Archive for Edinburgh

a journal of the [less] plague and [more] pestilence year

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2022 by xi'an

Read Rankin’s last Rebus, A song for the dark times, which takes place between Edinburgh and the Far North (of Scotland). I reasonably enjoyed it, by which I mean I was not expecting novelty, but rather reuniting with a few characters, including the Teflon villain, Big Ger Cafferty, still around at his craft. Rebus is getting older, cannot climb stairs any longer, and cannot deliver a proper punch in a fight! Still enjoyable, with a dig into Second World War internment camps for German prisoners… While not yet into the COVID era, the spirit is definitely post-Brexit, with a general resentment of what it brought (and did not bring). The character of Inspector Fox escaped me, mostly, but otherwise, an enjoyable read.

Made a light (no baking) chocolate tart, with home raspberries on top (of course) that did not last long.

Watched two Japanese shows: Any crybabies around?! by Takuma Satô which revolves around the Namahage tradition in Northern Japan (to terrify children into being obedient and no crybabies!) and the immaturity of a young father acting as such a character until disaster strikes. With a lot of cringe moments, until the utter hopelessness of this man crybaby, more straw-like than his traditional costume made me stop caring. And the mini-series Switched. Which explores a (paranormal) body switch between two teenager girls to school pressure, bullying, and depression, but in a rather perturbing manner as the girl who initiated and forced the exchange does not come out nicely, despite her overweight issues, her abusive single mother, and the attitude of the rest of the school.  The most interesting character is the other schoolgirl who has to adapt to this situation without changing her (inner) personality, but the story is slow-motioned, predictable, and heavy-handed, esp. in the sobbing department. (Plus bordering at fat-shaming at some point.)

ICMS supports mirrors

Posted in Travel, University life with tags , , , , on December 6, 2021 by xi'an


Received an announcement from the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) in Edinburgh that they will support mirror meetings (albeit in the United Kindgom) as well as other inclusive initiatives:

• ICMS@: this programme allows organisers to hold ‘satellite events’, ICMS-funded activity at venues elsewhere in the UK with logistic support by the ICMS staff. The aim will be to enable more activities at a high level distributed throughout the country and to facilitate participation by those who cannot easily travel. There will be an additional emphasis on regions that have found it difficult to fund local events in the past.

• Funds to allow participants at ICMS workshops to extend their visits in the UK, especially for the purpose of visiting other institutions and engaging in extended research interaction.

• A visitor programme for researchers from low- and middle-income countries to come to the UK to attend workshops and fund their stay for up to three months.

• Workshops or schools for postgraduate students and early career researchers which can be of varying lengths and intensities.

• A fund to help people with caring responsibilities attend our events.

northern gannets rock

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2021 by xi'an

The Quaker [book review]

Posted in Books, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2021 by xi'an

I ordered The Quaker, a book by Liam McIlvanney mostly because Liam is the son of WIlliam McIlvanney, whose Glasgow’s Laidlaw trilogy I found stunning. I was intrigued by the attempt at following in his father’s Tartan Noir steps. To make the link stronger this book won the 2018 (William) McIlvanney Prize for crime book! While there are many similarities between the stories, if only because they both take place in Glasgow in the 1960’s, where slums were gradually demolished to become high rises (themselves demolished much later in one of Ian Rankin’s stories, if in Edinburgh), where the police was partly corrupted by local gangsters, and where (im- and e-) migration was spinning the demographics of the city, the styles are different and The Quaker does not read as a clever pastiche. It is definitely a unique and brilliant book, from the vivid depiction of the Glasgow of these times (possibly helped by the fact that many locations were familiar to me from my several visits at the University of Glasgow), to the pretty convincing plot, to the psychological depths of many (male) characters. The women in the story are indeed mostly victims of the serial killer or witnesses, possibly towards reflecting the state of gender inequality in the 1960’s (as far as I remember there were more women at the fore in WIlliam’s books), with the inclusion of a victim of the Magdalene asylums. The outlying nature of the main detective is another feature common to father and son: while McCormack does not carry philosophy books to work, he remains apart from the other detectives, including a secret that threatens both the case and his career.

MCqMC 2022 in Linz, 17-22 July

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on August 29, 2020 by xi'an

At the end of MCqMC 2020, held on-line with the amazing support of ICMS in Edinburgh, the next location was announced as being Linz, Austria, hosted by the Johannes Kepler Universität I visited a few years ago (with a memorable run up a nearby hill!). Hopefully this will take place for real as well as on-line, but my prior is rather non-informed at the moment…

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