Is COVID-19 as Terrifying as we Think?

originally published April 8th 2020 Fear of the novel corona virus certainly has ramped up quickly. During a normal flu season people look at me like I’m a lunatic for asking if we can please not shake hands. Now when I’m out walking on a windy day, people in masks give me a wide berth…

Study of Contact Traces in Taiwan

originally published May 4th 2020 Humans, myself certainly included, have terrible instincts for probability and statistics. Evolution has gifted us with programs to deal with specific situations rather than a general aptitude for determining actual likelihood that X will occur given Y. The human brain apparently has two natural states when it comes to disease…

Is COVID-19 almost “over”?

When is all this nonsense going to be over? Don't you want to know? Everyone wants to get back to normal and, with several highly effective (per initial trials) vaccines beginning distribution, we can kinda, sorta, if we squint real hard, see an end. Maybe soon? When this started it seemed like it wouldn't be…

Is Sweden doing better than California?

I've seen several people slavering grossly on my social media about how things got real bad for Sweden this fall. They were delighted (I mean uh, concerned, very concerned) that Sweden was finally getting their comeuppance for their arrogant policy of not shutting everything down and handling things through recommendations and focused policy. My own…

Do Warnings of Epidemiology Models Match Historical Experience?

(Moved from old blog- originally published May 7th 2020) I entered medical school with a stronger scientific background than most doctors. My literary hero was Mister Spock and I considered myself a champion at scientific reasoning. In my youthful arrogance I thought this would mean I would quickly run circles around the less intellectually talented…

When Tools Get Better, pt. 2

Compilers All this got me thinking about and reminiscing about compilers. In the early days of computers the only way a high school nerd could practice programming was to get shared time on a mainframe. I recall when I was young it was possible to do that for a time by paying some money to…

When Tools Get Better

GarageBand I sing. I know, everyone sings. But I mean, I sing as one of my official hobbies. I started singing along with records. A friend from work heard me sing along with his band at a company function (I may have been drinking) and a few months later invited me to audition when his…

Medical Software is Hard

Software developers and entrepreneurs think medical software is the same as any other kind. They set themselves up for heartbreak and me for smugly chuckling. Healthcare has long been considered an industry in desperate need of software magic. When I was young buck it seemed that software for healthcare was 15 or 20 years behind…

Deterministic and Non-Deterministic Software Developers

Long Ago I worked on a project to track and characterize bio-samples. My development team was in Pakistan and the time difference presented the usual challenges. This was slightly before the Scrum/Agile fetish had achieved full pscho-penetration and, as is still my preference, the team lead and I negotiated our own development process. This process…