How likely are you to die of coronavirus?

1 Apr

The national conversation is dominated by coronavirus statistical models at the moment. The Imperial College model, the Oxford model, the other Imperial model.  I want to talk about the models, and what they tell us, because the outputs of these models drive the government’s response — and thousands of lives could turn on them. It’s […]

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Would you take a coronavirus risk?

24 Mar

There is a saying, which I think comes originally from a German government transport campaign but became an advertising slogan and general meme: “You’re not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently — what with all the images of, Columbia Road Flower Market, or the Tube, or various […]

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Self-isolation is feeding my Warhammer addiction

17 Mar

About two and a half years ago, I found myself loitering near a shop on the fringes of Soho, nervously looking over my shoulder, in case anyone saw me as I went in. When I got home, I hid the stuff I’d bought — the specialist magazines, the equipment — away from my wife. I […]

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Will we be ready for the next pandemic?

10 Mar

Here are some numbers that are worth knowing. There are about 7.5 billion humans who are currently alive. That’s quite a lot: certainly more than have ever been alive at any point in the past. But it’s probably only about 7% of all the modern humans, Homo sapiens, who have ever lived; there have been […]

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Will we be ready for the next pandemic?

10 Mar

Here are some numbers that are worth knowing. There are about 7.5 billion humans who are currently alive. That’s quite a lot: certainly more than have ever been alive at any point in the past. But it’s probably only about 7% of all the modern humans, Homo sapiens, who have ever lived; there have been […]

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In praise of uncynical children’s books

5 Mar

Something about parenthood brings out nostalgia for your own childhood. So inevitably enough, we ended up with a big box of Roald Dahl books for our kids a few years ago; more recently, our eldest became old enough to actually understand them, so we started to read them to him. Some stand up better than […]

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Stop looking for coronavirus ‘super-spreaders’

3 Mar

The word “influencers”, which nowadays just means “Instagram people who shill for package holiday companies”, came from an idea sourced from epidemiology. That theory is that some non-famous people have disproportionate influence in the spread of ideas; if marketers can reach them, then they will spread the good word of the brand around, more effectively […]

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