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How my school gamed the stats

What do you mean 'problem'? Everybody involved wants the inspection to go well, the correlation between the outcome of the inspection and the quality of the school/firm's books is incidental at best.

Covid 2/18: Vaccines Still Work

This is a very good point, and in my eyes explains the observations pretty much completely. Thanks!

Covid 2/18: Vaccines Still Work

(yet it was contained in the UK, which is great and suggests I'm talking BS)

I continue to be extremely surprised by the UK decline in numbers. The Netherlands is reporting a current estimated R of 1.1-1.2 for the English strain and 0.8-0.9 for the wild types. They furthermore estimate that just over half of all newly reported cases are English strain by now. But the UK daily cases have dropped by 80% in 40 days, which at a reproduction time of 6 days would mean R = 0.79 throughout.

In the past I suggested a few potential, not mutually exclusive, explanations:

  1. The UK has implemented significantly more effective measures, and if we just copy them we can totally beat the English strain.
  2. The height of the UK peak in the second week of January was caused by Christmas and New Years holiday craze, which caused significant delayed reporting ('better take that test after I visit all my friends and family, otherwise I won't be allowed to join them') and massively overestimates the peak, and also the decay.
  3. The Dutch models are crap.
  4. The UK numbers are crap.
  5. The English strain has spread throughout the London area so rapidly that it hit local group immunity, and the plummet afterwards is caused by a lack of geographical spread. Once this picks up again the UK will see a stark rise in cases.

I previously put my money on hypothesis number 5, but as time goes on it steadily loses credibility. If anybody has a suggestion for what's going on in the UK right now I'm all ears, I am currently not taking their drop in cases at face value.

Covid 2/11: As Expected

The loss of life and health of innocent people who got suckered into a political issue without considering the ramifications?

I mean, the group of people who holds out on getting a vaccine as long as possible will definitely be harder to convince than the average citizen. But with these numbers (death rate, long term health conditions, effectiveness of vaccines) around are you seriously suggesting trying to help them is not cost-effective? From the post I think you're talking about tens of millions of people in the USA alone, if not 100M+.

Covid 2/11: As Expected

I personally have a very tough time fitting your interpretation into my model of the world. To me the popularity and actions of Facebook et al. are mostly disconnected from our ability to communicate with family and close friends.

In my opinion the timeline seems to be a little more as follows:

  • People are on Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms both to stay in touch with friends and to complain about the outgroup.
  • COVID-19 hit, significantly reducing quality of life everywhere. People realign their political discussions and notions of outgroup along COVID-lines - are you a believer in lockdowns and masks and science or the opposite? This temporarily supersedes other political discussions, not because people have wonderfully unique and insightful opinions on COVID countermeasures but because this is the biggest event happening and as such is necessarily political.
  • After approximately one year of lockdowns and countermeasures people have sunk significant parts of their public profile into their thoughts regarding COVID. A large portion of the public, as well as officials, will support silencing opposition if only to retain a coherent public image (after all, if communication on COVID is not more important than free speech, what have you been doing all these months?).
  • Facebook rises to the occasion and offers to selflessly censor people according to criteria set by the WHO.

I'd like to couple this with a prediction that Facebook will not start censoring older messaged by the WHO and other Respected Officials. I see Facebook's cooperation more as a power grab with plausible deniability than a desire for certain messages (officially endorsed) over others (crackpot/other). It only exists through the support of the very serious people, so it is counterproductive to start challenging them on their own history.

Lastly I think that if you genuinely want to have a heart-to-heart with your friends and family it is silly to restrict yourself to communicating via Facebook. Call them, start a blog, meet somewhere outside for a walk if you want. This has the twin benefit of you not having to worry about issues being 'controversial' as defined by Facebook, and them not having to publicly change their thoughts over your message. Also it is much less embarrassing if it turns out you were unbelievably overconfident all along.

Quadratic, not logarithmic

You are correct, but the hope is that the probabilities involved stay low enough that a linear approximation is reasonable. Using for example, typical events like a shopping trip carry infection risks well below 1% (dependent on location, duration of activity and precautions etc.).

Vaccinated Socializing

I meant after the first shot, sorry for the confusion.

Vaccinated Socializing

I think ojno has a point. Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge the protection from the vaccines takes a bit of time (10 days? 14 days?) to kick in after the vaccination. Arguably "proceed with the same caution as before" is a better message than "go nuts, dance and hug and visit all your friends" in this period, and for simplicity's sake this has become the default message.

Who am I kidding, this is of course because we don't want vaccination to be unfair. If you get social benefits from being vaccinated (by not having to abide by some of the restrictions) then the prioritisation discussion would be even fiercer than it is now. Plus, the more Sacrifices to the Gods you publicly support (h/t Svi) the more of a Serious Person you are, which the CDC tries very hard to be.

Lessons I've Learned from Self-Teaching

Mathoverflow has discussion on it. In short:

  • This area definition is equivalent to the standard definition, although this was (to me) not immediately obvious.
  • Some statements (linearity of integrals, for example) are obvious from the one definition, while others (the Monotone Convergence Theorem) are obvious from the other definition. Unfortunately, proving that the two definitions are equivalent is pretty much the proof for these statements (assuming the other definition).
  • The general approach of "given a claim, test it on indicator functions, then simple functions, then all integrable positive functions, then all integrable functions, then (if desired) integrable complex functions" is called the standard machine of measure theory, so there is educational benefit to seeing it.
Covid 1/21: Turning the Corner

It was pointed out to me that it is really not accurate to consider the UK daily COVID numbers as a single data-point. There could be any number of possible explanations for the decrease in the numbers. Some possible explanations include:

  1. The current lockdown and measures are sufficient to bring the English variant to R<1.
  2. The current measures bring the English variant to an R slightly above 1, and the wild variants to R well below 1, and because nationally the English variant is not dominant yet (even though it is in certain regions) this gives a national R<1.
  3. The English strain has spread so aggressively regionally that group immunity effects in the London area have significantly slowed the spread, while not spreading as quickly geographically.

Most notably, hypotheses 2 & 3 predict that the stagnation will soon reverse back into acceleration (with hypothesis 3 predicting a far higher rate than 2), as the English variant becomes more prevalent throughout the rest of the UK. Let's hope the answer is door number 1?

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