Archive for Mediterranean Sea

against method

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by xi'an

A vitriolic tribune in Le Monde this weekend by the microbologist Didier Raoult, head of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Marseille, campaining for the immediate use of the hydroxychloroquine sulfate drug for coronavirus patients. Arguing that the major emergency of the coronavirus pandemic calls for this use without waiting for confirmation from clinical trials, without controlled comparison with other drugs or a placebo. Solely a study of patients being administered the drug, outside the usual practice of clinical trials.

“Enfin, l’envahissement des méthodologistes amène à avoir des reflexions purement mathématiques.” [At last, the invasion of methodologists leads to purely mathematical reasonings.]

“Ce modèle, qui a nourri une quantité de méthodologistes, est devenu une dictature morale.” [This model, which has fed quantity of methodologists, has become a moral dictatorship.]

“…il faut nous débarasser des mathématiciens, des metéorologistes [sic] dans ce domaine.” [we must get rid of mathematicians and meteorologists in this domain]

“…conseil scientifique dans lequel on trouvait deux modélisateurs de l’avenir (qui pour moi représentent l’équivalent de l’astrologie), des maniaques de la méthodologie. Les médecins confrontés au problème du soin représentaient une minorité qui n’avait pas nécessairement l’habitude de s’exprimer et qui se trouvait noyée par cet habillage pseudo-scientifique.” […scientific committee including two modelisators of the future (equivalent in my opinion to astrologers), manics of methodology. Physicians facing treatment problems were a minority not necessarily used to intervene, overwhelmed by this pseudo-scientific babbling.]

Obviously I have no expertise in drug development or even in epidemiology, but the name-calling tone of this tribune, as illustrated by the above quotes, is appalling and populist, more in the spirit of Trump than of a rational search for scientific evidence. On the opposite, the arguments therein are a-scientific and reject the use of mathematical and statistical methodology for being… mathematical. And resort to name-calling, while not considering the more than philosophical aspect that opting for this drug rather than another one may be reducing survival chances for some groups of patients. (While the title chosen for this post reflects the title of Raoult’s tribune, with its philosophical pretenses, let me stress that Feyerabend’s book is not mentioned therein and that the article contains no indication that the author relates to Feyerabend’s views.)

Nice shot [jatp]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on May 21, 2019 by xi'an

Calanques, calanques [aka 40/40]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2019 by xi'an

trail to Sugiton [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2018 by xi'an

calanques snapshot [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2018 by xi'an

at CIRM [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2018 by xi'an

deaths at sea and a workshop

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2018 by xi'an

For several years, actually from the beginning of the Syrian revolution, I have been looking for data and for statisticians working on migrant deaths resulting from crossing the Mediterranean. With very little success, either because the researchers I met had poor and fragmented data, or because the agencies I contacted showed no (good) will into returning these statistics. Frontex being the most blatant example. I thus read with a lot of interest this article “Uncounted: Invisible Deaths on Europe’s Borders” which analyses the reasons for not producing statistics on the deaths at sea linked with desperate migrants crossing the sea in ill-suited boats.

In connection with this pressing issue, Kerrie Mengersen, Pierre Pudlo and myself organise next November a small workshop on Young Bayesians and Big Data for social good, at CIRM, Marseille, France. It will take place on the weekend before our main conference, Bayesian statistics in the Big Data era, that is, on 23-26 November 2018. Registration is free (and on site accomodation is cheap) but the number of attendees is limited, so apply asap! Senior participants include at this stage Tamara Broderick (MIT), Julien Cornebise (Element AI, TBC), David Corliss (Peace Work), Ruth King (Edinburgh), Cody Ross (UCSD, TBC), and the workshop aims at bringing participants to work together on methodological challenges and characteristic datasets. The outcome of the workshop will be presented at the beginning of the Bayesian statistics in the Big Data era, conference, on Monday 26 November.