dumbmatter.com

Online home of Jeremy Scheff

A simple explanation for why modeling COVID-19 is hard

Over at FiveThirtyEight there is a great article about why it's so hard to model the effects COVID-19. Basically their answer is that there are many factors that go into a model, but many of them are very uncertain, and many of them are also dynamic. For instance, what is the probability of transmission when an infected person interacts with a non-infected person? There's a lot of uncertainty in that estimate. But also, it's going to change over time. Particularly, as the pandemic worsens, people will likely do more social distancing and other mitigation strategies, resulting in a lower transmission rate.

Tricky stuff to predict precisely! But I think that's not quite the complete picture, and there's an even simpler and clearer explanation.

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My take on COVID-19

I have a bit of time on my hands right now, so I figured I'd write up my current COVID-19 take. Not really because I think anyone cares. I mean, there are many better informed takes out there. I'm mostly writing this for myself, so I can look back on it and see how my perception has changed.

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What happened to the Pete Buttigieg "High Hopes" dance?

In late 2019, a few videos appeared online showing some Pete Buttigieg supporters doing a corny dance to Panic! at the Disco's "High Hopes". Here's one, and another, yet another, and still one more.

The rapid release of all those different videos suggested to me that this was not an isolated incident. Crazed Mayor Pete fans must be doing that lame dance all over the place!

I was excited to see more videos. But sadly that never happened. Those are still the only four Pete Buttigieg dance videos I have ever seen.

So what happened? Did Mayor Pete decide to crush the high hopes of his supporters by banning their fun little dance? Or are they still doing it, but with extreme levels of security to prevent further online ridicule?


Porting Basketball GM to TypeScript

I'm gonna do that thing again where I link to a post on my Basketball GM blog that possbily is of broader interest.


Moving from Browserify to Rollup

I'm gonna do that thing again where I link to a post on my Basketball GM blog that possbily is of broader interest.


Why do NCAA tournament brackets lack symmetry?

Very important stuff here!

Take a look at a portion of a normal NCAA tournament bracket. This is one region, cut off at the sweet 16, with all the favorites filled in:

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My favorite hip hop albums of the 2010s

In 2010, I was kinda tuned out of the rap game. I'm not saying there was no good hip hop music in the late 2000s. There was definitely some good stuff. Big names like Kanye, of course. Some underground guys like Big K.R.I.T. and Wale were releasing great stuff. But there was also a lot of trash. Overall, it didn't hold my interest.

In 2012, by chance I heard Goldie on the radio. It sounded new, fresh, interesting, exciting. I wanted more. I started seeking out new hip hop music, and I was rewarded by discovering a ton of incredible new artists. This is why, even though I was born in 1985 and started listening to hip hop in the 90s, the 2010s are my decade for hip hop music. And as the 2010s are coming to an end, I'm feeling nostalgic for what a great decade it was.

So here we are. I'm going to go through the 2010s, starting in 2011, and talk about my favorite albums from each year. Why start in 2011 rather than 2010? Because that's when A$AP Rocky's first mixtape dropped.

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Which NBA players take the most shots with their foot on the three point line?

Which NBA players take the most shots with their foot on the three point line? If you want the answer to that question, check out the post I wrote on the Basketball GM blog.

Why there and not here? I figure, when the hordes of highly interested basketball fans find this spectacular blog post, I'd rather BBGM gets some shine than dumbmatter.com.


The double Dunning-Kruger effect

Wikipedia defines the Dunning-Kruger effect as:

a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is

Look it up on Google Images and you'll find various summary images, like these:

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Age gaps and death gaps

As you may have noticed, relationships often have age gaps. This is fine, but it does imply that the younger partner is likely to outlive the older partner. Further compounding this problem is that the older partner usually is the man, and men tend to die younger than women to begin with.

So here is a calculator to show the probability distribution of the number of years between the deaths of two partners, based on age and gender. Of course there are many other factors at play besides those two, but this should give you a rough estimate.

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