Model Citizenry

(aka. “America’s Next Top Model”)

If you have been watching the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force briefings, you know that Dr. Birx (“Debbie” LOL) is emerging as a key player. In case you missed yesterday’s, watch this for a minute or two:

Apparently, our experts were unhappy with the model from Imperial College, so they […]

Good news and bad news

First, the bad news. Here is an epidemiological paper from Imperial College London that has been making the rounds. They base their conclusions on their models, which they claim are robust against modest changes in their assumptions. See also this profile of the principal author.

They say if we take sufficiently draconian measures to get […]

Get the data

The derivative of an exponential is an exponential. So when the graph of total cases has the same shape as the graph of its day-over-day change (first derivative), and the same shape as the increase in day-over-day change (second derivative), and so on… We are in the exponential phase.

Click here for worldwide numbers. Click […]

Yes, testing is important

I have heard and read some people saying that testing for the coronavirus is not very important. They usually seem to have a physician friend who told them something like this: “I do not need to test anyone because the results are not actionable. We have no pharmaceuticals, and we are not going to intubate […]

Prediction Markets and the Kelly Criterion, Part 5

Perhaps the most famous proponent of the Kelly Criterion is Edward Thorp. He founded the M.I.T. Blackjack Club, published various papers on gambling and investing, and became both a professor of mathematics and a billionaire investor. The Kelly Criterion played a key role in most of these; he dubbed it “Fortune’s Formula”.

Thorp has authored […]

Prediction Markets and the Kelly Criterion, Part 4

I changed my mind; I want to stick with my toy example just a little bit longer.

Let’s change the game slightly. Instead of bringing your own bankroll, Casino Nemo gives you $1 with which to play. You can play as many rounds as you like, compounding your gains from round to round… For as […]

Prediction Markets and the Kelly Criterion, Part 3

Let me continue with my example from Part 2. Yes, this example is a toy. But I believe that studying simple cases can help to understand complex ones.

To recap, we have a game where you place a bet that you will win with probability \(p = \frac{2}{3}\) and that pays off 1:1. You have […]

Prediction markets and the Kelly Criterion, part 2

Welcome to Casino Nemo! You will like it here.

We have this game where you place a bet and then we roll a fair six-sided die. If it lands 1 or 2, we keep your bet; if it lands 3 through 6, you get back your bet times two (1:1 payoff).

As I said, you […]

Prediction markets and the Kelly Criterion, part 1

Last week, on PredictIt, the “Yes” contract for Amy Barrett becoming Trump’s Supreme Court nominee was trading at an implied probability of 40%. Based on my own reasoning, I estimated her chances at closer to 20%. Put another way, the “No” contract was offered for $0.60, while I thought it was worth $0.80. So I […]

Air Quality Part 2: The Dylos DC1100 Pro

The first gadget I purchased was this bad boy, the Dylos DC1100 Pro:

If I could have just one device for measuring air quality, this… Well, this would not be it. It does not measure CO2. It does not measure humidity. It does not measure temperature. It does not have a Web server […]