Archive for raven

two positions at UBC

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2019 by xi'an

A long-time friend at UBC pointed out to me the opening of two tenure-track Assistant Professor positions at the Department of Statistics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2020 or January 1, 2021. The deadline for applications is October 18, 2019. Statistics at UBC is an internationally renowned department, in particular (but not restricted to) computational statistics and Bayesian methods and this is a great opportunity to join this department. (Not mentioning the unique location of the campus and the beautiful surroundings of the city of Vancouver!)

blackwing [book review]

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2019 by xi'an

Another fantasy series of the gritty type, maybe not up to the level of the first ground-breaking Abercrombie’s but definitely great!  With some reminiscence of Lawrence’s first series but with a better defined and more complex universe and a not so repulsive central character. Maybe even not repulsive at all when considered past and current actions as described from his perspective…

“I’ve run the equations on it. It took me two days to plot them. Bear in mind that this is far, far beyond any light matrix that I’ve seen calculated before.”

The whole book is indeed written from Captain Ryhalt‘s viewpoint. A bounty hunter for a post- and pre-apocalyptic society, returning fugitives’ head to the central authorities but governed by a Nameless deity on top of everything (?). Appearing as a raven, hence the compelling cover, hence me buying the book! The plot is unraveling at such a pace that it keeps the tension going, especially since it is rather unpredictable. As noted above, it creates a fairly original universe and while magic is heavily involved, there are limitations to the powers of the sorcerers, witches,  half-gods and other entities that mean no deus-ex-machina last minute resolution, sort of. Actually (spoiler alert!) the machine at the core of the story is not doing too well… With repeated mentions made of mathematics governing the handling of the machine, including one over-the-top computation on the ceiling of a cell! It is only when I finished the book that I realised this was part of a series, as the story could have ended there. (Maybe should have, if the associated reviews for the next two volumes are to be trusted.)

Ka [book review]

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2019 by xi'an

My last book of the year (2018), which I finished one hour before midnight, on 31 December! Ka is a book about a crow, or rather, a  Crow, Dar Oakley (or, in full, Dar of the Oak by the Lea), told from his viewpoint, and spanning all of Anthropocene, for Dar Oakley is immortal [sort of] and able to communicate with humans (and other birds, like Ravens. And coyotes). This summary of the plot may sound of limited appeal, but this may be the best book I read this past year. The Washington Post offers a critical entry into Ka that is much better than anything I can state about it. Not only it is about Crows and Ravens, fascinating social birds with a highly developed vocabulary that reflects the hierarchies in these avian societies. But it also offers another view on the doomed history of mankind, to which Crows seem irremediably linked and with whom  Dar Oakley is sharing more that a territory. As so acutely perceived in another review from Locus, the beauty of the book and the genius of the writer, John Crowley, is to translate an alien intelligence in terms intelligible to the reader.

“A crow alone is no crow.”

A fairly, faery, unique, strangely moving, book, thus, that cannot suffer to be labelled into a category like fantasy or poetry or philosophical tale. Reflecting on the solitude brought by knowledge and communicating with another race. And of the bittersweet pain brought by immortality that makes Dar Oakley seek a former mate in the kingdom of dead Crows. An imperfect, fallible character, a perfect messenger of Death to accompany humanity on its last steps.

two positions at UBC

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2018 by xi'an

Just to repost an announcement that the Department of Statistics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, invites applications from outstanding new investigators for two tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor. Deadline for application is October 17. More information is available there. (The above sculpture is the iconic Raven and the First Men by Billy Reid.)

Chamonix snapshot [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , on March 9, 2018 by xi'an

Seattle street art

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , on August 19, 2015 by xi'an

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the raven, the cormorant, and the heron

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running with tags , , , , , , on May 2, 2015 by xi'an

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This morning, on my first lap of the Grand Bassin in Parc de Sceaux, I spotted “the” heron standing at its usual place, on the artificial wetland island created at one end of the canal. When coming back to this spot during the second lap, I could hear the heron calling loudly and saw a raven repeatedly diving near it and a nearby cormorant, who also seemed unhappy with this attitude, judging from the flapping of its wings… After a few dozens of those dives, the raven landed at the other end of the island and this was the end of the canal drama! Unless there was a dead fish landed there, I wonder why the raven was having a go at those two larger birds.