Archive for taxi

local mayhem, again and again and again…

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2019 by xi'an

The public transports in France and in particular in Paris have now been on strike for three weeks. In connection with a planned reform of the retirement conditions of workers with special status, like those in the train and metro companies, who can retire earlier than the legal age (62). As usual with social unrest in France, other categories joined the strike and the protest, including teachers and health service public workers, as well as police officers, fire-fighters and opera dancers, and even some students. Below are some figures from the OECD about average retirement conditions in nearby EU countries that show that these conditions are apparently better in France. (With the usual provision that these figures have been correctly reported.) In particular, the life expectancy at the start of retirement is the highest for both men and women. Coincidence (or not), my UCU affiliated colleagues in Warwick were also on strike a few weeks ago about their pensions…

Travelling through and around Paris by bike, I have not been directly affected by the strikes (as heavy traffic makes biking easier!), except for the morning of last week when I was teaching at ENSAE, when I blew up a tyre midway there and had to hop to the nearest train station to board the last train of the morning, arriving (only) 10mn late. Going back home was only feasible by taxi, which happened to be large enough to take my bicycle as well… Travelling to and from the airport for Vancouver and Birmingham was equally impossible by public transportation, meaning spending fair amounts of time in and money on taxis! And listening to taxi-drivers’ opinions or musical tastes. Nothing to moan about when considering the five to six hours spent by some friends of mine to get to work and back.

an even more senseless taxi-ride

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2015 by xi'an

I was (exceptionally) working in (and for) my garden when my daughter shouted down from her window that John Nash had just died. I thus completed my tree trimming and went to check about this sad item of news. What I read made the news even sadder as he and his wife had died in a taxi crash in New Jersey, apparently for not wearing seat-belts, a strategy you would think far from minimax… Since Nash was in Norway a few days earlier to receive the 2015 Abel Prize, it may even be that the couple was on its way home back from the airport.  A senseless death for a Beautiful Mind.

a senseless taxi-ride

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on May 23, 2015 by xi'an

This morning, on my way to the airport (and to Montpellier for a seminar), Rock, my favourite taxi-driver, told me of a strange ride he endured the night before, so strange that he had not yet fully got over it! As it happened, he had picked an elderly lady with two large bags in the vicinity after a radio-call and drove her to a sort of catholic hostel in down-town Paris, near La Santé jail, a pastoral place housing visiting nuns and priests. However, when they arrived there, she asked the taxi to wait before leaving, quite appropriately as she had apparently failed to book the place. She then asked my friend to take her to another specific address, an hotel located nearby at Denfert-Rochereau. While Rock was waiting and the taxi counter running, the passenger literally checked in by visiting the hotel room and deciding she did not like it so she gave my taxi yet another hotel address near Saint-Honoré where she repeated the same process, namely visited the hotel room with the same outcome that she did not like the place. My friend was then getting worried about the meaning of this processionary trip all over Paris, the more because the lady did not have a particularly coherent discourse. And could not stop talking. The passenger then made him stop for food and drink, and, while getting back in the taxi, ordered him to drive her back to her starting place. After two hours and half, they thus came back to the place, with a total bill of 113 euros. The lady then handled a 100 euro bill to the taxi-driver, declaring she did not have any further money and that he should have brought her home directly from the first place they had stopped… In my friend’s experience, this was the weirdest passenger he ever carried and he thought the true point of the ride was to escape solitude and loneliness for one evening, even if chatting about non-sense the whole time.

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8, 2014, Chamonix (news #14)

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by xi'an

We are quite glad to announce that, thanks to the support of several publishers (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Elsevier, and Springer-Verlag), there will be book prizes for both poster nights at MCMSki IV ! I was reminded of this possibility during O-Bayes 2013 and those publishers reacted both quickly and positively to my request (and so did the members of the juries). The list and abstracts of the 75 posters are available on the special blog. (It will not necessarily be provided on site so make sure to store it and bring it with you!)

Another thing of importance: if you have not booked your shuttle through the registration webpage, you have to find a private shuttle on your own. The doodles I set to monitor arrivals and departures did not fill up well enough to be of use. Once again, do not rely on taxis! Looking forward seeing the 200+ participants on January 06 in Chamonix, best Season Wishes!

And even though this is only of interest to locals, Nicolas and Robin have planned an “MCMSki decompression session” at the BiP seminar on 23rd January: MCMSki attendees will give a short presentation of a talk that they liked (or disliked?). Something to keep in mind during the conference. (Guest posts for the ‘Og are also invited from all participants.)

back to Paris [#2]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on May 19, 2013 by xi'an

new sead?Reus&Jungle

clouds

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2011 by xi'an

Merci taxi!

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by xi'an

I am in Montpellier today for a general meeting of our EMILE ANR grant bi-yearly meeting, discussing ABC model choice and new applications of simulation methods in population genetics, including an upgrade of DIYABC into the 2.0 version. (The above is a picture comparing “true” Bayes factors with ABC versions, commented in my Zürich talk last Saturday.) In the taxi from the airport, I chatted with the Yugoslavian driver who seemed to enjoy very much the city and drove me to the CBGP in a record time, but I forgot my favourite North Face beanie in the car… Tonight at the airport, I had the pleasant surprise to find my hat waiting for me at the taxi stand! Merci, taxi!