Archive for poll

my ISBA tee-shirt designs

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2014 by xi'an

Here are my tee-shirt design proposals for the official ISBA tee-shirt competition! (I used the facilities of as I could not easily find a free software around. Except for the last one where I recycled my vistaprint mug design…)


While I do not have any expectation of seeing one of these the winner (!), what is your favourite one?!

Scottish polls…

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2014 by xi'an

Hillhead Street from the Great Western Road, Glasgow westside, Apr. 20, 2012As much as I love Scotland, or because of it, I would not dream of suggesting to Scots that one side of the referendum sounds better than the other. However, I am rather annoyed at the yoyo-like reactions to the successive polls about the result, because, just like during the US elections, each poll is analysed separately rather than being pooled with the earlier ones in a reasonable meta-analysis… Where is Nate Silver when we need him?!

thumbleweed news [short story poll]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2013 by xi'an

Although I alas received only three submissions (#a, #b, and #c), following my call for thumb-related short stories, I may as well go and have a poll (for two weeks) as to which one was most appreciated by ‘Og’s readers… (I just noticed you cannot put links within the poll answers, most annoyingly!)

A meaningless poll

Posted in Books, University life with tags , , on September 18, 2009 by xi'an

The arXiv postings of today include the analysis of a poll by Mikhail Simkin that certainly has very little to do with the Physics category it appeared in! The poll was about the ability to distinguish between Dickens’ prose and Bulwer-Lytton’s prose. The later is apparently infamous as the “worst writer in history” (he is responsible for the opening “It was a dark and stormy night”). While I appreciate Dickens very much, I do not think his style is the reason why I enjoy his books: he is often discursive, using almost continuously an ironic distanciation from his characters, and some of his descriptions are utterly boring… Not unlike Balzac, Dickens wrote most of his novels as series in newspapers and often had to fill up volume with those descriptions  in order to meet publication deadlines. Therefore, the result of the poll, namely that it seems impossible to distinguish both authors based on the twelve extracts provided by Mikhail Simkin, is quite anticlimatic! (I got 8 out of 12 and I am afraid this is more luck than literary skills.) Looking at the sentences, it is easy to see the underlying common culture of those two 19th Century men, which means that their styles understandably sound very much the same to us… So to conclude that “people can’t appreciate great prose when the name of a great writer is detached from it” is a gross exageration! (Again, I do not see a clear reason for the paper to be published on arXiv, either in the Physics or in the Statistics sections…)