Archive for Paris
There is an opening for an associate or full professor position in Statistics and Machine Learning at ENSAE, Paris (soon to move to the Paris-Saclay campus, next to École Polytechnique). The details are provided here. The deadline is April 18, 2016, for a hiring in September or October 2016.
Thanks to a very early start from Paris, and despite horrendous traffic jams in Marseilles, I managed to reach CIRM with ten minutes to spare before my course. After my one-hour class, I was suddenly made aware of the (simplistic) idea that the slice sampling uniforms are simply auxiliary, meaning they can be used in many different ways.
I noticed Natesh Pillai just arXived an extension of his earlier Cauchy paper with XL. He proves that the result on the Cauchy distribution of any convex combination of normal ratios still holds when the pair of vectors is distributed from a product of elliptically symmetric functions. Some of Natesh’s remarks reminded me of the 1970 Sankhyã paper by Kelker on spherically symmetric variables. Especially because of Kelker’s characterisation of elliptically symmetric functions as scale mixtures of normals, which makes perfect sense since the scale cancels.
As I skimmed through my slides yesterday, fearing everyone knew about the MCMC basics, I decided to present today the Rao-Blackwellisation slides I gave in Warwick a few months ago.
A chance visit to the Rodin museum in Paris, a museum I had never visited before. Located in the classical Hôtel Biron [almost an anagram of Rodin!] and which was just renovated a few months ago, thanks to support from the French State and the Cantor Foundation. The building and gardens are superb, with the massive sculptures of the Bourgeois de Calais and the Porte de l’Enfer standing against the background of the golden dome of the Invalides…
I had a very vague idea of Rodin’s career and production, hence was quite impressed by the range of sculptures, casts, paintings and drawing he produced. While some sculptures kept a strong connection with classicism, the progressive distanciation from the official canons is striking. As is the series of sculptures as steps to the final realisation, most visible in the museum for the sculpture of Gustave Flaubert. I was quite impressed by the plaster cast of one of Flaubert’s gown, which manages to suggest the writer without any human representation.
The other obvious clue of this distanciation is the progressive inclusion of the raw material like marble in the sculpture, not only as a deconstructionist trick of “art in action” but also as a birth from the original silt. Some of the later pieces are striking annunciations of Picasso or Braque.
[During a particularly painful métro trip, a man kept talking and talking in a very aggressive and somewhat incoherent manner. It is not until the end of the ride that I realised he was speaking on the phone to a relative… and not to an inexistent other self!]
“Vous voulez me faire jouer un rôle hein mais ca ne marche pas avec moi, vous jouez tous des rôles, la journée finie, vous rentrez chez vous, vous vous démaquillez, vous enlevez vos masques. Plutôt vous avez deux masques, un pour la journée et un pour le soir, le vrai et le faux, le faux c’est celui de la journée.”
Since the mass assassinations of November 13 in Paris, France is in a “legal” state of emergency (état d’urgence). Which has been once again re-conducted a few days by the Parliament and which could even become part of the Constitution if the planned vote succeeds in a few days! Emergency state that gives more and more emergency powers to the executive branch of the French State and thus to the police, with lesser controls from the judiciary and the parliamentary branches of the State. Beyond this arbitrary reduction of civil liberties and rights, from the prohibition of demonstrations to extra-judiciary house arrests, recently denounced by Amnesty International and the UN and many local organisations, the government is pushing for another change in the Constitution that would deprive binationals terrorists of their French nationality. Quite absurd (as if those terrorists cared!), discriminatory (what of Égalité?!), schizophrenic (“de-naturalising” someone does not turn him or her into an alien, nor erases the fact that she or he was born and raised in France), and anti-republican… Even though I remain sceptic of their real impact, there are several petitions around calling for the end of the emergency state and the dismissal of the de-naturalisation.