As a few more weeks have gone since I left the hospital, here are some news for the aficionadi (apulgaradi?). The wound on the thumb is healing at a good pace, although the dressings are still on for one or two weeks. While I am still recovering from those weeks in the hospital, lacking energy at times (and getting quickly tired by metro rides), the only major after-effect is an intolerance to beer. Hopefully temporary! Once again, thanks to all of you who sent and keep sending me greetings and good wishes, incl. special thanks to my friends in the Statistics department at QUT for their collective postcard [and yes they can laugh about ït]! And to friends from New York who called me several times. Although my scientific production is very limited at the moment, since the i-like workshop was both enjoyable and cathartic, I plan to attend the French statistical meeting next week in Toulouse [hopefully getting some kg back from the great South-West cuisine!], followed by ABC in Roma [another opportunity for great food]. On the following weekend, I should leave for Vietnam to give a course on Bayesian analysis and attend a conference as well.
Archive for the Kids Category
A strange (if very French!) debate is taking place these days in the French main chamber, where some socialist deputies are contesting an incoming change in the regulation of university studies that would allow some courses to be taught in… English! Quelle horreur!!! Since this option has been implemented by many universities, incl. Dauphine, it means that we all are acting outside the law! I do not fear in the least being indicted for teaching R and Bayesian statistics in English… However, I find the action of these deputies missing the point: just like most other Western countries, we need to attract bright students from emerging countries in order to keep our departments open. It is unrealistic to think that those students will accept to learn French in addition to English, just because our universities are that attractive (and they are not!). Plus, our own students are asking for courses in English as they realise that their English level is not that great and that this training is more efficient than regular English courses… This position was better expressed in a Le Monde tribune a few days ago signed by several university professors, incl. Cédric Villani.
One of the movies I watched during my hospitalisation is detachment, by Tony Kaye, with Adrian Brody as the lead actor. My daughter brought it to me as she remembered I was interested in it. detachment is a strong and highly original movie about the U.S. school system and the complete lack of prospects for the students in deprived suburbs. I have seen several movies of that kind in the past, some of them rather good and keeping away from the fairy tale that an exceptional teacher is enough to rescue a class cohort or even a single student from a bleak future. This one is however the most pessimistic of all, with no happy ending of any sort (except for the last minute that should have been cut). The plot is not flawless, e.g. the main teacher redemption of the young prostitute being just too unrealistic, but the burnout of the teachers, the newspeak preaching of the administration, the nihilism of the high school students, the bullying of unusual students, and the complete absolute absence of the parents (unless I am confused we only see one [screaming] mother once, no parent shows up at parents’ night and the bullying father is only a voice…) make up for those flaws. Adrian Brody is delivering a superb performance in a great movie, sadly about a terrible issue with our educational system(s)…