This is the internet weblog of Bix Frankonis.

Link Log Roundup For April 22, 2020

In this edition: disaster parks, armchair experts, freeways, restaurant normalcy, cats, librarians adapting, sneezing science, Twitter rules, and underlying conditions.

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.

Japan’s ‘Disaster Parks’ Help Explain Its Coronavirus Response – Reasons to be Cheerful

What you’d never notice about Hikarigaoka Park, however, is that 36 of its benches conceal stoves that can be used to cook food, boil water or provide heat. The park’s 52 manhole lids can be removed to reveal emergency toilets. Its solar-powered lamp posts have electrical outlets for charging phones in a blackout. There are water tanks for fighting fires, and bunkers stocked with days’ worth of non-perishable food.

The Dangerous Rise of the Armchair Epidemiologist

Which is why I find myself increasingly obsessed with the rise of the so-called “COVID influencer” or armchair epidemiologist. These men—and they are, largely, men—are legitimate experts in other fields. They are lawyers, former reporters and thriller writers, Silicon Valley technologists, newspaper columnists, economists and doctors who specialize in different parts of medicine. Their utter belief in their own cognitive abilities gives them the false sense that their speculation, and predictive powers, are more informed than the rest of ours.

City Observatory – What Covid-19 teaches us about how to fix freeways

That’s why “removing bottlenecks” is a hopeless game of infinite whack-a-mole. When you enable more cars to travel faster at one point, you simply overload the next downstream point even more quickly, and the traffic jams recur. Its one of the reasons that widening freeways never reduces congestion; even when you have 23-lanes of freeway, as in Houston.

To Survive Coronavirus, Restaurants Can Never Go Back to ‘Normal’

In short, pre-coronavirus restaurant business models cannot survive corona time’s physical distancing and economic fragility. And moreover, if corona time is not two to three months but up to two years long, restaurants will have to rethink their corona-time strategy to survive.

USDA APHIS | Confirmation of COVID-19 in Two Pet Cats in New York

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Oregon libraries shift focus to ebooks, staff take on new roles with county during coronavirus shutdown

Those workers are helping to staff emergency shelters and countywide donation centers, using library delivery trucks for emergency operations, creating and translating content for countywide communications, creating face shields, respirator components and face coverings using 3D printers, laser cutters and sewing machines, and reaching out to isolated seniors to check in and offer assistance.

See how a sneeze can launch germs much farther than 6 feet

Bourouiba, a fluid dynamics scientist at MIT, has spent the last few years using high-speed cameras and light to reveal how expulsions from the human body can spread pathogens, such as the novel coronavirus. Slowed to 2,000 frames per second, video and images from her lab show that a fine mist of mucus and saliva can burst from a person’s mouth at nearly a hundred miles an hour and travel as far as 27 feet. When the sternutation is over, a turbulent cloud of droplet-containing gas can remain suspended for several minutes, depending on the size of the droplet.

Harmful Tweets From High Places: Why is Twitter Acting Now?

The global pandemic is also far from the first time that dangerous disinformation campaigns have flourished on social media platforms, including those promoted by world leaders. So why, experts are asking, is Twitter acting now? Will it make a difference? And why not censure Tweets from other leaders, including Trump?

How We Can Build a Hardier World After the Coronavirus

Societies, too, come with underlying conditions, and the two that haunt our planet right now are inequality and ecological turmoil. They’ve both spiked in the past few decades, with baleful results that normally stay just below the surface, felt but not fully recognized. But as soon as something else goes wrong—a new microbe launches a pandemic, say—they become starkly evident.

This post originally was published 2 years ago by Bix Frankonis on Posts older than a decade might not reflect my current views.