Archive for Og

Amazon associates links

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , , , on December 3, 2011 by xi'an

Following a now established tradition, I give here my yearly warning that the links to Amazon.com and Amazon.fr on this blog are actually susceptible to earn me a monetary gain [of 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, some of the items purchased through the links and contributing to my bookoholic addiction (and indirectly to the above picture) are rather unrelated with the purpose of the ‘Og, but then, anything can happen within 24 hours! Apart from a purchase I cannot decently mention here (!), here are the weirdest ones:

plus of course many more purchases of books I actually reviewed along the past months… Like six copies of Principles of uncertainty. And a dozen of the theory that would not die.

[stack] overloaded, crossed and invalidated

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by xi'an

For the few past days, I have been monitoring Cross Validated, a forum on statistics that is part of StackExchange (“a fast-growing network of 71 question and answer sites on diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming“…) for questions of interest, but I think (hope?) I will stop there my involvement. First, I fear this type of forum is too addictive (at least for me, and I already have my share of web-related addictions, witness this very blog!). Of course, Cross Validated is an interesting site for questions related with statistics and machine learning, with a great LATEX interface that allows to type math formulas in a natural way; however I also find the exercise rather frustrating and to some extend futile, which is another reason why I do not wish pursuing the experience any further. For one thing, some of the questions found there are of the “please do my homework for me” type and I am plagued with enough emails of this sort (connected with my own exercises) to look for further hassle. They are however easy to spot and thus eliminate. For another, I suspect a majority of questions, while honest and deep enough, are often asked at the spur of the moment, i.e. without a preliminary search on a paper or online source, like Wikipedia or a textbook. E.g., a question about Bayes theorem that brought decent answers but not further than the Wikipedia entry on the topic. At one level, I would like to give in to temptation and to answer questions I feel I have a valid and informative answer. However, it does not seem like an efficient use of my time (read my books instead!) And also I am not completely convinced this fundamentally helps the persons who ask the questions in the first place. What may lie at the bottom of my unease with being involved in such forums is the sad fact that most questioners want answers without getting through the necessary steps of learning the bases and the background theory surrounding the question. While not being a teacher at heart, this approach gets against my views on learning (“Give a man a fish, &tc.”). Observations towards this view are that (a) many questioners are “one-shot” occurrences, i.e. are never seen again on the forum and (b) such questioners often fail to acknowledge answers that are not posted immediately, i.e. are not really interested in the debate surrounding the question they asked in the first place, only in someone solving their problem for them…

Anyway, this post is my very personal opinion on why I should not get involved with Q&A sites: it does not aim at criticising people asking or answering questions on Cross Validated, quite clearly, as some questions may lead to interesting research developments and as some answers are well-though, helpful, and informative. Just not my ballpark!

Happy B’day, ‘Og!

Posted in Books with tags , , , on October 3, 2011 by xi'an

Being late by a few days, a short entry to celebrate (?!) or at least mention 3 years of blogging on the ‘Og. I am now past 1350 entries, 2775 comments, and 350,000 views, with currently above 500 views per day… Thanks to all ‘Og readers! (And further thanks to those readers using the links to amazon.com and to amazon.fr: this month, I received advertising fees on 73 sales! Including 14 copies of the theory that would not die!)

Posts of the year

Posted in Books, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by xi'an

Like last year, here are the most popular posts since last August:

  1. Home page 92,982
  2. In{s}a(ne)!! 6,803
  3. “simply start over and build something better” 5,834
  4. Julien on R shortcomings 2,373
  5. Parallel processing of independent Metropolis-Hastings algorithms 1,455
  6. Do we need an integrated Bayesian/likelihood inference? 1,361
  7. Coincidence in lotteries 1,256
  8. #2 blog for the statistics geek?! 863
  9. ABC model choice not to be trusted 814
  10. Sudoku via simulated annealing 706
  11. Bayes on the Beach 2010 [2] 704
  12. News about speeding R up 688
  13. Solution manual for Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R 688
  14. R exam 617
  15. Bayesian p-values 607
  16. Monte Carlo Statistical Methods third edition 577
  17. Le Monde puzzle [49] 499
  18. The foundations of Statistics: a simulation-based approach 493
  19.  The mistborn trilogy 492
  20. Lack of confidence in ABC model choice 487
  21. Solution manual to Bayesian Core on-line 481
  22. Bayes’ Theorem 459
  23. Julian Besag 1945-2010 452
  24. Millenium 1 [movie] 448
  25. ABC lectures [finale] 436

No major surprise in this ranking: R related blogs keep the upper part, partly thanks to being syndicated on R-bloggers, partly thanks to the tribunes contributed by Ross Ihaka and Julien Cornebise, even though I am surprised a rather low-key Le Monde puzzle made it to the list (maybe because it became part of my latest R exam?). Controversial books reviews are great traffic generators, even though the review of The foundations of Statistics: a simulation-based approach was posted less than a month ago. At last, it is comforting to see two of our major research papers for the 2010-2011 period on the list: the Parallel processing of independent Metropolis-Hastings algorithms with Pierre and Murray, and the more controversial Lack of confidence in ABC model choice with Jean-Michel and Natesh (twice). The outlier in the list is undoubtedly Bayes on the Beach 2010 [2] which got undeserved traffic for pointing out to Surfers Paradise , a highly popular entry! On my side unscientific entries, Saunderson’s Mistborn and Larson’s Millenium, McCarthy’s Border trilogy missing the top list by three entries…

Invisible blogs!

Posted in R, Statistics with tags , , on May 4, 2011 by xi'an

Julien just signaled an intermitent disappearance of the posts on the ‘Og, depending on the operating system: Ubuntu 10.10 seems to be working (most of the time!)

while Mac and Windows are having problems… This is beyond my abilities, I have contacted WordPress support, maybe they are working on some new feature, maybe I once again incorporated a wrong character by cut&paste, maybe the end of the ‘Og is near…. I reallly cannot tell what is going on! Thanks to Julien for checking in any case!!!

Update (8:47, 04/05): WordPress confirmed this was not a problem with the ‘Og and that things should now be back to normal. If not, the advice is to clear the recent history, cache and cookies.

R-ecap [-16]

Posted in Books, R, University life with tags , , , , , , , on March 27, 2011 by xi'an

This morning, I noticed that none of my R related posts had appeared on R-bloggers for the past fortnight… After investigating, this was caused by…cut-and-paste! Indeed, when advertising about the special issue of TOMACS Arnaud Doucet and I edit about Monte Carlo methods in Statistics, I copied the main parts from the pdf announcement, straight out of Acrobat, and the word “field” was used, involving a ligature between the f and the i that did not get copied in proper UTF-8:

error on line 434 at column 330: Input is not proper UTF-8, indicate encoding ! Bytes: 0x0C 0×65 0x6C 0×64

So here are the entries in the ‘Og for the past 16 days that could have been of interest for R-bloggers readers:

Gains from the ‘Og

Posted in Books with tags , , on December 13, 2010 by xi'an

As already pointed out last year on the Og, the links to amazon.com and amazon.fr on this blog are actually susceptible to bring me some gains if a purchase is made following the entry on amazon, 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. Not enough to support anything but book purchases, which is nice enough! Here are some surprising items, sold through those links besides the 28 copies of Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R

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