Archive for flight

per Padova

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on March 21, 2013 by xi'an


Winter workshop, Gainesville (day 1)

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2013 by xi'an

Labrador on a flight from Paris to Atlanta, Jan. 17, 2013After a rather long flight, I arrived in Gainesville for this special Winter workshop. We indeed had to wait for hours in Paris to get defrosted and then the ride to Atlanta is terribly lengthy (esp. after I realised that all one’s files arXived for the trip were on my “other” computer… and that the book intended for the trip still stood under the X’ mas tree…!) I just managed to read a book for review, rewrite my slides and watch two movies, plus the last part of one I had started on my way back from India

Anyway, here I am, back in Gainesville, a few years after my last visit, quite glad to meet again with old friends while terribly missing George Casella. The conference is actually dedicated to his memory. The schedule is well-done, once again giving speakers plenty of times and participants plenty of breaks, along with a superb conference room with tables and plugs. I listened to and enjoy all of them, but the one that did not overlap with the latest workshop at ICERM was Dawn Woodard’s, with a challenging data analysis problem about ambulance routes in Toronto. I clearly was not the only one finding this problem interesting and coming up with (mostly hair-brained!) alternatives. (Another apex of the day was to find a 2007 Beaune premier cru at a very reasonable price in a local store!)

Midwestern trip

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2012 by xi'an

Next week, I will visit both Iowa State University, in Ames—a funny item for French speaking readers is that I will first land in Des Moines before reaching (les) Ames!, a logical step if any, even though only the first name relates to the early French exploration of the area: Ames has apparently no [ethymological] connection with souls…—, and the University of Chicago Booth Business School, giving a seminar on ABC model choice and empirical likelihood in both places. (I have never been to Iowa before and the last time I visited Chicago—rather than just commuting through O’Hare—was in May 1988, when I drove a friend to the airport…!) Here are the time and places for the seminars (note that the seminar at Booth is on Tuesday rather than on the customary Thursday to accommodate my tight schedule!):

As a coincidence—not so much as he is currently assistant professor in Ames—, the previous seminar speaker in Ames is my friend Vivek Roy, talking on Monte Carlo Methods for Improper Target Distributions! Here is (again!) the current version of the slides:

Singapore sunset

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , on August 25, 2012 by xi'an

to Kyoto

Posted in Books, Travel with tags , , , , on June 24, 2012 by xi'an

I had a very nice flight to Osaka, with a power connection to keep working on the talk, and on the Public Lecture in Australia as well. My only regret is that the window glass was not clean enough to take proper pictures… (Because we were flying above the Arctic Circle, passing places like Arkhangelsk!, we got no dark at all. We were always staying clear from the night zone on the map… I may have flown the same route when I went to Shanghai last year, but due to leaving at night then, I do not remember anything like this.) During breaks, I thoroughly read the weekend edition of Le Monde, which has a special central leaflet coverage of Turing’s 100th anniversary. (When I left home, my son was playing with the special applet created for the occasion on the welcome page of Google. Without knowing who Turing was, what an ignoramus!) The paper did not bring me much information about Turing, but covered the main keywords of his too short carreer, from Turing’s machine to Turing’s apple. It also showed a recent implementation of this machine by students at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, made with 20,000 Lego pieces. Maybe not that helpful to make a general audience understand what a Turing machine is and why the concept is more important than the machine. (Thankfully there was no connection made with the recent flury of Snowhite’s apples in the appaling movie made this year on this most boring of themes…)

There was also an interesting page on the status of philosophy in France: while compulsory in high school, students do not see the point in this subject (ask my son!, he got interested in defending paradoxical perspectives for maybe three weeks and then returned to his lethargy, with a brief awakening when the professor mentioned Hobbes…) and university philosophy departments are threatened of closure. In the same time, general public philosophy magazines prosper and “people” philosophers like Bernard-Henry Levy and Michel Onfray are read (or at least bought!) by hundreds of thousands of people… There is no clear answer to this paradox! I loved philosophy (even more than maths!) when I was in high school and I would have liked so much to take the math-philosophy major after high school, had it existed. But it did not. And I do not see how to make philosophy (as the art of debating, rather than a purely historical knowledge about past philosophers) more palatable to our students or even to my kids…

Obnoxious plus

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , on December 23, 2011 by xi'an

On the flight back to Paris on Thursday, there were three very loud and incredibly obnoxious (French) executives, speaking to one another across seats on different aisles as if they were alone… Sitting right behind me. Even the noise cancelling headphone was not up to it! They seemed to be part of a media company as they were discussing buying the rights for the Dakar rally. Just as loudly. Among the two hours of highly cerebral conversation, here are a few gems (others were either too crude or too prone to libel!) from the top protagonist:

“I prohibited my cleaning lady to use […] for my shirts, it is chemical, it goes right into the skin.”

“No, no, Espéranza only does the cleaning. Manuela does the ironing.”

“She always complains about women hair on my couch. “

“You should buy those yellow latex overshoes. The salt they put to clean the sidewalks are killing your leather shoes, no matter how good they are.”

art brut

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , on December 20, 2011 by xi'an