Author Archive

Students are in a game of chicken with colleges.

I’ve got a new Bloomberg column out today, about the game of chicken that colleges are playing with students and their parents:

Covid-19 Will Make Colleges Prove Their Worth

Online education should come at an online price.

See more of my columns here.

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Forget the models, follow the R(t)

In my new Bloomberg column I suggest that R(t), which is a hyperparameter in most Covid-19 models, is a much better and more trustworthy figure to follow than any other particular data set.

One reason, which didn’t get into the column, is that R(t) can be estimated from most other daily data sources like hospitalizations, cases, or even deaths, albeit with lags. That means that we can piece together a trustworthy patchwork quilt of R(t)’s that might be more trustworthy than any particular version.

Moreover, R(t) is insulated from the bias we know exists in these figures (due mostly to not enough tests) and only cares about trends, so as long as the bias is consistent we don’t care about it.

The caveat here is that we’ve seen many states performing Covid-19 data manipulation (Texas, Florida, and Georgia for example) in order to open up sooner than they honestly should. Basically, they’re juicing the numbers. That’s a kind of political bias we cannot overcome easily (unless they forget to manipulate some of the data!).

Anyway, that’s a nerdy postscript on the following:

My other Bloomberg columns are available here.

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Covid-19 models: none are perfect, some are downright dumb

I wrote a Bloomberg columns which heavily relied on Jarod Alper‘s recent YouTube talk:



See other Bloomberg columns I wrote here.

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Bloomberg column: The FEMA model is a WMD

Hi all,

On my walk to work I realized that the new FEMA model – which was used to strong-arm the Arizona governor into opening early – is a WMD, i.e. important, secret, and destructive:


Decisions on reopening should involve public data and debate.


See more of my columns here.


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Robot Overlords and a Eulogy to the Subway

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Two new Bloomberg Posts!!

Guys I’m sorry I forgot to blog last Friday about a piece I wrote:





More columns are here.

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New Bloomberg Column: Let’s not make things worse for older people

April 22, 2020 Comments off

I was happy to connect with my friend Ashton Applewhite, an ageism activist whom I met at TED, to discuss aging in the time of Covid-19. It led to this new Bloomberg column:


Pandemic Data Could Be Deadly for the Old


See other columns I wrote here.

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