Archive for Donald Trump

the invasion of the American cheeses

Posted in Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2018 by xi'an

Part of the new Nafta agreement between the USA and its neighbours, Canada and Mexico, is lifting restrictions on the export of American cheeses to these countries. Having tasted high quality cheeses from Québec on my last visit to Montréal, and having yet to find similar performances in a US cheese, I looked at the list of cheese involved in the agreement, only to discover a collection of European cheese that should be protected by AOC rules under EU regulations (and only attributed to cheeses produced in the original regions):

Brie [de Meaux or de Melun?]
Burrata [di Andria?]
Camembert [missing the de Normandie to be AOC]
Coulommiers [actually not AOC!]
Emmenthal [which should be AOC Emmentaler Switzerland!]
Pecorino [all five Italian varieties being PDO]
Provolone [both Italian versions being PDO]

Plus another imposition that British Columbia wines be no longer segregated from US wines in British Columbia! Which sounds somewhat absurd if wine like those from (BC) Okanagan Valley or (Washington) Walla Walla is to be enjoyed with some more subtlety than diet cokeOwning a winery apparently does not necessarily require such subtlety!

399 safe[[r] for now]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2018 by xi'an

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2018 by xi'an

“…in less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” Donald T.

“President Trump is building a wall of tariffs around the domestic economy, attempting to protect American jobs by limiting imports. But a tire factory that opened last year in Richburg, S.C., offers a reminder that globalization is hard to stop.”  NYT, Sep 18

“Worried their chance to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court could slip away, a growing number of evangelical and anti-abortion leaders are expressing frustration that Senate Republicans and the White House are not protecting Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh more forcefully from a sexual assault allegation”  NYT, Sep 20

 President Trump rejected the official estimate from the Puerto Rico government that nearly 3,000 people died from Hurricane Maria through a series of misleading or false claims: He cited an outdated tally that officials had acknowledged almost immediately was too low, misleadingly suggested that doubt over the tally did not emerge until “a long time later,” accused Democrats, without evidence, of inflating the figures and wrongly described the current official estimate as counting all deaths on the island, regardless of whether they were related to the storm.” NYT, Sep 13

“The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era standards to limit planet-warming methane pollution from oil and gas operations on federal lands (…) In a separate action, the Environmental Protection Agency last week finalized a plan to eliminate the Obama administration’s requirement that oil and gas companies monitor and fix methane leaks for new operations.” The Guardian, Sep 19

ASA opposes USDA plan likely to undermine economic research service (ERS) work [repost]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2018 by xi'an

The American Statistical Association (ASA) is actively opposing a recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal to realign and relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS). The ASA’s concern is that moving ERS—a federal statistical agency and an internationally respected agricultural economics research institution—would undermine its work and product quality, thereby also affecting evidence-based policymaking in the USDA and food and agriculture more generally.

Nature tidbits

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2018 by xi'an

In the Nature issue of July 19 that I read in the plane to Singapore, there was a whole lot of interesting entries, from various calls expressing deep concern about the anti-scientific stance of the Trump administration, like cutting funds for environmental regulation and restricting freedom of communication (ETA) or naming a non-scientist at the head of NASA and other agencies, or again restricting the protection of species, to a testimony of an Argentinian biologist in front of a congressional committee about the legalisation of abortion (which failed at the level of the Agentinian senate later this month), to a DNA-like version of neural network, to Louis Chen from NUS being mentioned in a career article about the importance of planning well in advance one’s retirement to preserve academia links and manage a new position or even career. Which is what happened to Louis as he stayed head of NUS after the mandatory retirement age and is now emeritus and still engaged into research. (The article made me wonder however how the cases therein had be selected.) It is actually most revealing to see how different countries approach the question of retirements of academics: in France, for instance, one is essentially forced to retire and, while there exist emeritus positions, it is extremely difficult to find funding.

“Louis Chen was technically meant to retire in 2005. The mathematician at the National University of Singapore was turning 65, the university’s official retirement age. But he was only five years into his tenure as director of the university’s new Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and the university wanted him to stay on. So he remained for seven more years, stepping down in 2012. Over the next 18 months, he travelled and had knee surgery, before returning in summer 2014 to teach graduate courses for a year.”

And [yet] another piece on the biases of AIs. Reproducing earlier papers discussed here, with one obvious reason being that the learning corpus is not representative of the whole population, maybe survey sampling should become compulsory in machine learning training degrees. And yet another piece on why protectionism is (also) bad for the environment.

terrible graph, again

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , on September 3, 2018 by xi'an

a free press needs you [reposted]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , on August 16, 2018 by xi'an

“Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.”