President Trump: The Inauguration

Damien Love's tv preview from The Sunday Herald (Glasgow)

President Trump: The Inauguration

4pm, BBC One/ STV

After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories – among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting – but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present. The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.

Spend a lot of chess?

The latest attempt to part me from my money by pretending my PayPal account has been suspended includes this intriguing sentence:

We have recently determined that differents computers are connected to your account,and spend a lot of chess were present before the login.

WTF? Presumably it's an artefact of machine translation, but if so, what was the source language?
  • Current Mood

Let's do some maths...

... or for my US readers, some math.
This post is triggered by today's news that an at-home H.I.V. test has won F.D.A approval for sale in the USA. The article referred to gives these figures:

  • The home test is accurate 99.98% of the time for people who do not have the virus.

  • The test is accurate 92% of the time in detecting people who do.

  • About 20% of the 1.2 million infected Americans do not know they have the disease.

The population of the USA is currently 311,591,917 (a figure with spurious accuracy) and we end up with the conclusion that there are just over 310 million people in the US who are not infected.

This is where it starts to get interesting. If everybody in the US took this test, except the people who already knew they were infected, then in round figures:

  • 238,000 people would correctly be diagnosed as infected with H.I.V.

  • 20,000 people would incorrectly be given the all clear.

  • Around 310 million people would correctly be given the all clear, but

  • 62,000 people or thereabouts (0.02% of the 310,600,000 who are in fact uninfected) would get a positive result.

So, comparing the first and the last figures, if there were a mass screening programme then 20% of the people with a positive result would not in fact be infected.

The other statistic today is that the people at CERN are sure to a 5σ level that they have found the Higgs Boson According to Professor Brian Cox, it roughly means that you're 99.9999% sure. And it seems that Peter Higgs is there in person. He says "I never expected this to happen in my lifetime and shall be asking my family to put some champagne in the fridge."

But in contrast to the H.I.V. test, the people at CERN have stopped short of claiming official discovery of the Higgs boson.