In this edition: autism and actual masking, dining with mannequins, genetic drift, ousting Burr, cats and coronavirus, a new giraffe, black churches, reopening Oregon, COVID-19 and the brain, Oregon restaurants, the post-pandemic commute, bicycles, disability claims, the sage grouse, lockdowns and history, “Obamagate”, walking a trail, test failures, the privilege of escape, Multnomah County, the last Blockbuster, public shaming, and an invasion of goats.
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.
Autistic people have varied individual experiences, preferences and needs, so although some kids can’t tolerate a mask, others are just fine with it. But before requiring them to put one on, consider the factors that may make masks intolerable or inadvisable for an autistic person.
Instead of letting tables sit vacant, the whimsical chef plans to outfit his dining rooms with mannequins. That’s right, life-size human dolls—kind of like that scene in Home Alone when Kevin throws a mannequin holiday party to fool the burglars. The chef (who majored in drama in college) has been working with Shirlington’s Signature Theatre to get the faux humans costumed in 1940s-era garb. Servers will be instructed to pour them wine and to ask them about their evening. Here’s hoping the actual diners don’t have any doll phobias.
For the most part, respected evolutionary biologists have chosen to avoid weighing in on these controversies, opting instead to remain above the fray. This is surprising considering that evolutionary biologists are accustomed to debating creationists, and to the art of public discourse around contentious ideas. Their relative silence leaves a gap that less restrained commenters have rushed to fill: Seemingly every mutation in the novel coronavirus has been spun as a sign that the virus is either adapting to better reproduce and spread in its environment or becoming less harmful.
So why Burr? Remember I mentioned that the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed with the Mueller investigation, and that It was due to release the final volume of its report soon? Burr is the chairman of that key committee. If he is discredited enough to lose his chairmanship, McConnell will get to choose his replacement. And it’s a pretty safe bet the committee will no longer support the conclusions of the Mueller Report.
“Considering the amount of virus we found coming out of the noses of the cats … there is the possibility that these cats are shedding, fomites are being released in a person’s household or at cat shelters or human societies and that somehow people could possibly pick up the virus. I think it’s something people should be aware of,” said Peter Halfmann, a research professor at the University of Wisconsin and first author of the study, published as a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Every Masai giraffe we care for is critical to keeping this subspecies alive,” Oregon Zoo deputy director Sheri Horizsny said in the news release. “Our hope is that one day Kiden and Buttercup will start a family of their own.”
Portland’s black community depends on churches more than most. But it has also had to grapple for years with greater obstacles to reaching the buildings—thanks to decades of displacement to the edge of town.
In the absence of a vaccine, Oregon is relying on two cornerstones to fight the novel coronavirus: widespread testing and a practice called “contact tracing,” which is used to identify those who have come in contact with newly infected people. These two pieces figure prominently in the state’s prerequisites for reopening.
People with Covid-19 receiving critical care are at high risk of delirium, extreme confusion, or hallucinations. And severe illness, treatment, and recovery can leave lingering emotional trauma, raising the odds that a person will go on to develop anxiety, depression, or related conditions. But on top of all that, scientists are also beginning to understand that coronaviruses, particularly this one, have neurotropic properties, meaning the bug can attack the nervous system, entering the brain or the cerebrospinal fluid. The result may be neurological symptoms that accompany the infection, linger after recovery, or show up weeks, months, or even years later.
It’s hard to overstate the impact COVID-19 restrictions have had on the hospitality industry. A survey by the National Restaurant Association found about 80% of Oregon’s restaurant workers have lost their jobs. And while some restaurants are still offering take-out, or are preparing to reopen when they’re again allowed to seat patrons, a growing number have decided to permanently close their doors.
The results reaffirm old findings about the value of commutes, but they also indicate that some people might shift to new travel modes if given the chance. About 69% of respondents said that they missed some element of their commute, but their answers varied dramatically depending on how — and how long — they traveled: The longer it took to get to their jobs, the less people missed it. While 55% of car commuters said that they didn’t miss their work journeys at all, 91% of bike commuters said that they miss at least some parts of theirs.
Many experts view cycling as a safe way to avoid crowded public transportation systems — and the citizens in a number of world cities appear to agree. In New York, cycling spiked by 52% over the city’s bridges after social-distancing protocols were put in place. In Chicago, bikeshare use doubled in early March. In Dublin and London, advocates are offering support to new riders who are taking to the streets in droves.
After the denial of my disability claim, which was upsetting enough, I had to get back on the horse and try to hunt down an attorney willing to help with my appeal. When I finally got one to call me back, I realized why no-one else had. As disabled as I now am, I am still not disabled “enough” to receive government aid.
They gobble up air, rub their wings across their chest feathers, and make a popping noise. It’s the mating call of the sage grouse – and the sound of dawn every spring in Oregon’s high desert. But sage grouse are in trouble across the West because humans keep carving up the desert for their own uses.
Staying at home is annoying. It is boring. It is lonely. For the 15 per cent of Americans who have lost their jobs in this pandemic, it is unimaginably costly. But it is not an act of persecution or discrimination, and only someone who had wilfully ignored the history of discrimination and persecution could think otherwise.
What “Obamagate” reveals is the fraudulence of this legal argument. If nothing is illegal when a president does it, then even if the Obama administration’s criminal investigation of Michael Flynn were unlawful (wrong: it was lawful), what’s the problem? Barack Obama was then president. Presidents should be immune to the rule of law, according to Trump’s lawyers. Nothing is illegal when a president does it.
More than ever, we need to remember that we are all in this together, vulnerable neighbors on a vulnerable planet, all sharing the same basic needs—food, livelihood, dignity, toilet paper, access to medical care, and compassion. We are going to be forced to carefully consider our own mortality as others around us get sick and some die. We are going to be forced to reexamine our values. Such dire circumstances tend to reveal one’s true character. What can we hope to learn about ourselves? What is our responsibility to one another? Who are we if we succumb to fear and panicked self-preservation? Where will we find meaning when we are at risk of losing everything?
The analysis, which has yet to be confirmed, found that Abbott’s ID NOW missed at least one-third of positive cases detected with a rival test and as much as 48% when using the currently recommended dry nasal swabs, according to the report posted on BioRxiv, a server where researchers post early work before it has been reviewed by other scientists.
After hearing that we were leaving, friends in our building who had been planning to ride it out decided that they would follow suit. As they wheeled their suitcases packed with dried beans and all-season clothing through the lobby, a young black resident standing with a friend by the elevator muttered after them: “Have fun in the Poconos.”
In addition to the state’s requirements for reopening, Multnomah County has set its own unique standards for entering the reopening process. That includes seeing a reduced COVID-19 impact on communities of color, and providing testing sites that are accessible for underserved communities. The coronavirus has so far had an outsized impact on Black residents and other people of color, both in Multnomah County and across the United States.
Harding said that the store had 10-15 curbside customers a day—”a drop in the bucket” compared to its typical pre-pandemic rentals—which wasn’t enough to sustain the business, or to justify the potential risks. “You’re in a tight spot, because part of you is looking at the economics of it and thinking ‘I have to have customers coming and spending money, or my business isn’t going to be viable, but at the same time, I’m like the Blockbuster Mom,” she said. “These are my kids that work here, the customers are my family and, my gosh, I can’t put them at risk either. Your heart is just torn in two different directions.”
Beyond the fact that public shaming doesn’t often work as intended, Hieronymi cites an unusual source: Judith Martin, the etiquette expert better known as Miss Manners. “One of her basic maxims is to presume the best of the other person,” she says. “Presume they don’t have the right information, presume that they didn’t mean any harm, and then interact on that basis — even if you don’t necessarily have great evidence to the effect that they don’t have the right information. Following that advice, it would be, ‘Hey, did you know that masks can protect people and not wearing them will put me and others at risk?’ and personalizing it that way.”
The goats made a mess in a few yards, but it reportedly only took a few minutes to wrangle them up. “The goats are actually pretty scared of humans, it seemed like,” Roelands explained. And while no one was apparently hurt, one Twitter user was right to point out just how dangerous this incident could have become: “This is literally how Mufasa died.”