Archive for the Wines Category


Posted in Mountains, Wines, Travel, pictures with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by xi'an

at the foot of Monte Rosa

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2017 by xi'an

After last-year failed attempt at climbing a summit in the Monte Rosa group, we came back for hiking on the “other side” of Monte Rosa, at the Italian foot of Dufourspitze with less ambitious plans of hiking around this fantastic range. Alas the weather got set against us and thunderstorms followed one another, making altitude hikes unreasonable because of the fresh snow and frequent fog, and lower altitude walks definitely unpleasant, turning the trails into creeks.

While we had many nice chats with local people in a mixture of French and Italian, and sampled local cheese and beers, this still felt like a bit of a wasted vacations week, especially when remembering how reasonable the weather had been the week before in Scotland. However, all things considered, the previous week had seen a deadly heat wave cross the south of Europe that very week, so I should not be complaining about rain and snow! And running a whole week checking the altimeter instead of the chronometer is a nice experience.

conference carbon footprint

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2017 by xi'an

As a local organiser of the recent BNP 11 conference in Paris, and hence involved in setting and cleaning coffee breaks and [now famous] wine&cheese poster sessions, I was rather shocked by the amount of waste generated by those events, albeit aware of the importance of the social exchanges they induced… And thus got to wonder how the impact of those conference events could be reduced. One solution is the drastic one, namely to provide exactly nothing at all during the breaks between talks and expect anyone hungry or thirsty enough to bring one own’s food or drink. Another one, as suggested by my daughter at the dinner table, is to provide Ecocups, namely reusable plastic glasses that can given to all participants at the beginning of the conference. Or sold (or rented) to those who have not brought their own mug or bottle. (Of course, this may be a poor idea in that manufacturing and shipping a hard-plastic glass that most likely will be discarded after a few days may be more damaging than producing the equivalent number of “disposable” thin plastic glasses. And in the end all this agitation is peanuts compared with the impact of flying participants to the conference. For which I have no handy solution… As biking to the conference location is a privilege very few can enjoy.) Still, and even though this puts another stone in the already rocky organisers’ garden, I wish we could adopt more positive policies at the meetings we organise and sponsor.

vendanges tardives

Posted in Kids, pictures, Wines with tags , , , , on July 20, 2017 by xi'an

Midsummer dinner at Emmanuel College

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2017 by xi'an

It just so happened that I was in Cambridge for the Midsummer dinner last Saturday at Emmanuel College and that a good friend, who happens to be a Fellow of that College, invited me to the dinner. Making the second dinner in a Cambridge college in a week, after the workshop dinner at Trinity. Except the one at Emmanuel was a much more formal affair, with dress requirement (!) and elaborate dishes. The wines were also exceptional, with a remarkable 2002 Chassagne-Montrachet.While the dinning room (or whatever it is called) is beautiful, it is also rather noisy and I could not engage in conversation with anyone but my immediate neighbours, but still managed to have a fairly interesting exchange with a biologist studying skuas on the Faroe Islands. The end of the meal was announced by a loud clap and Graces in Latin, followed by cheese and port (and a fabulous Sauternes!, not in the wine list) in an equally beautiful room, where it was easier to talk with my neighbours. All in all, a unique evening and opportunity for a glimpse into College traditions! [And a first wine post for the 20th of the month!!]

BimPressioNs [BNP11]

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2017 by xi'an

While my participation to BNP 11 has so far been more at the janitor level [although not gaining George Casella’s reputation on NPR!] than at the scientific one, since we had decided in favour of the least expensive and unstaffed option for coffee breaks, to keep the registration fees at a minimum [although I would have gladly gone all the way to removing all coffee breaks!, if only because such breaks produce much garbage], I had fairly good chats at the second poster session, in particular around empirical likelihoods and HMC for discrete parameters, the first one based on the general Cressie-Read formulation and the second around the recently arXived paper of Nishimura et al., which I wanted to read. Plus many other good chats full stop, around terrific cheese platters!

Best conference spread ever

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This morning, the coffee breaks were much more under control and I managed to enjoy [and chair] the entire session on empirical likelihood, with absolutely fantastic talks from Nils Hjort and Art Owen (the third speaker having gone AWOL, possibly a direct consequence of Trump’s travel ban).

Zinfandel de l’Arjolle

Posted in Wines with tags , , on June 20, 2017 by xi'an