Archive for French elections

au revoir

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , on December 3, 2020 by xi'an

to bike or not to bike

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2020 by xi'an

A recent debate between the candidates to the Paris mayorship, including a former Health minister and physician, led to arguments as to whether or not biking in Paris is healthy. Obviously, it is beneficial for the community, but the question is rather about the personal benefits vs dangers of riding a bike daily to work. Extra physical activity on the one hand, exposition to air pollution and accidents on the other hand. With an accident rate that increased during the recent strikes, but at a lesser rate (153%) than the number of cyclists in the streets of Paris (260%). While I do not find the air particularly stinky or unpleasant on my daily 25km, except in the frequent jams between Porte d’Auteuil and Porte de la Muette, and while I haven’t noticed a direct impact on my breathing or general shape, I try to avoid rush hours, especially on the way back home with a good climb near Porte de Versailles (the more on days when it is jammed solid with delivery trucks for the nearby exhibition centre). As for accidents, trying to maintain constant vigilance and predicting potential fishtails is the rule, as is avoiding most bike paths as I find them much more accident-prone than main streets… (Green lights are also more dangerous than red lights, in my opinion!) Presumably, so far at least, benefits outweight the costs!

the last argument of drivers

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2019 by xi'an

When vaguely listening to the national public radio France Inter last night, while cooking dinner, I heard Patrick Septiers, president of le conseil départemental de Seine et Marne, express his (electorate catering) opposition to the new 80km/h speed limit on national and departmental roads on the most rational (!) argument that delivery trucks drove at that speed already and hence that the speed limit would “force” car drivers to break the law to pass trucks. Along with similarly rational claims to have each department regulate its speed limits on the basis it was financing most roads. (I had another illustration of the rationality above when walking by a big SUV this morning, with a large sticker against wind farms.)

“À l’université, j’étais le matheux qui savait parler aux statisticiens.”

Posted in Books, pictures, University life with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2018 by xi'an

This weekend edition of Le Monde had [most of] Cédric Villani as its cover story. Mostly about his new career as a representative of Orsay at the French Parliament. And a member of the presidential majority. But the weekend edition being the weekend edition, it cannot escape its glossy tendencies and rather than focussing on the political agenda and achievements of the député, including a radical restructuring of the maths curriculum in French high schools, or maybe even his position on the harsh stance of the Macron government on migrants and refugees, Le Monde spends most of the article on the extra-ordinary personality of Villani.  Paris-Match-like. Which leads to quote as the one below, where I find myself at a loss on how to interpret this “ability to speak to statisticians”…!

Le Monde lacks data scientists!

Posted in Books, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on July 11, 2017 by xi'an

In a paper in Le Monde today, a journalist is quite critical of statistical analyses of voting behaviours regressed on socio-economic patterns. Warning that correlation is not causation and so on and so forth…But the analysis of the votes as presented in the article is itself quite appalling! Just judging from the above graph, where the vertical and horizontal axes are somewhat inverted (as predicting the proportion of over 65 in the population from their votes does not seem that relevant), with an incomprehensible drop in the over 65 proportion within a district between the votes for the fascist party and the other ones, both indicators of an inversion of the axes!, where the curves are apparently derived from four points [correction at the end explaining they used the whole data collection to draw the curve],  where the variability in the curves is not opposed to the overall variability in the population, where more advanced tools than mere correlation are not broached upon, and so on… They should have asked Andrew. Or YouGov!