Thursday, 4 September 2014

No surprises

Yesterday was the day of my talk at the RSS Conference. As I mentioned here, I hadn't been back to Sheffield for nearly 20 years, so it is really no no surprise that I found it reeeeally (I mean: really) changed. In fact, I think I'm being a victim of some confounding here $-$ not sure of quite as much of how I thought things changed is due to the fact they have really have changed or rather to the fact that I have changed, since then...

Back then, in the 18th century, it was my first time outside Italy, so everything was new and unfamiliar, although I seem to remember that there really was no proper coffee place (or just coffee to be had), outside an eight-decent French place... Also, while I distinctly remember enjoying being there, I couldn't really, fully recognise the streets I was walking (even if I'm sure I had walked along them before). So I suppose the place must be changed indeed!

The talk went well (the file is large, because of the couple of maps I've included $-$ but I thought they looked nice, so I left them in). I joked around a bit $-$ it wasn't difficult, given the topic. I made the point that it's not time to panic and leave the EU, just yet, at least not on account of the fact that the Eastern European countries hate the UK and thus do not vote for them in the Eurovision.

On other news, I really liked Tim Harford's talk $-$ it was funny and it told a very nice story, which is good. He gave a couple of more or less (pun intended) known examples of "big" (or, as he also put it, "found") data leading to some undesirable results and made the general argument that we shouldn't really dismiss the core of statistical methodology, just because we can get a lot of data and we can deal with them. How to not agree?

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