In this edition: autism research, men ditching books, peeing in the pool, coronavirus confusion, liminality, reopening Oregon restaurants, Oregonian death rates, mental health in quarantine, public space online, informal public characters, sidewalk chalk, intelligence, the Gross Domestic Product, the Anti-Mask League, Latinx disparities, compulsory masks in 1919, vote-by-mail hypocrisy, and saving .ORG.
Your daily look at links I’ve saved to my Link Log ( RSS ) over the course of each day but didn’t necessarily address or highlight here on the blog. These are the links I logged yesterday, and not necessarily links to things published yesterday.
“One of the many things that COVID-19 has shown us is how deep and consequential the digital and technological divide is in Australia and across the world,” Liz Pellicano, professor of educational studies at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, wrote in an email. “Moving our research ‘online’ might well make our research more accessible to some autistic people, but it also might make it less accessible to those who are already from ‘seldom heard’ groups.”
According to a recent study of ebook usage in the UK, conducted by the Audience Agency, men are likely to give up reading a book before page 50, while women more often make it to page 100 (at least).
“That’s like having a peeing section in the swimming pool,” Jeffrey Duchin, a public health official in Seattle and King County, said during a recent panel discussion, citing a phrase someone had mentioned to him. “It doesn’t stay where you started.”
But much else about the pandemic is still maddeningly unclear. Why do some people get really sick, but others do not? Are the models too optimistic or too pessimistic? Exactly how transmissible and deadly is the virus? How many people have actually been infected? How long must social restrictions go on for? Why are so many questions still unanswered?
This loss of experience that comes from the suspended animation of sequestering is liminality in the large, and though we are experiencing it together, which helps, we are also experiencing it alone, which is as painful as it has ever been.
“Businesses should inform customers/visitors of the reason the information is being collected and how the information will be used,” the draft guidance says. “Example language: This business is collecting basic information to share with public health in the event a COVID-19 case is identified associated with this business.”
The data leave unanswered questions about what is killing so many Oregonians. They come as a Yale University School of Public Health analysis of federal death figures for The Washington Post determined there were at least 15,400 deaths above historic averages during the early days of the pandemic nationwide.
Quarantine is often an unpleasant experience for those who undergo it. Separation from loved ones, the loss of freedom, uncertainty over disease status, and boredom can, on occasion, create dramatic effects. Suicide has been reported, substantial anger generated, and lawsuits brought following the imposition of quarantine in previous outbreaks. The potential benefits of mandatory mass quarantine need to be weighed carefully against the possible psychological costs. Successful use of quarantine as a public health measure requires us to reduce, as far as possible, the negative effects associated with it.
In the first episode, this series will examine how we develop digital forms of public space as much of our social life moves online, and how this shifts our sense of community. What is the role of public space in society? What can public space do (and not do)? What do we lose when we lose physical public space, and how do people make up for that in the digital realm? The discussion will address these questions by exploring how vital public spaces are enacted virtually – such as the library, the park, the street -, looking at what makes these spaces civically useful in both their physical and their digital form, and asking what we can and must learn from this for a post-COVID-19 world.
Jacobs argues that informal public characters—storekeepers, bartenders, and the like—allow people to live independently in a city. She argues that it can’t be formalized or institutionalized because something like a government program or say, an online platform that shares extra rooms in houses, couldn’t be trusted the same way. She goes on to describe that same level of trust that encourages sharing lets essential information spread in a neighborhood. “Word does not move around quickly where public characters and sidewalk life are lacking.”
From California to Tennessee to Wisconsin to New Jersey, chalk art is having a moment. With schools closed until further notice (and many unlikely to reopen this academic year), homebound children are taking chalk sticks to the streets. Here in Mill Valley, sidewalks and driveways are bursting with games of hopscotch—some as long as 82 tiles—and hopeful messages like “we can do it” or “we got this.” Drawing on the driveway is an activity for moments of boredom, but beneath that boredom lies a more visceral need to comfort and connect with one another. And sidewalks, which urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs called “the main public places of the city” and “its most vital organ,” have emerged as the perfect canvas for boosting neighborhood morale, one chalk drawing at a time.
“The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” the Office of Director of National Intelligence said in a rare statement.
The White House would like you to believe society will normalize in a jiffy. The Gross Domestic Product shrank by nearly 5 percent last quarter. This quarter is expected to be much worse. But Larry Kudlow, the president’s economics advisor, said the GDP will “should snap back.” This is the same guy who said, of the outbreak in February, that, “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight.”
By mid-January 1919, city officials once again ordered people to wear their masks in public. And in the midst of the devastating outbreak, a group of between 2,000 and 4,000 people decided to hold a large public gathering in order to protest being told to wear masks.
Statewide, the virus has devastated Oregon’s Latino communities. Latinos account for 31% of the nearly 2,100 Oregonians with coronavirus whose ethnicity is known, even though they represent only 13% of the state’s total population.
The debate in Walla Walla — and throughout the U.S. in the early days of 1919 as the second wave of the deadly flu pandemic rolled through the population — was about the tradeoff between individual freedoms and the exercise of official power for the “public good.” The same debate, that is, that’s playing out today as communities and states study how to safely reopen with the coronavirus continuing to roam the land.
An emergency plan for Louisiana’s delayed spring elections was approved by the state Legislature after Republican lawmakers rolled back an expansion of mail-in ballots for people concerned about the coronavirus. […] Lawmakers voted by mail on the emergency plan.
The entire Board stands by this decision. After thorough due diligence and robust discussion, we concluded that this is the right decision to take. While recognizing the disappointment for some, we call upon all involved to find a healthy way forward, with a keen eye to provide the best possible support to the .ORG community.