Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Absolute vs Relative

Ideology vs reality

There's a Dutch saying that translates like the shore will stop the ship (ie, #16). There's no English equivalent. To some extent, it means that you can only push someone or things so far before they break (eg, source). I was reminded of this saying after reading that the GOP in Alabama ignores court rulings. My blog title has an implicit question: Is reality (eg,...

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Growth: what goes up must come down

Growth refers to many different topics: body, brain, business, cancer, climate, economy, ethics, inflation, politics, population, and the Universe. We use many different adjectives to describe growth, like: absolute, actual, historical, marginal, projected, relative. A decline is even negative growth. Source: Our World in Data The population diagram for 1750-2100...

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Is anything absolute or is all relative?

The philosopher Karl Popper (1902-1994) once defined three kinds of truths: absolute, objective and subjective. He also stated that it's unlikely that we will ever be able to find evidence for an absolute truth. Indeed, there are often exceptions to any "rule". Usually, time will reveal even more exceptions. If even the truth is relative, is there anything absolute?...

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Fooled by absolute numbers

Fooled by absolute numbers

This week, I noticed a Sydney Morning Herald article with the title: "Australia's death rate 'extremely low' despite recent surge". Finally, eyes are opening to Covid-19 reality: the virus may be (very) infectious but its death rate is extremely low. See my diagram below for details. Lately, I noticed various articles wondering why the high number of infected people...

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The danger of using absolute or relative numbers (2)

Recently, my barber made an astute observation: a coronavirus fatality rate of 0.05% equals a coronavirus survival rate of 99.95%. In his view, the 99.95% says more than the 0.05% while both numbers are each other's reciprocal. Again, the danger of using absolute or relative numbers (see part 1 of this blog series). On July 4, Donald Trump claimed that 99% of...

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The danger of using absolute or relative numbers

I was surprised by the outcome of my blog of last Thursday. The low relative number gave a very different (macro) perspective than its high absolute (micro) number. It's too easy (for me) to blame the media or the source of those numbers. I think, feel and believe that our presenting of either absolute or relative numbers is a...

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