Category Global

La vie martienne

Everyone knows that, in 1968, David Bowie – or rather David Jones as he was known then – wrote English lyrics to the French melody that would later become a global hit with Paul Anka’s English text. My Way. Anthony…

“Here everything rhymes”

Osip Mandelstam wrote in 1933 in Conversation about Dante: Would you like to become acquainted with the lexicon of Italian rhymes? Take the entire Italian dictionary and leaf through as you please. Here everything rhymes. Every word cries out to…

Russia’s Covid fatality rate

From today’s issue of The Telegraph: Russia boasts one of the world’s lowest Covid-19 mortality rates, but new figures released by Moscow authorities suggest that hundreds of coronavirus deaths could have gone unreported. Scientists and doctors say the low death…

Indecisive authoritarians

Covid-19 data from Russia is a mixed bag: the number of new cases identified per day seems to have plateaued – well, almost – but the death count remains so suspiciously low that it’s impossible not to doubt the top…

Covid and EVT

My impression, admittedly superficial, from the ongoing debate on the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic is that statisticians with a professional interest in the distribution of extrema (“extreme value distributions”) understand the downside risks well and, as a result, support…

“A very bad recipe”

Prof. John Ioannidis of Stanford says the early estimates of the coronavirus’s deadlines were greatly exaggerated. It would be good news if demonstrably true, which it neither is nor can be, as the professor admits: “I love models… I do…

A simple asymmetry

Suppose the number of people infected grows exponentially with time as $latex ce^{rt} &s=0$. Consider two cases: in the first, the true rate is less than r by δ percent; in the second, it is greater than r by δ…

Will this glut dry up anytime soon?

How deep has the drop in oil demand been so far? How much deeper can it sink? When and how fast is it expected to recover? Bloomberg quotes various authorities on this: “This global pandemic is something the world hasn’t…

Whatever slows it down

OK, if you insist that COVID-19 is just like the flu, I could agree if you dropped “just.” It’s like the flu, sort of – but much deadlier and, in all likelihood, more contagious. I’ve seen the COVID-19 mortality rate…

Russia as a political zombieland

One more thought about Putin’s hasty edits to the constitution. Let’s say under the current constitution the president may do A but not B. (Either B strictly belongs in the legislative domain, or it is out of reach of any…

“They still sold authenticity”

Dominic Green writes in The Critic: No one seems to have noticed, but the fortieth anniversary of Rock’s death is upon us. You can pick a personal “day the music died”… Sentimentalists might pick the release of the Ramones’ collaboration…