Archive for Japan

bad news for reproductive rights

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2022 by xi'an

Last week, when reading about Japan [late in] coming close validating drug induced abortion, I found out that both surgical and medical abortions in Japan do require [by law] the consent of the woman’s partner! As denounced by both the World Health Organisation and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, this is an appalling restriction, a violation of reproductive rights, and  a potential tool for partner abuse.

And then came the news of Poland setting a database of pregnancies, reported by medical personnel. Which is of course worrying in a country where abortion is essentially illegal. As the über conservative Polish authorities could use the database to hunt and prosecute women who have self-administered abortions….

Meanwhile, Oklahoma governor just signed a law making abortion illegal at conception, following another law turning abortion practice into a felony… Not even waiting for the SCOTUS [likely] abrogation of Roe v. Wade.

Concentration and robustness of discrepancy-based ABC [One World ABC ‘minar, 28 April]

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2022 by xi'an

Our next speaker at the One World ABC Seminar will be Pierre Alquier, who will talk about “Concentration and robustness of discrepancy-based ABC“, on Thursday April 28, at 9.30am UK time, with an abstract reported below.
Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) typically employs summary statistics to measure the discrepancy among the observed data and the synthetic data generated from each proposed value of the parameter of interest. However, finding good summary statistics (that are close to sufficiency) is non-trivial for most of the models for which ABC is needed. In this paper, we investigate the properties of ABC based on integral probability semi-metrics, including MMD and Wasserstein distances. We exhibit conditions ensuring the contraction of the approximate posterior. Moreover, we prove that MMD with an adequate kernel leads to very strong robustness properties.

how to count excess deaths?

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2022 by xi'an

Another terrible graph from Nature… With vertical bars meaning nothing. Nothing more than the list of three values and both confidence intervals. But the associated article is quite interesting in investigating the difficulties in assessing the number of deaths due to COVID-19, when official death statistics are (almost) as shaky as the official COVID-19 deaths. Even in countries with sound mortality statistics and trustworthy official statistics institutes. This article opposes prediction models run by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and The Economist. The later being a machine-learning prediction procedure based on a large number of covariates. Without looking under the hood, it is unclear to me how poor entries across the array of covariates can be corrected to return a meaningful prediction. It is also striking that the model predicts much less excess deaths than those due to COVID-19 in a developed country like Japan. Survey methods are briefly mentioned at the end of the article, with interesting attempts to use satellite images of burial grounds, but no further techniques like capture-recapture or record linkage and entity resolution.

a journal of the plague year² [closing again]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2022 by xi'an

Had to cancel my third and final trip to Warwick this year as the Omicron scare had countries locking their borders (too late, most likely), meaning the UK was reinstating on entering travelers a self-seclusion period until the test results were known. Despite getting my third shot in time (with no side-effect whatsoever). And France retaliated in imposing PCR tests as well…

Read (over the Atlantic) an older novel of William Gibson, The Peripheral. Which is a rather standard cyberpunk Gibson with lots of (2021’s) brand names (at least at the beginning), a messy build-up of the (dual) universe, plenty of gadgets, a long-going form of fascination for super-lethal weapons and militarised survivalists, followed by a vague explanation of the temporal paradox of conversing with the future/past, and a rather lame closure with a shoot shoot bang bang resolution and some people getting absurdly rich… I am unsure I will get through the second novel, The Agency, which I bought at the same time, unless we manage to fly to French Guiana on Xmas day. Even though The Guardian is quite excited about it.

Watched Kan Eguchi’s The Fable after coming back from Mexico (not on the plane, when I slept most of the flight), which is cartoonesquely funny, except for lengthy fighting scenes. As it should, since directly inspired from a manga. While I missed the jokes about Osaka’s special dialect and food, it was absurdly funny! And fit for a particularly rainy weekend. The second installment, which I watched later, is darker and more disturbing…

death of a marathoner

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2021 by xi'an

In connection with the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, I read a poignant story in the New York Times, relating the short life of marathoner Kōkichi Tsuburaya, who finished third in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, in 2:16:22, being passed on the final lap by Basil Heatley from Britain. He felt like committing a “blunder” in front of his compatriots. And he invested so heavily in his training for the 1968 Mexico Olympics, with such poor training from his coaches that he kept facing injuries. And committed suicide a few months before the Olympics… In memoriam.

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