More Coronavirus Resources (Apr 21)

As a math nerd, I have a huge crush on Vi Hart. Usually she makes fun math videos, but she just released one that talks about how to unwind from Covid-19. The timeline is probably too optimistic, but otherwise it seems pretty sensible. Political will isn’t there yet to do it nationally, but maybe a few states can start that way.

The founders of Instagram just made a website that tracks RT, the current rate of increase for Covid-19 in each state. If it’s above 1, infections will increase exponentially. If below 1, they’ll decrease. Just one number for each state, with graphs of how it has changed over time.

Reddit has a few sub-reddits that cover the virus, with interesting links and lively discussions. r/Coronavirus is the most active, with many armchair epidemiologists. r/Covid19 is more science related, with research papers. r/CovidProjects is about mask production and similar pandemic efforts. For random, interesting science, r/Biology and r/Science are also good.

Science magazine has free access to its Covid-19 research articles. Research papers are hard to digest, but they usually have an abstract that is more readable.  Science also publishes articles for the general public, such this one about the way Covid-19 sickness plays out.

Meanwhile, I think the Internet has a big problem with bad information. Rumors and propaganda have always been out there, and people have always believed them. But, production values are better now. It’s easier to present compelling arguments that are wrong. Even dangerous. Bad info makes people do stupid stuff like burning cell towers.

The antidote is science. There are over 30,000 scientific journals out there: everything from Abnormal Psychology to Zygote. Most are extremely specialized, but the best of their research makes it into more general magazines like Nature, Science and Scientific American.  I devoured the latter as a kid, but moved on to the harder stuff.

Science research papers usually take a year or more to be published. The delay is mostly because of peer review. Other experts in the field check them over with a fine-tooth comb. The authors then revise and re-revise. Sometimes more experiments need to be run. Sometimes they need a complete do-over. It’s a grueling process, but the result is accurate info.

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s way more trustworthy than Facebook, Fox News or talk radio.  I’d highly recommend giving it a try. Things have sped up a bit for Covid-19, and serious papers are starting to come in.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director

Author: Dennis Kolva

Programming Director for Turtle Creek Software. Design & planning of accounting and estimating software.