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Un succès mondial qui dure: l’école prussienne

  L’école primaire obligatoire telle que nous la connaissons s’est mise en place petit à petit depuis la fin du 18ème siècle. Elle est souvent l’oeuvre d’éducateurs, philosophes et théoriciens…

Troubles du Déficit de l’Attention: les chasseurs sont parmi nous

Les TDAH, Troubles du Déficit de l’Attention (avec ou sans hyperactivité, aussi ATDH) sont en augmentation constante dans notre societé et touchent actuellement près de 5 % des enfants dans les…

Why are US presidents taller than ordinary Americans?

Many websites, including Wikipedia, compare the height of US presidents with their main contenders and find that, in most cases, the elected president is the taller of the two. This…

Je suis Charlie. OK, mais qui suis-je, au juste?

Il y a d’une part, des terroristes, et de l’autre, des récupérateurs. Pour les terroristes, Mélenchon a raison: leur combat n’est pas religieux, est politique. La cible du combat à…

NSA 62nd anniversary

The National Security Agency (NSA) was established at the beginning of November 1952 (on the 4th of November, to be precise) . Join me in congratulating them on the occasion…

The three rules of crop yield forecasting

When they have been in a business long enough, “experts” often develop a gusto for the more philosophical side of their trade, and crop forecasters are no exception. Strictly speaking, the philosophical aspects are…

Global food supply trends in 2014, and beyond!

This post analyses the trends of yield, area, and production in the 31 countries that together make up 80 percent of the world supply of maize, rice, wheat, and soybean.…

Statistical Vs. agronomic significance in crop monitoring and forecasting

We all develop rules of thumb that help us make operational decisions. One of my personal rules is that “agronomic significance” comes before “statistical significance”. For instance, when assessing regression…

The return of the overbite

By Anna-Giulia, Eric, Jacques and Wergosum [First published on 20130217; updated 20130328] The idea for this note started with an email from Eric, where he expressed his surprise, and his…

Mixing time series and cross-sectional data

As I was updating a couple of things in another corner of this blog,  I stumbled upon of  a passage in a recent book by Nate Silver (2012) that has…

The risky business of forecasting

Forecasting the future is a difficult task, as there are many more ways to be wrong than right! In addition, a forecast is not just a statement about what might…

God(s) explained, somehow!

(Published 20100908 / Last updated 20121019) — As a student, I read  an article by Rappaport (The sacred in human evolution, 1971) which impressed me a lot. While  maintaining a…

The cost of hunger and malnutrition

Malnutrition remains the world’s most serious health problem and the single biggest contributor to child mortality. Nearly one-third of children in the developing world are either underweight or stunted, and…

Naming the invisible

Published 20091223/Last updated 20131218 with the quote from Stefan Zweig under “additional information.” … as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes…

Pseudo-ethnicity and neo-dogmatism

First posted on 20111027. Updated 20120214. French version: click here An interesting controversy has been going on for a couple of days in the quiet circles of anthropology. What started…

News from the future

Version française, cliquez ici. After “The risky business of forecasting“, which focused on  natural disasters, here is a note that looks more closely at the broader picture of our societies.…

Eurobabel

This post is about the use of languages in the European Commision (EC) and the  European Union (EU). There are at present twenty-two languages, which are designated in the EC…

Are neutrinos faster than thought?

The Super Proton Synchroton (SPS) at CERN  (European Organization for Nuclear Research) is a  very large “machine” (a tunnel, about 7 km in diameter) located on the Swiss-French border near…

Climate-crop impacts: some data issues

1. Introduction (*) Crop-climate interactions are of relevance for a number of applications, in food security, crop insurance, market planning and climate change impact assessments. All these fields have an…

The mandate of humanity

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of…

How difficult it is to be a climatologist…

Just  before COP-15 took place in Copenhagen in December 2009, unknow people broke into the computers of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and stole…

Tout Service chez nous et disponible

J’ai recu par email, il y a déjà quelque temps, cette publicité du “mage” marocain Lafkih Sheikh Rohani Zarouk. On a l’impression que ce texte a été traduit de l’arabe…

Einstein on crises

Below is a text by Einstein, which I got somewhere on the web. I like it because I have always considered that crises are opportunities to change directions. As Le…