About marc

I am a scientist interested in laser safety, modeling and simulation, and statistics. I speak some Spanish, German, and Chinese.

How Would It Spread with No Intervention?

The following charts are based on the data found at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ and represent a trend if there were no intervention. That is an important caveat, as the pictures might be otherwise alarming.

First: Fit the raw data to a curve. This is not necessarily the best fit. I fit a curve to each two points from first major spike (02 MAR 2020) to the next to most-recent data point. I compared each such exponential curve to all others to find the best (least-squares) fit. The resulting curve looks to be a pretty good fit.

A least-squares fit of the data (blue dots) to an exponential curve (red line) as of 18 MAR 2020

Second: What do we do with models? We make predictions. Again, this is assuming that NO INTERVENTIONS have taken place. Certainly they have. While nearly nothing has been done by the hamstrung Federal agencies, states, cities, and private companies have been forced to take the reins. Hopefully we will start to see results soon. But for the time being, we probably won’t see too much change in the next week. So this might be an accurate look.

Extrapolating out based on the previously described exponential curve

Third: Hopefully, the non-Federal agencies’ efforts will have begun to pay off. If not, we could begin to expect something like this in two weeks.

How the exponential growth would look in two weeks, absent any effective mitigation

Fourth: I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not expect this to happen. The Federal organizations will have begun to overcome the sabotage of their capabilities, and state and local organizations will likely have become more efficient. Additionally, at this point, the ocean may no longer be considered infinite. That is to say, as a significant fraction of the population is exposed, the curve must begin to level off. A large fraction will have recovered and will no longer be contagious. A smaller number will have died and will also no longer be contagious. And multiple exposures to an individual from different sources will still only net a single potential infection in that person. That said, this is the point when out health care system would become extremely taxed.

Hopefully, the number of cases will have begun to level off a couple of weeks before we reach this point.

Perhaps tomorrow, I will look at the relative success of South Korea to see the upper end of our optimism.


Entertainment delivered in the manner of news has poisoned the minds of Fox News viewers to the point where utterly implausible claims are made without eliciting a hint of skepticism. And when one’s mind is full of bullshit wholeheartedly accepted as fact, a person becomes a danger to himself and others.

What is worse is that a person completely ignorant of a topic is far better at making rational decisions than one immersed in false knowledge. If the ignorant person is honest, he will deliver his findings with the important caveat that he is not knowledgeable in such matters. The propaganda consumer will, one the other hand, claim a high level of expertise when delivering his own analysis based entirely on bullshit. Of course as a Fox News viewer, this analysis will likely be delivered at an unpleasantly high volume.

Anyone who consumes information from Fox News is a willing dupe of the most successful propaganda unit since the Völkischer Beobachter of the 1930s.

Please stop.

A Little Math on the New Plague

Let’s consider the infection rate. I have heard a rough approximation of a doubling every two days. From a purely mathematical perspective, this may be considered as two to the power of n/2 (where n is the number of days). In a week, this would be:

2^3.5 = 11.3

Now allowing for some of the afflicted to have recovered (or died), let’s reduce that number from 11.3 to 10.

In this simplification, we simply add a zero each week. Without delving deeply or referencing the source from which I found this, I recall the following (top three rows, obviously, and extrapolating from there):


where the -2 means two weeks ago, and the +1 means a week from now.

Now obviously there is a catch. We approach saturation as time moves forward. Six weeks from now, there will not be one billion infected people in the US, as there are only about 325 million of us to begin with. Which means that, as the numbers increase, the curve will begin to flatten. This has already begun to happen in China and, more obviously, in South Korea. The South Korean government has been a case study in a sober, active, and pragmatic response to an emerging threat. In South Korea, the curve began to flatten far below the saturation level. Despite being home to one of the great world cities (Seoul), South Korea was able to rein in this virulent pathogen in a way no other country has yet approached.

I hope our country’s response ultimately more closely resembles that of South Korea than that of China, but I fear it may end up worse. If this administration emulates the regime of its benefactor, the US populace will simply be kept in the dark as an unchecked pathogen is left free to exact whatever price it will.

Foreign Princes

I hear a lot of complaining about the fact that the sherbet-colored abomination’s campaign was largely driven by an enemy state. What people need to understand is that the enemy states purchasing offices for puppets is the only logical conclusion of the Roberts Court’s Citizens United decision.

Many Revolution-period Americans were born in Europe. There is a single reason the U.S. Constitution expressly restricts the office of President to “natural born citizens.” That was to prevent European powers from installing foreign princes to the U.S. Presidency. The laws put in place to limit the power to purchase political offices have been winnowed away since World War II. Once the Roberts Court declared the de facto sale of political offices “Constitutional,” all that was needed was a “natural born citizen” who intensely hated this country, was at least a C-list celebrity, and could be made popular in white supremacist circles.

The only obstacle to this plan is a Republican who places the country ahead of his party.

But Ronald Reagan made loyalty to the nation, the Constitution, and one’s personal ethics secondary with his so-called 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

In order to follow this, one must condone child molestation, bribery (though, again, the Roberts Court declared this legal for the foreseeable future), and even treason.

Putin’s installation of that tangerine nightmare was perfectly legal according to the Roberts Court. And any Republican is effectively muzzled by the “party above country” policy instituted by Reagan.