Archive for lockdown

another duh infographic

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on June 11, 2022 by xi'an

The New Yorker [April 4, 2022]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2022 by xi'an

I had not bought a paper issue of The New Yorker from a newstand for ages, possibly decades, so I jumped on the opportunity on my way back from Rutgers! This April 4 issue contained several impressive articles, which I read over the following weeks. (As I discovered during the lockdown, one issue a week is too much material, even during lockdown!) The most moving one is about Mackenzie Fierceton, a brilliant Penn University graduate, who escaped familial abuse to purse  sociology studies at Penn, to the point of receiving a most notorious Rhodes scholarship in 2021 to start a PhD in social policy at the University of Oxford. Only for the scholarship to be rescinded by the Rhodes Trust, after action from Penn. While I cannot judge of the facts and arguments based on this sole article (which 12 pages are definitely impressive in their detail and careful depictions of the whole story), the corporate-damage-control attitude of Penn in this affair is appalling.  And revealing of a awfully biased perception of abuse and psychological damage being limited to low-income classes. All the best to this student, in the pursuit of her studies and ideals.

on [not] making tea

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2021 by xi'an

By chance, when looking for information on the film that usually appears on top of tea brews (!), I came upon this highly ranked blog entry of a security expert explaining how not to make tea. Which did not seem completely right in my tea-oholic eyes..! Not that the following rambling is of any relevance whatsoever!

On the agreement side, it is indeed hard to get decent tea in most places, the primary reason being a lack of understanding that very hot water is needed. The worst being these cafés where they bring you a cup of (definitely not hot) water with a tea bag on the side! I used to travel with my own kettle to avoid this issue, but I am striving to carry as little stuff as possible and hence gave up on that habit. Instead, I often take a thermos bottle that contains an infuser: all that is needed is hot water!

On the disagreement side, the obvious resolution of most complaints about poor quality tea, “herbal teas” that are not tea, tea bags in general, &tc., is to carry your own loose tea. It is light and keeps well and cannot disappoint. And can be brewed several times, especially oolongs. The section about milk is beyond discussion as tea with milk is another beverage altogether. I certainly enjoy drinking duh-wali-chai  in India and am even making some at home from time to time, but otherwise I stopped putting milk in my tea during the first COVID lockdown. (Which also considerably simplified my tea consumption when travelling: all that is needed is hot water!) The main issue is however in using boiling water. Which is almost never recommended for brewing tea! Especially green and Darjeeling teas. Instead of using water above 90⁰, one should stay below 90⁰… Especially when running several brews. Not only this keeps the bitterness under control but it avoids loosing oxygen and CO² contained in the water.

As an aside, this film/sheen is the result of “an interfacial reaction of polyphenols and other components in the tea that bond with ions in the water”.

back to W

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2021 by xi'an

significant changepoint? [poor statistics]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on May 5, 2021 by xi'an

A rather short-shighted item of news in Libération on road deaths rising in March 2021 for the first time since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020. The increase is by 22 persons, which is arguably not statistically significant (although terribly significant for the victims and their families) and somehow to be expected when considering the figures are averages over 12 months, hence representing the new volume of driving induced by the lockdown measures like work-at-home, closed schools, cancelled winter vacations. At best the following figures should see a plateau. More globally, this huge dip in the number of deaths, bringing us back to the 1920’s figures!,  is to be celebrated, alas with no prospect that this lower rate will resist a return to higher levels of activity.

%d bloggers like this: