Archive for the Mountains Category

a meaningful divide?

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2021 by xi'an

Le Monde published this map in its 26 July edition, to illustrate the contrast between South-East and North and West France(s). Meaning that the North-West upper part is more vaccinated than the South-East lower part of the map. The figure being computed as the sum of the differences between local and national rates, per age group, weighted by the group sizes. The paper goes on analysing the divide in terms of sociology of the territories, as well as political opposition to Président Macron… But I wonder (over breakfast) if it does not see too much in this picture. First some districts have to be either above or below the national average. Second, the map does not incorporate the population density: very sparsely populated districts in the South-East, like Auvergne or central Corsica are more visible than the densest areas like the Greater Paris, while being more prone to low vaccination rates due to the larger distance to vaccination centres. Third, most of the districts are within ±15% of the average, which may be too large for statistical variation but not much! The geographer Emmanuel Vigneron points out in the paper an inverse correlation between vaccination and earlier COVID cases, but this is not so surprising in that people who have already been exposed to the virus may conclude they are well (enough) protected. Further, the age effect is not eliminated by the contrast, in that areas with an older population are bound to get closer to the average, given that vaccination in the older groups started earlier and was more seen as a life-or-death issue. The soundest observation is rather in the opposition between urban districts where, despite an equivalent access to vaccination opportunities, the poorer burbs like the Northern districts of Marseille being the least vaccinated (with possibly an age effect?).

geometric climbing

Posted in Mountains, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2021 by xi'an

On the qualifying round for the Tokyo Olympics, the French climber Mickaël Mawem ended up first, while his brother Bassa was the fastest on the speed climb (as a 2018 and 2019 World Champion) but ruptured a tendon while lead climbing and had to be flown back to Paris for a operation. The New York Times inappropriately and condescendingly qualified this first position as being “unexpected” when Mickaël is the 2019 European Champion in bouldering… The NYT is piling up in its belittling by stating that “Anouck Jaubert of France used a second-place finish in speed to squeak into the final¨… (The other French female climber did not make it, despite being one of the first women to reach the 9b level.)

I remain puzzled by the whole concept of mixing the three sports together. As well as by the scoring system, based on a geometric average of the three rankings, which means in particular that the eight finalists will suffer less than in the qualifying round from a poor performance in one of the three climbs (as Adam Ondra for the speed climb). In addition, there is an obscure advantage coming to Adam Ondra for Bassa Mawem cancelling his participation: according to the NYT, “Ondra will receive a bye and an automatic slot in the speed semifinals” meaning “that a likely eighth-place finish in speed — a ranking number that can be hard to overcome in the multiplication of the combined format — will now be no worse than fourth for Ondra”. (The sentence on the strong impact due to the geometric mean is incorrect in that it has less impact that the arithmetic!)

hasty changes of plan (and of hemisphere)

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2021 by xi'an

As we [the entire family] were about to leave for La Réunion for a two-week vacation, the local authorities decided to start a severe lockdown over the whole island. Which makes sense given the large number of cases and the low proportion of vaccinated inhabitants that led to the saturation of the health system, to the point of flying patients to Paris for treatment. And which would have meant [for us] being stuck in our Airbnb except for sport activities on the nearest beach, but with no chance of trail running or hiking to the local tops or into the magnificent calderas. (Besides being rather unethical by putting local non-vaccinated people at risk.) Hence we cancelled the trip at the last minute (with great service from Air France and a full loss with Airbnb.) After first considering Iceland, which sounded fully booked, we then switched to a trip to Corsica, where surprisingly there were still available plane seats and cars to rent at the airport. And less surprisingly hardly any place to rent! After a whole morning of failed attempts, we eventually secured two rental places, the first one turning out to be quite nice. Last time I visited the island there was in the summer of 1980, where I hitch-hiked from Normandy to join high school friends for a month of camping, snorkeling, and wind-surfing! (And not much progress in reading Kant’s Critique I had taken as my beach book!)

Methow River fire

Posted in Mountains, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2021 by xi'an

from Mont Puget [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2021 by xi'an