Archive for Oxford (Mississipi)

interesting places [Xed]

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2022 by xi'an

An article in The New Yorker about Square Books, The bookstore (chain) in Oxford, Mississippi, reminded of the visit I had made to that highly engaging bookstore during MaxEnt 2009. I found the bookstore had a lot of “atmosphere” (pardon my French!) and personality, with loads of signed books and a sort of homely feeling. I was thus most interested in reading in details how the booksellers, Richard and Lisa Howorth, had made the place an Oxonian institution, a fitting tribute to the town’s most famous son, William Faulkner. (I seem to remember I originally entered the bookstore on a Sunday morn to seek the weekend edition of the New York Times, but cannot remember if the bookstore had any.) I also learned a lot about their contributions to contemporary Southern literature, and to US culture as a whole, since Richard Howorth was a president of the American Bookseller Association (ABA) and on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, until Trump fired him!

Another recent article about a place I also visited was in The Guardian today and alas much more ghastly, namely how Shasta County, Northern California, turned into a far-right stronghold… We spent a few days in Dunsmuir in 2016, as I had hoped to climb Mount Shasta during a family Californian road trip, the year of the San Francisco half-marathon!, but failed to do so for poor planning (and too much driving). At the (pre-Trump) time, I had not realised how conservative the region is, to the point of supporting secessionism from the rest of California! Peaking with the antivax, antimask, antisafety measures, hysteria.

another instance of a summer of Bayesian conferences

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2018 by xi'an

As it happens, the next MaxEnt conference will happens in London, on 2-6 July, at the Alan Turing Institute, which makes it another perfect continuation of the ISBA meeting in Edinburgh, or of the Computational Statistics summer school in Warwick the week after. But in competition with BAYsm in Warwick and MCqMC in Rennes. I once attended a MaxEnt meeting in Oxford. (Oxford, Mississippi!) Which was quite interesting in the audience it attracted and the focus of the discussions, some of which were exhilaratingly philosophical!

a war[like] week

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2015 by xi'an

crossbThis week in Warwick was one of the busiest ones ever as I had to juggle between two workshops, including one in Oxford, a departmental meeting, two paper revisions, two pre-vivas, and a seminar in Leeds. Not to mention a broken toe (!), a flat tire (!!), and a diner at the X. Hardly anytime for writing blog entries..! Fortunately, I managed to squeeze time for working with Kerrie Mengersen who was visiting Warwick this fortnight. Finding new directions for the (A)BCel approach we developed a few years ago with Pierre Pudlo. The workshop in Oxford was quite informal with talks from PhD students [I fear I cannot discuss here as the papers are not online yet]. And one talk by François Caron about estimating sparse networks with not exactly exchangeable priors and completely random measures. And one talk by Kerrie Mengersen on a new and in-progress approach to handling Big Data that I found quite convincing (if again cannot discuss here). The probabilistic numerics workshop was discussed in yesterday’s post and I managed to discuss it a wee bit further with the organisers at The X restaurant in Kenilworth. (As a superfluous aside, and after a second sampling this year, I concluded that the Michelin star somewhat undeserved in that the dishes at The X are not particularly imaginative or tasty, the excellent sourdough bread being the best part of the meal!) I was expecting the train ride to Leeds to be highly bucolic as it went through the sunny countryside of South Yorkshire, with newly born lambs running in the bright green fields surrounded by old stone walls…, but instead went through endless villages with their rows of brick houses. Not that I have anything against brick houses, mind! Only, I had not realised how dense this part of England was, this presumably getting back all the way to the Industrial Revolution with the Manchester-Leeds-Birmingham triangle.

My seminar in Leeds was as exciting as in Amsterdam last week and with a large audience, so I got many and only interesting questions, from the issue of turning the output (i.e., the posterior on α) into a decision rule, to making  decision in the event of a non-conclusive posterior, to links with earlier frequentist resolutions, to whether or not we were able to solve the Lindley-Jeffreys paradox (we are not!, which makes a lot of sense), to the possibility of running a subjective or a sequential version. After the seminar I enjoyed a perfect Indian dinner at Aagrah, apparently a Yorkshire institution, with the right balance between too hot and too mild, i.e., enough spices to break a good sweat but not too many to loose any sense of taste!

MaxEnt 2013, Canberra, Dec. 15-20

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by xi'an

inversion building over the Australian Capital Territory from Black Mountain, Aug. 14, 2012Just got this announcement that MaxEnt 2013, 33ième du genre, is taking place in Canberra, Australia, next December. (Which is winter here but summer there!) See the website for details, although they are not yet aplenty! I took part in MaxEnt 2009, in Oxford, Mississipi, but will not attend MaxEnt 2013 as it is (far away and) during O-Bayes 2013 in Duke…

Oxford, Miss. [Le Monde travel guide]

Posted in Books, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2012 by xi'an

The weekend edition of Le Monde has a pseudo-travel guide written by a local writer about his or her town. It is necessarily partial and subjective, but often interesting. It also sometimes mentions towns one would never dream of visiting. This week (18/02/2012), this tribune most unexpectedly focus on Oxford, Mississippi, that I visited two and a half years ago for MaxEnt 2009. (The writer in charge is Tom Franklin. Not that I ever heard of him…) I find it quite puzzling that Le Monde spends two pages on this little town where the only attraction worth mentioning is Faulkner’s family home, now turned into a museum, and where the (decent) local bookstore is the only place in town one can buy the New York Times. Unsurprisingly, the highlights are local bars and cafés… I wonder if any Le Monde reader will be induced by the guide to travel to this place.

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