Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:


  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère


    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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Interesting. Assuming it's a 5-year course of study and nobody does a second year before washing out, that's 2,900 student-years of work in the first year, and 4 x 300 = 1,200 student-years of work by the successful students during the next 4 years before they graduate.

So 63% of the total student-years of work are wasted, along with the cost of providing the associated facilities and instruction, in addition to 90% of the students having all of their time wasted.

Doesn't seem so bad really, just government more or less as usual, until one reflects that all of that effort and cost might have been used differently to produce something useful.

I guess it's possible there is a second track where many of the rejects at the end of the first year go, where they derive some benefit from their first year studies. Veterinary studies? Nursing? Probably still not very efficient.

Yes, it's called the numerus clausus. Been going on for years. It's crazy because thousands of kids stand to lose one or two years of their lives -- or worse, get reoriented to "filières" they didn't choose in the first place, for the sake of capitalizing on the time already passed [wasted] studying for what they really wanted to do.

Have you heard of all the French students who go to college in nearby Belgium, so they can do what they really want to do? [Not that it pleases the Belgians.]

More manifs on the way...

80% of an age classe must pass the baccalaureat.
I don't mean must TAKE it (as you could assume I meant as many of us French do) but really PASS. Which mean that all this people who were given the baccalureat to maintain our state statistics, are free to go in Medecine.
Well it seems puzzling for some French people that not all of these students actually have a good enough level to be doctors. Not everybody can!!! The selection, which used to be done by having or not the bac (because there were times when you could fail) is now done one year later by passing or not the 1rst year exam.
The selection is still there, our future doctors are still well trained by years of hard studies and hard work that not everybody is willing to sacrifice their lives to AND we keep our good statistics as PPDA, every July, annouce proudly _ as if he actually believed it _ that our very good Education system allows 80% of the 2006 vintage to successfully pass the Bac.
Everybody is happy and the 2600 students wasting their time in Descartes are not counted as unemployed : GOOD MATHS!!!

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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