Category Archives: In the News

Why I won’t be in church on Easter morning

Nautilus shell

Politics meets religion meets mathematics. The political talk is that churches should open on Easter Sunday, April 12, and go back to “life as usual.” But the hard math says, “Please, do not do this!” One common talking point compares Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. so far (900+) to auto accident deaths (about 37,000 annually) and mocks the “big deal”… Read more »

Is it time for you to go back to cash?

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Woody Guthrie

Especially when the economy is going to hell, money is just a quantification of the choices available to you at this moment. And your array of personal choices may not look very good at this particular time. My CPA hat has been in retirement, but I think it is time to put it back on and talk about some financial… Read more »

Kids, can you say Fecundity?

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Nautilus shell

Note: this post has been updated to bring the data up to March 19, 2020. A little family secret: my maternal grandparents were very fecund. This word is not used much in normal conversation these days, and indeed it sounds a bit nasty. However, it simply means that they “went forth and multiplied,” which indeed they did fifteen times, with… Read more »

Choose your favorite autocrat

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Political Compass

I spent the longest part of my career teaching and publishing books relating to the world’s financial systems. In recent years, however, I have come to accept that a lot of the “great economic debates” are more often closer to the millions of words written over “angels on the head of a pin” differences in theologies among the world’s religions…. Read more »

COVID-19 and real-life lifeboat ethics

Before there was the “Trolley Problem,” ethics classes would commonly haul out “Lifeboat Ethics” scenarios to stimulate class discussion. In my years of teaching ethics, I never used either because I dislike them both. They both ask the wrong questions, and they lead the Stephen Millers of the world to invoke horrendous “Lord of the Flies” government policies like caging… Read more »

The roll of the COVID-19 dice

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Bayes Theorem

“It doesn’t want to kill you before you transmit it.” – biologist Michael Farzan of Scripps Research That quote is not so scary as it sounds; it is basic probability math. The probability math of the COVID-19 Coronavirus variant has hit the news, and not in a good way. We have already seen the first reported cases in my county… Read more »

Am I my brother’s heathcare keeper?

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He Ain't Heavy

A drug treating seizures in small children formerly sold for $40 per vial. Mallinckrodt, the manufacturer, has raised the price to $39,000 per vial, causing one city in Georgia to expend over $2 million for just one employee’s child. [1] Yes, the manufacturer has “reasons” and the story is more complicated than the headline. Regardless of this complexity, does this… Read more »

Impeachment and the death of professional ethics

Legality Morality & Professional Ethics

One part of the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump disturbed me more for professional reasons than did some of the other absurdities. I watched White House counsel Pat Cipollone publicly violate at least three professional ethical standards required of attorneys with no consequences while standing in front of “potted plant” Chief Justice John Roberts in defense of the President…. Read more »