How are we doing?

Many people are upset about how vaccination has been going. We started off strong and then peaked early and it looks like 20-30% of people just don't care enough to get vaccinated and never will so we are all doomed. Thing is, the 50% plus of the population that is vaccinated skews heavily towards the…

Underpants Gnomes!

For one glorious week in sunny Los Angeles, the fully vaccinated (such as I) could enter a store to purchase dog food, or a restaurant to purchase a fish burrito, without wearing a mask. Those examples are the only things I was able to do before the indoor mask mandate for everyone, both virtuous and…

Did Lockdowns Help?

Analysis of the effect of severity of containment policy This one will be a bit short. No one seems to care much about COVID-19 policies. Rather, no one really cares if they worked or not unless the answer supports the policy and judgement of their team. Sad decade for fans of critical thinking and problem…

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…