Logging the World

Logging the World explores the application of mathematics and statistics to understand global and societal trends, particularly focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines data trends, variant impacts, policy implications, and personal stories, aiming to demystify complex issues for a general audience while occasionally touching on broader mathematical concepts.

COVID-19 Analysis Data Interpretation Mathematics in Society Health Policy Personal Experiences Social Media Dynamics Educational Policies Statistical Methods

The hottest Substack posts of Logging the World

And their main takeaways
877 implied HN points β€’ 21 Jan 24
  1. Perceptions of Long COVID statistics may be misleading when not considering factors like vaccination and immunity
  2. The severity of COVID infections might be linked to the likelihood of developing Long COVID
  3. Long COVID advocacy could benefit from focusing on providing treatment and research for those suffering long-term effects
1734 implied HN points β€’ 01 Nov 23
  1. The recent inquiry involving Dominic Cummings felt like a repeat of past events, with little new information emerging.
  2. The popular narrative about Cummings' role in the COVID response may not align with the evidence, suggesting he was supportive of strict measures.
  3. The discussion around the COVID response should focus on the systemic failures and critical decisions made, rather than getting lost in political dramas and minor details.
916 implied HN points β€’ 01 Jan 24
  1. Success in certain fields involves embracing the inevitability of failure but still pushing forward. Learn from losses and keep striving for improvement.
  2. Professional sports, like snooker and football, exhibit high levels of competition, making it challenging for individuals to maintain dominance consistently.
  3. Setting realistic goals, acknowledging setbacks, and focusing on continuous improvement are key to long-term success, even when faced with challenges and unpredictability.
777 implied HN points β€’ 13 Jan 24
  1. There is evidence of a significant peak in infections before Christmas, but recent data shows a convincing decrease post that peak.
  2. The observation of lower hospitalization rates amidst the estimated number of infections suggests a positive trend in managing the virus.
  3. The shape of the curve in future weeks is uncertain, but overall, the current situation seems to indicate no significant exponential growth in infections.
418 implied HN points β€’ 25 Feb 24
  1. Spurious precision in quantifying data can lead to misleading conclusions. It's important to question the validity and relevance of highly specific measurements.
  2. Success in fields like sports, work, or academia is influenced by luck and chance. It's crucial to acknowledge these factors in evaluating performance and outcomes.
  3. Random events play a significant role in everyone's career. It's essential to maintain perspective during both highs and lows, understanding the impact of chance in long-term success.
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398 implied HN points β€’ 18 Feb 24
  1. Opinion polling can be challenging due to issues with representativeness, such as demographic bias and sampling errors.
  2. Trends in polling data can be stable over time, and short-term fluctuations may not always indicate significant changes.
  3. Subsamples in polling data can lead to wider margins of error and may not always provide accurate insights, caution is advised when interpreting this data.
299 implied HN points β€’ 07 Mar 24
  1. Using interesting anecdotes or 'Malcolms' at the beginning can engage a wider audience and make complex topics more appealing.
  2. Balancing academic style writing with engaging storytelling can make science communication more effective and impactful.
  3. Integrating rhetorical tricks and interesting facts can drive curiosity and encourage broader audiences to explore complex subjects.
737 implied HN points β€’ 18 Dec 23
  1. A new faster-growing variant, JN.1, has emerged from the BA.2.86 family, showing potential for significant impact on COVID trends.
  2. The growth rate of JN.1 suggests a concerning pattern of exponential increase over time, raising alarm for future hospital admissions.
  3. Changing social behaviors post-Christmas may lead to a potential decrease in overall growth rates, impacting the severity of future COVID waves.
976 implied HN points β€’ 21 Oct 23
  1. Taking 10,000 steps daily can benefit physical and mental health by providing fresh air, exercise, and a change of scenery.
  2. Walking at a slower pace allows for a better connection with the surroundings, noticing details like street art and wildlife.
  3. Embarking on longer walks can lead to unique experiences, connections with landscapes, and a sense of personal achievement.
1056 implied HN points β€’ 01 Oct 23
  1. Overall, COVID admissions and death rates in 2023 are lower than the corresponding days in 2022, suggesting positive progress in managing the virus.
  2. Comparisons of primary beds occupied 'for COVID' show similar positive trends in 2023 compared to 2022, indicating improved conditions.
  3. The data suggests that in 2023, COVID outcomes have improved significantly compared to previous years, with lower deaths and better management, showcasing progress in handling the pandemic.
538 implied HN points β€’ 13 Dec 23
  1. The Zero COVID messaging may be targeting activities like brunch and Christmas parties as risky, while overlooking more dangerous professions that face higher COVID risks.
  2. Lockdown experiences were not equal, with some having professional jobs that were easier to adapt while others faced risks from working in less safe environments like warehouses or factories.
  3. There is a class divide in how COVID risks are perceived, with some people able to prioritize safety measures while others faced greater risks due to the nature of their work.
299 implied HN points β€’ 03 Feb 24
  1. The post discusses the impact of the JN.1 wave and the implications for COVID-19 infections, admissions, and deaths.
  2. Upcoming in-person talks by the author in different locations are highlighted, emphasizing the return to normalcy and connecting with audiences.
  3. The American football documentary 'Kelce' is explored, focusing on the themes of personal sacrifices, risks, family dynamics, and the portrayal of masculinity in the modern context.
458 implied HN points β€’ 26 Nov 23
  1. The discussion around qualified immunity, Great Barrington Declaration, and herd immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic raised complexities and challenges in their practical implementation.
  2. Patrick Vallance's statement on 'building up some kind of herd immunity' during the early stages of the pandemic was scrutinized, highlighting the complexity and potential consequences of different approaches.
  3. The importance of vaccines in ending the pandemic was emphasized, while also prompting consideration of alternative strategies if vaccines were not available.
518 implied HN points β€’ 04 Nov 23
  1. The author reflects on their first year on Substack, the experience of a post going viral, and their content on COVID and other topics.
  2. The post discusses the author's favorite non-COVID topics including a clever idea, an education policy, and the joys of walking.
  3. The article highlights the impact of a post on Dominic Cummings boosting views, emphasizes the unpredictable nature of virality, and teases future discussions on the UK COVID Inquiry.
637 implied HN points β€’ 24 Sep 23
  1. COVID optimism might be on the rise based on recent data trends like the BA.2.86 growth rates and hospital investigations.
  2. Studies show a concerning decline in mental health among school children during the pandemic, indicating the need for better support.
  3. Personal experiences such as being locked out of social media and starting a large teaching session can affect one's daily routine.
478 implied HN points β€’ 07 Oct 23
  1. Don't just look at proportions, consider sample sizes too. Confidence intervals are important when dealing with limited data.
  2. Focus on the bigger picture when it comes to analyzing new variants. Growth rates matter.
  3. Instead of fixating on one variant, keep an eye on other potentially impactful variants as well. The situation is constantly evolving.
438 implied HN points β€’ 15 Sep 23
  1. Recent data from Denmark suggests a potentially promising trajectory for the new BA.2.86 variant.
  2. There are indications that the growth of the EG.5.1 variant in the UK may be slowing down.
  3. Optimism is tempered with a reminder of humility and uncertainty in predicting the future trajectory of COVID.
518 implied HN points β€’ 23 Jul 23
  1. Lockdown restrictions have mostly been dismantled in the UK, returning to normalcy post-COVID.
  2. It's important to allow young people to enjoy festivals and parties after putting aspects of their lives on hold during the pandemic, despite public health concerns.
  3. Language around illness as punishment can lead to harmful judgments and biases in healthcare and society.
418 implied HN points β€’ 23 Aug 23
  1. New COVID variant BA.2.86 has mutations that suggest fast growth, but estimating its growth rate is tricky.
  2. Statisticians use models and likelihood functions to estimate parameters like growth rates, but uncertainty exists in the estimates.
  3. The work of statistician C.R. Rao, like the Fisher information, shows fundamental limits to parameter estimation and the role of geometry in statistics.
538 implied HN points β€’ 01 Jul 23
  1. COVID numbers in 2023 are significantly lower than previous years, with restrictions lifted and admissions decreasing for months.
  2. 2023 has been relatively quiet in terms of new COVID variants, with no significant growth in headline variants, but the possibility of an evolution remains.
  3. While concerns about future COVID waves persist, it is suggested to enjoy the present moment and not overly worry about potential scenarios.
418 implied HN points β€’ 15 Aug 23
  1. The proposal for compulsory math education until age 18 in the UK received mixed reactions, highlighting the importance of making math appealing and accessible to a wide audience.
  2. Implementing math education until 18 requires consideration of factors like shortage of math teachers and effective delivery methods such as leveraging online resources.
  3. Math education should cover areas such as practical number skills, understanding uncertainty and randomness, and exploring connections between math and other subjects like art and music.
458 implied HN points β€’ 14 Jul 23
  1. The competition for attention on social media has evolved over time, with platforms now offering monetary rewards for content creators based on ad views.
  2. Twitter's new payment system incentivizes generating 5 million page impressions in 3 months, potentially leading to a culture of provocative and controversial content for profit.
  3. Platforms like Substack provide an alternative space for creators to build an audience and share longer, thoughtful pieces outside the cycle of inflammatory content and hate clicks.
498 implied HN points β€’ 20 Apr 23
  1. There is a new COVID variant called XBB.1.16, but it may not be as alarming as headlines suggest, with a modest transmission advantage in comparison to previous variants.
  2. The severity of the XBB.1.16 variant is not significantly higher than previous waves, and it currently has a low presence in the UK.
  3. Overall, the impact of the XBB.1.16 variant is expected to be relatively small, akin to ripples rather than a major wave like previous dominant variants.
498 implied HN points β€’ 16 May 23
  1. When reading articles about COVID variants, pay attention to which experts are being referenced and their specific expertise to evaluate the credibility of the information.
  2. Consider the rate of growth in absolute numbers and calibrate it against recent omicron waves to understand the impact of a new variant.
  3. Take early alarming estimates of growth rates with caution, as it may not reflect the long-term impact until the variant reaches a significant market share.
378 implied HN points β€’ 03 Aug 23
  1. A recent study found heart abnormalities in 78 out of 100 people who recovered from COVID within 2-3 months, but this data comes from a sample of the sickest patients which might not be representative of the general population
  2. The Sports Illustrated claim of 78% heart abnormalities risk may not be applicable to current conditions due to the study predating vaccines and omicron, raising concerns about drawing conclusions from outdated research
  3. It's crucial to consider the context and representative sample when interpreting statistics, like looking at more recent data from sources like the UK Office for National Statistics to understand the risks of Long COVID
418 implied HN points β€’ 05 Jul 23
  1. Genius can be found in lesser-known figures like Kolmogorov, who made significant contributions to mathematics and other fields.
  2. Kolmogorov's work on probability theory and the Kolmogorov-Arnold theorem had a lasting impact on mathematics and even underpins modern AI algorithms.
  3. Kolmogorov's life was not only marked by academic achievements but also by navigating personal challenges, such as opposing Lysenkoism and living as an openly gay man in Stalinist Russia.
378 implied HN points β€’ 21 Jun 23
  1. Understanding the threat level of a COVID variant depends on its market share and growth rate, which both influence its impact on overall spread.
  2. A variant's position on a graph based on market share and growth rate can indicate potential future trouble - ones in the top right corner can pose significant problems.
  3. Current observations suggest a positive outlook with low and decreasing hospital numbers, along with no imminent variants posing a threat in the next few weeks.
358 implied HN points β€’ 10 Apr 23
  1. Networks can be represented by vertices (dots) and edges (lines connecting dots) to show relationships, such as friendships.
  2. The size of the largest connected component in a network is important for social media networks to prevent isolation and promote the spread of ideas.
  3. There is a critical level of interaction for social networks, above and below which functionality can dramatically change, impacting how ideas flow and network connectivity.
358 implied HN points β€’ 30 Apr 23
  1. Masks may help reduce COVID spread, but their impact could be limited. Calls for widespread mask-wearing may not significantly alter infection rates and could be less effective than expected.
  2. Clarity in messaging is crucial. Different perspectives within organizations like Independent SAGE can lead to confusion in public health recommendations. Consistent and clear communication is essential for effective response.
  3. Temporary return to mask-wearing might not have a significant long-term impact. Adherence to such measures could be short-lived and may not prevent exponential growth unless sustained over time.
199 implied HN points β€’ 28 Sep 23
  1. The book 'Four Ways of Thinking' by David Sumpter discusses four philosophies that map onto the four types of cellular automata identified by Stephen Wolfram, with historical anecdotes and life lessons.
  2. The book explores statistical, interactive, chaotic, and complex ways of thinking, connecting topics like cellular automata, chaos theory, and modern statistics with practical applications.
  3. David Sumpter's book introduces the complexity of modern mathematical research, showcasing the emergence of complicated behavior from simple rules and the fascinating concept of quantifying complexity in patterns.
338 implied HN points β€’ 06 May 23
  1. The concern now is about the rising baseline of COVID infections, not just the peak waves.
  2. The occupancy of COVID beds has decreased since the Omicron variant, with fewer 'for COVID' patients compared to 'with' patients.
  3. The picture of COVID trends shows various spikes with falling peaks, hinting at potential further decreases in primary beds occupied in the upcoming weeks.
338 implied HN points β€’ 26 Mar 23
  1. You can't always trust academic reputations; titles don't guarantee correctness. Great analysis can come from unexpected sources.
  2. Even if someone is unpleasant, they may still be right. Truth isn't defined by the character of the person sharing it.
  3. Watch out for self-deception; we're the easiest to fool. Be open-minded and avoid confirming what you already believe.
378 implied HN points β€’ 09 Feb 23
  1. ZOE COVID data was rebased, leading to a pause in daily incidence numbers discussion
  2. Monitoring variant percentages like CH1.1, XBB.1.5, and XBB.1.9.1 indicates growth rates and competitive advantages
  3. Recent UK COVID admissions data suggests a slower growth pattern compared to previous waves
318 implied HN points β€’ 05 Apr 23
  1. COVID-19 has not completely disappeared despite initial hopes and expectations. Immunity wanes, new variants emerge, and the impact lingers on.
  2. Twitter's influence may be declining over time due to fewer interesting user interactions and issues with the platform's experience. The network effects that once made it influential are fading.
  3. Legacy brands like Twitter may persist even after a decline, existing in a different form and continuing to have some relevance in the future.
418 implied HN points β€’ 12 Jan 23
  1. The weekly COVID data in the UK shows a decreasing trend in cases and hospital admissions.
  2. The XBB.1.5 variant is increasing its market share in the UK but has not yet caused a significant uptick in cases.
  3. Localized spikes in COVID cases may not always translate to a significant impact on hospital admissions due to reporting bias and small sample sizes.
398 implied HN points β€’ 19 Jan 23
  1. ZOE estimated COVID incidence has dropped significantly in just one week, down 64% from its peak at the start of the year.
  2. The XBB.1.5 variant is still increasing but at a slower rate, showing a flattening curve in growth.
  3. Hospital admissions for COVID are decreasing rapidly.
398 implied HN points β€’ 14 Jan 23
  1. The COVID-19 pandemic led to extreme groupings on each side of the argument, mimicking past experiences in climate change discussions
  2. Centrist views, acknowledging real problems but also the progress being made, are important in addressing climate change
  3. Promoting centrist voices and avoiding extreme rhetoric can be effective in fostering positive action and moving away from a sense of hopelessness