I talked to a client based in the Midwest this week, in a state where social distancing is recommended but not compelled. He said he had just gone to one of those giant home improvement stores to buy his spring plants.…Read More
Friday’s essay (“The Wrong Kind of Serenity”) prompted a lot of feedback — some of it defensive. Eliciting the defenses was one of my goals in writing it. But the defensive feedback revealed one element of resistance I didn’t specifically factor into “The Wrong Kind of Serenity”: how researchers might in fact be too busy to intervene in debates they should intervene in … if they think about intervention as writing yet another takeout for a peer-reviewed journal.…Read More
It’s that middle part of the prayer that many scientists and researchers gloss over.
People get stuff wrong. That’s not the worst thing.
The worst thing: when experts who know that people are getting things wrong keep their knowledge to themselves.…Read More
Take a look at these eye-popping stats, from journalist and technologist Frederic Filloux’s recent essay, “COVID-19’s General Blindness is Also a Journalistic Failure”:
- A search query for the phrases “global pandemic” or “global pandemic preparedness” from 2009-2019 turned up 1,400 results in JAMA, 30 papers in ArXiv and 17,000 results in Google Scholar.
We are thinking and talking about the COVID-19 models all wrong, writes Kevin Schulman on The Agitator, a normally smart blog on non-profit fundraising. “Most believe these models represent attempts at prediction rather than as a managerial, scenario planning tool for which they are intended,” he argues — as if believing a model is a “managerial, scenario planning tool” would make it any more accessible.…Read More
OK: which of you is wearing a mask now or about to start? And why?
The US government seems on the verge of reversing its position on whether all of its citizens should now wear some sort of covering over those noses and mouths while in public.…Read More
I’ll double down on something I wrote last week: Don’t predict, describe.
Especially: Describe trends and tell us where/what they will lead to.
Right now, expert predictions are, at best, thought exercises that verge on entertainment. At worst, they’re horoscopes: almost always wrong, almost always without accountability, almost always hiding one or more key and very debatable assumptions.…Read More
Here’s a condensed version of what I’m telling all my clients — all researchers who run their own teams and organizations, large and small — right now:
There is only one story for the foreseeable future.
If you can’t be hyper-relevant to it, hold off on almost all your communications for now.…Read More
Politico reports this morning that Morgan Stanley economists are now predicting a 30.1% annualized decline in US GDP for Q2 — which would be the worst quarterly performance in 74 years. That’s the good news. The bad news: lots of other economists think that prediction might be optimistic.…Read More