A few days in Atlanta

I will be in Atlanta for the week-end, for a SoA meeting. Last time I went to an SoA meeting (in Chicago), I did mention a connexion between baseball and mathematics (and Paul Erdös). This, time, I can probably mention a connexion between basketball and acturial science. More precisely, a great basketball player named Peter “Pistol Pete” Press Maravich. In an interview in 1974 (while he was playing with the Hawks of Atlanta), Maravich had said, “I don’t want to play 10 years [in the NBA] and then die of a heart attack when I’m 40.” Unfortunately, this is what happened, somehow. On January 5th, 1988, he collapsed after a three-on-three pickup game in Pasadena, California, and died of a heart attack. Pete Maravich was 40.

Quiet “holidays”?

People outside academia often wonder what we might be doing when we do not teach. And actually, my teaching session ended on May (I do include time to grade). So am I on holiday?

I have to admit that starting last Tuesday, everything looks more like holidays, since the kids started their own. Even if I have to prepare lunch boxes, it is not the rush to go to work. And they like to go to bed late (or at least later), we did enjoy the Jazz festival this weekend, this week it will be the Circus festival and we plan to see the fireworks contest, and when we’re not downtown, we also enjoy going to play basketball at the playground next door. So yes,it might sound like holidays…

But even I feel more relaxed, I do work. And to be honest, I feel extremely busy. Which might explain why the blog was so quiet those past days (actually, since the kids are – also – busy, I do spend time to upload pictures and videos on their own blog… more time on their, less time on mine).

At the beginning of this month, we were working with Ewen on the paper (now submited) and the poster (he did won the poster contest at the R conference in Lyon, congrats Ewen) on smoothing densities on maps. I am also trying to finish another couple of papers I would like to submit (at least to post on http://arxiv.org/) before going on holidays. I am also working with colleagues from the SoA (I was in Chicago mid-June, since UQAM is a center of excellence, and I will be in Atlanta mid-July to work on the new general insurance track), and also working with (and for) students. Trying to send emails to make sure we’ll get our datasets in September, for instance. I have also admistrative duties, like making sure that colleagues I should be working with in August will find a place to stay when they will arrive in Montréal. I also have to plan skype meetings with co-authors, to see where we are on our projects, before having a break, planning what should be done when we’ll be back, mid-August, etc.

But what keeps me really really busy is the book I am editing. I spend time reading contributions, trying to unify notations and concepts, making sure that references are correct and relevent, etc. I am in the flat part of the productivity curve. Time when spending 1 full day on a chapter will generate 5 new pages is over. On 1 full day, I can simply fix a few typos, change a graph, find a nice reference. It is long. And painful. But in two weeks, we should have a preliminary version, that we will all cross-read, including colleagues who told me they were interested to have a look at it. In two weeks, I will be off! And I really need that break!