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🦉 10x curiosity - The best of the web in 2020 Part 1 - COVID Edition


🦉 10x curiosity

December 14 · Issue #185 · View online

🦉 A weekly sample of links that made me think 🤔

Also published in 10x Curiosity
Well as this crazy year that has been 2020 draws to a close it is an opportunity to reflect on some of the great online resources that I came across, making me think differently about the world. Some of these are older resources that I found, some are newly released — all of them I found fascinating.
Tomas Pueyo put out some of the most compelling writing over several months at the start of the pandemic. In the early months his writing was measured and sensible, but with a clear sense of urgency about how badly things could go, especially in the trainwreck of the US (and by extension any where else that decided to follow the US’s relaxed attitude).
  1. Coronavirus, The Hammer and the Dance: The strategy every country
  2. Coronavirus: Out of Many, One: A deep dive in the US
  3. Coronavirus: Learning How to Dance: How the best countries are fighting the epidemic
  4. Coronavirus: The Basic Dance Steps Everybody Can Follow
  5. Coranavirus: The Swiss cheese Strategy
The New York Times had a very interesting post, explaining how Bayesian thinking allows decisions to be made in highly uncertain situations — exactly as we found as the pandemic began to unfold. How to think like an epidemiologist — using Bayes Statistics
In the Bayesian world, Cromwell’s law means you should always “keep a bit back — with a little bit of probability, a little tiny bit — for the fact that you may be wrong,” Dr. Spiegelhalter said. “Then if new evidence comes along that totally contradicts your main prior belief, you can quickly ditch what you thought before and lurch over to that new way of thinking.”
“In other words, keep an open mind,” said Dr. Spiegelhalter. “That’s a very powerful idea. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be done technically or formally; it can just be in the back of your mind as an idea. Call it ‘modeling humility.’ You may be wrong.”
If you thought 2020 was bad, have a read about 536AD the worst year in history — 
The year began with an inexplicable, dense fog that stretched across the world which plunged Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness 24 hours a day, for nearly 2 years. Consequently, global temperatures plummeted which resulted in the coldest decade in over 2,000 years
This period of extreme cold and starvation caused economic disaster in Europe and in 541 A.D. an outbreak of bubonic plague further led to the death of nearly 100 million people
Ed Yong is another fantastic science writer in the Atlantic who wrote many great pieces over the year. This one on How will the coronavirus End was especially good 
Along with Bayesian thinking, the pandemic provided an opportunity for modelling theory to become front and centre of the debate, with so many critical decisions coming off the back of these models and their assumptions. Three of the best links I cam across where:

No shortage of tongue in cheek posts at those who thought they knew better… Coronavirus made a big mistake invading America -
Well guess what, ’rona? You just fucked with the wrong country. Because these colors? They don’t run. Not even on a mask. If it’s war you want, then by God it’s war you’re gonna get. And all of us are ready to take you on. We aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty this time around. No sir. We’re gonna get our hands dirty and smelly and sweaty, and then we’re gonna wrap those hands around your sorry little neck! 
A lot of countries are scared of you, ’rona. They flee to their houses, and they hide, and they hope you’ll go away. That’s just what you expect, isn’t it? You don’t expect a country to take you on MAN TO VIRUS. But this country will.
Morgan Housel had this very insightful post on the context of risk — The three sides of risk
… there are three distinct sides of risk:
  • The odds you will get hit.
  • The average consequences of getting hit.
  • The tail-end consequences of getting hit.
The first two are easy to grasp. It’s the third that’s hardest to learn, and can often only be learned through experience.
In investing, the average consequences of risk make up most of the daily news headlines. But the tail-end consequences of risk — like pandemics, and depressions — are what make the pages of history books. They’re all that matter. They’re all you should focus on. We spent the last decade debating whether economic risk meant the Federal Reserve set interest rates at 0.25% or 0.5%. Then 36 million people lost their jobs in two months because of a virus. It’s absurd.
Tail-end events are all that matter. Once you experience it, you’ll never think otherwise.
And leaving the final word to Jason Fried of Basecamp fame and The ultimate remote work policy in 3 words — we trust you. This is how you deal with the uncertainty of the pandemic as an employer.
Let me know what you think? I’d love your feedback. If you haven’t already then sign up for a weekly dose just like this.
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More like this from 10x Curiosity
Links that made me think...
23 amazing Youtube channels for you to learn AI, Machine Learning, and Data Science for free (Updated) | by Jair Ribeiro | Nov, 2020 | Towards Data Science
5 Historical Facts That Destroy Your Perception of Time | by Hossein Raspberry | History of Yesterday | Dec, 2020 | Medium
Morning pages (and variations) - Austin Kleon
Splunk | References, Whitepapers, Solution Guides, Data Sheets, Fact Sheets, Tech Briefs, and Resources | Splunk
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