Shared posts

23 Oct 12:07

Merde, on n'est vraiment pas tous égaux

(Source + merci à Doudou pour la suggestion)

23 Oct 09:29

Jouons un peu: tiens tiens, qu'est-ce que ça peut bien être ?

A gagner: le contenu de l'objet en question.

 

(Source)

18 Oct 20:44

Photo



19 Oct 10:36

Einstein, Mortimer, Tournesol et nous

by David Monniaux

Lorsque l'on explique que l'on est « chercheur », il y a souvent un malin — ou plutôt, quelqu'un qui se croit tel — qui sort cette citation attribuée à Charles de Gaulle :

« Des chercheurs qui cherchent, on en trouve ; des chercheurs qui trouvent, on en cherche. »

Peu importe que cette phrase n'ait, sous toute probabilité, jamais été prononcée par Charles de Gaulle, celui (ou celle) qui la prononce n'en est pas à cela près…

S'ensuit alors parfois une anecdote du genre « j'ai connu un type qui travaillait au CNRS, hé bien il ne fichait rien ». Que cette anecdote d'une connaissance d'un ami d'un cousin de l'interlocuteur au sujet d'une personne travaillant (à quel poste ? chercheur, technicien, secrétaire ? dans quel laboratoire ? quelle discipline ?) soit invérifiable et indistinguable d'une légende urbaine importe également peu : l'important est de pouvoir dire, sous couvert d'une gausserie, que les chercheurs scientifiques sont au mieux des rêveurs inutiles, au pire des fainéants. S'inscrivent également dans cette thématique les gausseries envers des recherches jugées inutiles, par exemple sur la cassure des spaghettis, ou sur les poissons qui changent de sexe.

Réflexions de beaufs sans importance au comptoir de Cafés du Commerce provinciaux ? Pas uniquement : de hauts responsables politiques ont eu des propos allant en ce sens. Il convient donc de se demander pourquoi des personnes a priori éduquées peuvent prononcer ce genre de propos sérieusement, voire en pensant être en quelque sorte subversives (c'est un trait regrettable de la France de 2014 que des gens puissent s'afficher comme en quelque sorte des libre penseurs dont on bâillonne l'expression alors qu'ils ressassent sur tout support des clichés éculés).

Pour ma part, je vois dans la culture populaire, conjuguée à l'ignorance de la réalité du fonctionnement de la recherche scientifique, la source de cette incompréhension. Dans la culture populaire (films, bandes dessinées…), le scientifique est soit une sorte de génie polyvalent qui conçoit seul ou presque des machineries complexes (qu'elles soient maléfiques ou bénéfiques, les professeurs Tournesol et Mortimer entrant dans ce dernier cas), soit un intellect supérieur et solitaire travaillant sur des problèmes ésotériques et dont l'excellence est démontrée par le prix Nobel (ou la médaille Fields, depuis que Cédric Villani a pris sur lui d'incarner les mathématiques dans les médias populaires). L'avancement de la Science procède par à-coups et « grandes découvertes » produites par des génies (Einstein).

Or, cette image ne correspond pas à la réalité. Un vrai scientifique travaille le plus souvent en équipe. Il est compétent sur un sujet ou un ensemble de sujets relativement précis, même si bien sûr il peut avoir une « culture générale scientifique » plus large. Le métier d'ingénieur est différent de celui d'un chercheur scientifique, même s'il y a un continuum entre les deux ; la conception d'un engin complexe nécessite une équipe d'ingénieurs en plus du chercheur, même génial, qui a découvert le principe de base de son fonctionnement. La recherche scientifique « intéressante » (quel que soit le sens que l'on attache à ce mot) ne se limite pas à l'infime minorité d'individus qui obtiennent le prix Nobel. Les « grandes découvertes » de rupture se produisent le plus souvent dans un contexte de questionnements, approches voisines, état de l'art qui ont permis l'avancée cruciale.

Le processus conduisant d'une découverte scientifique à une application innovante semble très mal connu. Dans l'imaginaire populaire, le scientifique qui fait une découverte « utile » peut potentiellement immédiatement la mettre en œuvre dans une « invention », qu'il va construire dans son atelier (le sous-marin de Tournesol) ou dont il concevra les plans (l'Espadon de Mortimer). La version managériale moderne de cette croyance est l'encouragement à fonder des start-ups. En réalité, une bonne partie des innovations débouchant sur des produits qui se vendent bien ne sont pas scientifiques, mais industrielles et marketing ; les travaux scientifiques agissent plutôt de façon diffuse, la conception d'un produit innovant n'étant possible que par l'état général des connaissance et la formation d'étudiants à cet état des connaissances.

Pour prendre un exemple concret, il n'y a aucune découverte scientifique spécifique et « de rupture » derrière le succès de l'iPhone d'Apple ; les découvertes scientifiques s'y rapportant (semiconducteurs, traitement du signal, informatique, etc.) s'appliquent également aux modèles d'autres constructeurs ; ce qui a fait la différence ce sont l'image, l'attention aux détails, la conception… Je dirais même que c'est le cas le plus général et que les produits technologiques permis par une avancée scientifique précise sont une infime minorité. De même, le commerce électronique n'a pas décollé dans les années 1990-2000 suite à une invention précise, mais notamment grâce à des recherches sur la cryptographie à clef publique menées dans les années 1970, elles-mêmes basées sur des siècles et des siècles de recherches en arithmétique, domaine des mathématiques pourtant jadis réputé inutile car inapplicable aux tâches industrielles et militaires… de l'époque.

Un peu de culture scientifique permettrait pourtant de comprendre que si l'on veut, par exemple, construire des poutres en fibre de carbone qui cassent moins, il est important de comprendre les mécanismes de la cassure et que ces mécanismes peuvent être étudiés sur des objets moins coûteux, par exemple des spaghettis crus. De même, concevoir des algorithmes efficaces pour projeter des polyèdres en grande dimension peut paraître une recherche inutilement ésotérique, si on ignore que de tels polyèdres interviennent dans des problèmes de sûreté de fonctionnement de logiciels qui pilotent des avions, des trains, etc. Là encore, il s'agit de faire avancer l'état des connaissances plutôt que produire une découverte « magique ».

Ainsi,derrière les discours sur « l'innovation de rupture » et l'« excellence » il y a une sorte d'imagerie d'Épinal où le chercheur scientifique « qui trouve » soit est Einstein, soit construit lui-même une invention, les autres chercheurs étant au mieux des rêveurs inutiles, au pire des tire-au-flanc.

20 Oct 07:16

Instant câlin



(source)

21 Oct 11:05

Instant câlin

(Source)

14 Oct 11:56

Salut la petite miss

08 Oct 06:33

Les enfants, ça va pas mieux

07 Oct 12:46

Introducing Garfi, chat vénère


Garfi vit en Turquie. Plus de photos ici.

 

(Merci à Coralie pour la suggestion

06 Oct 16:46

Photo



05 Oct 21:02

#206

by Mandrill Johnson

03 Oct 12:43

Mr. President, I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed. I do say, no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops! Depending on the breaks

by but does it float
Photographs of nuclear slide-rules Title: Dr. Strangelove Folkert
04 Oct 08:15

http://otexier.blogspot.com/2014/10/blog-post.html

by OTexier

23 Sep 12:41

Being John Malkovich Being John Malkovich Being John Malkovich

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, 1936

 

Des photos mythiques avec la tête de John Malkovich dedans. C'est le projet Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters du photographe Sandro Miller qui a collaboré avec l'acteur pour reproduire les clichés mythiques d'artistes majeurs de la photographie. 

 

Albert Watson, Alfred Hitchcock with Goose1973

 

Alberto Korda, Che Guevara, 1960

 

Andy Warhol, Self Portrait (Fright Wig), 1986

 

Annie Leibovitz, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980

 

Arthur Sasse, Albert Einstein Sticking Out His Tongue, 1951

Bert Stern, Marilyn in Pink Roses, 1962

 

David Bailey, Mick Jagger “Fur Hood”, 1964

Diane Arbus, Identical Twins, 1967

 

Gordon Parks, American Gothic, 1942

 

Philippe Halsman, Salvador Dalí1954

 

(Source

 

23 Sep 18:44

http://otexier.blogspot.com/2014/09/blog-post_23.html

by OTexier

22 Sep 17:06

Page Pute - Faites des gosses, plein

Recherche

Page Pute

Faites des gosses, plein

Jeudi, 18 Septembre 2014

(Source)

Articles relatifs :

19 Sep 17:45

#201

by Mandrill Johnson

25 Aug 19:30

Photo









06 Sep 11:25

Photo

Lucas Vigroux

Montagne + geometrie fantastique = beauté

















15 Sep 16:59

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

Lucas Vigroux

Looks like it could help me catch up on my rapidly decreasing scientific knowledge...

Feynman • Leighton • Sands

Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website are pleased to present this online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Now, anyone with internet access and a web browser can enjoy reading a high quality up-to-date copy of Feynman's legendary lectures.

However, we want to be clear that this edition is only free to read online, and this posting does not transfer any right to download all or any portion of The Feynman Lectures on Physics for any purpose.

This edition has been designed for ease of reading on devices of any size or shape; text, figures and equations can all be zoomed without degradation.1

For comments or questions about this edition please contact Michael Gottlieb.

 

Richard Feynman talking with a teaching assistant after the lecture on The Dependence of Amplitudes on Time, Robert Leighton and Matthew Sands in background, April 29, 1963.

Photograph by Tom Harvey. Copyright © California Institute of Technology.

Contributions from many parties have enabled and benefitted the creation of the HTML edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. We wish to thank

  • Carver Mead, for his warm encouragement and generous financial support, without which this edition would have been impossible,

  • Thomas Kelleher and Basic Books, for their open-mindedness in allowing this edition to be published free of charge,

  • Adam Cochran, for tying up the many slippery loose ends that needed to come together in order for this edition to be realized,

  • Alan Rice for his steadfast enthusiasm for this project, and for rallying the support of Caltech's Division of Physics Math and Astronomy ,

  • Michael Hartl and Evan Dorn, for their contributions to converting the FLP LaTeX manuscript into HTML.

Copyright © 1963, 2006, 2013 by the California Institute of Technology,
Michael A. Gottlieb, and Rudolf Pfeiffer

21 Aug 21:47

http://www.lememe.com/archives/35346

by daniel

11 Sep 04:00

September 11, 2014


Slice.
04 Sep 15:42

Photo



10 Sep 18:30

Señor Gif - Page 17 - Funny Animated GIFs - Cheezburger

by gatito
10 Sep 11:44

Señor Gif - Page 4 - Funny Animated GIFs - Cheezburger

by gatito
04 Sep 15:54

Photo



25 Aug 21:39

UCL’s senior common room and the Boston marathon: emancipation in the 1960s, and now

by David Colquhoun

Jump to follow-up

I have always been insanely proud to work at UCL. My first job was as an assistant lecturer. The famous pharmacologist, Heinz Otto Schild gave me that job in 1964, and apart from nine years, I have been there ever since. That’s 50 years. I love its godless tradition. I love its multi-faculty nature. And I love its relatively democratic ways (with rare exceptions).

From the start, the intellectual heart of UCL has been the staff Common Room. As I so often say, failing to waste time drinking coffee with people who are cleverer than yourself can seriously damage your career (and your happiness). And there’s no better place for that than the Housman room.

 

It is there that I met the great statistician Alan Hawkes, without whom much of my research would never have happened. It was there that Hyman Kestelman (among others) gave me informal tutorials on matrix algebra over lunch. It was there where I have met John Sutherland (English), Mary Fulbrook (German), many historians and people from the Slade school of Art. And it was there where, yesterday, I had an illuminating conversation with Steve Jones about the problems of twin studies for measuring heritability.

I was astonished when I arrived at UCL to discover that the Housman room was male only. I’d just come from Edinburgh which still had separate men’s and women’s student unions and some men-only bars. But Edinburgh also had a wonderful staff club, open to all. It’s true that UCL had also a women-only common room and a mixed common room, the Haldane room (which is where I went usually). But the biggest and most impressive room, the Housman room, was for men only. I found this very odd in the 1960s, the age of sexual liberation. Reform was in the air in the 1960s.

A lot of other people, not all female, thought it odd too. Direct action was called for (I was in CND at the time). So we’d go into the Housman room with a woman and join the queue for coffee. It never took long before some pompous prat would tap the woman on the shoulder and eject her. I can’t remember now the names of any of the feisty women who braved the lions’ den (perhaps this blog will remind someone).

I had any ally in Brian Woledge. He was Fielden Professor of French at UCL from 1939 (when I was 3) to 1971 so he was on the brink of retirement. I was a young lecturer, but our thinking on segregation was much the same. His obituary in the Guardian says “Of robustly secular beliefs and Fabian views, in important respects he was an heir to the ideals of the Enlightenment”. It’s no wonder we got on well.

The picture, from around 1970, was supplied by his son, Roger Woledge, who was in the Physiology department at UCL for most of his life, and who did his PhD with my great hero, A.V. Hill.

In 1967 we proposed a motion at the Housman AGM to desegregate all common rooms. It was defeated. The next year we did it again, and were defeated again.. But at the third attempt, in 1969, we succeeded. I was very happy to have had a small role in upholding UCL’s liberal traditions.

It is now quite impossible to imagine that UCL was segregated. After all, UCL was the first English university to admit women on equal terms to men, in 1878 (the Scots were a bit ahead) And UCL was home to Kathleen Lonsdale (1903 -1971), one of the first two female fellows of the Royal Society, and the first female professor at UCL.

 

Nevertheless, in the mid-1960s, women were very far from being regarded as equal, even at UCL. At the time, segregation was more common than people now remember.

I was spurred to write this post when Melissa Terras, UCL’s professor of digital humanities, retweeted a reminder that it was in 1967 that a woman first ran in a an official marathon, and suffered physical attack from a male organiser for her temerity.

I responded

I was urged to record this history by both Terras and by Lisa Jardine, Director of UCL’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities. So I have done it.

I was very aware of Kathy Switzer at the time, and I’ve no doubt she is part of the reason why I felt strongly about segregation. You can read about the 1967 Boston marathon in her own words. I thought it was a wonderful story, though I wasn’t yet into distance running myself (I was still sailing and boxing).

One of the great thing about marathons is that women and men run in the same race. That means that almost all men have had to get used to being overtaken by very many women. That has been wonderfully good for deflating male egos. When I was training for marathons in the 1980s, my training partner, Annie Briggs was on the elite start -a good hour faster than I could manage.

Now we are accustomed to watching Paula Radcliffe run marathons faster than any but the very best men. She’s the world record holder with the spectacular time of 2 hours 15 min in the 2003 London Marathon (my best is 3 hr 57 min). That’s only a bit over 26 consecutive 5 minute miles. And that’s faster than I could run a single mile at my peak.[Picture from Wikipedia: NYC marathon 2008 2:23:56]

 

It’s now utterly beyond belief that in the 1960s men were saying that women were too feeble to run 26 miles. It was sheer blind arrogance. After Switzer, progress was fast. In 1972 women were allowed to run in Boston, and within 10 years, the women’s record time had fallen by a full hour. Physiology hadn’t changed, but confidence had.

Of course it wasn’t until the 2012 Olympics that women gained total equality in sport. Everyone who said that women were incapable of competing in combat sports should see Rosi Sexton in action.

She’s the ultimate high-achiever. She’s an accomplished musician (grade 7 cello, ALCM piano) and she played at the Albert Hall with the Reading Youth Orchestra. She went on to get a first in maths (Cambridge, Trinity College), where her tutor was Tim Gowers. Then she did a PhD in theoretical computer science from Manchester (read her thesis). And she’s had a distinguished career as professional athlete, competing at the highest level in MMA. Why? “The other things I did, the music, the maths, just weren’t quite hard enough“.

Taking bow at school concert

PhD, Manchester

Athlete in MMA

Not many athletes have a paper in the Journal of Pure and Applied Algebra. I’d be very happy if I could do any one of these things as well as she does.

It could not be more appropriate than to be writng this in the week when the Fields medal was won by a woman, Maryam Mirzakhani, for the first time since it started, in 1936. Genetics hasn’t changed since 1936. Confidence has.

UCL mathematician, Helen Wilson, points out the encouragement this will give to female mathematicians.

As in marathons, confidence, role models and zeitgeist matter as much as genetics.

It’s examples like these that have made me profoundly suspicious of generalisations about what particular groups of people can and cannot do. Whether it is working class boys. black boys, or women, such generalisations can be shattered over a decade or two, once the zeitgeist changes.

That’s one reason that I am so unsympathetic to the IQ enthusiasts. Great harm has stemmed from the belief that it’s possible to sum up human achievements in a single number. What’s more, it’s a number that measures your resemblance to white male psychologists. It is because politicians believed the over-hyped claims of psychologists in the 1930s, that three-quarters of the population was written off. Much the same thing has happened with women, and with skin colour.

Don’t believe it.

And the job of desegregation may not be entirely finished. In fact now it is harder to combat, since it’s unspoken. Once again, I’m reminded of Peter Lawrence’s essay, The Mismeasurement of Science. Speaking of the perverse incentives and over-competitiveness that has invaded academia, he says

“Gentle people of both sexes vote with their feet and leave a profession that they, correctly, perceive to discriminate against them [17]. Not only do we lose many original researchers, I think science would flourish more in an understanding and empathetic workplace.”

The perverse incentives that make academic life hard for women (and for many men too) are administered by HR departments (with the collusion of mostly elderly male academics). They are the very same people who write fine-sounding diversity documents and lecture you about work-life balance.

It’s time they woke up.


Note. The minutes of Housman AGMs from the 1960s are missing at the moment. If they come to light, this post will be modified accordingly.

Follow-up

29 August 2014

As I’d hoped, this post elicited the name of one of the women who braved the rules and went into the Housman room when it was still men-only. I had an email from Lynn Bindman, and she told me that one of them was Gertrude Falk (1925 – 2008), who had worked in Bernard Katz’s Biophysics Department since 1961.


Gertrude Falk at 76
(Camden New Journal)

In 1967 she must have been about 42. The episode is mentioned in Gertrude’s obituary in the Guardian. She also sent me a copy of the Physiologocal Society’s obituary, which recounts the story thus.

"Her indifference to conventions is well illustrated by the occasion when, drinking coffee in the men’s staff common room, at that time still segregated, she responded calmly to the Beadle summoned to escort her out, “well, I am certainly going to finish my coffee first”, and did so at her leisure."

I have another story about Gertrude’s feistiness. Every year the Royal Society has a soirée for fellows and guests. It’s a sort of private view for the Summer Science exhibition. Men are required to dress like penguins despite the heat, and the invitation says "decorations will be worn". The food is good though it’s all a bit pompous for my taste. Some years ago I met Gertrude at a soirée and I saw she was wearing a medal round her neck. I said "have they made you a Dame of the British Empire?". She held up the medal and I saw it said "Erasmus High School Economics Prize". She is why I usually go to the soirée wearing my London Marathon medal.

07 Sep 17:06

интересное от mxx

26 Aug 10:04

Here is an illustration I did for Poppermag 7...

Lucas Vigroux

Beau comme un beau ballon







Here is an illustration I did for Poppermag 7 “girlfirend” issue.

22 Aug 04:00

Loop

Lucas Vigroux

Back to work

Ugh, today's kids are forgetting the old-fashioned art of absentmindedly reading the same half-page of a book over and over and then letting your attention wander and picking up another book.