Author: Stephen

Old Man’s War

Just finnished listening to the audio book of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.
It’s a really good military science fiction story, not as good as Forever War or Starship Troopers but an entertaining read. The narrator of the book was excellent.

From Wikipedia

Old Man’s War is a military science fiction novel by American writer John Scalzi, published in 2005.
His debut novel, it was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2006.

Old Man’s War is the first novel in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War_series. A sequel, The Ghost Brigades was published in 2006, followed by two other books, The Last Colony (2007) and Zoe’s Tale (2008).
Another book in the series, The Human Division, was published as a serial) and then collected in a novel (2013). The next book in the series, The End of All Things), was published in June 2015 as four novellas

First thing I did when I finnished it was start the second book (I have now finnished the fifth)

The Ghost Brigades
Old Man’s War, Book 2
Narrated By: William Dufris
Publisher: Pan MacmillanDate: March 2017
Duration: 10 hours 27 minutes

Who can you trust, if you can’t trust yourself?
Three hostile alien races have united against humanity, determined to halt our expansion into space. The mastermind behind this lethal alliance is a traitor – Charles Boutin. He was a Colonial Defence Force scientist, with access to their biggest military secrets. Now the CDF’s only hope is to discover Boutin’s plan. Trouble is, Boutin’s dead.
As a super-soldier created from Boutin’s own DNA, Jared Dirac may have answers. However, when Dirac fails to access the scientist’s memories, he’s transferred to the Ghost Brigades for training. These elite troops are also cloned from the dead, so he might fit in. But will Dirac’s memory return as the enemy plots the fate of humankind? And whose side is Dirac really on?

The Last Colony
Old Man’s War, Book 3

By: John Scalzi
Narrated by: William Dufris
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins

Wikipedia on The Last Colony

Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up.

That is, until his and Jane’s past reaches out to bring them back into the game – as leaders of a new human colony, to be peopled by settlers from all the major human worlds, for a deep political purpose that will put Perry and Sagan back in the thick of interstellar politics, betrayal, and war.

Zoe’s Tale
Old Man’s War, Book 4
By: John Scalzi
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 10 hrs

Zoe’s Tale is a parallel retelling of Scalzi’s third Old Man’s War novel, The Last Colony*, written as a first-person narrative from the viewpoint of Zoë Boutin Perry. It follows up on several plot points that were underrepresented in the original novel.

“How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

“I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

“Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did – how I did what I had to do – not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

“It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.”

Web Excursions for March 2019

R for Blogging

The fastest cyclists of Europe live in …
Analyzing STRAVA data to find out which city has the faster cyclists with R and R-shiny

The Best Free Books for Learning Data Science

Lecturer who uses Academic hugo theme for her website on github

Article written in Blogdown:

Article written in Radix:

Radix is based on the Distill web framework, which was originally created for use in the Distill Machine Learning Journal. Radix combines the technical authoring features of Distill with R Markdown.

My web site

I have converted my website to a static website.
Previously I had used the Nikola static website tool which is written in python.
It’s a great tool, but I wanted something more.
I chose Hugo because

  • it is very fast
  • Since this is a technical blog, I needed to be able to embed rmarkdown documents easily. Hugo is great for this.
  • It has a large collection of templates. There are so many I actually spent over eight hours before I settled on casper-two

I chose casper-two because of the website has a very detailed setup guide for hugo, Rstudio and markdown

A good reference for using R and Hugo together is blogdown: Creating Websites with R Markdown, specifically section 2.1 Static sites and Hugo

The other themes I looked at were:

In the long run I might choose the Academic theme

A good Academic sample site is

A full list of themes can be seen at

Web Excursions for February 2019

Mac OS X links

R Links:

Books on R, Stats, and Graphics

Data Visualization

R Courses

DataCamp .. R you learning?

This week I noticed Datacamp had a half price special, only$200 AUD for a years subscription. So I have cut down on playing games (sorry Battlefield V) and used that time to learn the tidyverse on datacamp.

Visualizing median GDP per capita over time

A line plot is useful for visualizing trends over time. In this exercise, you'll examine how the median GDP per capita has changed over time.
The interactive environment where you can write R code and see the results.

According to Datacamp’s website it is “the smartest way to learn Data Science Online. The skills people and businesses need to succeed are changing. No matter where you are in your career or what field you work in, you will need to understand the language of data. With DataCamp, you learn data science today and apply it tomorrow.

Battlefield 5

Battlefield 5 is being released next Tuesday (November 20, 2018)
I couldn’t wait for it, so I signed up for a month of premium access
Now I am downloading Battlefield 5, but at 44gb it’s going to take over 13 hours


Another reason to download it now is, I imagine next Tuesday the servers will be really busy.