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For a recent blogpost, I required data on the ELO ratings of national football teams over time. Such a list exists online at and so in theory this was just a simple task for rvest to read the html pages on that site and then fish out the data I wanted. However, while this works for the static websites which make up the vast majority of sites containing tables of data, it struggles with websites that use JavaScript to dynamically generate pages.


Most Wednesday’s I enjoy reading The Knowledge blog on the Guardian’s website and reading the football trivia therein. When time (and questions) allow, I like to answer some of the questions posed, example of which are here, here, and here. League of Nations The first question comes from Which player had the nationality with the lowest FIFA World Ranking at the time of him winning the Premier League? — The Tin Boonie (@TheTinBoonie) June 18, 2019 a similar question is also answered in this weeks column:


For anyone watching football, being able to predict matches is a key aspect of the hobby. Whether explicitly (e.g. when betting on matches, or deciding on recruitment for an upcoming season), or more implicitly when discussing favourites to win the league in the pub, almost all discussion of the sport on some level require predictions about some set of upcoming games. The first step of prediction is some form of quantification of ability.


When studying why people make the economic choices they do, we need some way of quantifying the value to the person of the offered choices. For instance, when deciding whether to ride to my office by bike or instead catch the bus, there are myriad factors that my brain feeds into an equation to get two values: the utility of taking the bus the utility of riding my bike For instance, if it looks like it might rain, I’m more likely to take the bus as getting soaked reduces the utility of cycling to work.


In what is becoming a repeated series, I enjoy answering trivia questions from The Guardian’s The Knowledge football trivia column. There’s a few questions that built up that seemed amenable to coding answers so I’ve taken a stab at them here #munging library(tidyverse) library(data.table) library(zoo) #english football data library(engsoccerdata) #web data scraping library(rvest) #plotting library(openair) Calendar Boys The first question this week concerns players scoring on (or nearest to) every day of the year


Selected Publications

The cellular basis of the magnetic sense remains an unsolved scientific mystery. One theory that aims to explain how animals detect the magnetic field is the magnetite hypothesis. It argues that intracellular crystals of the iron oxide magnetite (Fe3O4) are coupled to mechanosensitive channels that elicit neuronal activity in specialized sensory cells. Attempts to find these primary sensors have largely relied on the Prussian Blue stain that labels cells rich in ferric iron…
In PNAS, 2013

Recent Publications

. No evidence for intracellular magnetite in putative vertebrate magnetoreceptors identified by magnetic screening. In PNAS, 2013.


Recent & Upcoming Talks

Example Talk
Jun 1, 2030 1:00 PM


RInforcement Learning

Example answers to end of chapter problems in Sutton and Barto - Reinforcement Learning (2016)