Nuts and Bolts: Squishing columns together to get rid of NAs in R

450px-Plastic-_and_Nylonzipper

Zipper picture from Wikimedia Commons, by Rabensteiner – Bearbeitet von Rainer Z

I found my self in a bit of a quandry. I had a data frame which contained many columns that needed to be squished together – each contained a few values, but mostly NAs, and none of the values were overlapping. They represented the same variable, but broken apart across several columns. I needed to condense several columns into one.

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Introducing: Nuts and bolts

Nuts...

Nuts…

So, long time, no talk, gentle reader. That’s because I’ve been writing a paper (my first first-authored paper, if you must know) and I feel really guilty about extraneous writing activities, like somehow I am cheating on my paper. How can I justify reading up on a tasty tuber or invasive insect and crafting its story and biology into an intriguing knowledge nugget, when mountains of data await re-analysis for the billionth time, and co-authors deserve satisfaction? How indeed?

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