Archive for France

Nature French tidbits

Posted in Books, pictures, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2021 by xi'an

As I was going over breakfast through a pile of Nature journals I hadn’t time to read, I came across this issue of 27 May with an editorial about the closure of the École Nationale d’Administration (ÉNA) by Emmanuel Macron (who graduated from ÉNA). While I have no opinion about the school or its closure (although it sounds more like a populist move than an in-depth reshuffle of the French high administration), the editorial did not seem particularly relevant or appropriate for a journal like Nature. While complaining about the lack of scientific training for the (higher) civil servants, it also pointed out at the lack of research agenda and  at the absence of a professorial body. Which would seem indeed surprising were it a regular academic body, which it is not as it trains civil servants who already hold one or several graduate degrees, incl. some from Polytechnique… Again, I have no opinion on the reformation of that school but a lack of social diversity and a fetishism of bureaucratic rules would sound like more immediate areas demanding improvement.

A second paper in this same issue was about the highly controversial figure of Didier Raoult, who was turned into a modern saint by social networks for defending hydroxychloroquine as the way to treat COVID-19, who objected in Le Monde to mathematical modelling, and who is now under investigation by the Medical Council. A microbiologist pointing out “many potential problems with the way the data and the peer review process were handled” in one then many of his papers is the recipient of a criminal complaint by Raoult and one of his coauthors, Chabrière, for “moral harassment”. Which sounds absurd, as with more than 3000 publications cosigned by Raoult, one would think that all are open to criticisms and some are statistically bound to contain errors or mistakes!

off to Luminy!!!

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2021 by xi'an

it’s complicated…

Posted in pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , , , on June 21, 2021 by xi'an

Yesterday saw a first round of the regional and departmental elections in France, with a terribly low participation (around 30% of the voters, except in Corsica where 56% of the voters voted)…. [The map here is about the departmental elections, with departments being delineated in white and the subdivisions corresponding to the cantons. Corse/Corsica is “missing” because it is now a single entity. Same thing about Paris.] The only nice surprise about this outcome is that abstention particularly impacted the lepenist votes, which almost uniformly went down compared with the previous regional elections. And hence that the ill chances that a region gets a nazional majority are lowered. Although it is difficult to analyse why: polls were predicting a brown sludge tsunami, the gilets jaune movement (or morass) is not yet over and mostly aligned with the populist themes of the RN, and (some) people  seem unhappy with about any decision taken by any level of authority during the Covid-19 crisis. It will be interesting to watch the second round final results, next week, but I doubt we will see a voting surge happening, esp. since the frontist danger is now downplayed.


Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2021 by xi'an

My nephew Paul and a fellow student made this nice mute video as a final project of his cinema degree in Rennes:

2 star 3 athlon

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2021 by xi'an

During the week on Lac d’Annecy, I took most of the day off to run the 3 X trail, a first true run since 01 Jan, then cycle around the lake (with alas some discontinuities in the otherwise fantastic biking lane and an unexpected hill in Talloires) and have a lake swim in the early evening, when the water was at its warmest (15⁰), which makes it a triathlon of sorts.

The reward for the (moderate!) exercise was a take-away dinner, which is rather unusual for us but the more here because it was a two-star Michelin take-away! Namely, the Auberge du père Bise restaurant, with Jean Sulpice as its chef, located in Talloires-Montmin, by the lake, and featuring mostly local products. While eating at the restaurant would have been impossible, esp. wearing biking gear!, and beyond my pricing standards, we were able to enjoy six dishes, from an artichoke and ewe cheese salad, to an asparagus salad with rocket salad pesto, to polenta gnocchis with asparagus and tomato confit, to crayfish raviolis in a rich nutty sauce, to a rhubarb and verbena crumble, and to a lemon, praliné, and nut tart. Fabulous end of a well-occupied day!