TOTD 2020-4-1: Chocolate Covered Raisins

Being today is the first of April, I thought of writing an April Fool’s Day post. My heart was not in it. I want to think on happier times. I thought of the joy of childhood. Relatively speaking a child is easy to make happy. For me that relatively easy joy was chocolate covered raisins.

I don’t remember buying plastic bays of chocolate covered raisins. I am sure they had them but I usually went with my brother to the Woolworth’s, the epitome of five and dime stores. One could buy candy by the pound. You could either say I want this much weight or I want say 50 cents worth. They weighed it and put it in a paper bag. My philistine brother would buy chocolate covered raspberry or orange bars.... [Read More]


Models, Schmodels

Models are judged by their predictive skill. During today’s COVID-19 press briefing,* Dr. Birx presented the latest modeling that is informing decisions at the federal level. The model makes specific predictions about the number of deaths expected under the current “full mitigation” scheme. Within about two weeks, deaths are predicted to peak at 2.2k per day and it should be clear if the model has predictive value or not. The advantage to using deaths instead of confirmed cases is that the latter are subject to testing bias; corpses are easier to count.

This graph plots the number of deaths per day (vertical scale: each division is 500) versus date (February 1 through August 1). Click on the graph for a full size version. The area under the graph is the cumulative (total) number of expected deaths. The dashed curve is labeled as “projected,” which I take to be the principal prediction within the wider band of uncertainty. The projected curve is approximated by
\(deaths per day=120(x-3.5)^4 exp[ -4(x-3.5) ]\).
The total number of deaths obtained by integrating under the curve is about 90k, which is in good agreement with an eyeball estimate. The lower and upper bounds are 40k and 140k, respectively.... [Read More]


Prediction: Boeing 747 Cargo Use to Expand Sharply

At some point, we will come out of this pandemic thing.  Long before that happens, we should expect to see more Boeing 747s hauling cargo, or at least, getting painted up for the big night out.  Why?

Airlines are shedding older airliners first as they chop capacity, struggling to catch up with the collapse of demand — as well as the A380, which always had the economics of an obsolete machine.  The only other 4-holer of note, the A340, was already nearly removed from service, being exactly a less-efficient A330 with better numerical redundancy (losing one engine meant 25% of power gone, not 50%).  Engines grew up, and better overall reliability along with a better power to gross weight ratio meant that the benefit of shoveling coal at four engines made no sense when the A330 was literally the same aircraft, but better.... [Read More]


Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Left

Big Lefty has already made its first wave assault, so stand by for little left.  I read there’s a wave of strikes coming.  The whole damned Acorn, OFA, #Occupy, #Antifa rabble is going to mobilize.

I hope the right has its stuff together, by which I mean food, fuel, and ammo.  The Communists and their American footsoldiers, our domestic enemies, will not refrain from their pursuit just because there’s a crisis — just the opposite.  This is an excellent crisis for the left, and it will not go to waste.


Cellphone Data Map Reveals Which Americans Are Ignoring Quarantine

Cellphone Data Map Reveals Which Americans Are Ignoring Quarantine

Found on Yahoo, but mostly Yahoo, sucks down news from elsewhere. Still in the article there is a link to another website that will let you look at the raw data for your state.... [Read More]


Why Astrophysicists Shouldn’t Build Things

Astrophysicist Daniel Reardon

Australian astrophysicist Daniel Reardon thought he’d turn his inventiveness to help humanity by inventing a device to help people learn not to inadvertently touch their faces.  His idea was to build a necklace with sensors which would respond to magnets worn on the wrists and buzz to alert the wearer when their hands approached the face.... [Read More]


Bread and Quarantines

I like having fun.  I bet you do, too.  In fact, fun is pretty much defined as those things that we like doing.  So that’s a tautology.  It’s a stupid, self-licking ice cream cone kind of statement.

Work can be fun.  Work is more fun when it’s interesting, and less fun when it’s boring.  Again with the self-licking.  Some work is just what it is, and when it’s time to counter-sink those holes, any fun you can put into it is between you and your drill press.  Other work is more interactive as opposed to merely performative, in that you can affect the perception of others who also touch your widget.  The Maytag Repairman was bored for fifty-seven years because no Maytags ever broke.... [Read More]


Not to further offend soft skinned people, The “Chinese” are liars.

Not to further offend soft skinned people, The “Chinese” are liars.

That is the obvious conclusion about the reports from the Chinese news agencies on the number of deaths in Wuhan.
Urn deliveries in Wuhan raise questions about China’s actual coronavirus death toll.... [Read More]