Friday, July 31, 2020
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
What they do not mention is that the daily death rate has fallen by almost two orders of magnitude over the past three months, from a high of just over a hundred deaths per day to currently one or two deaths each day, making the Swedish per capita daily death rate less than a tenth the U.S. figure. By my calculations, if daily death rates stay the same in both countries, U.S. total deaths per capita will reach the Swedish figure in about two months.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
CDC study shows COVID-19 cases may be 10 times higher than reported
The story warns that this shows that states that are opening up are making a mistake, that the problem is worse than we thought. It does not seem to have occurred to the author that if there are ten times as many cases as we thought and the same number of deaths, that means that the disease is only a tenth as lethal as we thought it was, which is an argument in favor of opening up, not against. Nobody has been arguing that we should respond to each year's flu season with a lockdown.
The article also does not mention that this is the same result, in a somewhat stronger form, that was reported by people at Stanford quite a while back, on a similar basis, and for which they were severely criticized.
The explanation may be political bias. Trump has tended to downplay the seriousness of Covid, his opponents to do the opposite, and most reporters, probably including the author of this article, are opposed to Trump. But it may also be the bias that leads many people to believe that everyone else should be taking more precautions — against Covid, overweight, or anything else — than they are, hence to regard it as socially responsible to exaggerate any news that makes a threat look bigger, downplay or ignore news that makes it look smaller.
P.S. Looking at another source, it looks as though the claim is between two and thirteen times the number of known cases (for the U.S.). But I think previous mortality estimates already took account of some asymptomatic cases, so were using something larger than the known cases figure.
That said, the commentary continues to get precisely the wrong conclusion:
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security who was uninvolved in the study, told The Washington Post. “This study should put to bed any further argument that we should allow this virus to rip through our communities in order to achieve herd immunity.”
If the number of people who have had the virus is (say) twice the number we thought it was, then the deaths we have suffered so far have brought us twice as far towards herd immunity as we thought. Aiming at herd immunity may or may not make sense, but the new evidence makes the strategy look better than before, not worse, which is the opposite of Ms Nuzzo's claim.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, I’m a luxury item they don’t want to afford. And that’s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why I’m out of here.
But here’s what I do truly and deeply miss: writing freely without being in a defensive crouch; airing tough, smart dissent and engaging with readers in a substantive way that avoids Twitter madness; a truly free intellectual space where anything, yes anything, can be debated without personal abuse or questioning of motives; and where readers can force me to change my mind (or not) by sheer logic or personal testimony. I miss a readership that truly was eclectic — left, liberal, centrist, right, reactionary — and that loved to be challenged by me and by each other. I miss just the sheer fun that used to be a part of being a hack before all these dreadfully earnest, humor-free puritans took over the press: jokes, window views, silly videos, contests, puns, rickrolls, and so on.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
I think everyone agrees that the better the economic situation as of election day, the better the Republicans will do. It follows that Trump would weight economic costs of lockdowns and the like much more heavily, relative to health costs, especially health costs over the next couple of months, than his opponents.
Monday, July 13, 2020
Climate + other environmental issues
Home Schooling (and education more generally)
Law and econ
Cryptocurrencies and encryption?
Law and law enforcement
Republicans less nutty than they are represented as
My wish list
Science, inference, information sources and the like
Eugenic and genetic issues. Contraception. Polygamy.
Libertarianism and anarchy
Internet stuff and evaluating stuff
My writing? Novels?
How to lie with statistics while telling the truth?
The FLDS Case
Friday, July 10, 2020
Thursday, July 09, 2020
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
Monday, July 06, 2020
Friday, July 03, 2020
I start with a high value of number infected in the U.S. — ten times the number of known cases, or 28 million. Assume, for simplicity, that those infections were spread out evenly over a period of four months and that each would test positive for a month. Then the number who would test positive at any given time was 7 million, or about 2% of the population.