I finally found a great resource for tracking state by state trends to better understand which are successfully “flattening the curve” and which are not. The site is called 91-DIVOC and is updated several times per day with 4 charts: Cases by Country Cases by US State Cases by Country, Normalized by Population Cases by State, Normalized by Population In each of the 4 charts, you can toggle to view any of 5 metrics: active cases, confirmed cases, new cases / day, deaths, and recoveries. You can also jump between linear and log scales. There are the typical caveats that the charts are only as good as the data quality, and data quality varies significantly based on country/state reporting practices
As things have escalated quickly, I’ve found several resources that provide extremely valuable data and perspectives. The first is this article on Medium by Tomas Pueyo. Everyone should read this, and he’s helpfully had it translated into 26 languages. It’s the single best synthesis I’ve seen of everything going on. He starts with this summary: When you’re done reading the article, this is what you’ll take away:The coronavirus is coming to you.It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.They will have to decide which patient
I recently came across this great example of evolutionary mimicry, where this viper has a tail that it can make to look like a walking spider. It moves it back and forth to trick birds into thinking there’s a spider to eat, and then you can imagine what happens next:
Briefly going back to the roots of this website, here’s an outstanding beer story: Just as the passenger was about to board his Qantas flight to Perth, he was informed at the gate that he wouldn’t be allowed to take his can of beer with him. He argued with the staff, but they insisted that the rule was part of their policy. Much to the Qantas staff’s surprise, the passenger decided to check in his beer. The can went through the usual check-in process, along with the rest of the passengers’ baggage. And it looked like this: More at the link, including a short clip of the beer on the baggage claim.
A few months ago, I discovered Jerry Coyne’s blog, ‘Why Evolution is True‘ via Scott Aaronson’s Blog on quantum computing, ‘Shtetl-Optimized‘ which I’ve followed for over 10 years (full disclosure, I understand about 50% of what Scott writes). Jerry had written some criticism of a YouTube video where Scott shared some thoughts on free will, which ultimately resulted in the two of them connecting, per Scott’s post: A few months ago, I got to know Jerry Coyne, the recently-retired biologist at the University of Chicago who writes the blog “Why Evolution Is True.” The interaction started when Jerry put up a bemused post about my thoughts on predictability and free will, and I pointed out that if he wanted to engage me on those
I recently came across this article – The Man Who’s Spending $1 Billion to Own Every Pop Song – and found it to be fascinating. It’s about a former music manager turned “crazy” (bold?) music investor, who’s buying up the rights to thousands of hit songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Bruno Mars at what most industry experts consider to be irrational valuations. It’s a bit long, but the whole thing is worth a read if you enjoy following the music industry. As a preview, here are a few highlights: In less than three years, Hipgnosis has purchased nearly 7,500 songs, more than 1,000 of which have been number one hits. Mercuriadis has done eight-figure catalog deals
Here’s my list from last year, roughly grouped by how much I enjoyed them (as I did in 2016, 2017, and 2018). With two kids under two, it was tough to find as much time as I’d like to read. But I had the opportunity to re-read a few of my favorites, and I found some great new ones. Special thanks to Danielle P. for a couple spot on recommendations. Recommend 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Harari: I loved Sapiens and was excited to jump into a new Harari book. I found this one to be fun, relevant, and thought provoking. He covers a range of technological, political, and social topics, all with a helpful macro perspective on (1)
I discovered this version of the Band’s song via a post on Jerry Coyne’s “Why Evolution is True” blog. It’s outstanding musically, and I’d never previously come across this “Playing for Change” song cover format where musicians all over the world perform a part, and the elements are thoughtfully stitched together in a way that keeps adding something new without ever letting the arrangement get too crowded. Interestingly, Jerry posted about it two weeks after it was published on YouTube and it only had 830 views. A month later it has almost 2.9 million. Here’s the video: If you enjoy this, it’s worth checking out some of the other “Playing for Change” songs that are recommended on YouTube.
Here’s my list from last year, roughly grouped by how much I enjoyed them (as I did in 2016 and 2017). I found some great ones, and compared to 2017, I read fewer baby books, despite having a new baby (none!). Highly Recommend Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss: This was unlike any negotiation book I’ve read. Written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, it takes a practical real-world approach to successful negotiation, rather than the more common academic frameworks I experienced again and again across a range of classes in undergrad and business school. Not that those frameworks aren’t useful, they just aren’t always useful. This book fills the gaps, and then adds quite a bit. It was
Happy new year! Here’s some of my favorite music from last year. Most of them were new, but a few were just new to me.