What Makes It Likely You Will Live Past 100?

In a word, fraud. That is, lying about your age. Supercentenarians and the oldest-old are concentrated into regions with no birth certificates and short lifespans. (That’s a preview version, not peer-reviewed.)

The introduction of state-wide birth certification coincides with a sharp reduction in the number of supercentenarians. In total, 82% of supercentenarian records from the USA (N=536) predate state-wide birth certification. Forty-two states achieved complete birth certificate coverage during the survey period. When these states transition to state-wide birth registration, the number of supercentenarians falls by 80% per year (Fig 1a), or approximately 69% per capita (Fig 1b).

The sound of settled science.

If no birth certificate was issued when you were born, then minus a notation in the family bible (or whatever) you are as old as you say you are. And there’s less status to being 91 than to being 101. And that doesn’t even count things like pension fraud. Is it better to be 62, or 68 if being 68 (on paper anyway) means you can collect your pension this year instead of in 3 years?

Hat tip to SiGraybeard with. The Secret of the People Living Past 100, who notes…

Sorry, but this literally made me laugh out loud. They’re not measuring longevity, they’re measuring fraud. This is the quality of science we get out the medical junk science world. This is what diet advice is being based on.

People study these populations and make pronouncements about diet and culture. The Mediterranean diet was popularized because apparently of a bunch of long-life effects. But they didn’t control for this birth-record situation. The Japanese diet was likewise praised based on the longevity of people in Okinawa. Same deal. And these diets were pushed, books were written. People were lectured about their bad eating habits because they didn’t follow this advice.

You might also be interested in The King of Junk Food Science is Out, also from SiGraybeard. (That’s food-science that is junk, not the science of Junk-food.) Things like the Mediterranean Diet were foisted on the public by bad statistical studies. Because it is easier to do bad statistics than be diligent, and in a world where you need to publish stuff you can. As long as you aren’t worried about things like the validity of your conclusions, or the repeatability of your findings. You just need to overlook things like systematic fraud that has creeped into your underlying data.

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SJW’s Screeching That Insurance is Unfair in 3, 2,…

After the Camp Fire, it seems some insurance companies are revisiting their actuarial tables. ‘Sticker shock’ for California wildfire areas: Insurance rates doubled, policies dropped.

Here’s a hint: If Lloyd’s of London won’t insure you, you are screwed, because they traditionally are the insurer of last resort. They will make you pay, but they will take your bet. Only not in this case.

Jennifer Burt knows she lives in a fire-prone community. That’s why she’s done everything she can to fire-proof her home in Meadow Vista, in the bushy, densely wooded Placer County foothills, even installing a sprinkler system on the roof.

Yet a few weeks ago, her insurance carrier — Lloyd’s of London, known for insuring high-risk properties — told her it was declining to renew her homeowners’ policy. Lloyd’s also dropped coverage on two rental properties Burt owns in Graeagle, a heavily forested community northwest of Truckee.

As I mentioned earlier, people are re-building homes in Paradise, California with no thought to improving the fire resistance of the structures. OK then, no one will want to insure them. Or any of the existing homes in other areas prone to wildfire.

“It’s really sticker shock for people to see their homeowners’ (premium) go from $1,200 to $3,600,” said Richard Harris of Harris Insurance Services, an independent agency in Grass Valley. “They can’t afford these increases, and they leave crying. We can’t help them. You can only have so many people leaving your office crying.”

If you read the fine print of your mortgage (I know, it’s crazy to assume people actually READ the contracts they sign) you will find that one of the requirements is that you have to maintain minimum insurance coverage. If you pay escrow every month, it’s because your lender doesn’t trust you. They collect the fees (taxes and insurance) every month and pay them on your behalf. Because something you did (credit score or small down payment) made it so that they don’t trust you.

Cal Fire – and probably a few other organizations – is trying to get enhanced forest management through the California legislature. Any bets on whether they will succeed? Or will the environmentalists claim, as they have for the past decade and more, that cutting down the dead and dying trees would be wrong. Or something.

The screeching. It’s there in the article linked at the top of this post. As for the reality…

Insurers have complaints of their own. Homeowners’ coverage, an $8 billion-a-year business in California, has become an unmitigated disaster for carriers: For every $1 they collected in premiums from Californians last year, they paid $1.70 in claims, according to data collected by the Department of Insurance.

California lawmakers are probably going to ignore the reality of economics. But however you slice it, the amount of money paid for insurance premiums needs to pretty much double. And then you have to ask, is it fair for people in non-fire-prone areas to subsidize those who live in the forest?

Epic Fail at Teaching Math

They would love to outlaw math. TRENDING: Educators work to combat racism, whiteness in math.

Do you remember the pedestrian bridge in Florida that collapsed a few years back? Get ready for more of that, because engineering is all about physics and math. How much social justice was delivered to the people who died that day?

“Teaching math for social justice – this paper shares the process of analyzing school math curriculum as an entryway to engage elementary age students’ awareness around the hidden curriculum, transphobia, and genderism,” Yeh has shared.

Delta-epsilon proofs do not depend on anything except your understanding of everything that leads up to delta-epsilon proofs. The same of group theory, ring theory, fields, vector-spaces, complex analysis, differential equations (engineering again), etc. The real key to math is you can’t cram the night before the test. You need to know everything you learned, from this year, and last year, and high-school algebra.

Hat tip to Clayton Cramer who notes

What did Winston confront in 1984? 1+1 = whatever the Party says it does.

The Energy Density of Various Things

This post is mostly for reference, as the subject of “what can we do with lithium-ion batteries?” is a question on everyone’s mind.

The article is from 2015, but the associated graph is interesting. New lithium-air battery could drive huge performance gains.

Click the image for a larger view. Lithium-ion batteries are in the lower left-hand corner. Near zero, on each axis. Hydrogen is way off on the lower right, which is why I think using solar power to create hydrogen from water might be our best long-term solution. Gasoline, diesel and kerosene are sort of in the middle of the graph.

The graph shows the relative energy density in Megajoules per liter, and Megajoules per kilogram. Usually you see stuff in Kilowatt-hours per liter, etc. (Conversion is straight multiplication where 1 megajoule = 0.27778 kilowatt-hours, and 1 kilowatt-hour = 3.6 Mj.) The graph includes Lithium-ion batteries, gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene, Natural gas, hydrogen, and a bunch of other stuff.

Lithium-ion batteries score about 0, compared to everything else on the chart.

The article from 2015 talks about some “new battery technology” that is going to revolutionize everything. But it isn’t the only article of that nature I’ve read in the past 30 years. When I was in college, fusion power was just a few improvements away. Pretty much where it is right now. Does anyone remember bubble memory? And look up super-capacitors. They’re another, “just around the corner” technology. Eventually one of those technologies will arrive, but they are not here right now.

Consider, when you are doing your calculations around batteries and use in aircraft, that a Boeing 777-200LR burns about 6.66 tons of fuel per hour. That is 8,297 liters/hr of jet fuel. (Jet fuel isn’t listed on that graph, but for the purposes of commercial airliners it is essentially kerosene.) A 747 burns more fuel, and an Airbus 350 burns less. All of that is going to depend on weight of the passengers and cargo, and the fuel.

The Insanity That Passes for Research

Call attention to the insanity in “research” that is loved by the Left, and lose your job. Because, “How dare you question anything on the Left!” Boghossian/Pluckrose/Lindsay Hoax: How Corrupt Is Higher Education?.

Just how corrupt is higher education? Let’s return to October of 2018 and Grieving Grievance Studies: The Continuing Scam. There, I introduced readers to Peter Boghossian, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, academics all, who had an interesting idea: Write parodies of academic writing, so outlandish, so obviously jokes, no rational editor of an academic journal could possibly buy them, submit them to various academic journals, and see what happened. They wrote more than 20. Seven were accepted to fulsome acclamation, seven were rejected, and the rest were still being considering when they went public, as they always intended. In that article, I also reminded readers of the gold standard, the Sokal Hoax:

As they say, go read the whole thing, and then when some talking head on CNN or elsewhere says something like, “Studies show…” or “Research says…” remember this insanity.

The Economy Under Obama

He was either batting 0 or 1000, depending on what the goal was. MEASURING PERFORMANCE: New Data Shows Absolute Economic Destruction During Obama Years.

His eight years did more to destroy America than any of past presidents, be they Democrat or Republican.

Look and study these few charts:

Yes, click thru and study the charts. Student loans, workforce participation, government debt, food stamps, and more.

While the graphs are fascinating, there isn’t much detail in that post. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Obamanomics, Revisited (Updated). Where Hondo, at This Ain’t Hell…, does a deep dive into the data. (There are links to the source, at St. Louis Fed’s Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) site.

So, what’s my take overall? The original GP article is a mixed bag. Its charts are all over the board – some are spot on, while others are accurate as far as they go but fail to tell the whole story. Some are misleading, and one may be flat-out inaccurate. And none cover the entire prior Administration; some cover barely half of it.

Nonetheless, many if not most of the conclusions implied in the GP article are IMO valid. That’s true even though there’s nowhere near enough data presented in the GP article to support its claims.

Anyway, if you’re interested in hardcore economic statistics (isn’t everyone?) I can recommend the second article. The first is good to, but rigor is the word of the day. I am sick to death of the 21st Century’s focus on FEELINGS.

General Relativity: 100 Years of Confusing People

It was 100 years ago today that there was an eclipse that was used to test Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. The Eclipse That Made Einstein Famous.

Specifically that part of General Relativity that said starlight would be deflected by the gravity of the sun (any star) even though a photon has zero mass.

Einstein first received word of their preliminary results in September, and wrote his mother with the “happy news.” The confirmation was officially announced in November at the Royal Astronomical Society in London, triggering headlines about the ensuing excitement. (“Men of Science More or Less Agog Over Results of Eclipse Observations,” one headline in The Times noted.) Einstein bought himself a congratulatory violin.

You can think about it like this. Gravity of a star affects the geometry of space-time, and light is impacted by that changing geometry.

And this is important for several reasons, not the least is…

“His equations allowed cosmology to become a science,” John Barrow, the cosmologist, wrote in an email. “Before him, cosmology was like a branch of art history. You could imagine any type, shape or form of universe you liked.”

Einstein published the theory of General Relativity in 1915. It generalizes the work he started with Special Relativity, which was published in 1905. And you use the results of his work every time you turn on (or consult) the GPS in your phone.

I would include some of the math, as it has been described as being “beautiful.” But it starts in the deep end of the pool as it is. Riemann manifolds, tensors, and lots of “strange” mathematical notations. If you have an interest there is a lot of info available all over the place. (A warning: I find the Wiki to be strangely organized. Best try something else.)