Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bad luck !

According to the table below(published by the New York Times [1] today on March 20), New York has almost 7 times the amount of registered infected Corona patients compared to Washington but "only" about 0.5% of them have died so far.

That's quite a good quota (for Corona). Let's have a look at the other side of the continent.   The Corona deathrate in Washington is nearly 6%. That's quite a contrast. What can be the reason for this difference? In most other States the mortality rate is roughly around 2%, similar to other countries in the world.

Here are some superficial (not seriously meant) hypotheses:

  • The New Yorkers are doing something extremly right and those in Washington are doing something extremely wrong
  • The dirty air in New York is poison for the virus. The more CO2, the better for human beings. Bad news for Greta Thunberg.
  • New York may not be a typical state for eldery people to relax...,probably more young and healthy people live there while in Washington may be a pan of sick or eldery people spend the rest of their lives there (again, this isn't meant seriously, okay?)
  • New York was better prepared for this predictable disaster
  • or...the measures may have been taken inconsistently and/or the numbers are simply wrong
Let's get more curious and read the full article. We find valuable information by reading the details and then very quickly understand what happened. It is noted that 2900 of the reported cases in New York were all registered at the day of publishing the numbers. Interesting, probably it is too early for those new cases to "die". If we ignore these new cases (7102-2900), we still have a quite good quote of 0.8%. Better than in many countries worldwide. But further reading the article reveals “At least 35 of the deaths were connected to a single nursing center in Washington" and "...many of those cases involved older people with other health problems that made them especially vulnerable to coronavirus”.

Aha! So, it was jsut bad luck for the nursing center to get hit so hard. If you ignore these numbers (75-35)…we are back to an almost "normal" rate of 2%.

These numbers make sense now. No need for me to look for creative hypothetical argumentation.

And the link to IT? A similar incident once happend near the end of our software development sprint. In parallel to the development of user-stories, we also performed refactoring tasks to get rid of technical debt. As is the nature of refactoring, it may break previously working functionality. This is what happened: Instead of being ready for the sprint review, we had to reject the demo of 2 buggy user-stories that were working properly just a day before. It cost us valuable story points. We didn't achieve the goal. What followed were long-winded discussions and assumptions of what to do and what not to do in the future, whereas I thought: "WTF, Just bad luck, shit happens".


Wednesday, March 11, 2020


Basel carnival cancelled, soccer games cancelled, business trips cancelled, Swiss Testing Day conference cancelled, borders closed and today it was announced that all flights from Europe to the States are going to be stopped by end of this week. WTF. My friends just managed to catch a plane to New Zealand...probably one of the last ones. Will they be able to catch a plane back home to manage their big farm in the Engadina? Everyday another employee is missing in our offices because he/she either feels sick or is afraid to feel sick soon. It's a weird silence. Those who dare to cough are potential suspects. Even worse if you fetch a handkerchief.

If you had predicated all this 2 weeks before, I had sent you to the psychiatrist to help you return to reality. Well, this has now become the new reality and that's why I feel baffled...where does all this end? Either, the whole racket goes up in smoke very soon or...yes, or what? Can't really think of any alternatives. It's a situation we never experienced before, hence whatever is decided probably can't be so wrong. It's all new, we are learning. We are learning to deal with a worst case scenario and we are likely to pay a high price. Can I go on a summer holiday and have a
swim in the Sea this year? Will we lose money if we book anything anywhere or do we have to stop planning at all and instead live spontaneously? Will I be trapped behind closed borders? Will my family fight for food soon? People living in war zones would still envy me for my comfortable situation. So it's not a worst case scenario yet, maybe just not a very funny one. What happens after this is all over? How many people will lose their jobs because their company went bankrupt or because the company is forced to tighten their belts. Spooky.

What shall I do? Drawing is a nice therapy...and while I am doing that, I am listening to Dave Grusin, Grover Washington, Fourplay, The Rippingstones, Earl Klugh, great this feels at the moment. It's my drug to disappear into a different world, at least for a short moment in time. I need it right now.

And tomorrow, I am having a beer with a good friend.

Add on as of March 21: In general, this is a blog about software testing only where I put my cartoons and enrich it with explanatory text, but sometimes, I am inspired by things that happen outside the world of testing, like Corona for example. My brain is currently full of cartoon ideas related to Corona. Since I don't want to deviate from my testing related cartoon strategie, I have decided to simply put all my Corona related cartoons into this particular blog entry  rather than to create a new entry for each cartoon.