Archive for the Travel Category

Laidlaw [book review]

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2020 by xi'an

I read William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw [in planes last week] after I saw it recommended as a pre-Rankin novel. Which inspired the whole tartan noir literature. Including Rankin’s books, most obviously. The book is set in 1970’s Glasgow, which sounds rougher and grittier than when I was visiting the West End two decades later. The city is described as dominated by thugs, at least in the popular areas, with ultra-violent men running the criminal world, while still maintaining some Calvinist principles. Especially about the place of women and their abhorrence of homosexuality. Besides the very dark atmosphere of the novel, Laidlaw is one of the least conventional crime novels I have read, with more inner dialogues than conversations (an issue with some Rebus novels!) and a strong dose of metaphysics on the nature of crime and justice, guilt and punishment. The style is also much more elaborated, to the point I often had to re-read sentences (some of which eventually escaped my understanding) and not only for the phonetic rendering of the Glaswegian accents (which is much more readable than Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting). The intellectual detective, Laidlaw, is sometimes drawn in heavy traits (like, why should he keep books by Kierkegaard or Camus and Unamuno in his drawer of his desk), prone to bouts of depression and migraine, and, like Rebus, facing a disintegrating marriage and an addiction to alcohol. Not to mention smoking as most characters are chain-smoking. (This aspect as well as the need to resort to phone booths sets the novel back in time.) His relations with the force are even worse than Rebus’, as his provocations of more traditional colleagues leave him mostly isolated and poorly appreciated by his superiors.

The central character may actually be Glasgow itself, so much do the characters move around it and add permanent descriptions of the feeling of the place(s). Far from pretty, it oozes fear and poverty, desperation and bigotry, but also some form of social link, strongly separated between sexes. The appalling status of women (at least of the women appearing in the novel) is subtly denounced by the novel, even though in an ambiguous way. All in all, an impressive book (and not “just” a crime novel).

Natum

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2020 by xi'an

Scott Sisson’s ABC seminar in Paris [All about that Bayes]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2020 by xi'an

On the “All about that Bayes” seminar tomorrow (Tuesday 21 at 3p.m., room 42, AgroParisTech, 16 rue Claude Bernard, Paris 5ième), Scott Sisson, School of Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW, and visiting Paris-Dauphine this month, will give a talk on

Approximate posteriors and data for Bayesian inference

Abstract
For various reasons, including large datasets and complex models, approximate inference is becoming increasingly common. In this talk I will provide three vignettes of recent work. These cover a) approximate Bayesian computation for Gaussian process density estimation, b) likelihood-free Gibbs sampling, and c) MCMC for approximate (rounded) data.

Couplings and Monte Carlo [advanced graduate course at Dauphine by Pierre Jacob]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2020 by xi'an

As a visiting professor at Paris-Dauphine next month, Pierre Jacob will give a series of lectures on coupling and Monte Carlo. Next month on Feb. 12, 25, 26, 27, at Université Paris-Dauphine, all starting at 13:45 (room yet to be announced). Attendance is open to all and material will be made available on the lecture webpage.

my first parkrun [19:56,3/87,78.8%]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2020 by xi'an

This morning, I had my first parkrun race in Gainesville, before heading back to Paris. (Thanks to Florence Forbes who pointed out this initiative to me.) Which reminded me of the race I ran in Helsinki a few years ago. Without the “self-transcendance” topping…! While the route was very urban, it was a fun opportunity to run a race with a few other runners. My time of 19.56 is not my best by far but, excuses, excuses, I was not feeling too well and the temperature was quite high (21⁰) and I finished in the first three runners, just seconds behind two young fellows who looked like they were still in high school.  (I am now holding the record of that race for my age group as well!) Anyway, this is a great way to join races when travelling and not worry about registration, certificates, &tc.

Parkrun also provides an age-grade adjusted ranking (78.8%), which is interesting but statistically puzzling as this is the ratio of one’s time over the fastest time (ever?) in the age x gender category. Given that fastest times are extreme, this depends on one individual and hence has a high variability. Especially in higher (meaning older!) veteran categories. A quantile in the empirical distribution would sound better. I came across this somewhat statistical analysis of the grade,

BAYSM 2020, Kunming, China [reposted]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2020 by xi'an

The 5th Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting, BAYSM2020, will take place in Kunming, China (June 26-27, 2020) as a satellite to the ISBA 2020 world meeting. BAYSM is the official conference of j-ISBA, the junior section of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis. It is intended for Ph.D. Students, M.S. Students, Post-Docs, Young and Junior researchers working in the field of Bayesian statistics, providing an opportunity to connect with the Bayesian community at large. Senior discussants will be present at each session, providing participants with hints, suggestions and comments to their work. Distinguished professors of the Bayesian community will also participate as keynote speakers, making an altogether exciting program.

Registration is now open (https://baysm2020.uconn.edu/registration) and will be available with an early bird discount until May 1, 2020. The event will be hosted at the Science Hall of Yunnan University (Kunming, China) right before ISBA 2020 world meeting. BAYSM 2020 will include social events, providing the opportunity to get to know other junior Bayesians.

Young researchers interested in giving a talk or presenting a poster are invited to submit an extended abstract by March 29, 2020. All the instructions for the abstract submission are reported at the page https://baysm2020.uconn.edu/call-dates

Thanks to the generous support of ISBA, a number of travel awards are available to support young researchers.

Keynote speakers:
Maria De Iorio
David Dunson
Sylvia Frühwirth-Schnatter
Xuanlong Nguyen
Amy Shi
Jessica Utts

Confirmed discussants:
Jingheng Cai
Li Ma
Fernando Quintana
Francesco Stingo
Anmin Tang
Yemao Xia

While the meeting is organized for and by junior Bayesians, attendance is open to anyone who may be interested. For more information, please visit the conference website: https://baysm2020.uconn.edu/

stranded

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2020 by xi'an