(American) break

We are flying, this morning for three weeks in the National Parks, in the western part of the United states. First stop, Las Vegas, as mentioned in a couple of posts already. I did mention in a post in April that I did plan to visit the casinos, but more to see people gambling. And in that post, I noticed that if you play the roulette, and if your plan is to double your gain, then you’d better play big. And bet everything once. Actually, it did happen a few years ago, as a friend recently told me. Ashley Revell, 32 by that time, literally sold every that he had owned to bet on the roulette table (in Vegas). The total of his possessions came to £76,840, which gave him around $135,300 in total to bet with on one spin of the roulette wheel. And he did play everything. Ashley pushed his chips on red, the ball bobbled around the wheel, and it finally came to rest in the 7 Red slot, doubling his winnings to $270,600. But actually, as Ashley explained, it was surprisingly difficult to find a Casino in Vegas to take up such a large bet (most of them simply refused to host to such a big gamble). But a TV show decided to record the bet, and the high stakes bet was finally taken up by the casino at Plaza Hotel.

But I do not plan to play everything I own. And I really want to enjoy that break, so the blog will be probably be off for a few days, I might upload some pictures, because places we’ll visit look simply amazing, but I should be back to work in a bit less than three weeks.

(updates of the trip will be on the kids blog, for those who know it).

Somewhere else, part 67

Some writings worth reading,

et un seul billet en français, cette semaine,

Did I miss something?

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.

Somewhere else, part 66

Some writings worth reading, this week, but let us start with a picture,

  • [prism and NSA] “dad says you’re spying on us” via knightofparis

un peu de lectura en español, cambiador de vertido,

et comme souvent, un peu de lecture en français,

Did I miss something?

Somewhere else, part 65

Some writings worth reading, this week,

Read between the lines. The paper originally was released in 2009 and was published in 2013 in PLOS-One, which is one step above appearing on Arxiv. PLOS-One publishes some good things (so does Arxiv) but it’s the place people place papers that can’t be placed. We can deduce that the paper was rejected by Science, Nature, various other biology journals, and maybe some political science journals as well. I’m not saying you shouldn’t criticize the paper in question, but you can’t really demand better from a paper published in a bottom-feeder journal. Again, just because something’s in a crap journal, doesn’t mean it’s crap; I’ve published lots of papers in unselective, low-prestige outlets. But it’s certainly no surprise if a paper published in a low-grade journal happens to be crap. They publish the things nobody else will touch.” [to be continued…]

et toujours quelques articles et billets en français, dont un fabuleux “augmentation de 50%” traduit en “a doublé“, repris par de (trop) nombreux journalistes

Avec un peu de retard, je suis allé voir sur https://politis.fr/Deux-fois-plus-de-SDF,22949.html

cela dit si on va sur http://humanite.fr/search/…, on retrouve la référence,

mais le titre de la page a changé (mais pas le nom complet le-nombre-de-sdf-multiplie-par-2-en-10-ans-selon-l-545106)

Cela dit, les amateurs pourront aussi écouter http://videos.tf1.fr/infos/2013/141-500-personnes-sans-abri-le-nombre-de-sdf-a-double-en-10-ans-8086469.html

Did I miss something ?

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!

Somewhere else, part 64

Yes, one more time, I will not post anything on my blog, just mention posts and articles found somewhere else. I am currently very busy, on different project… but I promise, there will be some updates soon… I will start with a couple of very intersting posts, discovered this week end,

a still, a series of writings worth reading

“Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks,” Mr Aso told a seminar in Tokyo. “Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that’s why they didn’t buy,” he said.

[to be continued…]

Thomas Jefferson requested a further expansion of census data. His focus was on what influences life and health, specifically soil, climate and occupation and how these affect life expectancy. An expanded census, he explained, would provide a valuable opportunity to gather“facts highly important to society.” Today, important and valuable information is collected through surveys, such as monthly numbers on employment and unemployment; international trade data; health status of the population; how many scientists, engineers and mathematicians the nation graduates each year; and whether prices are changing from month to month. Critics of government surveys bark another flawed argument: that, once collected, personal information is at risk. These people have, obviously, never met a statistician. Statisticians take data very seriously. We are data-control fanatics. We make sure your personal identifiers are deleted and the other data remains just that: a bunch of codes and numbers that don’t identify you or connect you to the information you’ve provided.

[to be continued…]

et toujours quelques billets et articles passionnants, en français,

Did I miss something ?