Archive for Happy New Year

Ka [book review]

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2019 by xi'an

My last book of the year (2018), which I finished one hour before midnight, on 31 December! Ka is a book about a crow, or rather, a  Crow, Dar Oakley (or, in full, Dar of the Oak by the Lea), told from his viewpoint, and spanning all of Anthropocene, for Dar Oakley is immortal [sort of] and able to communicate with humans (and other birds, like Ravens. And coyotes). This summary of the plot may sound of limited appeal, but this may be the best book I read this past year. The Washington Post offers a critical entry into Ka that is much better than anything I can state about it. Not only it is about Crows and Ravens, fascinating social birds with a highly developed vocabulary that reflects the hierarchies in these avian societies. But it also offers another view on the doomed history of mankind, to which Crows seem irremediably linked and with whom  Dar Oakley is sharing more that a territory. As so acutely perceived in another review from Locus, the beauty of the book and the genius of the writer, John Crowley, is to translate an alien intelligence in terms intelligible to the reader.

“A crow alone is no crow.”

A fairly, faery, unique, strangely moving, book, thus, that cannot suffer to be labelled into a category like fantasy or poetry or philosophical tale. Reflecting on the solitude brought by knowledge and communicating with another race. And of the bittersweet pain brought by immortality that makes Dar Oakley seek a former mate in the kingdom of dead Crows. An imperfect, fallible character, a perfect messenger of Death to accompany humanity on its last steps.

drivers are not interested in maths formulas

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , on January 1, 2018 by xi'an

An appalling discussion on the French public radio (France Inter) this morning about reducing the average speed on bidirectional roads from 90 km/h to 80 km/h, when the representative of “40 millions d’automobilistes”, a driver lobby with a few hundred thousands members, called the chain to protest against this potential move by the Macron government. With arguments ranging from being unjust for the rural parts of the country [the reduction in speed adds seven minutes per hour!], to predicting the regulation to be ignored by most drivers, to a lack of democracy [as if driving a car was a fundamental right! What’s next?! The right to bear arms?!], and finally to denying arguments based on econometric models [dismissed as “maths formulas”], like Nilsson’s.

2014 in review

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , on January 2, 2015 by xi'an

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for the ‘Og…

.. and among the collected statistics for 2014, what I found most amazing are the three accesses from Greenland and the one access from Afghanistan!

Click here to see the complete report. (Assuming you have nothing better to do on Boxing day…)

Top ten in 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 3, 2010 by xi'an

Here are the top ten entries of this Og, in terms of access in 2009:

Of black swans and bleak prospects 991

Tornado in Central Park 908

Bayes’ Theorem 691

ABC in Paris, June 26 418

Solution manual to Bayesian Core on-line 417

Bayesian p-values 341

Reference prior for logistic regression 326

Sequential Monte Carlo without likelihood 287

Bayesian Core under fire! 257

Anomalies in the Iranian election 236

Happy New Year!