s right. It is nonsense.

The arguments are more interesting, if a bit alarming. To put it bluntly: if they were sound they would sink all regression models about any social issue of any interest to anybody ever.
Continue reading On the use and abuse of weasels in science journalism