Articles to 2020-05-10

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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.


From everything we hear, both the average and the median age of Covid deaths is something around 80. So it comes as quite a surprise to find a claim that each of these deaths equals an average of more than ten years of expected life lost. Looking at the source Hanlon et al. is a statistical fallacy and a complete misunderstanding of life tables. In any age group, including the highest and those with most preexisting illness, life expectancy is never zero, because whatever group you look at, all those having died before are no longer considered. As a corollary, every death is the youngest in his group, a statistical outlier, and a loss of the statistically expected number of remaining years. This not only applies to all Covid-related – not necessarily -caused – deaths but equally to all deaths of people with surnames beginning with M.

It may turn out that the number of expected years lost to Covid established that way turns out to be larger than the comparable number from other causes. If so, that difference might be meaningful. As it stands this study yields complete nonsense.


Wichmann et al. find an unexpected proximal cause of death for those dying not with but of Covid. Perhaps this insight will yield a more effective treatment.


I don't understand Santos & Mathur and Reinhold et al. The observed signal amplitude has nothing to do with the number or strength of spots but only tells us about the asymmetry of their distribution across the star's surface. That too may be meaningful, but it's not what the articles claim. Of course their main conclusion, that our Sun is atypical and different from other stars stands.

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