Futile Fussings – a History of Graphical Failure From Cattle to #Coronavirus

By Kevin Kilty – Re-Blogged From WUWT

No planning is likely possible without calculations of what the future may hold, but such calculations are fraught with uncertainty when they also involve exponential processes. Indeed, as the author of one chapter in a recent book [1] states:

“One characteristic of an exponential growth process that humans find it really difficult to comprehend is how fast such a process actually is. Our daily experiences do not prepare us to judge such a process accurately, or to make sensible predictions.” [emphasis is mine.]

Quests to reveal a future governed by exponential processes, or what people guess to be exponential processes, run through many themes here at WUWT — future climate, energy demand, economics, epidemics. This guest contribution takes a selected look at exponential growth. Two examples are historical, and perhaps obscure, but pertinent. The third one, which comprises the bulk of this essay, is an examination of R0, which dominates the present imagination.

Continue reading