N-dimensional Hyperspheres

So my post, from early in the quarantine, on 4-dimensional hypercubes has shown up in my site statistics. Which got me thinking… always a dangerous proposition. But mostly just searching for additional material.

Maryna Viazovska, a Ukrainian mathematician and a postdoctoral researcher at the Berlin Mathematical School and the Humboldt University of Berlin, discovered something in 2016 about n-dimensional hyperspheres. (Well, those are the postdoctoral positions she held in 2016.) Hyperspheres are also fascinating creatures, with unexpected properties.

I’m putting the video first, because the math goes off the deep end fairly quickly. And it is an entertaining 8 minutes. And I tripped over the video first myself. So grab a beverage of your choice, probably not coffee at this time of day, and enjoy. You might learn something, and I promise, it will only hurt for a minute.

The article, which isn’t the mathematical proof, is from Quanta. Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions. Not in arbitrary dimensions but in dimensions 8 and 24.

Mathematicians have been studying sphere packings since at least 1611, when Johannes Kepler conjectured that the densest way to pack together equal-sized spheres in space is the familiar pyramidal piling of oranges seen in grocery stores. Despite the problem’s seeming simplicity, it was not settled until 1998, when Thomas Hales, now of the University of Pittsburgh, finally proved Kepler’s conjecture in 250 pages of mathematical arguments combined with mammoth computer calculations.

And that is in 3 dimensions. As always, higher dimensions are just weird.

Oh, and while packing the most amount of oranges in the least space is interesting, there was a time when packing the most number of cannonballs in the least space was of interest to every navy in the world. And as is mentioned in the video, packing problems do have applications in communications.

You can find the original post on 4-dimentional hypercubes, and other objects at the following link. Fun With Four Dimensions.


You Would Think Public Pensions Would Be Boring Bureaucracies

You might be surprised. Public Pension Watch: California and Illinois Executive Resignations, Spiking v. California Rule, and more!

First up is California, where the head of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is out for conflict of interest.

There have been governance issues at Calpers for a very long time, and no, not all public pension funds operate this way. You would think one of the largest pension funds in the world, and the largest public pension fund in the U.S., would try to demonstrate the highest in ethics, world-class professionalism, but…
Season 6 Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then there is Illinois.

So, here’s another large public pension fund booting an executive. This fund has over $50 billion in assets, making it the 17th largest pension fund in the Public Pensions Database, near in size to the New York City Teachers fund (in assets).

Chicago Tribune: Executive director of massive Illinois teachers pension fund resigns after investigation into ‘performance issues’ [SNIP]

Yeah. “Performance issues”. I looked at the PPD entry for Illinois TRS, and while the funded status is horrible, I don’t think it’s Ingram’s fault. It’s always been horrible.

Anyway, click thru, because those are the only 2 states that it is ridiculously easy to pick on. There are line items for New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and more.

Lies, Damn Lies, and COVID-19 Statistics

The case of the disappearing antigens… A tale of two tests: Vermont town left puzzled by positive, then negative, COVID-19 results. Or – the only place I could actually view the article… The Wayback Machine’s copy.

So a small community in Vermont had 65 people test positive via the “new and improved” antigen test. But in Vermont that isn’t enough…

But in Vermont, positive antigen tests — a relatively new way of detecting an active COVID infection — require confirmation by another test: a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test, the gold-standard used by the government, hospitals, and professional sports teams. Of the 65 people who’d received those positive antigen tests, 48 would ultimately test negative via PCR. Liebig was one of them.
A community on edge was now a community confused.

Say that again. Out 65 people who tested positive with the antigen test, 48 tested negative with the better test. That is a 73.8 percent false positive rate. Only 26.2 percent of the people the first test said had the disease, actually seem to have had the disease.

If you read the fine print, the antigen test is still experimental, approved by the FDA under “emergency” measures for the pandemic

And not all states are as fastidious as Vermont. Rhode Island and Massachusetts accept the antigen test and publish the results.

No one is saying that people are lying, though the manufacturer of the test and equipment is in ass-covering mode. And I’m left with the feeling that people just want the data to be as “bad” as possible.

Retirement Math is Hard

This is an interesting, if disturbing article, but a statement far down in the piece is what really caught my eye. ‘Alarming number’: Boomers struggle to save enough for retirement, survey finds.

OK, so the Baby Boomers aren’t ready for retirement. That’s a problem, since they’re mostly in their 60s.

Many baby boomers don’t have nearly enough money to retire.

The median amount they have saved for retirement is $144,000, according to a recent survey from Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a figure that should be a “call to action” for boomers, said one financial expert.

Half of Boomers have less than $144,000? That is sad.

But then I’ve heard that story my whole adult life. “I can’t save any money.” You have a new $1000 phone, $100/month in cable/satellite/whatever, you eat at restaurants 4 nights a week, and every weekday for lunch. If you smoke that is a couple of hundred dollars a month. Beer/wine/whisky has to be factored into the mix. When you do cook at home, you have a $700 grill, or a kitchen with an acre of granite. Your car is less than 3 years old and you are already looking for a brand new one. And you wonder why you can’t save any money.

Of course if you waited until you were 60, or better, to start worrying about retirement, then you are probably going to have a problem or 2.

But the statement that caught my attention…

“This is also indicative of an important message for everyone.” Collinson said. “Over the course of a 30- or 40-year working career, the retirement landscape will change and we can rely on the system, but we also have to rely on ourselves.”

“We also have to rely on ourselves.” That statement about individual responsibility on Yahoo media. (Another sign of End Times?)

Actually, if you “rely on the system” you may be terribly disappointed. If your pension fund goes bankrupt, or if Congress decides that the Social Security Retirement age needs to be 82 or something… If you rely on other people to control your retirement, then you are giving those people control over you and your family.

If you dig into the base report, there are some problems with things like sample size, which I think is too small, and they make some statements based on life-during the pandemic as if that is the way things have been since 2009. But there is still some interesting stuff there; it’s not good stuff, but it is interesting.

Reality Is Racist

You knew it was. Facts are bad. Instagram Censors FBI Crime Stats Graph As ‘Hate Speech’.

Facebook-owned Instagram is now censoring FBI crime statistic graphs as “hate speech,” according to Blaze TV’s Elijah Schaffer.

“Instagram is now removing FBI crime statistic graphs,” Schaffer said Saturday on Twitter. “Posted with the necessary citations [as] ‘hate speech.'”

“We are getting to the point where narratives are more important than truth,” Schaffer said. “And the truth when inconvenient makes you a hateful person. This is 1984.”

The graphs are from the 2013 FBI Crime Report, and the 2018 Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey. They cover the rates of interracial crime. Though I’m not sure why the 2013 FBI Crime Report is referenced.

You can find all of the FBI reports at the following site. FBI: UCR – Crime in the U.S. The 2019 preliminary report is available, but you can find the complete report for 2018 at this link. You can download the spreadsheets and make whatever graphs you care to make. The 2018 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics is also the most current data available. Criminal Victimization, 2018. Though I have not looked at that report in a number of years, the data tables are available for download, as are both the summary and full reports.

Hat tip to 90 Miles from Tyranny, who notes…

While Instagram has apparently deemed FBI crime stats off limits, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are now running them on their front pages.

I think this falls under the heading, “F*c*book wants its own facts,” because the facts the rest of us use, don’t fit their world view.

When Comparing the US and European Countries, Always Consider Rate per Million

The US is much bigger than the UK, or Spain, or Italy. We are probably larger than The UK plus Spain plus Italy combined. So when you look at “total number” of anything, we likely have more. You need to consider the rate of each country. UK suffers second-highest death rate from coronavirus | Free to read. OK, so a lot of things are the rate per 100,000. You know what I mean.

Excess deaths is a number that comes from the actuaries. It doesn’t rely on testing. It looks at “What were the expected number of deaths, due to history, and how has that changed?”

Excess deaths is internationally recognised as the best way to compare countries’ performance in handling infectious diseases. Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, called excess deaths “the key metric”.

No false positives. No false negatives. No fudging numbers because there is a financial incentive to count a death as being from COVID-19. Just statistics.

So here’s the image of the day. The relevant bit is the left-most graph. To my way of thinking, anyway. As always, click the image for a larger view. Well, almost always.

The article was published on May 28th, but clearly the data is older than that. Still not too old, and the point is still valid.

Now considering the relative death rates, tell me again, how awful the US response has been, or how horrible our health care is. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Oh, and then consider that a lot of the problems we have are a direct result of some bone-headed decisions made in New York and Michigan and couple of other Blue States.

Where Would We Be Without Experts?

Go read the whole thing; it isn’t long. But I will highlight the stats, which caught my eye. COVID-19: The ‘Experts’ Are Clueless.

Something really went wrong in New York.

The per-capita death rate in Georgia remains 88% lower than New York’s; Florida’s rate is 93% lower and Texas is 96% lower.

Of course with more than 70,000 people per square mile, and a governor who set things up to kill old people in nursing homes, it’s hard to see how a virus wouldn’t ravage that city. And state.

CDC, COVID-19 and Math

Because they never published the stats. CDC warns antibody testing still too inaccurate to use for coronavirus-related policy decisions.

The math is the point, but the upshot is that about half of the positive antibody tests are false positives.

In other words, less than half of those testing positive will truly have antibodies.

It is crazy, that they are only telling us these stats now.

Another Bletchley Park Cryptanalyst Has Passed Away

Ann Mitchell: 19 November 1922 – 11 May 2020.

I don’t think much was made of the passing of Ann Mitchel. Bletchley Park codebreaker who helped change course of World War II dies aged 97.

Even after that movie about Alan Turing, people still don’t seem to understand what an impact Bletchley Park had on WWII.

She played an integral role in bringing about that peace, thanks to her work in Hut 6, a ramshackle wooden structure home to some of Bletchley Park’s brightest minds.

There, for nine hours a day, six days a week, from September 1943 until the final exultant hours of VE Day, the young Oxford graduate would create complex diagrams used to break strings of incomprehensible Enigma code used by the Nazis.

It is interesting that the journalist/editors at The Scotsman choose the term “incomprehensible” for the Enigma codes. I suppose any sufficiently complex Mathematics is indistinguishable from magic, at least to people in journalism. (With apologies to Arthur Clarke.) In reality, they were not incomprehensible; decoding them was exactly what they did at Bletchley Park. (Haven’t they seen that movie?)

Not many women were studying Math at Oxford University in 1940, but that is exactly what Ann Mitchell did, though after the war she would switch to psychology and become a marriage guidance counselor.

Ann was just a kid, but she was discreet, intelligent, and modest, and although she would never describe herself as a codebreaker, she was recruited for her mathematical ability.

The average age of people who worked at Blechley Park and are still alive is now 97; they won’t be with us much longer. One of the reasons the British are still speaking English and not German, is in a very large part to the work done by the folks at Bletchley Park. They helped the French, the Belgians, and the rest as well, defeat the Nazis. (Hat tip to Schneier on Security.)

Graham’s Number – A Truly Large Number

There are numbers that describe things like how many of atoms are there in the visible universe, (the estimate is 1080) or the number of seconds in the last 13.7 billion years (which is on the order of 1026 seconds), and then there are numbers that are truly large. Graham’s Number was the first one I ran across. From 1,000,000 to Graham’s Number. (UPDATE: The formatting that WordPress is doing around the Power Towers is a bit wonky on the main page. Click “Continue reading” below, or the post title above.)

Huge numbers have always both tantalized me and given me nightmares, and until I learned about Graham’s Number, I thought the biggest numbers a human could ever conceive of were things like “A googolplex to the googolplexth power,” which would blow my mind when I thought about it. But when I learned about Graham’s Number, I realized that not only had I not scratched the surface of a truly huge number, I had been incapable of doing so—I didn’t have the tools. And now that I’ve gained those tools (and you will too today), a googolplex to the googolplexth power sounds like a kid saying “100 plus 100!” when asked to say the biggest number he could think of.

See the end of this post for a refresher on the definition of a googol and a googolplex. And contemplation on what is big…

So why do we care about Graham’s Number? Aside from the fact that it is big? There’s a problem which isn’t quite of the form, “What is the minimum number of dimensions you need to consider before hypercubes in that dimension MUST exhibit a certain property?” Graham was trying to answer that question, but he could only put bounds on it. Today we know the answer, or the minimum number of dimensions, is somewhere between 13 and Graham’s Number. It is from a branch of mathematics “that studies the conditions under which order must appear in relation to disorder.” Let’s build it.

If you’ve gotten this far, I am going to assume you know addition, and multiplication and exponentiation. We’ll start in on Knuth’s Up-Arrow notation.

Kunth’s Up-Arrow notation starts with exponentiation. a↑b is equivalent to ab or a X a X a… X a where there are b occurrences of a. We need the up arrows, because it is going to get crazy.

Next up, is tetration, where a↑↑b will be defined in a minute. First let’s review something you know.

  1. a X b = a + a + a +… + a where there are b occurrences of a.
  2. a↑b is a X a X a… X a where there are b occurrences of a.

So a↑↑b = a↑ (a↑ (a ↑ (a…↑a))) where there are b occurrences of a.

Lets take a look at an example or two. 3↑3 = 27. Not too surprising. 3↑↑3 =3↑(3↑(3)) = 3↑27 = 7,625,597,484,987. See how things are getting big really fast? 3↑↑4 is equal to 37,625,597,484,987 which is a 3.6 trillion digit number. (Type that into a calculator, or calculator app, and see what happens) Bigger than a googol, but less than a googolplex.

These are called “power towers” because if you write them the way you learned in middle school (or junior high, if you’re old enough) then they look like this.

3333 is the same as saying 3 ↑ (3 ↑ (3 ↑ 3)). We bundle those 4 one-arrow 3s into 3 ↑↑ 4.

The tower power of (3 ↑↑ 7,625,597,484,987) would reach the sun.

And you can see how the superscript notation loses its utility after a tower of 3 high. But we haven’t even gotten started… Or as they say, Shit is about to get real. Real big.

Continue reading

Fun With Four Dimensions

tesseract, single rotationSo with way too much time on my hands during what passes for quarantine, I’ve been looking at a lot of videos on YouTube. In one of them, there was an off-hand comment about 4 dimensional cubes, or the 4-dimensional hypercube. After so much of the population has been immersed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I hesitate to use the term tesseract, but that is what it is. (It is also called an 8-cell, octachoron, octahedroid and it has a few other names as well.)

So you visualize a 4-dimensional object by projecting its “shadow” into 3 dimensions and then rendering that into 2 dimensions on your computer monitor as we do for regular 3-D objects. The static images don’t tell you much, but when you rotate the 4-D object, and project the rotation, you can almost see what is going on. But not quite. I always found that the best way to think about higher dimensions was just to think about the math. It doesn’t get better when you have more dimensions. And physics is usually dealing with 6 or 7 today.

The first image above is by Jason Hise:

A 3D projection of an 8-cell [or tesseract] performing a simple rotation about a plane which bisects the figure from front-left to back-right and top to bottom

Lets start with what you know. A cube is 3-dimensional figure, that has 6 squares of equal size as its boundaries. And actually a square is a regular 2 dimensional figure that has four 1-D boundaries of equal size. (Straight lines.) A 4-D hypercube, or tesseract, is a 4-dimensional figure that has eight 3-D cubes of equal size as its boundaries. So any N-dimensional hypercube has 2N boundaries, and each of those boundaries is an N-1 dimensional cube or hypercube.

tesseract, double rotationIt’s more interesting if you rotate the tesseract around 2 dimensions simultaneously.

A 3D projection of a tesseract performing a double rotation about two orthogonal planes

The 2nd image is also by Jason Hise. (See the link above.)

And finally, just like you can unfold a cube in 3-dimensions to be six, 2-dimensional squares, you can unfold a tesseract into, 3-dimensional space.

The tesseract can be unfolded into eight cubes into 3D space, just as the cube can be unfolded into six squares into 2D space. An unfolding of a polytope is called a net. There are 261 distinct nets of the tesseract.

Details of the image at this link. From User A2569875

There are a bunch of videos, which you can freeze at certain points… Not that all of them are good. Here is one I like that is short. You can find others.

There are other regular polyhedrons in 4-space and N-dimensional space. I’ll leave you with the pentachoron. The 4-D analog of the tetrahedron. (The tetrahedron has 4 triangles as boundaries in 3 space. The pentachoron has 5 tetrahedrons as boundaries in 4-D space.) The projection is again by Jason Hise.

Do You Think Only New York Wants a Bailout?

New York is only the 9th worst state, in terms of debt per capita. STUMP » Articles » Classic STUMP: Visualizing the Financial State of the States » 8 May 2020, 11:51. Does a post form 2019 qualify as “classic?” I’ll let it slide.

The word of the day is choropleth. That is a color coded map, that conveys info, in this case based on the financial condition of the states. Click thru for that graph; it was created by Truth In Accounting. On a per capita basis, which is really the only metric that matters when all the states differ in population as much as they do, Illinois is in far worse shape the New York. Not that New York doesn’t have trouble.

Back to May 2020

Yes, I did a bit of bait-and-switch, didn’t I? Yes, I did re-run this post partly because of the tile grid map visualization….

… but mostly because it ended with the earlier version of state bailout politicking… well before COVID-19 hit.

There are several states that want bailouts, but can Wyoming and Montana bailout New York and Illinois? Seems doubtful to me.

Truth In Accounting also put together a video in 2019 that lets you visualize how the states stack up. (Data is apparently through the end of fiscal year 2018.) It clearly shows that Illinois and Connecticut and New Jersey have been in trouble for years. Indeed, it doesn’t even show 2020.

Why Pensions Are Always in Trouble

I know math is hard, and pensions involve both math and politics. STUMP Classics: What’s So Bad About 80% Fundedness?

The media, has for a decade or more, repeated the mantra that 80% funding is okay, according to unnamed experts.

Like UFOs, these “experts” are always unidentified. That’s because they don’t actually exist. They can’t exist, because the pension math and 80 years of data from capital markets history just don’t support these unsubstantiated claims.

Until the last recession, respectable and world-wise actuaries would tell you privately that when a pension system gets its funding ratio above 100 percent, there is a political problem. Employees, unions and politicians suddenly become grave-robbers who invariably break into the tomb to steal enhanced benefits and pension contribution holidays.

There is more that is worth looking at, like how Kentucky’s public employee pension system has been reduced to 20% funding for expected payments. Twenty. Percent.

80% funding may or may not be “just fine”, but I can tell you without hedging statements that 20% funding is hideous.

One of the points that Meep highlight’s early in her classic article is the idea that “pensions are protected by law and can’t be changed.” And as she said in a post about state bankruptcies, there is law, and there is reality.

As this is a classic post, it is from 2014. How much do you think things have changed? Were cities’ and states’ pension plans riding high last year, so this downturn is something to take in stride? Any bets?

As some of you know, I do follow Illinois and Chicago. and in January of last year, Chicago pensions were in pretty bad shape. “Chicago is circling the drain”

Chicago pensions are funded at about 26 percent of where they should be.

Then mayor Rahm Emanuel had a 10 billion dollar debt and tax plan to bring the pensions close to 50% funded. That is still not a good number.

So when states, and it won’t just be Illinois and Kentucky with their hands out saying “COVID-19 ruined our pensions!” you know it is all a scam.

Mathematical Models – OR – A Wild Ass Guess

I’ve been considering this post for a while, mostly because I love the way Sarah Hoyt approaches the subject. Assume a Spherical Cow of Uniform Density in a Frictionless Vacuum.

Any time you build a model, you simplify things. Usually you try to hide the fact that your assumptions include uniform/repeated actors – like Non-Playable Characters. But the assumptions are always there. And they are usually wrong. Some assumptions that I’ve tripped over. Markets are rational. Investors are rational. People with a college degree probably have a grasp of middle-school-level mathematics.

And the reason the whole country is on lockdown is that “the models tell us [something the politicians don’t understand], so their only response is to panic. And shred the Constitution. Well, there are those who see it as an opportunity to shred the Constitution, not so much out of panic, but out of malice.

Assumptions about people are tough.

You see, people don’t always behave the way you expect. And frankly, they find ways to get around things they don’t like. Or they just do unimaginably stupid and crazy things.

To be fair to the left they never have — and possibly never will — understand that. Their whole program is the idea that human beings are fungible. Having glomed on the idea some humans are not like the others, they of course decided to sort humans by external or largely irrelevant characteristics.

No, I DO NOT in fact understand why the collectivists, the people who keep wanting to do what the group is doing, and who are more socially oriented than any of us fail to get people. Except perhaps that G-d has a sense of humor. (Low one, puts itch powder in your pressure suit.)

It is why politicians pass a law expecting outcome X, and while the do get some of X, usually, they also get a whole lot of X+A or X-A or even ξ (That is the Greek letter Xi) as people decided that they don’t like the law, or don’t like certain aspects, or they see entirely new opportunities presented by the effects of that new law that were not anticipated by the politicians. People are not (for the most part) NPCs, just responding to every external stimulus. They are not like that spherical cow in a vacuum.

In the world of disease modeling, it means that the virus moves differently between a population that lives in apartments, takes a lot of public transportation, and in general is a lot more crowded, than it does in a place like the high plains or the outback of Ohio. That doesn’t even consider cultural differences. And Sarah Hoyt should know about those, because she grew up in Portugal…

And I understand that in Italy, as in Portugal, as in, for instance, France, people kiss a lot more. Adult men might not, unless they’re close(ish) relatives, but women and children get kissed by everyone from close kin to total strangers.

All of those create conditions for the virus to explode. In Italy, in France, in Spain. I understand it’s not exploded nearly as much in Portugal, but I also wonder how much of that is Portuguese reluctance to go to the doctor or the hospital. Because “the hospital is where you die.” (Yes, sue me. Some cultural assumptions remain. Which is why my husband is the one who normally drags me to the hospital.) Because, you see, we DO know for at least one of the clusters, the hospital was making it worse. Go to the hospital for any other reason, catch Winnie the Flu.

While not all of that will apply to New York, all you have to do is look at the conditions on public transit in that city to know that it is a contributing factor.

Let me put it to you another way. I remember the last time I was on an elevator. It was in January, when I stopped into the county administration building to pay my real estate taxes in person. On the way out, the elevator was there. So why not? It is only one floor, but…

As for when was the last time I was on a train or a bus, I have no clue. Probably, it was in an airport, shortly after 9/11. (Airfare was stupidly cheap in late 2001 and early 2002, and I took advantage, flying somewhere for the weekend probably twice a month.) How many people in New York ride in elevators every day? Or trudge up and down through communal staircases? Do those handrails ever get cleaned? How many people ride the subway every day? every week? The virus is different in and around New York City. I wish I could remember who said this, but I don’t. If half of the deaths from COVID-19 were in Montana and Idaho, would New York City be on lockdown? I don’t think so.

Then you have to ask, does smoking, or living in a polluted city or region, constitute a comorbidity? I choose to live somewhere, where the air is clear. I grew up about two miles from, what was at the time, the oldest operating oil refinery in America. Trust me, I appreciate clean air. (Even when it didn’t catch on fire, which it did from time to time, the pollution was wicked.) And what are the pollution/smoking impacts in the places where the mortality is high?

Math Is Beautiful – Prime Numbers

People never believe me when I tell them that mathematics is a beautiful subject, so I thought I would feature this video as an example. Why do prime numbers make these spirals? It is a 23 minute video, so plan accordingly, though you might just want to watch the first 5 or 6 minutes or so. (I know, math is hard, but it can also be beautiful)

Want To Understand Mortality Numbers?

Talk to an actuary. Or at least read her blog posts. Mortality with Meep: Excess Deaths And Coronavirus.

There is some math, Meep is an actuary, after all. She makes her living dealing with math.

I do find excess mortality a useful metric, far more reliable than official COVID death counts. In places where there is a severe rate of hospitalizations, the COVID deaths seem to be undercounted.

However, they’re testing out the concept on extremely hard-hit areas. I note that I haven’t (yet) seen equivalent graphs for less stark situations. My understanding is that both Texas and California, both with larger populations than New York state, have had far fewer cases. They are also not bunched up so much around one city.

Or as she said, “It is very tough to fudge the count of total dead people.”

There are 2 videos, for a total of about 20 minutes of video. Plan accordingly.

Firearms Do Not Cause Suicide

And they aren’t used for suicide more often than self-defense. Here’s the story of the day. Bogus Study Claims Guns Used In Suicide More Than Self-Defense.

Which is wrong. Click thru for the details. (Hat tip to MaddMedic.)

Here’s a link to the story about how Canada changing the laws around handguns had virtually no impact on the suicide rate, while it did change the methods used. Suicide vs “Gun-death” Suicide.

A study of 20,851 suicides in Quebec from 1990 to 2005 found that hanging, strangulation and suffocation were the principal causes of death (males, age-adjusted rate of 15.6 per 100,000; females, 3.6), followed by poisoning (males: 5.7; females: 2.9).[17]

Should Canada tightly restrict access to rope? I mean that must be what causes suicide right?

And here’s a link to the Archives from 2012 comparing methods used between Canada and the US. (At the time, both countries had suicide rates that were comparable.) TFS Magnum – Archives: Canadian Suicide and the Myth of “Gun Deaths”

Well it turns out, that people don’t commit suicide because they have access to firearms. When they decide to commit suicide, they turn to whatever means they have available. Be fair, do you really think that Canada should enact “rope control” to cut down on the “rope deaths” – that is hangings – in this statistic? (It would be “for the children.”)

Both of my previous posts have some graphics, if your interested.


Wouldn’t you know it, but as soon as I referenced STUMP in Because a Couple of Media Types Proving They Are Morons Never Gets Old, they go offline due to some website issues. Well They are back…

The reference – in relation to a couple of Media talking heads, proving on network television that they are unable to do middle-school mathematics – was STUMP » Articles » How Not To Be A Dumbass: Media Innumeracy Edition.

The highlight of the post (in my estimation) was revisiting the cluster-f$ck from 2019 when a bunch of folks were mystified by high-school algebra. It was an off-hand comment at the end of the post, and almost beside the point.

Which is from January 2019 and Powerline: The Great Issue of Our Time….

…is whether, as a people, we are too dumb to sustain a democracy. This question arises often; for me, most recently, upon seeing this Daily Mail headline: “Twitter user stuns the internet with math that proves one 18-inch pizza has more in it than TWO 12-inch helpings.”

The theory was posted by U.S.-based Twitter user @fermatslibrary.


Supported by a graphic, the theory proves that one 18 inch pizza is better value than two 12 inch pizzas. Since it was posted, the tweet has received almost 1,500 comments and a total of 60,000 likes. It has also been retweeted 25,000 times, as people try to spread the word.

To spread the word about geometry, in a context that people care about. Pizza.

The Daily Mail (another media organization, no doubt staffed by geniuses) called area = πr2 a theory.

But then they are journalists. They can’t be expected to know math! That won’t stop any of them from lecturing you on a whole host of subjects more complicated than high school geometry, because they are Journalists™. Or something.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics, and the Media Coverage of COVID-19

It’s much scarier to just report the raw numbers, but then they probably can’t do the computations to arrive at per capita (or per million people) numbers. What the Media Isn’t Telling You About the United States’ Coronavirus Case Numbers.

Well, isn’t that interesting? The United States’ confirmed cases per capita are the lowest of the top six countries affected by the virus.

The image is a graph of the per-million-inhabitants numbers on confirmed cases. It ignores China, because the Chinese are, again, lying to everyone.

There are more statistics on confirmed deaths.

Whenever you compare the US with individual European countries, you would do well to consider per capita data. There are other ways that the Left loves to slice data. Gun crime versus violent crime is a favorite way to make their point.

Why do I say that the media can’t do the computations? Because they have shown time, and again, that math is too hard for them. (Hat tip Instapundit.)