Category Archives: miscellaneous

Did you know you can make an article on WordPress and publish it from your phone?

That’s right, with the app “Jetpack – Website Builder” (from Automattic, Inc), you can make an article and publish it without ever needing to access a personal computer! Honestly, publishing this post was so easy, it might be the thing that gets me back into blogging.

Anyhow, this isn’t a paid ad or anything, I just wanted to try out this app and announce that there might be more posts because it’s fairly easy to make them.

Time between searching “does wordpress have an app?” to publishing this article: ~15 minutes

Why can false positive test results be both more and less likely than false negative test results?

I had a friend say that he heard the following from a source he trusts: “the BinaxNow [COVID-19 antigen self test] is 85% accurate for identifying you have COVID and over 98% accurate in determining you don’t have COVID. So… if it says you are negative there is less than a 2% chance you actually have COVID. If you test positive there is a 15% chance you might really be negative.”

This is the exact opposite of what my own research had found, which said that false positives should be trusted much more than false negatives. Who is right? Well, it turns out there are two ways to look at this sort of problem, both of which are correct.

The first way is to look at how likely a given test is to give a false positive or false negative. For example, all the sources I’ve seen (I’ll quote from this one the FDA published a week ago: say that “If you have a positive test result, it is very likely that you have COVID-19” because the antigen tests are very specific to covid proteins. On the other hand, the article says that “It is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative) in some people with COVID-19,” with the reasoning that, if you take the test too soon, too late, or are asymptomatic, there might not be enough proteins for the test to detect. This aligns with what I’ve been consistently hearing for roughly a year: don’t trust negative results, especially if there are symptoms, but do trust positive results.

Now for the other way to look at it, which is the way I suspect my friend’s source was looking at it. Instead of looking at the likelihood of a specific test giving a false positive, look at the likelihood of a specific person receiving a false positive test. Even if false positives are very rare, if the vast majority of the people taking the test don’t have Covid, then even very rare things can become pretty common, to the point something like 15% false positive rate isn’t unheard of in the medical industry. That also would drive the percentage of false negatives down because most people testing don’t have covid, so most tests that are negative are correct. As such, a 2% chance of a given negative being a false negative makes sense.

Finally, it’s also possible that my friend’s source has more up to date information than I’ve found, or that the source has false/misinterpreted information. I don’t know. Either way, though, even if there was only a 85% chance of a true positive, that’s still too high to be ignored in my opinion, especially if the person is symptomatic. Whether or not it’s covid, who wants to get sick with anything?

Anyhow, I find it interesting that both viewpoints are correct; it just depends on your perspective. Simultaneously, there can be a test such that it is more likely to give a false negative than a false positive, but false positives from that test could be more common than false negatives. Statistics can be weird sometimes, lol.

p.s. I’ve learned this concept from a number of sources, but explanations are usually buried in a book or podcast. If you know of a standalone explanation of this concept, post what you find in the comments!

Some other resources:

(Photo taken by me, George, of a BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test kit)

This is not a post about COVID-19

Like the title says, this post is not about COVID-19. It’s not going to be about how boring it is during quarantine, or how I now have so much free time that I can just spend hours and hours working on the old family blog. It’s not about that because I’m actually pretty busy and have lots to do. However, I’ve been wanting to start making (infrequent) posts for a while, and the right combination of events has led to me making the first post to this blog in years. Hopefully you enjoyed it, despite it simply being an attempt to be more interesting than the typical “I’m back!” or “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long!” posts. If nothing else, at least it isn’t yet another post about COVID-19 :).

Have a good one!

~ George

p.s. I don’t actually have anything against posts about COVID-19. ‘Tis just another level of the (very) dry humor that permeates this post.

100 Words for 100 Days is finished!

From September 15th to December 23rd I participated in the 100 Words for 100 Days challenge from It’s a website meant to help teens write novels, but I didn’t have any book that I wanted to write at the moment so instead I worked on this blog. The rules were that you had to write 100 or more words every day, but you could miss one day a week and one week in the total 100 days.

I am glad to announce that I finished the challenge and did so with 19,063 words written. Now, over the last few months I haven’t posted anywhere near 19,063 words, but there’s a reason for it. If you had to write 100 words each day, which would you do: start a new post and quickly get to 100-300 word, work on a previous post (which involves re-reading it) and probably get to 100-300 words, or publish a post and get maybe 10-20 words in as you edit stuff and clean everything up? Clearly the first and second one, and more often the first than the second. The result is that I have over 30 drafts waiting to be read over, added to, polished, and published.

The contest is over, but I have decided to continue the challenge. However, I have revised the rules a bit; the new rule is that everyday (with one day a week off) I can either write over 100 words, or I can publish a post. For example, I’ve written this post today, getting 278 words in, and tomorrow I’ll review it, polish it, and publish it. Despite probably not getting 100 words in, I’ll still count the day off because I published something. This way hopefully I’ll be able to start making my way through that mountain of drafts that is waiting for me, and you’ll get more content.

Thanks for reading!

~ George

(p.s. I got 49 words out of revising this the next day, and 24 of them are in this sentence. As I said, not very many.)

101st Published Post!

This post gets us passed the landmark of 100 posts!!!!! Whoo Hoo!!

It’s fun to write these, and thanks to whoever is out there reading these for, well, reading them. I write in hope that someone else finds what I have to say is interesting, so even if it was fun I might not write if I didn’t think there would be readers. Of course, I’m not the only one writing posts. My dad (Steve) also writes, despite not being able to commit as much time as he would prefer. Nevertheless, this whole site is thanks to him. Thank you Dad! Now we just need to get my sisters and mom writing… 🙂

Up Next: 201 posts!

Merry Christmas!

~ George

(BTW, if you could post something in the comments it’d mean the world to us. A special occasion like this deserves a comment, right? Right? Right????? Good, I thought so 🙂 )

Rose’s Birthday Gift: Lyrics Book

Rose just had her birthday, so I needed to come up with a birthday present. About two 2 months ago I realized that she likes singing all the time, but rarely knows more than a few spots of a song. So thus the idea of a lyrics book was born. I copied the lyrics to 28 songs that she enjoys singing into a single document, categorized them, and added page numbers. I got almost all the lyrics from, although a few of the lyrics are from other sites. If you use it, I’d recommend printing it in booklet form (or at least double-sided) if your printer has that function, otherwise you’d use a huge amount of paper. Also, there are some known errors in the transcription of some songs, so it is likely that most of the lyrics aren’t 100% like the actual lyrics of the song, but in general they are correct. Here’s the download: Song Lyrics

Also, here’s the Table of Contents (copied from the first page of the document):



“Happy” – Pharrell Williams – page 2
“Demons” – Imagine Dragons – page 3
“Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons – page 5
“Really Don’t Care” – Demi Lovato – page 6
(feat. Cher Lloyd)
“Brave” – Sara Barielles – page 7
“The Monster” (Clean version) – Eminem – page 9
(feat. Rihanna)
“Counting Stars” – One Republic – page 10
“Roar” – Katy Perry – page 12

“Somebody” – page 14
(performed by Bridgit Mendler)
“Determinate” – page 15
(performed by Bridgit Mendler & Adam Hicks)
“Here We Go” – page 17
“She’s So Gone” – page 19
(performed by Naomi Scott)
“Breakthrough” – page 21



“Shake It Off” – page 23
“Our Song” – page 24
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – page 26
“You Belong With Me” – page 27
“Love Story” – page 29



“Little Talks” – page 30
“Dirty Paws” – page 32
“Mountain Sound” – page 32



“Where’d My Wood Go (500 Chunks)” – Element Animation – page 33

“The Saga Begins” – “Weird Al” – page 35
“Everything Is Awesome!!!” – Tegan and Sara – page 37
(feat. The Lonely Island)



“The Melody Within” – page 39
“The Curse” – page 39
“The Melody Within/The Curse” – page 40
“April Child” – page 40


~ George

How To do tan^-1 on a calculator

First off, I’m assuming that your calculator has three things: a “tan” button and a “tan-1” button. You do not have to know where the “tan-1” button is, but if it is a scientific calculator then it probably does have it. I’m also assuming that you know what the “tan” and the “tan-1” buttons do, so this will not explain that.
Your calculator should have a button labeled “tan-1”, although usually you have to hit the “2nd” key and then the “tan” key. If you are using the calculator that comes installed with Windows 7 (at least I’m pretty sure that’s where it comes from, if someone could verify that please) and already have it set to scientific calculator (hit the “view” button in the top left corner then select “scientific”), then you hit the “Inv” key (short for “Inverse”, I think) and the “tan” button will turn into “tan-1”.
Also, make sure that the calculator is set to degrees (or radians), because it is extremely frustrating to get the wrong answer and have no idea why. To set that there is often a button that says “DRG”, with which you can cycle through degrees, radians, and gradients, using arrow keys if your calculator has them. On the Windows 7 calculator there are three buttons in the top left, beneath where the output is shown. Click the one labeled with what you want.
Finally, if you already know how to get the “tan-1” button but don’t know how to type it in, most fancy calculators (the $10+ ones) require you to input the items in the order that you would write them (e.g. type “tan-1” then “500” then “/” then “1001” then “=”). However, almost every other calculator that I use (including the Windows 7 one and calculator apps) do it similarly, but certain functions (such as square root, log, and tan) are done after you finish typing the expression (e.g. type “500” then “/” then “1001” then “tan-1” then “=”).
Of course, all of this also applies to the “sin”/”sin-1” and “cos”/”cos-1” buttons, but I was specifically asked about the “tan-1” button, so that’s what I went with.
 ~ George

The Scientific Ideal World

After reading this comic, I’ve been trying to find a site that has a scientific opinion on what the “ideal world” would be, but all my Google searches keep coming up with people philosophizing and talking about good people, or talking about dictatorships trying to rule the world and make everything “perfect”. If anyone could find a link to a site, article, video, etc., that approaches the question from a scientific point of view, please post it in the comments. I will continue looking for one, and when I’ve found one I’ll make this a real post. Thanks!

~ George