## a journal of the plague, sword, and famine year

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2023 by xi'an

Read my very first Annie Ernaux piece and it was in English, in The New Yorker! A very short piece on a short visit to her mother. Beautifully written, carrying the bittersweet feeling of the impossibility to reconnect with earlier times and earlier impressions. I was much less impressed, however, by her Nobel discourse and the use of Rimbaud’s race (and Galton’s and Fisher’s…) in such a different context. A constant projection/fixation on her background and class inequalities, supplemented by an ethic of ressentiment, does not sound enticing, the more because auto-fiction has never appealed to me. (Sharing similar social and geographic [Rouen!] backgrounds sounds precisely as the wrong reason to contemplate reading her books.)

Cooked weekly butternut soups, red cabbage stews and squid woks as these are the seasonal best offers at the local market, along with plentiful Norman scallops, not yet impacted by inflation. Also restarted making buckwheat bread, with the side advantages of temporarily heating home (and a pretense to add the rice pudding dish in the oven!).

Watched Trolls, Wednesday (only on Wednesdays), and Decision to Leave. Apart from the Norge exposure, the first is terrible, esp. when compared with the earlier 2010 tongue-in-cheek Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren).Wednesday is a television series that centres on Wednesday Addams, the dead-pan daughter in the Addams family. I found the series hilarious, even though intended for YA audiences. The quality of the episodes varies, those from Tim Burton usually coming on top, but the main character (Wednesday, in case you are not paying attention!) is fantastic. (The fact that, Christina Ricci, the actor playing Wednesday in the 1991 movie is also involved in the series is a great wink to the earlier installments of this series.) And, final argument, a series where the heroin pogoes to a song by The Cramps cannot turn all bad! The Korean Decision to Leave (헤어질 결심) is a masterpiece (except for the ridiculous climbing scenes!) in deception and ambiguity (with a very thin connection to Hitchcock’s Vertigo). Far from his backup role in the stunning Memories of Murder, Park Hae-il is fabulous as a policeman torn between his duty and an inexplicable attraction for the main suspect, brilliantly played by  Tang Wei, who manages the ambiguous character till the very end.

## MiMo2020

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2020 by xi'an

On 26 and 27 March 2020, the maths department of the Université of Rouen, Normandy, France, organizes a (free) workshop on mixture distributions. With the following speakers

• Christophe Biernacki  (Laboratoire Paul Painlevé, Univ. Lille 1 et INRIA)
• Vincent Brault (Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann, Univ. Grenoble Alpes)
• Gilles Celeux  (Laboratoire de Mathématiques d’Orsay, Univ. Paris Sud et INRIA)
• Elisabeth Gassiat  (Laboratoire de Mathématiques d’Orsay, Univ. Paris Sud)
• Van Hà Hoang  (Laboratoire de Mathématique Raphaël Salem, Univ. Rouen Normandie)
• Hajo Holzmann  (Philipps-University Marburg, Germany)
• Dimitri Karlis  (Department of Statistics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece)
• Trung Tin Nguyen (LMNO, Univ. Caen Normandie)
• Andrea Rau  (Département de Génétique Animale, INRA, Jouy en Josas)
• Pierre Vandekerkhove  (Laboratoire d’Analyse et de Mathématiques Appliquées, Univ. Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée)
• Cinzia Viroli  (Department of Statistical Sciences, Universita di Bologna, Italia)

Unfortunately, since this is my former department, I will not be able to attend as I am taking part into the SIAM Conference on Uncertainty Quantification (UQ20), on the very same days. In a session on likelihood-free inference.

## a very quick Riddle

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, R with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2020 by xi'an

A very quick Riddler’s riddle last week with the question

Find the (integer) fraction with the smallest (integer) denominator strictly located between 1/2020 and 1/2019.

and the brute force resolution

```for (t in (2020*2019):2021){
a=ceiling(t/2020)
if (a*2019<t) sol=c(a,t)}
```

leading to 2/4039 as the target. Note that

$\dfrac{2}{4039}=\dfrac{1}{\dfrac{2020+2019}{2}}$

## “extremely damaging and slanderous blog article”

Posted in Books, pictures, University life with tags , , , , , on April 13, 2019 by xi'an

Yesterday was a first for the ‘Og in that my university legal department received a complaint from a company about one of the posts, that among other things was considered as an “offending” and “extremely damaging and slanderous commentary” on the services proposed by this company, including posting the unsolicited marketing email it has sent me earlier and which induced this comment of mine.  Written in superb legalese of course. As my point had been made when the blog was posted, a while ago, and as I saw no point in bothering my legal department representatives or wasting further time on such nonsense, I removed this terribly damaging entry and hope the poor dears have recovered by now… It’s “a mere attempt at bloggin’, nothing more”, right?!

## Merci, Simone! [in Strasbourg]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2018 by xi'an

I posted this picture on the ‘Og last June, when I went to Rouen. At the time Simone Veil had just passed away and I wanted to recall her single-handed fight for making abortion legal in France… I received last week an email I first took for a spam, email from a curator of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg (where Simone Veil was for a while a European deputy and its President, its first female President), preparing a permanent exhibit in her memory and wishing to use my picture in the exhibit, to illustrate another perspective on her, away from official and family photographs. Completely unexpected, but I obviously gave immediately my agreement.