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]


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]


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]


Isolation Skills: How to Make Sourdough Bread

Homemade, Sourdough-Risen, Caraway and Onion Rye.

Today, President Trump extended the federally recommended period for isolation against the Wuhan virus until the end of April. In light of that extension, I’d like to share some personal, practical knowledge with as wide an audience as possible.

Ten years ago, I actively sought out a low-tech, hands-on hobby – something that I could do to fully unwind from a stressful day working in I.T.. I eventually settled on baking bread. Two years into that hobby, I grew and used my first sourdough culture. I have never looked back.... [Read More]


Vietnam’s Ministry of Health

In an animated music video from an unlikely source, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health may have unwittingly delivered the epidemic’s anthem — a catchy three-minute tune that sounds like it belongs on Top 40 rotation reminding citizens to wash their hands vigorously, avoid touching their faces and stay clear of crowded places.

... [Read More]