Statistics for Corona-Times

Since nobody has anything better to do and I can’t even go to my holiday home in the alps – well, I could, for 2 weeks quarantine, which is fine, but 2 more weeks for returning home after being essentially alone for 2 weeks is – well, something only lawyers could come up with.

Thus, since I can’t enjoy the empty Autobahns, I feel the need to explain something.

There’s this virus you might not have been able to avoid hearing about. Now, a virus is a natural thing. Everything in nature happens in waveform. You might realize that by looking at a wave – hence it’s called waveform.

Well – that’s, of course, assuming time itself runs linear, but “time” isn’t really a thing, but was made up by men – and humans like to think linear, which is way easier. It’s still wrong, though.

Second human tendency is anthropomorphism, i.e. ascribing “human” tendencies to things that are not – see, for example, “animal rights” or suffrage for women, if you want.

So – why does nature happen in waveform? No fucking clue. It’s just a thing that is – I could point you to look at a literal wave, it’s always wave-shaped. You could say “but raindrops are raindrop-shaped”, but that’s a mathematically far more complex curve, and my point here is: it’s a curve. If it is nature, it will always be a curve.

Now, you might have read a lot about “exponential growth” in the last weeks, mostly by journalists who have no clue about anything, least of all science, and that is why I’m writing this: There is this deeply-rooted human tendency to want to control nature. We, as humanity, are getting quite good at this, but we’re far from anything like really doing that. Sure, you can build a wave-breaker to protect your harbor, interrupting the nice, natural waveform arriving there, but that will just result in an erosion of your harbor fortifications – which will not happen in a linear fashion, but in a nice, natural curve.

Second thing about nature is – well, you’ve heard that the higher you go, the deeper you can fall, and that’s also a thing that just inevitably will happen in nature.

It’s really hard to grasp, for humans – geometric progression, that is. You should have heard of the inventor of the chessboard, who humbly asked the emperor of China for just a grain of rice on the first square, 2 on the second, 4 on the third and so on – doesn’t sound like much, does it? Total sum on 64 chessboard squares is 18,446,744,073,709,551,615.

That’s already the next human problem: humans can’t really grasp large numbers. Think about nuclear fuel waste – you can imagine three apples, or maybe a hundred apples, but unless you are a farmer, you have no clue what 1,000 apples look like, especially compared to, like, 10,000 apples.

Plutonium, with a half-life of 24,000 years, is thus nicely utilized for scaremongering, because you can’t possibly have any grasp of what 24,000 years are like. For the average human, his own lifespan is full of surprises, and according to the bible, it wasn’t even 6,000 years since God wiped out most people (and the unicorns) in a great flood.

You can, as a thinking human being, though realize large numbers by comparison. Nuclear power plants produce about 12,000 tons of waste every year (!). That does sound like a lot, even if you convert it to trucks – its about 1,000 truckloads of (somewhat) problematic waste (300 if you live in the Americas, there you have larger trucks).

Does still sound like a lot, doesn’t it? DHL runs 11.000 trucks, daily (!); UPS a little more, and there’s your local postal service and plenty more – and that’s just for the stuff you buy on Amazon.

Humans are stupid megalomaniacs – by nature

After this primer – you don’t really “get” large numbers, humans are megalomaniacs and essentially stupid, and – most important – nature happens in exponential-function waves – we can get closer to the point:

Imagine you have 2 kittens, a male and a female. Doesn’t matter if they’re brother and sister, incest just leads to a high infant mortality; they will procreate anyways. Nature, remember? There’s a calculator for this, but essentially, after half a year, you’ll have 4 new kittens. Thus, now you have 6 kittens (+4). Half a year later (if all survive), the now 3 females will have another 12 new kittens (+12) , for a total of 18 cats. Year two, springtime, 9 female cats will have another 36 cute kittens – to cut that short, in 10 years time you’ll end up with a few million cats. Nature doesn’t work 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 – nature works 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128, 256, 512,1024.

That’s exponential growth. And viruses aren’t cats, they multiply far faster – humans tend to think that rabbits procreate quickly, but that mold on your panic-bought bread produced billions of offspring in just a week. And that’s a fungus, they procreate rather slowly. A typical virus will create 500 to 50,000 offspring in about five minutes.

So, why don’t we have more cats than ground you can step on?

See – nature happens in waves. What goes up, has to go down again. This, by the way, is why the fiat money system, which is intended to grow exponentially, is doomed from the beginning. Your 2 initial cats will have, say, a million mice to eat, but that decimates the mouse population, and this is the (natural) limit of growth – if you eat all the mice, all the cats will simply starve. This is why a “natural” population will always look like a nice, wave-like curve.

This will, naturally, always be true. And yes, we still have cats, and we still have mice, the curves will just repeat themselves. Sure, you can exterminate mice and feed cats, that’s the human wanting to control nature – thing, – and this is why you hear so much about “flattening the curve” from epidemiologists or anyone with a basic understanding of the world and nature and the number 42 – curve is just the way it is.

Thus, central learning: If we want the mice to die out, we need cats to eat them. Nature works that way. For measles, we have vaccines, so our bodies will kill the virus; for most bacteria, we have antibiotics that essentially work like rat poison works for rats.

Now, you can extinct a species by killing “too” many of it; for mammals, that’s around 20.000, because mammals need some genetic diversity (that’s why both British princes married a commoner, for example). The Australian bush fires might have doomed the koala bears (not bears) to extinction, for that reason.

Unfortunately, in the current setting Virus vs. Humans, us humans are the long-living, slowly-procreating, genetically-slow species. And the Wuhan Virus is a great virus, killing only (!) up to 4% of it’s host – nature is about survival of the fittest, and Cov2 is a very fit virus (if those numbers are correct).

For now. You never know what happens, viruses mutate very quickly – you don’t look like a Neanderthal, either – that’s about 100,000 years ago, but for humans with 20-year generations, that’s only 5,000 generations. For a virus, that’s essentially a day.

We’ll all die

Remember, at this point, that nature is always about the survival of the fittest, as Darwin said. Humans are very capable of extincting things, and all of a sudden, the whole globe is very keen on extincting this virus.

Thus, that explanation given, let’s see how we’re doing – remember, nature happens in curves. A positive here would be Austria – I random-painted nice curves into the graphs, which are “new infections”, but essentially you can do that with any metric:

Looks good, doesn’t it? Same for the other country with “Austr” in it’s name:

We can win this, it seems. Still be the dominant species on this, our, planet, not the fucking dolphins. Or can we?

See? Not there yet, we don’t know if that’s the peak, but it certainly looks like it. Or doesn’t it?

Because – remember – it’s nature, it has to be a curve. That’s not a curve. Same goes for Canada, just steeper:

Remember: Nature just doesn’t happen linear. That looks very linear. Wanna see the scary bit? (Same curve as above!)

That is the scary bit.

But worry not, my dear readers, you can also do as the Greeks do:

… because, well – that’s the most worthless piece of statistics I’ve seen since the gender pay gap. Straight lines don’t happen in nature; not even horizontal lines happen in nature. Just look at the literal horizon. It does curve.

THINGS TO COME

Well – you might look at Iran, for example.

This is how nature works. Very nice curve. Just think about cats and mice.

I wish you all good survival!

 

4 Replies to “Statistics for Corona-Times”

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