Archive for United Kingdom

Boots is deliberately overcharging for the morning-after pill!

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , on July 21, 2017 by xi'an

“Boots charges £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.” The Guardian, July 20, 2017

the end of travel?

Posted in Books, Linux, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2017 by xi'an

First came the bad news that travelling [by plane] with any electronic device larger than a small cell phone would be prohibited unless the device was checked in. I first thought this was a sort of weird protectionism for American airlines, since only Middle-East carriers seem to be impacted at the moment, but there are serious hints this could soon be extended to all flights to the USA. And to the UK. And likely to about every flight in a near future. That is fairly annoying and more, not only because it hugely reduces the ability to work on a plane [unless carrying paper printouts of every paper one wanted to read or review during a long flight, until this is as well considered as a fire hazard!], but mostly because quite likely these electronic devices in checked-in bags will be damaged or stolen. So the only convenient [least inconvenient] solution may be to stop travelling with laptops and operate on remote or cheap disposable machines from whenever one is. Since I presume even the smallest PCs like Raspberry Pi’s will be banned at some point. The only good news are for computer companies. And book sellers maybe.On top of this, I learned that the UK has [again!] copied the US in requiring visitors and even its own citizens to open devices to Border or Customs officers. And to disclose social media identities and associated passwords. A British Human Rights activist was recently arrested at London Heathrow for refusing to do so. And I read today that divulging those media IDs are now optional on the visa waiver program and possibly soon to be compulsory. Which sounds insane as a way to fight terrorism as it is obvious to set parallel accounts. And yet another travel nuisance.

At some point in the past, I had mused that we would soon be forced to travel with no personal item, maybe not even our own clothes, but a uniform provided by the airline. With luggages on a drone plane following by a safe margin. The invasion of privacy now contemplated and soon implemented by states that do not any longer seem concerned with Human Right goes way beyond this fantasy scenario. If travelling between countries means a massive reduction of one’s rights and dignity [which is already quite reduced under the current conditions], travelling may soon become a rare occurrence…

may June 8 be the ides of May!

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by xi'an

London calling

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by xi'an

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out and draw another breath
London calling and I don’t want to shout

The Clash, 1979

Manchester, United we stand!

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2017 by xi'an

This is the place
In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best
And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands
Set the whole planet shaking.
Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music
We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands
And we make things from steel
And we make things from cotton
And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten
And we make you at home
And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen
And we can’t seem to help it
And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.
And make us a record, a new number one
And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on
And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league
And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.
And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.
Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.

Tony Walsh

seven permanent positions at Warwick!

Posted in pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2016 by xi'an

sunrise on the road to Kenilworth, May 7, 2014Seven academic positions in Statistics are currently opening at the University of Warwick! They correspond to the following levels, all permanent but for the Harrison Early-Career Assistant Professorship:

• Harrison Early-Career Assistant Professor of Statistics (3 years)
• Assistant Professor of Statistics
• Senior Teaching Fellow in Statistics
• Assistant or Associate Professor of Financial Mathematics
• Assistant or Associate Professor of Statistics (two positions)
• Full Professor of Statistics

Applicants are sought with expertise in Statistics (in the wide sense, including both applied and methodological statistics, probability, probabilistic operational research and mathematical finance together with interdisciplinary topics involving one or more of these areas). Applicants for senior positions should have an excellent publication record and ability to secure research funding. Applicants for more junior positions should show exceptional promise to become leading academics. [More details.]

Informal enquires should be addressed to any of Professors Mark Steel, David Hobson, Gareth Roberts, Wilfrid Kendall, or to any other senior member of the Department. Including me. The closing date is 3 January 2017 for all positions, except for the Full Professor position which is set to 10 January 2017.

As a completely objective observer (!), I can state that this is a fantastic department, with a strong sense of community and support among the faculty, and a tremendously diverse array of research activities and topics. And thus encourage anyone interested in joining to apply for some of those positions!

travelling from pub to pub [in a straight line]

Posted in pictures, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2016 by xi'an

Above is the solution produced by a team at the University of Waterloo to the travelling salesman problem of linking all pubs in the UK (which includes pubs in Northern Ireland as well as some Scottish islands—even though I doubt there is no pub at all on the Island of Skye! They also missed a lot of pubs in Glasgow! And worst gaffe of all, they did not include the Clachaigh Inn, probably the best pub on Earth…). This path links over 24 thousand pubs, which is less than the largest travelling salesman problem solved at the current time, except that this case used the exact distances provided by Google maps. Of course, it would somehow make more sense to increase the distances by random amounts as the pub visits increase, unless the visitor sticks to tonic. Or tea.

eagle and child