In my post Where Credit Is Due, I posed the question, Can somebody tell me when I became middle-aged? Well, the answer is, "today." Today I'm 38 years old - and according to the actuarial table here, 38 is the very age when a man's present age equals his expected remaining years of life. However, a bit of linear interpolation on the data suggests that I've got a little time left. I won't pass the halfway point of the table until June 7th of next year, around dinnertime. No need to rush into that motorcycle purchase just yet.
I also made this graph using the data from the actuarial table. It shows the risk of dying in the next year for men of different ages, from age 10 to age 50. Some interesting patterns....
(Before anybody panics, let me point out that the vertical scale only goes up to 1%.)
It so happens there's a piece on mortality statistics in this month's American Scientist - one of the best magazines of any kind published today. The article is here, in the Marginalia section.
A couple of random notes, and then I've got some Key Lime Pie to attend to.
(1) In that same issue of American Scientist, there is a courageous article on the scandalous state of modern cosmology - and by extension, the deep confusion within contemporary theoretical physics as a whole. The article is "Modern Cosmology: Science or Folktale?".
(2) A friend has generously mailed me a copy of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. I'll give it a more serious look soon, but on first flip-through, I have to say, it should have been called The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Unreadable. Somebody get this guy an editor! Better yet, give the whole thing to Malcom Gladwell, and let him condense it down to a nice pithy piece for the New Yorker. Having said that, the bibliography looks very valuable, and the graph on page 276 is immediately convincing. There is obviously a lot here, although the author's pretentious style keeps him in the foreground, at the expense of his message.
(3) Today it struck me that 38 can be written in four different ways as the sum of a prime and a perfect square: 38 = 1^2 + 37 = 3^2 + 29 = 5^2 + 13 = 6^2 + 2. Amazing! In number theory, you frequently see decompositions into squares and decompositions into primes, but I have never seen a mixed decomposition problem like this.