Chronicles from useR! – “the funny side”

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Dear R users, ten days after the conference here you are still one post to describe, through a miscellanea, some not less interesting things of the useR in Aalborg…

First of all let me and my colleague Nicola thank Google Maps: without it we would seriously risk to miss our flight from Milan Linate’s airport since on the usual way from Padua to Milan a big accident occurred.

Already as landing in Denmark we saw a first very curious thing: the airport of Aalborg is in the middle of the countryside and while landing a tractor had to yield to our airplane!

The conference venue is a wonderful and equipped place with a big garden outside, where there are several stones, each of one with the name of a different singer; furthermore by pushing a botton on the stones, famous songs of the singers are played. Elton John’s stone was playing music all the time…

Among sponsors, it was curious to see Quantide at the same level of Google and IBM… proud of that for me and Nicola! :-)

We found Aalborg apparently an empty and quite town but if you go to the movida neighborhood of the town, called Jomfru Ane Gade, you find a very nice and famous street with lots of pubs and disco pubs. The strange thing is that, differently from Italy, the movida neighborhood is the cheapest one: half liter beers starting from 1-2 € (against the 5-6 € of other neighborhoods) and shots from 0.80 €… I let you imagine which are the conditions of the Danes (and mine, too) in the morning! Another particular thing is that if you go out to drink something at 11 P.M. and come back home at 3 A.M., you stay all night long outside: nights in Denmark are really short, just 3 hours more or less (in summer, obviously…).

The Conference Dinner was the most original conference dinner I have ever attended! They brought us in the Rold Forest, the second biggest forest in Denmark. Here we were received by some people dressed as Danish bandits who pretended to capture the most beautiful girls of the useR! It was really funny! After that they led us inside the forest in a clearing of the forest where we could eat (a lot of) meat and drink (a lot of) beer and wine (open bar…) or improvise archery, axe and saw competitions… (Could you imagine 400 geek and drunk people throwing arrows or axes and sawing trunks?!?)

During these activities the atmosphere to “play an Italy vs. France” arose: my colleague Nicola, me and Federico, a very pleasant guy who is attending a PhD in Mainz, against three French useRs. We tried to give them 2006’s revenge, but obviously the final result was the same: Italy won! To be precise we won 2-1: we lost in archery (my performance, in particular, was really a disaster!) but won in axe throwing (thanks to Federico’s 3/3 targets) and in sawing, where me and Nicola were much faster than our French friends.

I eventually came home with more Norwegian (5 Crowns) than Danish money (3 Crowns). Even the coins, besides the languages, are very similar in these two countries…

Aalborg is a nice town, but probably not so used to great events like this: the airport of Aalborg was literally blocked. Finally, when coming back it was very funny to see that the first return flight to Amsterdam (then we took a second flight from Amsterdam to Milan Linate) for at least 80% consisted of useRs and it resembled a useR charter flight!

See you soon, at the next Chronicle…

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