Archive for national public radio

Johnnysteria

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2017 by xi'an

life and death along the RER B, minus approximations

Posted in Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2015 by xi'an

viemortrerbWhile cooking for a late Sunday lunch today [sweet-potatoes röstis], I was listening as usual to the French Public Radio (France Inter) and at some point heard the short [10mn] Périphéries that gives every weekend an insight on the suburbs [on the “other side’ of the Parisian Périphérique boulevard]. The idea proposed by a geographer from Montpellier, Emmanuel Vigneron, was to point out the health inequalities between the wealthy 5th arrondissement of Paris and the not-so-far-away suburbs, by following the RER B train line from Luxembourg to La Plaine-Stade de France…

The disparities between the heart of Paris and some suburbs are numerous and massive, actually the more one gets away from the lifeline represented by the RER A and RER B train lines, so far from me the idea of negating this opposition, but the presentation made during those 10 minutes of Périphéries was quite approximative in statistical terms. For instance, the mortality rate in La Plaine is 30% higher than the mortality rate in Luxembourg and this was translated into the chances for a given individual from La Plaine to die in the coming year are 30% higher than if he [or she] lives in Luxembourg. Then a few minutes later the chances for a given individual from Luxembourg to die are 30% lower than he [or she] lives in La Plaine…. Reading from the above map, it appears that the reference is the mortality rate for the Greater Paris. (Those are 2010 figures.) This opposition that Vigneron attributes to a different access to health facilities, like the number of medical general practitioners per inhabitant, does not account for the huge socio-demographic differences between both places, for instance the much younger and maybe larger population in suburbs like La Plaine. And for other confounding factors: see, e.g., the equally large difference between the neighbouring stations of Luxembourg and Saint-Michel. There is no socio-demographic difference and the accessibility of health services is about the same. Or the similar opposition between the southern suburban stops of Bagneux and [my local] Bourg-la-Reine, with the same access to health services… Or yet again the massive decrease in the Yvette valley near Orsay. The analysis is thus statistically poor and somewhat ideologically biased in that I am unsure the data discussed during this radio show tells us much more than the sad fact that suburbs with less favoured populations show a higher mortality rate.

A series of mechanical mishaps

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by xi'an

The past week saw the coincidence of a series of mechanical problems on the home front:

  • I was diagnosed with a meniscus tear after an MRI, presumably due to years of jogging although it only started to feel painful after Adap’skiii…. This was treated by an cortisone injection in the knee (addressing the inflammation hopefully for a few years but not the tear).
  • My bike back-wheel axis broke, which means I biked back home with the brake on! Good training! (And it does not hurt the knee!) Changing this wheel will cost me the equivalent of a full tank of gas, i.e. at least forty round trips to my office…
  • My Macbook video card broke down on Monday night, meaning truly no access to the data even with an external screen. (I wonder if this is yet another effect of the Philadelphia tea party!) Fortunately, this was right after my weekend backup so only a day of work on the Jaynes‘ slides is inaccessible. Fortunately too, the newer Macbook was already equipped with Kubuntu 10.10 and the switch was easy, except for having to use a mouse for the first time in ten years! As reported in this earlier post, the system works almost perfectly, with only the microphone and the wireless mouse not operational… If I could use the touch-pad for cut&paste, it would be perfect. Anyway, I should get my 2007 Macbook early this week with a new video card, courtesy of Apple despite the warranty having run out!
  • My radio stopped broadcasting the national public radio on Saturday evening for about half an hour. I found only the next day that this was due to an incredible…series of coincidences and accidents at the national public radio that stopped all broadcasting for half an hour! Nothing related with my own radio then.
  • My car thermometer started giving impossibly low temperatures, by a factor of -10⁰C or so… This is a very minor bug and an interesting calibration problem: I will try to check whether the discrepancy is reliable enough to build a correcting function!