Archive for Fall

Nature snapshots

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2019 by xi'an

In this 6 June issue of Nature, which I read on my way to O’Bayes, an editorial on the scary move by the WHO to incorporate traditional Chinese medicine remedies in its classification as this includes drugs made from protected and endangered species and as such remedies have not been evidence tested. A news brief on India abandoning the requirement for PhD students to get a paper published prior to been awarded the degree, presumably much to the sorrow of predatory publishers. A delay to Plan S (a European project to make all funded research freely available) reported to 21 January 2021. A review of the latest and yet unpublished book by Neal Stephenson, Fall. Which I obviously ordered immediately! A paper in the British Journal of Anasthesia published along with an independent assessment of the same study (methods and results). Some letters protesting the “public’s phobia” induced by the series Chernobyl. Which recoups an email from one of my colleagues on the same complaining theme, since “only 20 deaths” can be attributed to the disaster with certainty! A revisit of the “cold fusion” with no evidence of the claimed phenomenon that led to a scientific outcry in 1989.

O’Bayes 2019: poster deadline extension

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2019 by xi'an

For potential participants to the ISBA O’Bayes 2019 conference in Warwick next June 28 – July 02, that is, almost everyone except the participants who have already submitted!, this post is to announce that the deadline for poster submission has just been extended till March 15, to account for BNP 12 potential participants having not yet been notified of the accepted contributed sessions. Or the poster presentations there, since the same poster can be discussed at both places, by all means!  (Thank you Robin for pointing this out!) As an aside, the construction of the webpage is still under development for registration fees (low) and university accommodations (cheap), but should be out next week! (The current links are to BAYSM 2018, which took place last year, obviously.)

free fall [fake]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2019 by xi'an

As I was looking for the location of a picture serving as a background image for Windows 10 log-in page, I came across several versions of the above, supposedly showing a climber failing to grab another climber’s hand and as a result falling. Or “falling” as the image is obviously doctored, most likely by removing the ropes securing both climbers. This is fairly ridiculous, from the top climber hanging by his hand to the bottom one carrying quickdraws on his harness, as in the worst climbing movies… Still, I wish the location of the shot was provided on the website. (As an insider joke, I had a fall when running that was definitely not fake during the Xmas vacations, scraping a fair amount of skin on the gritty sidewalk, but with no apparent lasting damage, although I am barred from running by a tendinitis which started in Warwick last month..!)

free Fall

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2018 by xi'an

Summer is off, Fall is back, as now the open air swimming pool has closed, the park opens too late for my schedule, shorts have all but disappeared from the streets and classrooms, the last raspberries have dried out, green tomatoes in my garden are unlikely to get any redder, the ant traps are no longer needed, the watering hose has been stored inside along the umbrella, and eating outdoors becomes a challenge, but the return from the traditional August vacation break has seen an explosion in the number of cyclists on my way to Dauphine, meaning I end up on most trips biking with (or against) other [100% nuke free] cyclists, with an improved trip duration (if not safer trips!). And no connection with the free fall tee!

art brut

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , on November 11, 2017 by xi'an

tramonto in Venezia [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2017 by xi'an

Astrostatistics school

Posted in Mountains, pictures, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2017 by xi'an

What a wonderful week at the Astrostat [Indian] summer school in Autrans! The setting was superb, on the high Vercors plateau overlooking both Grenoble [north] and Valence [west], with the colours of the Fall at their brightest on the foliage of the forests rising on both sides of the valley and a perfect green on the fields at the centre, with sun all along, sharp mornings and warm afternoons worthy of a late Indian summer, too many running trails [turning into X country ski trails in the Winter] to contemplate for a single week [even with three hours of running over two days], many climbing sites on the numerous chalk cliffs all around [but a single afternoon for that, more later in another post!]. And of course a group of participants eager to learn about Bayesian methodology and computational algorithms, from diverse [astronomy, cosmology and more] backgrounds, trainings and countries. I was surprised at the dedication of the participants travelling all the way from Chile, Péru, and Hong Kong for the sole purpose of attending the school. David van Dyk gave the first part of the school on Bayesian concepts and MCMC methods, Roberto Trotta the second part on Bayesian model choice and hierarchical models, and myself a third part on, surprise, surprise!, approximate Bayesian computation. Plus practicals on R.

As it happens Roberto had to cancel his participation and I turned for a session into Christian Roberto, presenting his slides in the most objective possible fashion!, as a significant part covered nested sampling and Savage-Dickey ratios, not exactly my favourites for estimating constants. David joked that he was considering postponing his flight to see me talk about these, but I hope I refrained from engaging into controversy and criticisms… If anything because this was not of interest for the participants. Indeed when I started presenting ABC through what I thought was a pedestrian example, namely Rasmus Baath’s socks, I found that the main concern was not running an MCMC sampler or a substitute ABC algorithm but rather an healthy questioning of the construction of the informative prior in that artificial setting, which made me quite glad I had planned to cover this example rather than an advanced model [as, e.g., one of those covered in the packages abc, abctools, or abcrf]. Because it generated those questions about the prior [why a Negative Binomial? why these hyperparameters? &tc.] and showed how programming ABC turned into a difficult exercise even in this toy setting. And while I wanted to give my usual warning about ABC model choice and argue for random forests as a summary selection tool, I feel I should have focussed instead on another example, as this exercise brings out so clearly the conceptual difficulties with what is taught. Making me quite sorry I had to leave one day earlier. [As did missing an extra run!] Coming back by train through the sunny and grape-covered slopes of Burgundy hills was an extra reward [and no one in the train commented about the local cheese travelling in my bag!]