Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Swine Flu Oops

A few weeks ago I mentioned a Times article about modeling swine flue spread. The two teams modeling it estimated around 2,000 – 3,000 total infections. Turns out they were off: “On May 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were “upwards of 100,000″ cases in the country, even though only 7,415 had been confirmed at that point.”

Now it doesn’t totally discount the main point of that old post, which was to say that people overestimate the likelihood of a small event happening to them, but it’s also not exactly the one in 299,998,000 the teams came up with. So there’s that.

June 8, 2009