Archive for surfing

the T-shirts I love [book/closet review]

Posted in Books, Kids, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2022 by xi'an

When I first heard of Haruki Murakami’s book on tee-shirts, I found the concept sufficiently intriguing to start looking for the book and I eventually found on Amazon a cheap used sale that got delivered to a friend in the US (who was most perplexed by my choice!). Having gone through the book and its 110 photos of tee-shirts, I am feeling like I had a light late-evening conversation with the author and a window into the reasons why he keeps and seeks so many tees. This is a translation from Japanese, so I cannot say how colloquial Murakami was in the original, but this is most enjoyable (in a very light sense!). Having worn tee-shirts for all of my adult life (and none during my childhood), albeit not with any comparable collection, by far!, I can relate with some categories like

  1. race tees (which have now almost completely vanished, being replaced with synthetic running tops), of which my favourite is the 1988 Skunk Cabbage Classic tee celebrating the 5k race organised every year by the Finger Lakes Runners Club
  2. beer tees, like my favourites advertising Yellowstone’s Moose Drool brown ale [and supposedly dyed in the beer?!] and Salt Lake City Full Suspension [with the fantastically ironic motto Beers you can believe in!]
  3. bars/pubs tees, like the one I bought at the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe
  4. institution tees, with my favourite being the iconic U of T Austin ochre shirt with a longhorn skull
  5. and, to diverge from Murakami’s surfing section, mountaineering places/brand tees, of which the homemade þe Norse Farce is the obvious selection!

And neither shared tee spotted within the published 110 selected ones, nor any one I would desperately seek.

Basque thesis defence [Bayes almost on the beach]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2021 by xi'an

Yesterday morning I took part in a thesis defence (as a jury member) in the coastal city of Anglet, in the (French part of the) Basque Country. The PhD candidate was Sébastien Coube-Sisqueille, whom I did not know directly (although we had crossed paths at CIRM years ago and he had attended my MCMC course at ENSAE even more years ago). As it happened all other members of the committee, apart from Sébastien’s advisor, Benoît Liquet, were on Teams, being unable to travel to the Basque Country. Sébastien’s thesis is about MCMC strategies to accelerate convergence in spatial models represented as nearest neighbor Gaussian processes (NNGP), which relates to the earlier works of (X)XL on interweaving. (Unsurprisingly, the defence was successful and the candidate awarded his PhD!) Icing on the cake, I managed to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, before flying back to Paris for dinner, on a very warm afternoon (and slightly cooler water), thanks to Sébastien driving me to a nearby beach!

atmospheric random generator?!

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 10, 2012 by xi'an

As I was glancing through The Cleanest Line, (the outdoor clothing company) Patagonia‘s enjoyable—as long as one keeps in mind Patagonia is a company, although with commendable ethical and ecological goals—blog, I came upon this entry “And the Winner of “Chasing Waves” is …” where the name of the winner of the book Chasing Wave was revealed. (Not that I am particularly into surfing…!) The interesting point to which I am coming so circumlocutory (!) is that they use a random generator based on atmospheric noise to select the winner! I particularly like the sentence that the generator “for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs”. For which purpose exactly?!

Now, to be (at least a wee) fair, the site of contains an explanation about the quality of their generator. I am however surprised by the comparison they run with the rand() function from PHP on Microsoft Windows, since it produces a visible divergence from uniformity on a bitmap graph… Further investigation led to this explanation of the phenomenon, namely the inadequacy of the PHP language rather than of the underlying (pseudo-)random generator. (It had been a while since I had a go at this randomness controvery!)

%d bloggers like this: