Archive for William the Conqueror

Hastings at 50, from a Metropolis

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2020 by xi'an

A weekend trip to the quaint seaside city of Le Touquet Paris-Plage, facing the city of Hastings on the other side of the Channel, 50 miles away (and invisible on the pictures!), during and after a storm that made for a fantastic watch from our beach-side rental, if less for running! The town is far from being a metropolis, actually, but it got its added surname “Paris-Plage” from British investors who wanted to attract their countrymen in the late 1800s. The writers H.G. Wells and P.G. Wodehouse lived there for a while. (Another type of tourist, William the Conqueror, left for Hastings in 1066 from a wee farther south, near Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme.)

And the coincidental on-line publication in Biometrika of a 50 year anniversary paper, The Hastings algorithm at fifty by David Dunson and James Johndrow. More of a celebration than a comprehensive review, with focus on scalable MCMC, gradient based algorithms, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo, nonreversible Markov chains, and interesting forays into approximate Bayes. Which makes for a great read for graduate students and seasoned researchers alike!

from William’s castle [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2017 by xi'an

Initial, Caen [*]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2017 by xi'an

along the canal from Caen to Ouistreham, Oct 09, 2016In what may now become a family tradition, we sampled for the new year another Michelin starred restaurant in Caen, Normandy, called Initial, which is a small and unpretentious restaurant in one back-street, not far from my collège, Lycée Malherbes. And from Guillaume’s Abbaye aux Hommes.


The food itself was both elaborate and light, with fantastic presentations, like the millimetre thick crepe above. Absolutely stunning! Now, the lunch menu has very few degrees of freedom as the chef cooks according to the local products currently available. Which means the menu changes all the time. And also presumably to cater for local clients having only a lunch break from work: we stayed there for less than one and a half and most of the other customers did not stay that long. The service is very efficient and friendly, advising about (cheap) wines that fit the dishes. (Hence, I tasted an unknown Austrian wine!) And bringing plenty of side pre- and post-dishes as nibbles… This is all quite enjoyable, if not the ultimate culinary experience, and very affordable, since lunch at Initial cost much less than in a mediocre Paris restaurant!

Hastings without Metropolis

Posted in Books, Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on October 14, 2016 by xi'an

Today marks the 950th anniversary of the battle of Hastings, when Guillaume, Duke of Normandy and pretendent to the throne of England following the death of the childless King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, defeated Harold Godwinson, recently elected King and even more recently the victor of a battle against another pretended, Harald Hardrada of Norway. (I had always thought that Guillaume had fought the battle the day his fleet of hundreds of Viking drakkars landed, but he arrived two weeks earlier and had time to build a fort in Hastings.) One of the consequences of this victory would be significant changes in the structure and vocabulary of the English language. [One may wonder at why I am mentioning this anniversary but been “born and raised” in the heart of Guillaume’s Norman kingdom prompted some long-lasting interest in the Norman invasion.]

Caen snapshot (#2)

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by xi'an

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