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Textbook: Writing for Statistics and Data Science

If you are looking for my textbook Writing for Statistics and Data Science here it is for free in the Open Educational Resource Commons. Wri...

Annotated Bibliography

(Bremer 1999)

UnTechnical Writing by Michael Bremer is a book aimed at technical and manual writers that wish to improve further. It was written by the former manual writer for Maxis games which was creator of the original SimCity. The suggested improvements to the to your writing that are are not just organizational but also ways to make it more creative or interesting for the reader which is not something you can typically do in technical writing. Not including the references at the end of the book, it is only 180 pages and is easy reading. If you are planning to write manuals or software documentation, I would recommend at least skimming this book. If you like it, there is a sequel called The User Manual Manual.

(Butcher 2006)

Butcher's Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders by by Judith Butcher, Caroline Drake, and Maureen Leach and is intended for people that are proofreading or copy editing entire books, as opposed to smaller papers or analysis. I recommend looking through Chapter 13, the chapter on mathematical and statistical work if you intend to use LaTeX a lot in your future work. This chapter does not talk about the technical workings of LaTeX like coding, boxes, and floating objects, and that's fine because there are plenty of other books for that. This chapter of Butcher's is about the conventions used for mathematical and scientific notation with a few references to tie it to LaTeX.

(Feynman 1985)

Q.E.D. : The Strange Theory of Light and Matter is a written collection of four lectures by Richard Feynman on Quantum Electro-Dynamics. It is by far the clearest work on quantum mechanics I have read. The lecturers focus on the probability-based phenomena that electromagnetic waves, specifically light, experience. This is done through analogy of the addition of vector arrows, which can be done visually without calculation.  Using this analogy, photons move randomly, but their likelihood of taking a given path depends on the sum of the vector arrows of that path, such that paths that are a straight line at a constant speed are the most likely, especially at a macroscopic scale. Phenomena like the interference pattern from the two slit experiment are intuitive under this analogy. This book is very short, and comes highly recommended to anyone with a passing interest in quantum mechanics.

(Gustafson 2015)

The End of Error: Unum Computing by John Gustafson is a book that motivates, presents, and gives examples for a new type of basic variable type called an Unum, which is short for Universal Number.  The motivation is that the precision and size limits of traditional floating point numbers are arbitrarily chosen. The Unum, however, includes formatting information, which allows, theoretically, for a floating point number to have as much or as little precision as necessary. If you enjoy thinking about any of the following, you may like this book, otherwise it will likely bore you within seconds: NIST documentation, bitwise operations, the Quake fast inverse square-root trick, the Pentium FDIV bug, field-programmable gate arrays.

(Pequegnat 2011)

How to Write a Successful Research Grant Application - A Guide for Social and Behavioral Scientists is a collection of closely related essays, edited by Willo Pequegnat, Ellen Stover, Ellen, and Cheryl Boyce. It's geared towards applicants to research grants in the United States, specifically the National Institutes of Health (NIH), however many of the essays are applicable to grant applications of many kinds of research, and to research planning and writing. The most widely usable essays to student of statistical writing are Chapter 8, "Common Mistakes in Proposal Writing and How to Avoid Them", by Susan Folkman et al., Chapter 12 "Developing a Theoretical Framework and Rationale for a Research Proposal" by Gregory Herek, and especially Chapter 21 "Writing the Data Analysis Plan", by A.T. Panter.

(Quirk 2017)

Seasteading, How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians by Joe Quirk, is about the movement to colonize the ocean called seasteading.  This book spends a little time motivating the movement through the United Nations’ stated challenges for humanity (e.g. climate change, poverty, food and energy insecurity) that will likely worsen by 2050. It spends a lot more time discussing how mass migration to the sea could solve these problems, using both existing examples (e.g. cruise liners, seafaring people, kampachi fish farming, oceanic plastic harvesting), and proposed examples by start-ups like Blue Frontiers.  The tone of the book is optimistic, at some points unrealistically so, but thinking and hearing about solutions like this is a great way to alleviate dread about the future. As an audiobook, it was well worth the 15 hours to listen, and the speaker is clear enough that it can be sped up to shorten that time without difficulty.

(Yalom 2005)

Birth of the Chess Queen: A History, by Marilyn Yalom is much more about history than chess. The focus is on two specific changes to the game: the replacement of the visier beside the king with the queen, and replacement of that piece’s moveset from ‘one square diagonal’ to ‘any straight path, any direction’. The thesis of the book is that although these changes had already started to spread in Europe, it was a movement to honour Queen Isabella of Spain that served as a catalyst for these changes. I can't evaluate its merit as ‘a feminist perspective’ as it claims to be. However, there isn't enough depth or detail here for fans of chess history, as the book loses focus about halfway through and wanders through anecdotes about women being repressed with little to no connection to the game.

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