Archive for Alaska

out of the wild

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on June 25, 2020 by xi'an

Feel It Still [Portugal. The Man]

Posted in Kids with tags , , , , , , , on March 4, 2020 by xi'an

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2017 by xi'an

“An internal Interior Department memo has proposed lifting restrictions on exploratory seismic studies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a possible first step toward opening the pristine wilderness area to oil and gas drilling.” NYT, Sept 17, 2017

“The Trump administration opened the door to allowing more firearms on federal lands. It scrubbed references to “L.G.B.T.Q. youth” from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking. And, on the advice of religious leaders, it eliminated funding to international groups that provide abortion.” NYT, Sept 11, 2017

“On Aug. 18, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine received an order from the Interior Department that it stop work on what seemed a useful and overdue study of the health risks of mountaintop-removal coal mining.” NYT, Sept 9, 2017

“Last month the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dissolved its 15-member climate science advisory committee, a panel set up to help translate the findings of the National Climate Assessment into concrete guidance for businesses, governments and the public.” NYT, Sept 9, 2017

Climate contrarians, like Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, don’t understand how scientific research works. They are basically asking for a government handout to scientists to do what scientists are should already be doing. They are also requesting handouts for scientists who have been less successful in research and publications – a move antithetical to the survival of the fitness approach that has formed the scientific community for decades. ” The Guardian, Aug 31, 2017

Prospect theory

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by xi'an

I received this book from Cambridge University Press for reviewing, but its topic is just too far from my research interests to invest time into reading it. I had it with me during my flight to New York last week but it simply evaded me…  The words and graphs are mostly those of decision analysis but the whole is too remote from my statistical universe. (The front cover of the Copper River Delta, Chugach National Forest, Alaska, is tantalising, of course!) Anyway, if any ‘Og reader [with some credential in prospect theory or decision analysis] was interested in reviewing the book for CHANCE, let her or him contact me by email through bayesianstatistics on Gmail.. (The three books have been claimed!)

Into the wild

Posted in Books, Travel with tags , , on February 6, 2010 by xi'an

Over the past week, I have been watching Into the Wild with my daughter, one chapter at a time. This is a movie I was eager to see, primarily because most of it takes place in the Denali National Park. The views of the Alaskan wilderness are indeed spectacular and may justify watching the movie per se… The story itself is one of a planned suicide, with a kind of beauty in its relation to wilderness, but a suicide nonetheless. The main character (Alex/Christopher) moves into the Denali wilderness to cut all links with society and parents, and, inevitably, this ultimate rejection of society must meet with death once Alex runs out of bullets, matches or rice. The partial incoherence of his behaviour is well-exposed in the movie, when he burns his dollar bills in front of his useless car before working on a farm and cashing his salary, or when he buries his Thoreau and Walden books before digging them out a few weeks later. The scene where Alex kills a moose for food is a sad signal of how inadapted he is to the wilderness, ending up wasting the whole moose for lack of planning. The last chapter where he tries to get back into society somehow redeems the movie by giving depth to the character and by infusing a longing for alternative choices. His lonely death then does not seem so meaningless as it did in the midst of the movie.

The story is clearly compelling and I wish I had read the Into the Wild book before, as Jon Krakauer is also the writer of Into Thin Air that kept me mesmerised till the end of the book! But I cannot say I find the movie particularly well-done. The filming is unimaginative,  fakely amateurish with cuts of faded family videos and cheap multiple frames, while the acting is not always convincing. (Kristen Stewart is just as terrible as in Twilight!) As written above, the character of Alex only gets convincing when we realise he is doomed. Before that, he seems more like a spoiled child wasting opportunities and blind to the worth of the great people he meets.