Category Archives: Coronavirus

When innumeracy kills

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Covid risk of harm

In mid-November a fundamentalist Tulsa megachurch held a packed, largely-maskless Christian concert for 2500 people. I’ll deal with the theological ironies in a later post, but despite their likely support for “Right to Life,” I can confidently say that, statistically, the attendees surely murdered people with the coronavirus that night, perhaps people even not in attendance. Ignorance of basic mathematics… Read more »

Moral luck, Donald Trump and the coronavirus

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Trump Covid

The concept of moral luck is one of the more curious sidelines in the study of ethics, at the intersection of moral philosophy and mathematics. However, Donald Trump’s bizarre reactions up to, during, and after contracting Covid-19 make for a great opportunity to look at the concept. In short, President Trump first ascribed his escape from Covid for the first… Read more »

The disqualifying hubris of Amy Coney Barrett

Trump & Barrett

Hubris was a common theme in ancient Greek theater. Excessive pride and arrogance were punished by the gods with a spectacular fall from grace and power. And hubris seems to be a requirement for recent nominees to the Supreme Court. However, the hubris being shown by Judge Amy Coney Barrett in her ill-timed nomination is so egregious that she must… Read more »

Eldercare and the economic vacuum cleaner – part 1

Nursing home corridor

Rich people pass on wealth to their children; poor people don’t. And increasingly, middle-class people don’t either. We know that this lack of inheritance in the middle and lower ends is a significant force behind rising income inequality over the last 30 years. Much of the “extraction” of net worth from middle-class families happens in the last years of their… Read more »

Choose your own stock market adventure

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If you are fortunate to be living off sizable and broadly diversified investments in the world’s financial markets, then your financial position by mid-August likely came back pretty close to where it was in January of 2020, before the “Coronavirus Crash.” This is especially true when dividends and interest payments received since then are included. And if you are not?… Read more »

Covid math you learned in elementary school

Desk

The three major Covid-19 mitigations available to “normal folks” have clearly become highly politicized. The frustrating thing here is that all three are based on science and mathematics principles that you likely learned in elementary school, but have either been forgotten or have been overridden by anti-science political cultism. So, squeeze yourself back into that 5th grade desk and let’s… Read more »

The anatomy of an 11-day Covid-19 test report

Covid testing Sarasota

The test result finally came eleven days, almost to the hour, from getting swabbed at a mass drive-up testing site on July 2nd. Even then, the confirmation came not through the official portal, but rather via secure email from one of the several email, website response and telephone call queries I had been making for several days. I had been… Read more »

The Covid attack on empathy, sympathy and compassion

Empathy-Sympathy-Compassion

It is now official. The coronavirus mitigation policy of President Trump and state governors like Iowa’s Kim Reynolds is now essentially, “Sorry, old folks and immigrant workers, a lot of you are gonna die.” As a member of that honored class, pardon me if I am angry today. The coronavirus has taken a huge hit on three bedrocks of human… Read more »

A Florida coronavirus film noir in four acts

June Florida Coronavirus

The dramatic June resurgence of Covid-19 cases in my current home of Florida strikes me as film noir that has been playing out in four acts. You could write this story in a number of ways, but I see the plot line as a battle among the exciting(?) mathematical concepts of uncertainty, probability, and fecundity, with some ugly politics thrown… Read more »

Worth a read: Galileo and the Science Deniers by Mario Livio

Galileo and the Science Deniers

“[T]he present Pope, who abhors the liberal arts and this kind of mind, cannot stand these novelties and subtleties; and everyone here tries to adjust his mind and his nature to that of the ruler.” Piero Guicciardini, describing Pope Paul V (1550–1621) Astrophysicist and Hubble Telescope guru Mario Livio suggests that you substitute the name of some current political ruler… Read more »