Tag: Mathematics

Brexit and Differential Equations

As you may or may not be aware, one of the sticking points on Brexit is that the French and the Spanish are demanding the right to continue to fish (strip mine) British waters.

What I know is that if there is no deal, and Europeans are not allowed to fish those waters, then the pressure on the fishery will be reduced, at least until the British fishing fleet is expanded.

If you have been following this, this is pretty obvious.

The thing that I know, and you probably don’t, is that if the continental fishing fleets are excluded, then the percentage of selachians, sharks skates, and rays, of the catch, will go up.

The short version is that with reduce human predation, other predators will take up the slack.

The longer version, and the one that I learned in differential equation class in college is that  Lotka–Volterra equations were developed to describe the changes in catches in Italian fisheries during the First World War. 

With many fishermen at the front, the total catch declined, and the percentage of sharks and related fish increased.

The instructor described this as the first application of differential equations to what could generally be called ecology, though I had to explain to him what selachians were .

So, a no-deal Brexit is a happy time for sharks in UK waters.

Now you know.

Adventures in Metrology

Over at Wet Machine, Harold Feld has given us  a new measurement for irony, the Morissette.

He was discussing the rumors that Trump is attempting to institute censorship of social media through FCC regulation, which is both legally and constitutionally impossible:

Granted, humiliating yourself at Trump’s command by publicly utterly reversing yourself on everything you previously said you believed in is almost a rite of passage for officials in the Trump Administration. But if Trump actually did do this, it would be a true work of Total Humiliation for Pai & friends. This is why I give even the rumor of this a rare 5 out of 5 Morissettes on the Irony Scale (named after singer Alanis Morissette and her famous ironic song “Irony” about things that aren’t actually ironic.)

(Emphasis Mine)

At this point, I am unclear if this is a linear or a logarithmic scale, but my money is on the latter.