Archive for WWII

the calculating stars [book review]

Posted in Books, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2021 by xi'an

This fist sounded like an interesting attempt at alternate history, when a massive meteor strike obliterating the Washington DC region in 1952 forced the World to change shift towards space exploration and the eventual evacuation of Earth. The story is told from a computer (or computress) viewpoint, who is a wunderkid, a mathematician, a physicist, a war (WASP) pilot, and more, with a strong will and an independent mind, hoping to become a female astronaut. If the setting reminds you of Hidden figures, a (great) movie about the true story of NASA black female mathematicians, it is no surprise and I wonder how much inspiration the author got from these historical facts, if not from the 2016 book itself. Despite receiving many awards, like the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards!, The Calculating Stars is somewhat of a disappointment to me, because of the highly single-minded perspective,  where everything (related to solving the forecast extinction) seems to happen with a small group of people, because of the confusion between a mathematician and someone who can do complex arithmetics by head, to the near-perfection of the central character, who can also hotwire a car, because of the anachronisms, incl. the prescience that the asteroid crash was going to cause a deadly rise of temperatures when the dinosaur extinction was not yet linked with a similar event, because of a rosy depiction of the World uniting towards racing against the Great Extinction, and, cherry on the pie, because French sentences found throughout the book mostly make no sense as literal translations of English sentences!

“Elle va le faire mais Dieu sait ce qu’elle va parler.” [She’s going to do it but God knows what she’s going to say.]

“Il est l’ordre naturel je pense (…) Il n’y a rien de naturel.” [It’s the natural order of things I think (…) Nothing is natural.]

“Ce ne fut pas une explosion ou nous aurions senti.” [It wasn’t a blast or else we would have felt.]

Dorfman’s group testing

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2020 by xi'an

A recent note by CREST researchers insists on using group testing to compensate for the shortage of test packages and testing personal, as done in several countries, towards deconfining individuals who are not infected. Or who are exhibiting the right antibodies.  Reminding me of my first entry to the notion, in Feller’s book, of the method implemented by Robert Dorfman to test for syphilis prior to enlisting potential WW II soldiers. I would deem the idea useful for surveys, in identifying the proportion of infected or immunised persons, maybe less for giving the green light to leave one’s house as the logistics of merging the tests while keeping track of every individual could prove impossible.

Juno Beach [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2019 by xi'an

God save the Queen, the fascist Marine

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2017 by xi'an

“C’est un acte belliqueux, c’est sûr. Un acte d’ingérence, c’est clair. Mais ce qui est surtout problématique, c’est qu’il est fait sans attendre l’ouverture de l’enquête internationale. Les faits sont affreux, il faut donc trouver les coupables. Mais encore faut-il qu’une commission internationale puisse mener une enquête indépendante pour pouvoir donner des éléments. Là, il n’y a aucun élément”  8 avril 2017

“La France n’est pas responsable du Vel’ d’Hiv. Je pense que de manière générale, plus généralement d’ailleurs, s’il y a des responsables, c’est ceux qui étaient au pouvoir à l’époque, c’est pas la France.” 9 avril 2017

snapshot from Vienna (#2)

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , on September 23, 2014 by xi'an

wien5

%d bloggers like this: