Olen takaisin

Yep, I’m finally back from my wanders. A week in St. Andrews, followed by a week celebrating the 100th anniversary of the t-distribution. Recall that the inventor, “Student” worked for Guinness. You can work out the rest.
Of course, I now have 13 neat ideas I want to try out, and there is lots of new work to read up on. The biggest news is that HÃ¥vard Rue thinks we don’t need to use MCMC to fit most Bayesian hierarchical models. Yep, really obscure stuff. It’s why statisticians are worth having around: we keep you from needing to know about Gaussian Markov Random Fields.


Lots more could be said about the conferences, locations, choice of when to start the sessions etc. (half an hour after breakfast starts is not sensible), but I’ll leave that for later.
On my return, I sorted through all the stuff that had accumulated in my letterbox. The only interesting thing was a book of bus timetables. My email was better: I’ve gone for a three-stage process of sorting it: (1) scan through and delete the spam and irrelevant stuff (job ads etc.) and reply to anything urgent, (2) go through the stuff that’s easy to sort, i.e. press reply and respond appropriately, (3) finally go through the stuff that needs real work, e.g. manuscripts that need revising. I’m still on the third sweep.
The blogosphere seems to have gone on as before whilst I was away. A creationist wrote something stupid. John Wilkins blogged about his latest paper, and the response was firstly to point out an error, and then start a discussion about whether psychology is a subset of medicine. And apparently things are so bad for American college professors that one had to “beg his blog readers to send him some wafers”http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php, so he could feed his family. A lot of Catholics were naturally upset at this display of poverty, and sent emails to his university asking him to sort this out.
I’ve also just been given an award by an A-list science blogger:
A cow fart
I’m so proud.
Finally, I have yet to be reunited with The Beast (*sigh*). I’ll pick him up tomorrow. The last I heard he was being united with a chicken drum-stick, so I guess he’s doing OK.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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15 Responses to Olen takaisin

  1. Maxine Clarke says:

    I bet you are missing him. Have a happy reunion!

  2. Jennifer Rohn says:

    Welcome back from the random Gaussian Markov Fields of Elysia. The chicken drumstick situation will have upped the anty, so to keep the Beast’s love, you will have to upgrade to fillet steak.

  3. Bob O'Hara says:

    Oh dear, Jenny. I hope he doesn’t read that – I’ll never hear the last of it.

  4. Jennifer Rohn says:

    Our cat is currently sojourning in the Suffolk countryside in advance of summer hols in Colorado. Although we have issued a strict ‘no snack’ mandate to the soft touch who is looking after him, I fear it is only a matter of time before he is dining on roast lamb scraps under the table. If you could see the undercarriage on this animal, you’d be worried too.
    (_We_ say it’s an overly large undercarriage, whereas he counters that he just has ‘stubby legs’ and it’s all an optical illusion.)

  5. Richard P. Grant says:

    I say ‘arm the sheep’.

  6. Henry Gee says:

    Olen Takaisin is evidently an anagram for Nail In Stake, O!
    Leaving the Maison Des Girrafes for our week away in France will cost much more than the flights, as we’ve had to hire a live-in house-and-pet sitter to keep a dog, two cats, two hamsters, a snake, six chickens, eight guinea pigs, Beelzebun Demon Bunny of DOOM, two insectivorous plants and the Noble 500 from eating either the tomato plants or one another.
    Our cat Fred has a rather large undercarriage, especially given that he has the lithe and finely-chiselled features of a Siamese

    Fred the cat, yesterday
    One vet put it in a very diplomatic way, while hefting the animal onto his examination table. “He’s a solid example of his breed”, he said.

  7. Mike Fowler says:

    Welcome back to the frozen gulags, Bob.
    What does a chicken drum look like, and how do you teach a cat to play it?

  8. Bob O'Hara says:

    Dunno, Mike. I just give him the legs to chomp.
    He returned last night. He wandered around, checking everything was still there, scoffed the food I gave him, and then flopped on the carpet. He’s home.

  9. Mike Fowler says:

    Sounds very much like my routine after coming back from a hard holiday. Except you don’t feed me (hungry sob)

  10. Henry Gee says:

    The only good thing about the movie Garfield (and I really do mean the only) is when the overstuffed feline says
    “Once again my life is saved by the miracle of lasagne”.
    (Look, those of you who don’t have kids oughtn’t laugh. You too might well have to endure, one day, daily showings of Winnie the Pooh for more than two years. If you don’t know man, you weren’t there).

  11. Maxine Clarke says:

    So he clearly remembered, then? It’s fascinating to see what animals do remember, or regard as familiar, and what they don’t. How did he react when he saw you for the first time after your enforced separation?

  12. Bob O'Hara says:

    Oh, he said hello, although he wasn’t leaping all over me in joy. I think the smell of my flat is as important (hey, it’s OK for humans!) – he hasn’t been marking it a lot as I had expected.
    A few years ago, before Jack came here, I looked after another cat for a friend, whilst she was back in the US for a month. When she returned, her cat took one look and leapt straight into my arms. Rather embarrassing.
    The sequel is that I visited them in Leuven a year or so later, and the cat totally ignored me.

  13. Henry Gee says:

    This site found 13946 anagrams of Olen Takaisin of which Eat An Oilskin is my choice, out of the first thousand, at least. Or perhaps Anal Noise Kit.

  14. Bob O'Hara says:

    I see. Evidently the submission rates to Nature are falling dramatically.
    Any good anagrams for “I’m back”?

  15. Henry Gee says:

    Strangely, not.