Candidates for Best Dozen Articles I've Read in 2021

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24 October 2021, Dr. David Livermore:

As to why these trajectories differ so much, I really cannot say, except for proposing that gonococci biologically ‘like’ being ciprofloxacin resistant whereas cefixime resistance stresses them.

Sometimes, for amusement, I’d ask the modellers why it was possible to write a program to outwit a chess grandmaster but not to reliably predict winners at a race meeting, even a tin-pot one with six nags per race, half of them no hopers. It ought to be easy for modellers to bankrupt bookies, I’d opine. Why don’t they? The answer was that horses were complex and unpredictable. Too many variables again, whereas the moves of chessmen are finite and follow pre-defined patterns. Our modellers lacked the temperament of betting men too, I felt, leastways with their own money. ... Medics, nurses, physios, medical lab scientists, and clinical scientists all must demonstrate competency to be licensed. There is no such regulation for modellers. Yet their advice, adopted by the Government, affects millions whereas a bad doctor can only harm one patient at a time. ... Examine the graph. Then, USING ONLY DATA AVAILABLE UP TO JULY 1891 (i.e., as far into the 1889-94 pandemic as we presently are with COVID) devise a mathematical model (not a qualitative speculation) to account for the peaks up to that date and to predict the size, timing and duration of the two subsequent peaks. Explain why there were no further peaks after 1894. ... In the meantime, let us have no more talk of lockdowns until modellers can prove their skills and competency by showing how the death waves of a previous pandemic could have been predicted accurately. They will find numerous relevant pre-July 1891 articles in the BMJ and the Lancet among other sources.

  • Charles Haywood review of Frieden's The Feminine Mystique. "It’s not just women, though—only a tiny segment of men have a job that offers real accomplishment, “the life of mind and spirit,” either. The job does not give them fulfillment; it is a means to their real method of fulfillment, providing for and protecting their family."

"Handy Statistical Lexicon" by Andrew Gelman.