My short blog on the language R is now up on the IPL blog.
There’s not much obvious similarity between software engineering, statistics and carpentry, but the one thing they have in common is that it’s much nicer to work with tools that cut with the grain rather than against it.
Crunching a lot of data to extract statistical information can be very hard without the right tools. You could, in principle, use any programming language to perform statistical analysis, but if you choose the wrong one it’ll feel like using a screwdriver to hammer in a nail; sure, it’ll work, and if it’s all you have to hand then you have to make do. But it’s much better (and more comfortable!) to use a hammer.