As if a thumb was not enough, I lost the “new” Canon Ixus 115 H5 I bought in replacement of the (mediocre) Nikon Coolpix I lost on Ben Nevis (the title refer to the miracle mentioned in a post in February 2013, when I almost lost my (Nikon Coolpix L26) camera to the cloaca maxima, in Roma). This happened in the park on Sunday morning when I took it in my raincoat pocket to capture the serene heron standing card at the end of the grand canal… The camera somehow fell from my pocket without me realising it (of course), presumably falling on soft ground and I only discovered it had happened five or six minutes later, when I stood next to the heron. I retraced my steps back but, even at 7:30 a Sunday morning, there was enough traffic for a runner to find it before me. (Maybe he had no gift ready for mother day!) It was not such a great camera and on its trip to Chamonix last X’mas with my daughter it had decided to host a small fungus that lived right on the lens, making zooming close to impossible. (The same thing had happened with the Nikon Coolpix the year before after falling in the snow during my X’mas ski trip.) Just a wee (bit ?) annoying… (Latest picture from the Canon Ixus to come on Sunday!)
Archive for Amazon
(My colleague Jean-Louis Fouley, now at I3M, Montpellier, kindly agreed to write a review on the BUGS book for CHANCE. Here is the review, en avant-première! Watch out, it is fairly long and exhaustive! References will be available in the published version. The additions of book covers with BUGS in the title and of the corresponding Amazon links are mine!)
If a book has ever been so much desired in the world of statistics, it is for sure this one. Many people have been expecting it for more than 20 years ever since the WinBUGS software has been in use. Therefore, the tens of thousands of users of WinBUGS are indebted to the leading team of the BUGS project (D Lunn, C Jackson, N Best, A Thomas and D Spiegelhalter) for having eventually succeeded in finalizing the writing of this book and for making sure that the long-held expectations are not dashed.
As well explained in the Preface, the BUGS project initiated at Cambridge was a very ambitious one and at the forefront of the MCMC movement that revolutionized the development of Bayesian statistics in the early 90’s after the pioneering publication of Gelfand and Smith on Gibbs sampling.
This book comes out after several textbooks have already been published in the area of computational Bayesian statistics using BUGS and/or R (Gelman and Hill, 2007; Marin and Robert, 2007; Ntzoufras, 2009; Congdon, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010; Kéry, 2010; Kéry and Schaub, 2011 and others). It is neither a theoretical book on foundations of Bayesian statistics (e.g. Bernardo and Smith, 1994; Robert, 2001) nor an academic textbook on Bayesian inference (Gelman et al, 2004, Carlin and Louis, 2008). Instead, it reflects very well the aims and spirit of the BUGS project and is meant to be a manual “for anyone who would like to apply Bayesian methods to real-world problems”.
In spite of its appearance, the book is not elementary. On the contrary, it addresses most of the critical issues faced by statisticians who want to apply Bayesian statistics in a clever and autonomous manner. Although very dense, its typical fluid British style of exposition based on real examples and simple arguments helps the reader to digest without too much pain such ingredients as regression and hierarchical models, model checking and comparison and all kinds of more sophisticated modelling approaches (spatial, mixture, time series, non linear with differential equations, non parametric, etc…).
The book consists of twelve chapters and three appendices specifically devoted to BUGS (A: syntax; B: functions and C: distributions) which are very helpful for practitioners. The book is illustrated with numerous examples. The exercises are well presented and explained, and the corresponding code is made available on a web site. Read more »
As in previous years, let me warn unwary readers that the links to Amazon.com and Amazon.fr found on this blog are actually susceptible to earn me a monetary gain [from 4% to 7%] if a purchase is made in the 24 hours following the entry on Amazon through this link, thanks to the “Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com/fr“. As with last year, most of the items purchased through the links and contributing to my bookoholic addiction are rather unrelated with the purpose of the ‘Og, but, as already mentioned , anything can happen within 24 hours! Here are the weirdest ones:
- Toy Vault 12″ Cthulhu Plush Toy and Pokemon Pillow
- Stewart’s Pro-Treat 21 ounce Tub Freeze Dried Dog Treats, Beef Liver
- ten copies of Hp Compaq Evo N610v Ac Adapter 0mAh
- Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser
- Nile Spice Lentil Soup
- ten copies of Donald in Mathmagic Land
plus of course the books I actually reviewed along the past months, positively or negatively… Like seven copies of Error and Inference. And a dozen of R for dummies. And many other books on Bayesian statistics and R programming. Thanks!
Got the following email from Amazon:
Today we have added a new feature, Amazon Author Rank, the definitive list of best-selling authors on Amazon.com. This list makes it easy for readers to discover the best-selling authors on Amazon.com overall and within a selection of major genres. Your Amazon Author Rank is 44,881 in Print Books.
It is a new feature so, with a very limited past horizon, this rank seems to be moving wildly! (For instance, it is now 36,776, just a few hours later.) But so are the individual book sales. Hence a clear lack of smoothing in the indicator.
Another interesting feature of this Author Central facility is the display of US sales by district, Not only because it shows that New York and San Francisco are the cities where I sell the most books (great!) but also because it uses the notion of “combined areas”, aggregating “the copies sold in these sparsely populated areas in order to obscure any single retailer’s sales”. A good display of data protection (even though the level of aggregation sounds too high to me, resulting in “combined areas” being the 3rd highest sale area. And including Gainesville, Florida and Ithaca, New York, the two latest locations of George Casella, in this combination!
Interesting, most interesting! As I was thinking about writing a post on this book, Andrew pointed out the author, R.J. Ellory, had been caught red-handed, writing a highly positive review on his own book and criticising other authors on Amazon… Given that reviews on Amazon are not edited, I am not surprised at authors hitting back at anonymous reviewers (and noticed the same for this book I severely criticized a few months ago! Five glowing five-star reviews from the author and relatives…), even though they sound rather silly when being exposed. As Andrew points out, this disguised self-promotion is still a far cry from plagiarism and is just a wee…silly. (Even the French public radio mentioned the thing on the evening news. Maybe in connection with the high popularity of Ellory in France.)
“For the life of me I did not know who they were talking about, and for some reason it did not matter.” A Quiet Belief in Angels
Anyway, this is another of those books I bought in Bristol last Spring for two pounds, mostly at random (and also by being confused between Ellory and Elroy!). The book is quite special, as far away as one can think from an usual thriller or detective story (which may explain the author’s scathing criticism of “the seemingly endless parade of same-old-same-old police procedurals that seem to abound in the UK”). Actually, as the action is taking place in Georgia, I thought the author was American, rather than English. In short, I found the book fascinating, moving, highly disturbing, imperfect, unrealistic, often if not always well-written, original, and incomplete. With a final chapter that is completely unnecessary. The book relates very much to (and borrows from) the older realistic literature of the 40′s and 50′s, from Steinbeck to Capote, to Dos Passos, of course, but the underlying horrific murders make the book indeed quite an original read. Having started at random, I am rather interested in reading other books from this author, self-promotion or not! (I can guarantee that Xi’an is not a fake pseudo used by R.J. Ellory!!!) Reading from his auto-bio-sketch, I can also see some links between the main character of A Quiet Belief in Angels and its author. I just hope the other books get away from this autobiographical source…