The Shape Of The Future

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Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Making predictions is hard. Particularly about the future.  And if you just did a double take and said “Uh, Sarah, that’s what you’re supposed to do for a living.”

Well, not actually, no.  We’re not prophets. We might be bards, in that we take some spark of the future and bring it forward.  Just a little bit, just enough to say “The future could be like this.”  But around it we build a plausible world, which, as we all know, could not possibly be true.

So what we do in fact is create possible parallel worlds. Which is why Heinlein’s — and even Simak’s — worlds are still enjoyable to step into.  It is, in other words, a form of fantasy, which is why whenever we get into the argument of how hard sf is, or what the hard line between science fiction and fantasy is, we get lost in the weeds, and the line recedes ever further like the rainbow.

Because intrinsically, fiction must be plausible. Reality hardly ever is. And I swear since about 95 the world has fallen down the weird legs of the pants of time. We have not thought how bizarre it all is because we’re in it, but if you step back, imagine visiting your 1980 self and telling him/her how we got here, and where here is.  Yeah. I wouldn’t believe me either.  Though perhaps the line goes further back. Perhaps I broke the engine of logic and probability when I found what my mom always called “A man stupid enough to marry you.”  I don’t know if you should be grateful to me for doing so or not.

However my subconscious is such that I can often make semi-accurate predictions short-time.  I can sort of “feel” the future, even if I can’t see it clearly or tell you the details.

So. I’m starting to feel where we’re headed, sort of.  This is not an exhaustive list, and it will probably resurface (on the non-pay) side of PJMedia, as a series of posts, in which I go into each of the things I see coming. It is also not perfectly logical, it’s just my sense of how people respond.

First let me tell you that despite climbing American deaths, I stand by my prediction of a maximum # of deaths no more than a mild flu season. I also expect — as I told you in the past — that our large cities will take it in the shorts. I’m surprised that’s only materializing for one large DENSE city so far. I expected Boston and Philadelphia and most dense Eastern cities to be in the same shape as NYC. I also expected San Fran and LA to follow suit.

All I can say as a means to explain the difference (and that post is almost written, also for PJ, but I need to go in and trim it, because even on the paid side 4k words is ridiculous) it comes down to culture, and in NYC its culture is somewhat enforced by its very goofy real-estate restraints and rent control.  In a visit some years ago, son told me that he now understood how people could live in what amounted to modified walk-in closets.  It’s because they don’t.  They mostly eat out. The neighborhood bar or coffee shop is their living room. Home is the place you sleep and keep your clothes.

As such a new form of flu that devolves into pneumonia would go through it, as grandma would say “like a knife through cheese.”

Though I want to point out there might be other things at play. Things we will find out only in retrospect that explain the really, really bad clusters we’re getting.  Perhaps different mutated strains, or… who knows? perhaps certain regions hadn’t got other milder forms that made us semi-immunized.

That we need to isolate those clusters goes without saying. It also goes without saying that the rest of us need to be functioning, our economy recovering and working, so we can lend help and assistance.

It’s bizarre and bordering on the strange that so many governors and mayors and even city councils are going the other way and enforcing strict lock downs NOW, thereby choosing to commit economic suicide and render themselves helpless.  Which is one of the things we’ve learned, that I’m not sure WILL influence the future, because humans are not rational.

  • When given the opportunity to exert power, some people will do it, even when it OBJECTIVELY hurts the polity they swore to protect, even when it’s contra-productive, even when it will destroy them and those they govern.  The power we give people to do so must be limited. It must be limited NOW.  Fortunately we don’t need to go to the moon for the writ on how to do it. We’re supposed to live in a constitutional republic. Let’s get back to that project, shall we? And rest assured that the founding fathers knew of pandemics. Read the history of John Adams.  It doesn’t help that most people won’t go that way, as our government preens on saving us from the evil bad, when in fact they mostly stepped in the way and caused problems particularly on the local level.
    Remember the most egregious abuses, come November. And fight, fight, fight in the culture to bring back the republic we inherited now mostly honored in the breach. Don’t expect to win in your life time. The ruination has been in effect for 100 years.  But maybe, just maybe we can bring it back without the cold civil war going hot. Maybe. Maybe by the time we’re long dead and our great grandchildren can vote.
  • People should distrust the press after this. They didn’t trust them particularly before.  Unfortunately, judging from even people on the right running around with their heads on fire repeating CNN nonsense…  They won’t. What they will is remember who held their hands through the fear. Also, what I expect will be a trend towards working from home will make people see/hear a lot more daytime tv and talk shows and “news” all day long. (Not my house but we’re not normal.)
    Expect a lot more panics and insane reactions stoked over the next few years.  The thing is, and I’m going to quote grandma again “The more the jar goes to the well, the greater of the chance it will lose its handle.”
    They can’t help it. They’re going to stampede and stampede and stampede, until their power is all gone.
    Before they inflict a socialist/socialism on us?  I don’t know. We must trust in G-d to save fools, drunkards and the United States of America. This makes me panicky. While I’m a religious person, I like seeing my path clear to ensuring the results I want. I just don’t.
  • Things that will not come back, not even if you want them to: Comic bookshops, bookstores, recreational conventions and even to some extent business gatherings in other cities.
    There will be some. I would very much like TVIW to survive. I think it does something important. But who knows.
    Anyway, in the secondary effects from that, I think that paper books will basically go by the way side as a separate commodity. Those who want them CAN get them from Amazon. This means that traditional publishers just lost their advantage over indies.
    What can they do to survive? Oh, so many things. The old Baen model — now mostly honored in the breach — of promoting a strong community of readers who have a dedicated site to discuss the books, and also of publishing the type of books that people in that community prefer might work.  After all the problem of indies is promo, and a place where you can be assured you’ll meet authors you’ll probably like helps.  There’s other stuff. They’ll definitely have to think in terms of “What value add do we give writers, so they publish with us.” Mere advances are not enough any more. Not compared to losing a substantial portion of your earnings and control over the books.
    The same goes for most of our creative entertainment from comics to art to movies.  Hollywood is taking it in the shorts too, and I hope you indie movie makers and CGI spinners are warming up your machines. Please.
    This of course might win us the cold civil war. Before or after it turns hot, I don’t know.
  • I think social distancing is here to stay in a way.  IN A WAY.  Whether this entire panic was justified or not, remember that people experience trauma by what they go through. Most people were traumatized by this. Things will change.
    I see a lot of shopping going on line. If anyone reading this knows someone who knows someone who can get hold of the President’s ears, tell him that tax laws must be changed.
    You cannot collect tax for every state you sell things in. You cannot, as a small business.  Free small businesses to sell across state lines, please.
    This is not tremendously difficult. Just say under x revenue (and not the current 4k, maybe more like 500k) you’re exempt from that nonsense.
    If we don’t do this, then Amazon and the other mega corps will continue growing, but the economy will suffer as will small creators and seller.
    America is and should be the land of small businesses. That’s what makes us the engine of the future. Let’s stop shoving them into the arms of mega corps. Because that story doesn’t end well.
    But look for a ton more delivery services for everything, from groceries to craft materials, to pet food.  We’re already seeing some of that — the pet store went curbside pickup — because people will be leery of touching things a lot of people have touched.
  • Weirdly I really don’t think restaurants will be affected IN THE LONG RUN.  Sure, you’re going to see a lot more pick up and delivery.  They were already trending that way. But people eat together with friends and acquaintances. It’s a behavior as old as time. Refusing to break bread with the enemy is also. They’ll come back. We have on our schedule 2 meals a week (I need to write more to afford it) come all-clear.
    What I do see is a lot more CLEANING and visible cleaning in restaurants. This is not a bad thing, though it might bump up the price of your meal a little.
    I do think for a while we’re all going to eat out a lot, and then eating out in person might slip back a bit, to less than normal pre-panic. Because delivery and pick up will take the place of a lot of it.  Eh. Willing to live with it. I’m planning a series of picnics with my sweetie for this summer.  Maybe parks can put in a lot more picnic tables, well distanced, please. (This could be wistful thinking and people might very well, indeed, eat out A LOT less, and cook at home instead. I doubt it though. We’re now up to three generations of people having no clue how to cook from scratch. So I doubt the trend to have someone else make your food will change.)
  • How we work will change. At least for those of us who work in the vineyards of the mind. Again, the experience has impressed itself.
    For everyone who says if they have to spend another day at home with spouse and kids there will be a murder, there is another who loves commuting from bedroom to kitchen, then with a cup of coffee to the office, living room or wherever their work-domain is.
    Some number will gratefully rush back to the office with glad cries. Others will demure, making noise about how they’re afraid to go back because the bug might come back.
    I expect once this is all said and done a good 1/3 of American workforce will move to the home, permanently.
    This will affect EVERYTHING from work-mobility (if all you do is change the system you’re logging into it’s easier to change jobs) to how we raise our kids (what daycare?)  to how we school our kids (Junior just logs into school while mom works next to him. Trust me, it’s doable. I lived like that through a year. It was actually kind of pleasant. I took my office mate for walks at lunch, and rambled on and on about what he’d learned. We’re still close), to where we live (weirdly people in that situation actually prefer smallish city to country. Mostly because you see other people, and most of us need that.) to how houses are built. The Obama years already changed that, somewhat. When we were looking for houses, it was amazing how many had an almost separate apartment, mother in law suite or other arrangements, including newly built ones. You see, it was a selling-thing. The people who boomeranged home, or had to look after parents, preferred houses with it.
    Look for houses with a “work area” in the “desirable” prices that appeal to people working with their minds.  Perhaps a work area, next to a school room.  One of the things this long-time home-worker has learned is that having a dedicated work space works best.
    It will also affect WHOM we marry.  Dan and I have sort of worked out an arrangement, where he can talk to me about programing, and sometimes it helps, but I neither really understand it nor can I really help if he has a snag.
    I think you’re going to see a lot more of people with like specialties marrying. Or at least people with related specialties. To be fair, this was already part of online meeting.
    But maybe not as much. You are however going to see a lot more people marrying people they want to spend a lot of time with, not just in the evenings.
    In the long run this will be good for families. And humans in general, to be fair.
  • While at it, watch what happens to unemployment.  Because this has taught us a bunch of things expect a lot of manufacturing to come back home. (And please, again, anyone with the ear of anyone who can change things, get rid of the stupid Thor Powertools decision that caused Just In Time supplying and also off-shoring.
    Now most Americans will NOT work for Chinese slave labor prices. Which is good.
    But —
    But our machines will. If you have a kid in engineering (hi, son) remind them that robotics will be a major growth field in the future. MAJOR.
    Fortunately it already is fairly advanced, even if we haven’t been using it, likely because of stupid regulations.
    Now it’s a matter of life and death.  America will revive industrially. Probably very, very fast.
    But even robotic factories need workers.
    I suspect in the future there will be a lot of jobs in manufacturing that amount to supervising vast factories and being able to stop them and do limited fix ups when things go wrong.  Eventually some of these will be done remotely, but not right away.
    I think we’ll recover quickly, because we need a lot of workers for this industrial revival, even if the jobs will be different.
    Because the rest of the world will hurt far more than us, we will also enjoy relative advantage, combined with being innovative, as we are and must be allowed to be again.

There will be other things. Some of them trivial. I think wearing masks inn public is going to be as much a thing here as in Japan. Partly because of the remembered shock of this month. Partly because I’ll be honest my kids’ generation always thought they were cool, since they grew up with anime.
And there will be things we can’t even imagine (the bane of SF writers everywhere) which come from this month.
I expect the reverberations of it to work themselves through every aspect of our life, from trivial to profound for the rest of my life, even if we recover enough for me to have another 30 to 40 years ahead of me.
Keep in mind the shape of the future and work towards making it better and more individual.
On the way there, expect us to have serious challenges and an attempt to completely dismantle the republic (like we never had those before. I do however expect this one to come in the next couple of weeks and be in-your-face-blatant. I hope I’m wrong. If I’m right cross my palm with silver. Or send me $5.)

If we survive, though, there is a bright, beckoning future. For us, for America, for all we hold dear.

Go work.

 

257 thoughts on “The Shape Of The Future

  1. The Shape of the Future? TBD, every day. That’s what we’re fighting for, ennit? Whether this nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure?

    Or whether to bend the knee to our would-be Woke Overlords, accepting their ministrations and stewardship and the crumbs from their table, provisioned by the sweat of our brows. To preserve the liberty held for us by our ancestors and pass it along to our descendants.

    Well, that’s a thing worth fighting for.

      1. With 1400 plus pages, they could put the drawings from the Nine Gates, every single poem and song in the Lord of The Rings and Shakespeare’s sonnets in it, and no one would know because they never read these Bills before voting on them.

        No doubt that the Democrats would find financing and making the One Ring to be a positive to be voted for.

        1. If they did it can’t take hold until Next year due to 27th amendment

          No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

          I love that it was a languishing early amendment (one of the first 12) that some undergraduate started pushing to get a decent grade in a social sciences course.

  2. “In your face blatant” is not so bad as Truly Sneaky.
    The objective is evil, either way, but… better to have a problem that announces itself than one that doesn’t.

  3. > blatant

    The governors and mayors trying to destroy their own polities. Who opened jails and turned prisoners loose. The prosecutors who dumped their entire dockets. The police departments who are just sitting in their stations doing nothing.

    I have a list of businesses I won’t deal with, and another of colleges whose graduates I wouldn’t hire. I’m making a new list now…

    1. Not to worry, in true lefty liberal fashion a number of authorities have made every effort to keep us safe by the simple expedient of halting the legal sale of firearms and ammunition to the public. Thus we shall all be safer because no criminal would ever consider breaking the law to obtain a firearm, or currently have one in their possession as that would be illegal. Give thanks to the good Lord for our saviors and protectors in their efforts to protect us from harm.
      And remember these words of wisdom:
      Step 1: Steal underpants.
      Step 2: ?????????????
      Step 3: Profit!
      Above logic is obviously what our elected officials are basing their current decisions on.

      1. Interestingly, a couple of days ago the LA County Sheriff backed away from forcing gun shops to shut after receiving legal advice from the County legal department. The County lawyers advised that there was some question of whether it was constitutional.

        Given that this is in LA County, I find the fact that the legal people said “Hold up on this” encouraging

        1. Absolutely no question in my mind that the Sheriff was about to commit an un-Constitutional act, i.e. a felony. Which begs the question of why he’s still sheriff, and for how much longer?

          1. > why he’s still Sheriff

            Because he’s an elected official, and unless convicted and imprisoned by a state or Federal court, he can’t be removed from his office without a recall election.

            > how much longer?

            As long as the Party wants, which is why there’s never going to be a recall election either.

          2. 1.) He didn’t actually do it. He consulted with the legal department first (i.e. the proper thing to do when dealing with something that you think might be legally iffy), and decided not to when the legal department said that it *might* not be constitutional. Or in other words, he followed the proper protocol, and backed off when legal said, “Wait a minute…”
            2.) It’s Los Angeles. A good chunk of the county probably thinks that it’s a good idea.
            3.) He’s nowhere near the first elected official to decide to shut down all of the gun stores. The difference is that he’s (so far as I know) the first one who actually changed his mind and didn’t follow through with it. None of those officials have been punished so far. You’re suggesting punishing him for doing the right thing and *NOT* doing what others have already gotten away with doing.

            Also, as TRX notes, he’s an elected official. Those generally need to be impeached or resign. It might be possible for the governor to remove him (as happened with Sheriff Israel in Florida). But Gruesome Newsome isn’t going to remove him from office over this unless it’s for heeding the advice of the legal department.

            1. New Jersey’s AG of course is fully on board with the Governor in thinking that preventing people from exercising their right to bear arms does not present any constitutional problems and thus they are sticking to their mandate that gun shops must stay closed. Needless to say they are getting sued; hopefully in Federal Court, because NJ state courts think being an armed guard is not sufficient reason to be able to carry a gun.

        1. “What now?”

          “It’s just that weird woman from down the street. The one that talks like she ate a dictionary. She’s out in the street going an Apache dance.”

          “Do we need rain?”

          “No, I think she’s trying for helicopters.”

        2. They closed my nearby National Park to walking. (What conceivable medical reason?!?) Barricades on the parking lots and through roads. So I walked 6 miles from home to get in, just to walk there.

            1. Our city parks have been closed, but the river refuge park along the Colorado river is still open. The County apparently has more sense than the city. Luckily, I live in the county.

  4. During my time in Civil Service I would keep getting pulled into policy decisions despite my best efforts to avoid the hassles.
    Back in the 90s if I recall correctly we had a big push for conservation, think car pools, HOV lanes, and in particular telecommuting. We were offering many employees the opportunity to work from home, and we’d even provide the computer equipment. Initially got a lot of interest until they hit one non negotiable rule, if you had preschool kids they still had to be in daycare. Someone senior in our agency figured that it was not in our best interest to give out full time pay for half time (at best) work. And then the middle managers who were horrified at not having all their employees directly under their thumbs managed to kill the whole idea off barring special circumstances.
    On the restaurant thing, one lasting good, or so I hope is the elimination of the policy in some establishments to squeeze twelve tops into an eight top room. If I want family style seating for my group we will push tables together thank you very much. Having to keep my elbows tucked in to avoid bumping total strangers I can seriously do without.
    And this current kerfuffle has only reinforced my belief that old Granny Boxwine is lower than the lowest form of scum. And that most of our mainstream media are right down in the gutter with her.

    1. I think we will have a new working definition of “chutzpah.” Instead of the lawyer who pled for mercy for his orphaned client (who had killed both of his parents), we should use the (D) who argued that having more people of color on corporate boards was vital to finding a cure for the corona virus Wu Flu.

    2. It’s not half-time, even with small kids. I know. i broke in, with toddlers….
      Sometimes it’s flex-time. As in, there were days most work happened before seven am and after 8 pm.

      1. Difference between when I didn’t work with a baby less than 9 months, and after I went back to work, but worked at home when he was barred from daycare (sick). Rather than sleep when he crashed, I worked … If dad took off from work, because of sick kid, he had to burn sick time. My sick time could be saved for when I was actually sick …

      2. Full-time, half-time, who cares? It is productivity that should be the metric. Some people are more productive quarter-time than others are time-and-a-half. Some office mates are counter-productive, reducing the output of everybody interacting with them. I don’t want to hear your thoughts on The Bachelor, Sunday’s Big Game or the political trends; shut-up and let me work.

        The telecommuting challenge is figuring out metrics for productivity as opposed to office time.

          1. I’d be surprised at any bosses having a clue what their people do, or don’t do.

            FTFY

            I’ve been a boss. I’ve emphasized my main concern is whether the work gets done correctly, not how nor how long it takes. A certain amount of slack needs to be built in because there will be times it is required, but if it isn’t needed this week stay out of trouble and don’t do something I’m likely to have to explain.

            One of the things most amazing to me when I was boss was the number of conversations with staff that went something like this:

            Staff: Boss, I’ve run into a problem.
            Me: Tell me about it.
            Staff: [Describes situation]
            Me: Uh-huh. What do you want to do about it?
            Staff: Well, I think we should [describes solution].
            Me: That sounds good – let’s go ahead and try it.

            A surprising number of competent people merely need permission to be competent.

            1. Which makes sense- most people have been trained to do what one is told, and are often punished for taking initiative. I worked with a group of PNGian carpenters who were trained to never hammer in a nail all the way until the boss told them okay- it took us forever to teach them that it was okay to take initiative and not wait for our approval.
              If you think of all the controlling, micro-managers who blow up because they weren’t included on every decision, wanting the bosses approval makes sense.

        1. True, but the real stumbling block is those officious bureaucratic middle managers who’s working life is incomplete unless they can “enhance” the efforts of those under them. It’s really not at all about productivity, it’s all about petty little empires.
          As for productivity, in 40 odd years of everything from factory work to high tech office jobs, the only time my high productivity paid of and got me positive feedback was when I was actually sitting console on NASA space missions. Rest of the time I usually got cursed out by fellow employees for making them look bad, or lectured by my bosses for “goofing off” having completed all my assigned tasks and taking a break.

          1. “lectured by my bosses for “goofing off” having completed all my assigned tasks and taking a break.”

            How dare you finish and not be looking to add to your work load. You slacker.

            “usually got cursed out by fellow employees for making them look bad”

            Had someone else quit after I came onboard. Not my fault they hired him just out of school. But hired me with 20 years experience on a minimum of 4 large systems, and a dozens or so smaller programs, not to mention 6 or so development languages & systems. Where the new job actually had the luxury of others who had actually worked on the code present to talk to (that hadn’t happened before). Plus clients who gleefully were willing to push their agenda on system direction tutor the new gal how the system worked. Back to the guy who quit. Not his fault I was doing more than he could before my 6 month trial period was done than he could after 5 years working there. At the time I was surprised when he quit. Double surprised when told why, eventually. It was obvious looking back. But not something I was looking for or did deliberately.

            Last job in general. There were technically, a method to tell how a technical person was doing their job. It would have been a race to see how may trouble tickets could be made & resolved. Some actually requiring programming. Most of us when we solved a problem over the phone, never bothered to log it. Other times it was a matter of sending the current program on an existing completed ticket. If you actually had to make changes & send it out, then you’d create a new ticket. As it was the easy tickets were left for days when the harder ticket had you stumped (amazing how something simple dislodges a thought about more complicated), when you weren’t feeling well (but not sick or sick working at home), or days between phone calls when the dang phone wouldn’t shut the heck up. Otherwise the more complicated additions and changes would never get done.

          2. or lectured by my bosses for “goofing off” having completed all my assigned tasks and taking a break.

            Or as I was told, “You do good work, but you don’t look like a good worker.” Basically, I wasn’t producing enough Visible Busy to suit them. One even told me straight up that my not filling every hour out to the corners with Visible Busy was causing a morale problem (and this was the one where I was picking up other people’s work after they left, since they were scheduled earlier in the day).

          3. Yeah, “Always look busy” is one of those rules that kills actual productivity. I’ve worked with plenty of people whose best use to the organization was staring off into space for hours and days at a time, and then produce multi-million-dollar-patent IP in 15 minutes of typing.

            Making those people “look busy” would mean they are playing games (however suitably camouflaged) instead of thinking deep and profitable thoughts.

            1. General Curtiss LeMay was known for just sitting quietly for hours while he thought over problems.
              And considering he was one of the best managers in military history, that has to mean something.

              1. Had a buddy with a boss who was overjoyed to find him sitting, playing solitaire on the pc. That meant nothing bad was going on, and all problems were either taken care of, or were in process but in the hands of those who could fix it.
                When I worked at the airport, I was once playing on my laptop, the Supe was reading a book, two guys were playing a video game, and another was watching a DVD, and the owner walked in with the general manager and paled. “You guys going to need help? If you got delayed flights let us know.”
                We assured him that everything was fine, and they just showed up at the one big break in flights we got most days. He also used to say the overnight guy should get his work done early in the night so a nap could be had.

          4. When I worked for the state I dedicated my time to reducing my workload in a union environment where I could only do MY work. We had fans on the building’s outsides. Belt driven. Belts lasted 3 months. Took 2 full days of dragging a ladder around, going up and down, every three months, to change all of them. Not fun in DEC-FEB time frame. Found a belt that cost 1½ times as much, lasted 1 year. Had to push it through the bean counters since it wasn’t on the “approved” belt contract. So $1.50 for belts vs. $4.00 for belts over the course of a year. I actually got that through the bean counters head. And saved myself 6 man days a year of work.

            Had pumps with seals located in the overhead Above people’s desks. Where the seals failed on a regular basis. Succeeded in replacing them with seal free pumps that didn’t leak from failed seals…. Another man week or two of work per year saved.

            Lousy water quality as far as solids. I was replacing a dozen pressure reducing valves a year. Installed 5 micron filters leading to each PRV. In the next 18 months I replaced 1.

            Little things. I told the head honcho my goal was to be able to walk through the facility once a week, look at my equipment, and go “Yep, it’s still working.” leaving only scheduled oiling and greasing, air filter replacements, and belt replacements based on historic failure rates.

            Had a co-worker in the department, if co-worker is actually a correct description, complain to me that I worked less and got paid more. I agreed with him, and asked if he wanted my job. He said yes. I told him to go back to school and get qualified…. He was not happy with my answer….

            I also created a problem with administrators because each year for a few years maintenance cost went down. Their importance went up with increased budgets, since there are no profit/loss statements. Spending more money means you’re doing more…..

          5. I had a floor manager get upset with me for waiting for a call to go through to me during a slow day. Same woman got upset with me for taking a long time trying to get verification info (banking call center) from people with barely any English comprehension or speech skills and heavy accents, or all of the above AND old. Working with other people only increased my misantrophy a thousandfold. College age me was a positive extrovert compared to me now.

  5. “…what my mom always called ‘A man stupid enough to marry you.’ ” My compliments to Dan on his foresight. Gave me a good, much needed laugh. My mother-in-law didn’t even come to our wedding because of her objectively correct assessment of my dubious prospects. Before she passed, she was happy to call me her son.

  6. So yesterday my husband mentioned that he’s had half a degree of fever for more than two weeks. He usually runs sub-98.6 by a goodly margin, so it could be as much as a degree of actual fever.

    And it’s maddening. There’s absolutely no way for us to see if it’s the dreaded CV, so we get to go with Schroedinger’s symptoms, and all we can do (since we’ve basically been home aside from a few grocery trips for almost three weeks now) is hope that we’ve all managed a nice round of asymptomatic cases, because my husband has impaired lung function and an asymptomatic case would be awesome beyond words.

    Buuuuuuut we can’t dispel the anxiety without knowledge, dammit. I want antibody tests for everyone!

    1. I’m in the middle of week FOUR of my mystery crud. The first week, I did run–like your husband–what for me was a fever. Ie, since my body temp is normally around 97 or so, I was running a low-grade fever, which meant my temp was between 98-99. (If I get to 100 or more, I’m really, *really* sick.) It went away, though I’ve had a few hours here and there of ‘feel especially cruddy’ in which I suspect i was in the 98 range of ‘tiny fever.’

      What’s really irking me is I can’t–quite–shake the cough or the buckets of mucus. I have days where I hardly cough at all, and don’t go through more than my normal amount of kleenex (year-round allergies to all the critters, dust, and plants mean that I constantly have a nose that is unhappy with me). And then there’s days like last night and today: the chest has tightened up again and is hurting, and I’m back with the nebulizer and the inhaler (when, like today, it’s my day to go into the office instead of working from home, and also get the groceries and meds. It’s the first week of this. Next week, I may not come into the office at all unless we REALLY need groceries, which we likely won’t). But hey, the tradeoff was the nose stopped dripping for awhile…

      And I’m in the same boat: I can’t get tested. I could ask, sure, but I’m not sick enough (now) to need it. When I *was* sick enough–and did go in to get tested for flu–there weren’t any test kits available in my state. And barring grandma developing symptoms worse than she’s currently got–a head cold of moderate severeness–or my mother (who is currently not as miserable as I still am), I’m not likely to need it now. Sigh. Yes, it is anxiety making.

      I finally came down on the side of “I probably do have it. But since even the high-risk folks in my household–the parents and grandmother (because alas, my own house still isn’t livable, and none of us have been healthy enough to work on it. If I’d been in my own house, I could have self quarantined a LOT easier!)–don’t seem to be having it any worse than the crud we all caught last summer (and which kicked MY butt for 2 months, but everyone else got over it quickly), I’m not going to fret overmuch. Or I’ll try not to. (I do worry about reinfection, and whether or not I’m still contagious.)

      And provided the person with the power to do so at my job approves our interim supervisor’s blanket request for admin leave when we run out of work we can do at home does so approve it, I won’t worry too much about attempting to work from home.

      But yeah, you’ve got my sympathies, I know how you feel with the NOT KNOWING.

      1. I had something like that last year. Low grade fever for a while then weeks of mucus, sinus drainage & productive coughing to keep my lungs clear. When my wife convinced me to go into the walk-in clinic they said it was just starting to become pneumonia and gave me antibiotics for that. That cleared things up.

        Be careful because pneumonia is nothing to fool around with and your current symptoms encourage its development.

        1. I recently talked with a doctor who said they would test me for flu if I had flu-like symptoms on top of the low-grade cough and stuffy nose I’ve had all winter.

      2. The flavor of not-a-flu that $SPOUSE and I had went/goes as such. (She’s a week behind me, in the wake-up-hacking stage:) I don’t recall ever having full-bore influenza. $SPOUSE calls it The Cold From Hell.

        Day 0-7ish, sinus drainage, excused because Spring. no signs of fever
        Day 8: Feel like a cold coming on, maybe a degree of fever, scratchy throat
        Day 9: OK waking up, then crashing late afternoon. Start to see 100+ fever
        (tested Day 11 for flu. Not Flu-A, nor Flu-B. Admitted patients were not always tested because of test kit nonavailability. I’d love to see the antibody test…)
        Days 10-12: 102F fever, floodgates open from the drippy nose, *not* a good idea to sleep on the back. Reclining chair can lead to lung blockage.
        Day 13: Fever breaks, complete with sweats. Hacking, and nose. Just barely avoiding sinus infection.
        Still going to have wake-up-hacking. Maybe 4+ days after the fever breaks and you can get a full night’s sleep. Mornings will still be noisy from coughing.
        Days 14 onward: slow, steady improvement. No fever, occasional sinus headache (is *is* still spring).

        There’s a warning about avoiding ibuprofen. I take it regularly (2X per day) for arthritis, and didn’t stop. OTOH, when it was painful, I’d use acetaminophen. I use (and still am) using Costco’s mucus tabs, quick release guaifenesin. Last I looked, Mucinex had other things in them that are a bad idea for me; YMMV.

        If I had albuterol on hand, I would have used it via a nebulizer. Timing was awful for a prescription, so I didn’t try.

        Hope this helps. It takes a while to get better, and “weak as a kitten” is applicable for several days.

        1. Me and the kids are all blood type A, daughter ( the vulnerable one) has low grade fever but that’s after her vaccination shot. Am just glad the newest addition is normal temp after reading this:

          ‘On Friday morning she had a bottle and was doing tummy time. She rolled over and she seemed very constipated. Then she screamed for a few minutes and then she stopped screaming and crying and stopped breathing efficiently. ‘

          She continued: ‘We called 911, when the ambulance got there her oxygen was at 58. While in the hospital she actually got hypothermic and they said that small babies will sometimes get cold instead of a fever.’

          Hildebrand said medical professionals did not think the little girl had coronavirus ‘because the symptoms did not add up’ but gave her the test ‘just to be safe’ after she tested negative for several other illnesses including the flu and SARS.

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8152153/Mom-shares-heartbreaking-photos-baby-hooked-ventilator-coronavirus.html

          At least I have that little movement monitor on the littlest to keep me from staying up all night to just watch him breathing. I will take false alarms from the thing being dislodged from his diaper for the sleep it grants me.

    2. It isn’t much consolation, but the genius of American Industry is that while it takes a while to ramp up production once the system is cranking the product comes pouring out. Try watching this lecture on how we got industry in gear during WWII:

      By war’s end our biggest problem was slowing down the output. The tests (and ICU beds) are coming, but we’ve got to keep things intact a little but longer.

      Instead of fretting over potential loss be sure to appreciate each day you have.

      1. Note that aside from the well publicized shortage of ventilators and the Obama PPE failure-to-restock, the shortage is not the actual ICU bed or even ward – it’s the staff to work the ICY ward. Their specialized skills are the hard part to increase rapidly.

        1. Another one of the stories I read (Powerline, maybe) said another 40-50,000 would be helpful. Rather interesting to see that POTUS had to force GM into doing it. Cripes, even Tesla was building them. OTOH, the CEO is one of the Resistance types.

  7. For everyone who says if they have to spend another day at home with spouse and kids there will be a murder, there is another who loves commuting from bedroom to kitchen, then with a cup of coffee to the office, living room or wherever their work-domain is.

    I’ll admit to being in the former category. Right now, not only have I decided against homeschooling, but I’m starting to think about the virtues of “boarding preschools.”

    This whole thing has me feeling very lonely. I’m reading about a lot of people who are taking the time to binge Netflix or catch up on their to-do lists or start a new writing project. Am I the only person with plenty of recreational activities but no time to do any of them because of trying to handle increasingly anxious and needy family members?

    1. Three days (3!!!) of retired hubby not out golfing … surprised I have any hair left!!!!

      “Do you want to do anything?” … “Do you want to do anything?” … repeat. (Think “are we there yet?” levels). Never mind we are on house arrest by our lovely governor.

      * Can’t go out to eat – closed. Pickup isn’t the same.
      * Can’t go to the beach – spring break crowds got those shutdown, because they didn’t spread out on them. Never mind the local beaches are not hubby’s favorite places anytime of the year, let alone spring (Oregon beaches are cold at best.
      * Can’t go to the mountains – the parking lots are closed either because of snow, or because of the China Flu.
      * Can’t go to the mall & just walk, or to local parks – yep, shutdown.

      Golf is open. He went today. Weather has been a factor, but they generally gather anyway. But no one knew what the dang rules were going to be.

        1. Yes. He typically does driving range. To be fair. Our weather took a turn south too. He’s back to golfing. He typically walks the coarse so the cart changes (one person per cart) no problem. It was the unknown. I mean, they’ve shutdown our beaches, state, county, & city parks. They’ve shut down the national monuments. Granted national monuments are the type that social distancing is harder to maintain (outdoors). Wilderness areas aren’t (technically) shutdown. They just stopped plowing the snow parks … guessing they won’t start plowing Hwy 242 when conditions are favorable like they normally do. Just keep it closed off. Who’d know? Hwy 242 has opened as late as mid July …

    2. One of the life savers for me when I had a ton of littles was to make them run around the outside of the house. Laps, basically. Do you have a fenced yard?

      Kids under ten should be pretty completely news embargoed at this point. It doesn’t do them one bit of good, and their lives have been upset enough by their activities being canceled. You don’t need them anxious. If you need it, you have my permission to be an absolute bitch about it to the older family members, okay? “This is upsetting the children unacceptably. You may not play news when they are awake. I will call the cable company and have the news channels disconnected if that’s what’s required.” Or whatever you need to do.

      What do you need help with? How can you best reach someone who is a full-time home schooler who has ideas on what to do with the adorable little monsters? I’m here. My five and eight year olds are making a kite together out of old paper grocery bags and far too much tape and string. They both know how to not cut their fingers off, so they can have at it. They can make paper dolls and dresses all day if they need, but they’re not really little anymore. How old are yours? Do you have spare computers for them? http://www.starfall.com is really a good time killer for pre and beginning readers.

      The teens and tween are video gaming right now–the younger three (15, 13, 11) together, the oldest (17) with his friends all over the world.

      1. Hah! That’s what I did when my mother (god preserve her, now that she’s a health-compromised quadriplegic) commandeered me into teaching the junior-grades Vacation Bible School. Every time the kids got jittery, I sent them out to run three times around the church campus at top speed.
        Also – brought in a small toaster oven and the fixings for a small cooked treat every day: cupcake mix, bread and cheese for toasted sandwiches, batter for popovers – anything that could be cooked in the toaster oven and eaten. All I had to do to compel instant obedience from the class was to threaten withdrawal of the daily cooked treat…

      2. Three-year-old, which I think is probably a bit too little to have her outside. She doesn’t like to run unless I do, and I’ll get tired well before she does. Too young for video games. Certain TV shows work to an extent, but she’ll eventually get bored and wander off to find trouble. She’s not watching the news but she’s picked up enough based on the general disruption that she’s become extremely clingy and doesn’t like it when I leave the room or even ask her father to change her diaper or put her to bed or something like that.

        1. So Starfall. Little short clips with letters dancing across the screen singing about being vowels or silent e or whatever. Three might be a bit young, but probably not by much. The games are the sort where the total skill is clicking on the sparkly thing to make it play a word or sound. Click the A, the game says “A!” sort of thing, not win or lose games.

          How are you on your supply of crayons or colored pencils and printer paper?
          How are you on just sitting and holding her for a few hours?
          I wouldn’t send her outside alone, even if you have locked gates, but if you can sit outside while she plays it might help.

          My experience is a lot of the time the kid who needs extra cuddles will get to the point where they’ve had enough, if you just pop an ebook up on your computer and sit and cuddle them and read for a couple hours. Then they can slide off and play right beside you with whatever toy they like, leaning against your leg or whatever. Yeah, you don’t get much done, but you can catch up your reading. Netflix would probably also work.

          If she likes to dance, ALL the major ballet companies are streaming on youtube for their students. This is a freaking life saver for us–my 17 year old got invited to the Bolshoi’s Summer Intensive, no idea if he’ll be able to go, but he’s using the grand piano as a bar and doing the online classes. However, you can pop up a class and let her play at dancing with the dancer leading it.

          How are you on fancy dress up supplies for her? Does she like to ‘brush your hair’?

          What are you doing that she can ‘help’ with? I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of me taking clothes out of the washer and handing them to the little to put in the dryer, and then after, having the little take them one at a time out of the dryer and hand them to me to fold. If nothing else, it’s easier on a bad back, and it teaches them patience a second or three at a time when they have to wait to hand you a sock while you fold that shirt. She can wipe doorknobs with a baby wipe for you, if you can spare one, or with a cloth with soap and water on it. She can wipe the bottom half of the fridge door and all the bottom cupboards the same way. It’ll be very poorly done, but it’ll keep her busy ‘helping’ Mommy while you’re doing real work in the kitchen.

          1. I can’t sit and hold her while using my computer; she’ll get mad and close it. Same applies to sitting outside while she plays; she won’t let me simply observe and will pester until I participate fully. She likes crayons but needs to be closely supervised, lest the paper not be the only thing drawn upon.

            I’ll give starfall a try, thanks for recommending that.

            I can sort of get her to help me on chores, but I tend to lose patience when I have to fold the same shirt five or six times after she starts jumping the in the pile. I’ll give it another try I suppose.

            Thanks for the suggestions at least.

        2. And if they’re super littles read, read, read read read to them. I think there are online options with children’s librarians and authors at operation storytime.

          Foxfier had masses of good links for homeschool on one post… Hang on…Dagnabbit. Search function isn’t working. I’ll try again later.

          Some libraries have online picture book options: BookFlix, Tumblebooks and Overdrive. As a book-prepper, I was covered in this one decades ago 🙂

          And the wee ones are like doggos – they can sense when Mama is worried, scared, and stressed and get needier.

        3. Can you get her a BIG box? Let her pull blankets/quilt and pillows into it, stuffed animals and work her imagination or just go bear and hibernate. Let her sail it across the seven seas or travel to the moon to go prospecting.

  8. As far as TVIW continuing, don’t worry about it, we’re not going anywhere. Our next interstellar symposium will be in Tucson in October of 2021 (the date might slide one way or another a little, but not much). We’re an all-volunteer organization (at least currently), so we have no worries about continuing to exist through this manufactured panic.

    As far as social distancing becoming a continuing thing, for many of us outside of big cities all “social distancing” meant was “a media fad name for a rural lifestyle.” We always came home after work, cooked at home and ate together, and spend our evenings at home except for very occasional times we’d go out to a restaurant, the movies, or some other event. Honestly, it hasn’t meant much of anything to us, except bemusement about the possibility of the police trying to break up church services on Sunday. But just in case (for that), our priest specifically didn’t schedule or announce any weekday services but made sure we all knew when he would be in the church (wink, wink).

  9. … as grandma would say ‘like a knife through cheese.’

    That simile probably wants greater specificity, as some cheese is very hard indeed. I wouldn’t care to have to slice through an aged Parmesan, for example, while cheeses, such as Boursin, are so sort they practically flow around the passing knife, closing up after the blade.

          1. It is probably just as well, then, that you do not have to explain the implications of the American idiom, “Cutting the cheese.”

  10. Governor DeWine…. Um. Well, he’s gone into dad mode. And unfortunately, his large family has lost a few members to various illnesses and misfortunes. So he’s in grieving dad/granddad mode, and not super rational. His buddy, Congressman Turner, also lost a son this year, so not super rational. One of the known pols from upstate actually died from this thing, too.

    Also unfortunately, our health chick is 100,000 dead Amy Acton, who comes across in press conferences as about 15 years old. (I know women who manage to be cutesy in adult life, but Acton… no. Just no.) Even the ASL interpreter is this creepy angry chick who signs everything with a mean scowl and gritted teeth. (They finally added an alternate medical ASL interpreter, who is apparently a nurse, and who spends most of her time staring in disbelief at Angry Middle-aged Interpreter sawing away and strangling the air.)

  11. “if you step back, imagine visiting your 1980 self and telling him/her how we got here, and where here is. Yeah. I wouldn’t believe me either.”

    There’s a comedian named Ryan George who has a recurring series he does where his “time traveling reporter” is in the current day and reports back to 1995. His latest was released yesterday. Quite amusing.

  12. … enforcing strict lock downs NOW, thereby choosing to commit economic suicide and render themselves helpless.

    When all the other lemmings* are racing off the cliff it a) reduces the cost of going similarly** and b) increases the cost of getting caught*** with pants around your ankles when the storm hits.

    What ought prove interesting is the re-starting of the economy, which will NOT occur evenly throughout the nation. If, f’r instance, Texas opens back up while Californians remain sheltered does anybody doubt Texan efforts to recruit California businesses will also re-emerge? Businesses will gravitate toward where they can operate as surely as fat men graze open buffets. This will be particularly true where costs of moving are reduced, say by enhanced experience of telecommuting.

    Expect the politicians to turn feral**** then, with appropriations and House seats in play.

    *I know: #NotAllLemmings. It is a pernicious myth but its our myth so I’m using it instead of herd, pack, flock or some comparable collective noun indicating destructive pack behaviour. Send your complaints to Disney

    **If every city is shutting down none gain competitive advantage from staying open

    ***If you don’t close down and the crisis passes you by your opponents call you unbelievably (and, more importantly: unrepeatably) lucky and you get no credit for keeping your head, while if disaster does strike … (see **, above)

    ****Awright – more feral, even rabid.

  13. “rest assured that the founding fathers knew of pandemics.”

    Outbreak of small pox at a homestead not only got the homestead quarantined, but the house & barn fired with contents inside. People inside still alive? Depended on social status and if anyone was coherent enough to fight to prevent the torch until it was determined someone would survive. If you were on a ship at sea and got sick? You were as likely to go over the side, still alive, regardless of your social status, regardless of your prospect of surviving. Why you died would not be reported to the harbor/dock masters when your ship was docked at destinations. Surviving crew & passengers kept their mouth shut. At minimum known plague ships were towed into the harbor & set on fire, cargo onboard. Not people, not even slaves, but everything else including what little personal property there was of crew & passengers. Small pox was the worst. But there still was the flux (flu), morbid sore throat (mumps/tonsillitis/strep throat, all of which can be deadly). Measles & Chicken pox mimic the early light rash of small pox, lumped together?

    “In a visit some years ago, son told me that he now understood how people could live in what amounted to modified walk-in closets.”

    Never been to NYC. From what I’ve read, pictures, and stories from others, apartments are outfitted with a dorm/RV type refrigerator (the cheap kind). Renter will bring own toaster oven or microwave, & hot plate or coil electric burner. If you are lucky there is room for small ones of each with a the hot plate. Eating out or getting takeout is considered normal. If you cook at all the ingredients are picked up that day. Forget stocking up on anything, there is no room.

    “it was amazing how many had an almost separate apartment, mother in law suite or other arrangements, including newly built ones.”

    Big trend locally are at minimum, Jack-&-Jill suites (shared bathroom between two bedrooms), and junior suites (not as lavish master bathroom), with 1/2 guest bath for day-to-day non-bath use. So you end up with either 3 bed, 2.5 baths (shared semi-private); or 3 bed, 3.5 bath. Inlaw suites upgrade the bathrooms to almost master suite, with addition of sitting area & small kitchenette. Not seeing a lot of the latter, but the others, definitely built into plans as options. Not just the inlaws or adult children bouncing home, sometimes it is the ability to leash a room with private bath & kitchen/laundry privileges (which is what two nieces are doing, one of them is “renting” from an Aunt, the other from a divorced HS friend who can’t make her mortgage payments without help).

      1. How and why this happened is coming clear. That clown at ICL has dropped his estimates by an order of magnitude. His paper was picked up by a bunch of global warming pukes in Silicon Valley who emailed every jurisdiction in the land with the news that science said that xx million of your citizens are going to die.

        he can’t be blamed for his analysis since there were and are any number of analyses out there but it would be very interesting to know who put together the PR campaign

          1. I’m not paying attention to media. UK Lock down is only in place for 2 days so no. Same BS for Cuomo claiming shut down is why hospital admissions are slowing not around long enough given lags. They got it wrong and are looking for a way to declare victory and go home.

            I admit that this kind of math can be difficult especially dealing with stocks and flows but I do this for a living and no empty headed media moron is going to tell me nothin.

          2. Sigh. That’s his covering his ass, since the Oxford study shows most of the UK had it, probably a month or two before. It’s an antibody study. Antibody tests will be mass-available HERE within a couple of months, too.
            THIS IS ASS COVERING ALL THE WAY NOW.
            Seriously.

            1. Yeah. Cuomo said today that closing down the state was not optimal. At this point, with a couple of exceptions, I’m fine with.a face saving measure that lets us get back but a price must be paid.

              Number 2 son is lying in his bed because everything has been taken from him. He played College Rugby and Amateur soccer. He’s studying online but nothing else is going on. We made him get a job stocking shelves to get him out of the bed. It’s heartbreaking.

              The politicians were stampeded but it was the sloppy academics, bad data, the hair on fire media, and the evil people behind the spread of the ICL “model” for their global warming BS who are guilty. They damaged mine and I will never forgive or forget.

                1. I’m trying to find out precisely who did this. They need to be exposed, prosecuted, and jailed. No free speech here. They showed utter disregard and depraved indifference. People have died.

                  naturally, all links have disappeared

                    1. I have the ICL study and read it carefully, including their bit about how scrupulous they were with the data. Snort. Sarah found the people who spread it and posted it on Instapundit. That’s the interesting thing. There are lots of models. Why did this one become ubiquitous? That was the question. Then who backed them.

              1. Remind #2 son that by stocking shelves he’s doing more to alleviate people’s misery than are any twenty politicians or hundred journalists and that, like a kidney stone, this too shall pass.

                I know it isn’t any comfort to him, but at least he isn’t being drafted and sent off to fight Charlie, Ivan, Kim, or Fritz. Nor is he in bed with COVID-19. The world sucks, that’s what keeps us from flying off into space. And as the wise man* said, to thine own self be true.

                *Yes, I’m familiar with the play and the premise that Polonius was a pompous doddering fool, the Joe Biden of that play. I do own a mirror, after all.

                1. he actually know that since the family has a history of military service. Doesn’t take away that he lost everything for what seems to be a manufactured stampede. First world problems, yes, but all unnecessary and sad

    1. I have to admit, while I like the house we’ve got, something like that might be nice if it could feasibly be added.

    2. “Flux” was GI diseases, wasn’t it? Not flu. (I’m thinking of “bloody flux” where “bloody” wasn’t a rude modifier but an actual description.)

      1. Yes. Symptoms like cholera but slower. And don’t forget the dreaded “summer complaint,” a GI affliction of small children and babies that carried off thousands every year. The sooner a child could eat real cooked food and drink alcohol, the higher his odds of survival. In winter it was pneumonia and things that spread in close quarters that got people.

  14. the founding fathers knew of pandemics. Read the history of John Adams.

    Is that a song cue?

    Our children all have dysentery
    Little Tom keeps turning blue
    Little Abbey has the measles
    And I’m coming down with flu
    They say we may get smallpox

    Madam, what else is new?

  15. Things that will not come back, not even if you want them to: … recreational conventions …

    Con Crud is one thing, but Con COVID is another. Will anybody ever again not wonder, however fleetingly, whether this con’s crud is fatal? Expect WokeCons to close first and bring down the others with them (is there any doubt the wokesters will migrate to other cons and taint their wrongfun?) Liberty, maybe Dragon, possibly a few others, might overcome. San Diego Comic Con, with its attendance by virii from all around the globe?

    1. Honestly, SDCC needs to split into pieces regardless. It’s overcrowded in all cases. Make it a series of smaller conventions with narrower foci and it might be manageable.

      1. I question whether the organizers care about attendees’ experience. Seems the con-goers are simply chum for the film & TV industry now. Take away the cachet of having “attended” and I suspect most would be oe and done.

        1. Too bad about San Diego Comic Con. I remember when a bunch of high school friends could say, “Hey, I know, let’s go to the comic con. The DM needs more time to work on the new dungeon, anyways.”

          So you’d all toddle off that Saturday and buy tickets at the door.

    2. Based on John’s Hopkin’s figures, COVID has an overall world-wide 4.5% fatality rate.
      U.S. coronavirus death rate is only 1.4%. Current overall death rate in the U.S. is 0.86%, so coronavirus is only slightly less that twice as fatal as normal living. According to the NYT (ROFLMFAO!) the death rate from seasonal flu is typically around 0.1%.

      1. Please, please, please. Stop. The rate of deaths diagnosed by a test is meaningless unless the tests are random and unbiased. Since only those who show relatively severe symptoms and the early people tested were ever sick when they were tested the rate is not only useless but actually dangerous. If you tested seasonal flu by diagnosed by a test you get 10%. It’s on the CDC website so look it up.

        This is why we have been panicked into wrecking the world.

        1. Yeah, at the current US level of testing, all the statistics save the actual count of actual deaths are lies, and even those are subject to the “but were they dying anyway” question.

          1. Exactly. We don’t even know whether it was a screening or diagnostic test. We don’t know if the results for reported. All we know for sure is that the establishment media and the pols, and particularly that festering son of a donkey-fart Xi are lying to us.

        1. Any discussion of mortality rate is in “pins dancing on the head of an angel” territory. The absent information is so significant as to defeat any reasoned analysis. We might as well debate whether Joe Schmoe is a great hitter for having gotten 125 hits last year while knowing nothing about at bats, plate appearances, or level of competition, or marvel at his financial acumen for having made profits on two hundred stock transactions without knowing the total number of transactions, in how may he lost money — and how much.

    3. I’m on a private Facebook group specifically for con vendors, and I think I can say without breaking any confidences that within a day of the first convention cancellations, there were so many people airing their concerns and speculations that the moderators created a post specifically for the subject and told everyone to discuss it in the comments and any new posts on the subject would be deleted forthwith.

  16. I posted this a while ago, but it appears WordPress ate it. I’ll try again.

    Don’t worry about TVIW, we’re not going anywhere. Our next interstellar symposium will be in Tucson in October of 2021 (the date may slip a bit in either direction, but not much). We’re an all-volunteer organization so we can survive manufactured panics like this one more easily than commercial organizations that have to show a continuing revenue stream.

    As for “social distancing,” all that means to many of us outside of big cities is “a media fad description of the traditional rural lifestyle.” We’ve always come home from work, cooked meals at home and ate together, and spent quiet evenings together. Going out to restaurants, movies, or other events were infrequent and note-worthy occasions. We hardly even noticed the “restrictions.” However, many of us were a little bemused at the idea of the police trying to shutdown Sunday church services. Here in east Tennessee, they’d never dare try that if they wanted to not be besieged in their stations forthwith. Just in case, our priest didn’t post any schedule for weekday services this week, but made sure everyone knew that he’d be at the church every day at specific times (wink, wink).

  17. What I do see is a lot more CLEANING and visible cleaning in restaurants.

    Also, more disposables. No more salt & pepper shakers, handled by gawd knows how many people that day. Packets, please. Same with the crushed pepper flakes and grated parm at the local pizza joint, the soy at your favorite Chinese and so on … The trend to photocopied single use menus instead of the salsa-daubed laminated menus at your favorite fajita joint may remain.

    We might even see a return of table cloths, albeit one-use paper covers. Anything enhancing the sense of shielding from prior visitors.

    1. The two taco shops we use (units 1 and 2 of a 3 part minichain) use menu boards for in-house. They’ll have a small stash of paper menus for the to-go. One is fairly small, maybe 30 people if everybody ate in, while the other is about twice that.

      I hope they’re open tomorrow; going to try to buy dinner on the way home from shopping (2.5 weeks; it’ll be nice to get some fresh stuff, if we can).

      1. Open, people waiting to and for orders were keeping a good space. I was the only one wearing a (surgical) mask.

        OTOH, the bank that runs my credit card a) didn’t have the bill waiting today, b) closed lobby. No way I was going to try to pay the balance on a credit card through a driveup window. Note to self: new credit card…

    2. It is the kitchen workers I worry about. I know exactly how hard pressed some businesses are to stay solvent, and who they hire to shave costs.

      Mostly, it’s a question of, I have all my shots and nothing too bad is going around. Only one or two hire local and keep them on through the slow periods. They’re my go-tos.

        1. SIL who normally hands out samples at Costco (for something to do). Is keeping busy working at Costco cleaning everything from carts to exposed surfaces. How Costco is handling it without pulling their people from their duties, and not hiring anyone else. Sample people are supplied by contracting company.

          Although not for long. BIL & SIL normally take off for the late spring through part of the summer to camp host. They’ve been called to Fort Clatsop State Park near Astoria. The park and the beach access road is closed, but TPTB want someone in there to monitor and prevent vandalism. That is what they are going to do for at least a couple of months. He can walk down to the beach for fishing & clamming. Don’t know what she’s going to do without someone to talk to, her nickname is Chatty Cathy for a reason … also what the deal will be for her 89 year old mother, 96 year old uncle, and two brothers left at home (presumably the brothers will look after mom & uncle). Not my problem regardless.

  18. The really small apartments in NYC are not as common as it might appear, even in Manhattan. The outer boroughs are actually more often row houses than apartments (outside public housing, which is high density but not studios.). Manhattan depends on how long you’ve lived there and how rich you are. The rich live wherever they want, the poor live in the projects or in the outer boroughs, the working/middle class moved out. The only exception are middle class people who had rent controlled apartments.

    My wife grew up in, and we still own, a 3 bedroom apartment with parquet floors and high ceilings. If you had it under rent control you bought it at the insider price when the building went co-op.

    Rent control was put in to stop profiteering during WWII and will never come out. Before the war the landlords paid you to rent since there was a surplus. Outside public housing, nothing was built for 40-50 years. A great deal of the NY squalor stories comes from this simple fact.

    The tiny apartments are filled with young people who are spending a couple of years in NYC before they go back to wherever it is they came from. It’s just an extension of dorm living. I’d think everyone would benefit from a year or two living in NYC when you’re young. Raising families, not so much. The ruling class have ruined it for everyone.

    1. “I’d think everyone would benefit from a year or two living in NYC when you’re young.”

      Nope nope nope nope nope. Dense city living would drive me absolutely bonkers.

      1. We lived in the country in England for a while. I liked it, kids loved it, wife hated it. Different strokes.

        I live in the suburbs now and I hate it

        1. I don’t care for the suburbs either. Neighbors way too close and too many of them. Also, no rifle range in the back yard or room for a proper HF antenna farm.

        2. Suburbia has its advantages, but going forward those will very likely be among the casualties of this.

          I would never move to someplace more crowded by choice, only out further away from urbia where there’s more room, plus it would piss off the “mandatory urban multistory densepack housing” watermelon urban planners.

        3. It really depends on the City. Sienna and Vienna were lovely. NYC? DC? New Orleans? Modern San Fran. No. No. No. No.

          And a suburb close enough to walk to a small or medium-sized town (old portland, old seattle, where I live now) is pretty sweet.

          1. lived in Uptown New Orleans (a block off St. Charles and Washington)

            Great Music, good food, nice zoo, the street car was quaint.
            hate the @#$%ing place
            Was better out in Kenner, but still . . .

      2. +1 I lived and worked in Baltimore for 9 months and I barely survived that level of overpopulation. I assume NYFC would only be more unbearable.

        1. Meh. It depends on what you’re used to I guess. Not a lot of legal shooting but more hunters than you might expect.

        2. Yeah, on leaving Saudi in ’91 I was offered a job at Pax River. While working at the Naval flight testing facility would have been pretty cool, we’d in-processed for our sojourn to The Kingdom at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Just a week of East Coast urban living was enough to make me say, “No, thanks.”

            1. I don’t know East Coast, but rural for us is: 5 adjacent properties to us. Smallest is 3 acres, biggest is 80+. Once there’s daylight, we have a view of several buttes in a row. From one corner of the property, we can see Mount Scott (part of Crater Lake National Park). At a guess, among those properties, we have a total of 9 neighbors. The herd of 20 mule deer cross our property to get a drink. Red tailed hawks patrol for critters, joined by Bald and Golden eagles. The river is across the road, and pretty at times.

              One large downside is we don’t have a good place to shoot on our 13 acres, at least anything hotter than airguns. The official options aren’t close, but there’s a place not far. Unfortunately named Rattlesnake Meadow. (They don’t come down to the river–too cold.)

              Pete: no longer a suburban/urban guy. I can take my dose of Other People(tm) weekly.

              1. You find that on the east coast but to have a piece of property that size around NYC you’d have to have had it since before the revolution. There are still families around New Canaan, CT and in Morris County NJ that have Been there that long. I suppose the last few farms are still that big but they’re getting scarcer every day.

                I’m trying to get my daughter to buy a big piece of property down by Pax River. It’s booming and filled with young engineers who will soon be marrying and making little engineers. Buy the lot, keep a chunk, divide the rest and sell it, which pays the whole thing. To me that’s the back of beyond but there seems to be an awful lot of people out there.

                1. Such acreage with decent house on it is damned affordable here. The new neighbors (80 acres) paid about $500,000, while others were slightly to well under $200,000. We put a fair amount of improvements and would be somewhere in between. OTOH, the 40 mile distance to town makes keeping a job and living here not optimal, but it’s good for retirement. On the gripping hand, we were looking for a place with a bigger house (fewer outbuildings) and less acreage (less work), and a bit closer to town (because age) before life got put in the blender.

                  1. “OTOH, the 40 mile distance to town makes keeping a job and living here not optimal, but it’s good for retirement. On the gripping hand, we were looking for a place with a bigger house (fewer outbuildings) and less acreage (less work), and a bit closer to town (because age) before life got put in the blender.”

                    Inlaws bought property south of Bend in early ’60s (between **Sunriver & La PIne, west of 97) bordering La Pine State Park (north border of the property), right on the river*. Built the house early ’70s after retirement. Sold it ’87 (ish) and moved into Bend. Because year before MIL had a brain annurism burst while she was standing in the kitchen. Luckily FIL found her immediately, called the neighbor, a retired nurse, then called 911. Why backward? The nurse performed CPR for 45 minutes before the ambulance arrived. MIL survived.

                    * Purchasers eventually bought the undeveloped next door lot to the south. Not like the prior owners could develop on it now anyway. When the required river set backs came into play, the 3/4 acre river lots didn’t have enough set back to build on.

                    ** They could have bought lots in and around what would become Sunriver then too. They didn’t …

                    We strongly discussed buying the property but we had a home in Longview we couldn’t sell. Were renting in Eugene (because of house in Longview). Commute for a job for me in Bend would not have been fun. Hubby’s job commute would have been way worse. At best it would have been a vacation home or a rental for the next, at least 25 years. It was an easy no.

            2. Simple explanation: a sign is posted at the property line depicting a firearm and advising “If I can hear you I can shoot you.”

              If the firearm pictured is a handgun then the property is urban. If it is a shotgun the property is suburban. If a Sharp’s .50 it is rural.

            3. As below (or, I suppose, above) to a fella who’d been living in semi-rural Oregon for nigh on 10 years (and spent his formative years in rural-rural Minnesota) pretty much anywhere in Bos-Wash is *way* too crowded. I know you can find secluded, but rare and precious . . .

      3. There was a narrow time frame (mid-20s to very early-30s) where I would have loved living in NYC, as much as I would have loved living in San Francisco. It might have even been wider if I had found someone to share it with.

        Now? Too expensive, too dirty, too pretentious, too superficial, and too dangerous. I would enjoy visiting, but LIVING there? No thank you.

    2. Boise, ID had me close to ready to commit murder. Preferably of all the people who called 911 every night, first. And we lived in a duplex with a fenced back yard and I had a vegetable garden. Also I was pregnant, and thanks to the constant noise of the city could not sleep.

      NYC is fun to visit family in for a week, but then I’m ready to run screaming away.

  19. “All I can say as a means to explain the difference (and that post is almost written, also for PJ, but I need to go in and trim it, because even on the paid side 4k words is ridiculous) it comes down to culture, and in NYC its culture is somewhat enforced by its very goofy real-estate restraints and rent control. ”

    There’s also this: https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-yorks-ailing-hospitals-11585179029?mod=MorningEditorialReport&mod=djemMER_h

    “Twenty some hospitals have closed in New York City alone over the last two decades, most located in low-income communities. Statewide the number of hospital beds per-capita has fallen by 13% since 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The number of beds across the U.S has also decreased due to declining demand as care has shifted to lower-cost outpatient centers. But New York hospitals have been closing due to financial duress amid increasing demand by low-income patients.

    Blame New York’s miserly Medicaid program, which reimburses providers far below the cost of care. Physicians are on average compensated at 56% of what Medicare pays—the fourth lowest in the country after Rhode Island, New Jersey and California—and Medicare also pays below cost. Hospitals typically make up for paltry government payments by charging privately insured patients more, but hospitals that treat mostly Medicaid and Medicare patients don’t have this option.”

    1. They killed the Catholic Hospital system in NYC. Saint Vincent’s was taken out and the space sold at a discount to property developers who were coincidently large donors to the current mayor and governor.

        1. Saint Clare too. That was where the AIDS patients went because the other hospitals wouldn’t take them, It’s posh apartments now. In Hell’s Kitchen yet.

    2. Twenty five years ago, a physician friend of the family explained that Medicaid paid her two cents on the dollar for treatment, IF they decided to pay the claim. She went to private pay only and “donated” one day a week treating poor and needy kids without charging. The economics were far better that way.

      1. There was study a few years ago (shortly after O’Care passed IIRC) about health outcomes & insurance. No surprise, those with excellent insurance fared the best. But health outcomes for people on Medicaid were quite a bit worse than those for people with no insurance at all. Bless your physician friend and all like her.

        1. Some doctors in town created a health clinic for the people between Medicaid and insurance. It has done so well that it has expanded to include nutrition, wellness, and diabetes assistance. All volunteer, no federal funds, and really, really filling a need. G-d bless ’em.

  20. … robotics will be a major growth field in the future.

    People tend to forget that labor cost is essentially irrelevant: what matters is labor productivity. Your cost per unit is far lower if you hire a guy and give him a drill than if you hire a guy for less but merely provide him a bit & brace. The more you invest in equipment the more you invest in protecting your assets. Companies are surprisingly resistant to having plants nationalized but amazingly lax about recognizing the risk.

    As baseball has learned about advanced metrics so, too, is there hope of corporate management learning to watch Cost/Unit and not just hourly labor cost.

    1. This. China had a huge advantage given the exchange rates and the fact that wages were essentially slave subsistence but productivity is still low and the management burden very high. A lot of outsourcing consisted of outsourcing $20k jobs and replacing them with a similar number of $100k administrators and I’m not sure that anyone saved a dime.

      A fair bit of this was driven by the same network effects that caused the shutdown. You had to do it or you would be downgraded. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  21. Interesting about the ‘mother in law’ apartment, or the separate suite appended to a house. I honestly thing that will be a serious wave of the future, and more three generation families in the same house. Only slightly larger, more commodious houses with separate private areas. The separate dedicated office-work area/school room, also seems to be a trend that will intensify.
    Out in my neck of the woods, it seems that a number of local restaurants really began thinking outside the box; they instituted the carry-out, curbside service – but also started selling groceries directly (I mean, why not retail the supplies they would have turned into meals, only that the dining room is closed!), and restaurant-created meal kits. Those places are adapting. San Antonio is so tourist-oriented – we can’t be shutting down for months. Fortunately, our city government seems to be quite sensible about it all.

    1. Up here the city seems to be acting within reason, based on the governor’s order. One county seems to be going a bit nuts, but they have a spate of positive tests that might, might, stem from a basketball tournament. We’re not really into tourism season full on yet, so we will see what happens come April and May.

  22. Having lived through the era of measles & mumps “parties” where children were deliberately exposed so they would get them when they were most likely to recover instead of later in life when they were dangerous, and then through Aids, Sars, Ebola, Mersa, H1N1, and various other panics, I think you’re exaggerating what some of the cultural changes will be.

    There will be a vaccine. People will get the vaccine and start treating the Kung Flu as just another seasonal flu where they’ll come to work sick *and then complain* about others who come to work sick.

    It will take a while for bars & restaurants to recover, but for most that go out of business, new ones will pop up in their place. The extra cleaning and distance between tables will last a year or so.

    Yes, it will be hard to roll back work-from-home as much as the bosses would like, but manufacturing isn’t suited to that and the lesson that we must manufacture some stuff here will stick with corporate America rather longer than the social changes. We will have more factory jobs than we have had in decades.

    1. It is my hope (but not, I admit, my expectation) that enough of the utterly oblivious IDIOTS in Canada have been utterly terrified by this thing in the last two weeks that they will begin to demand an accounting from the governments of Canada.

      Two months ago in the dead of winter we had a rail strike that nearly ran Quebec completely out of propane for heating.

      Up until about two weeks ago we had “environmental activists” blocking those same rail lines and again endangering Quebec and the eastern provinces supplies of almost everything from food to fuel. (In the winter around here that’s not a joke, that’s a gun pointed at your head.) They were trying to set the passing trains on fire. There’s video of them doing it. No arrests until weeks later.

      In Ontario there is a teacher’s strike still going on. The teacher’s union has forbidden the use of e-learning tools to keep the kids going during the lockdown.

      The Wuhan Flu epidemic in China was set to Ignore until Monday the 16th when Ontario closed all the schools, and most businesses closed their public customer side. That was the first movement by government on this thing beyond platitudes and calling us all racists.

      Airplanes full of potential flu carriers from China and Europe are still landing at Canadian airports, even now during the forced closure of all “nonessential” public businesses and government offices. Nobody says anything, nobody does anything.

      And so forth.

      We can all see this happening. We can all remember four weeks ago when suggesting that flights from China be halted was racist. We all saw Trudeau forced to stay home for two weeks because his wife tested positive for the flu. We all know that WE can’t get OUR wives/husbands/relatives tested for the flu if we’re afraid they have it.

      So what I hope is that average Torontonians and Vancouverites and Montrealers REMEMBER the abject terror of the last couple of weeks. I hope they remember that when they showed up at the hospital emergency they waited in an overcrowded room full of coughing people with no masks and no safety measures. I hope they remember that the Tim Hortons in the lobby of the hospital was open, and not even wiping down the f-ing tables. I hope they remember their mom’s hospital room was a gurney in the hallway, and that she was one of the lucky ones who got to stay in the hallway. I hope they remember every single f—er out there who said #BoomerRemover.

      I hope they remember and hold a grudge. Because I certainly do.

        1. I think the thing that scalds me more than anything else is that the whole cabinet is such a bunch of un-serious sophomoric dumbshits. Christia fucking Freeland for fuck sake is the Deputy Prime Minister! She’s got the brain of a high school cheerleader! Beside the word “vapid” in the Oxford dictionary there’s a picture of her.

          These assholes STILL haven’t suspended flights from China. Seriously, they haven’t. And Customs STILL is not putting people from hot spots in quarantine.

    2. I don’t think the Kung Flu is the worry but the memory of what government did, which make sit all sound SUPER SCARY and people will try to avoid another episode of.
      I think the burned cash reserves teach very well indeed.

      1. I recall you posted (or somebody did) a study that claimed 25% (or some large percentage) of the USA was one paycheck away from defaulting on their debts.

        All those people are now in the shit. Put there by the WHO, the Chinese government, and by the complete and abject failure of the Federal disaster response from the CDC to FEMA to contain the outbreak.

        (Doesn’t FEMA have like a million trailers for housing disaster victims? Couldn’t a hundred of those things double the size of a hospital overnight?)

        If the CDC had called bullshit in December and cancelled all flights from China, or even screened and quarantined all flights, then jumped on the testing and readiness ramp-up with both feet, the USA would be in a lot better shape right now. New York City would have a hell of a lot more hospital equipment ready to go. They could have parked cruise ships in the harbor. They could have done a lot of things that now will not get done.

        What do we see instead? Hospital front line staff with no masks. (Because why? Because 80% of medical masks come from Communist China. 3M can’t afford to make N95s here in North America, its TOO EXPENSIVE. They off-shored all that 20 years ago.)

        (Don’t get me started on Canada. They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity up here. Volunteers sewing up makeshift surgical masks will probably get arrested here.)

        Luck, lucky us, it is starting to look like Sarah is right and the Wuhan Flu has about the same fatality rate as the regular flu. Except in some cases, which no one is identifying right now because everything is too fucked up. But they will, and in the next couple of weeks we’ll be getting that list of conditions that make a cold into a killer.

        But my liver cells have not recovered from the terrifying news that one of the Four Horsemen had arrived, and there was nothing I could do about it. We may have dodged the biggest bullet since the 1918 Spanish Flu by sheer brainless luck.

        And that, my friends, is simply not good enough.

        1. “Because why? Because 80% of medical masks come from Communist China. 3M can’t afford to make N95s here in North America, its TOO EXPENSIVE. They off-shored all that 20 years ago.”

          See also the Obama Admin using up the national reserve stocks for swine flu and Ebola… and not using some of the Porkulous to replace them.

  23. My new favorite capitalist of the moment is Boober Eats. Some guy has a strip club/bar that is shut down by the Shut Down, so he changes course and starts stripper food delivery. The kitchen is still working, the lovely ladies are still working, the business staves off financial ruin (hopefully) and customers still get to see girls with not enough clothes on like they wanted to, but at a safe distance without spreading the virus.

    American ingenuity at its cheekiest. ~:D

    No word on if they have Hot Nurse uniforms, that’s no doubt in development.

    1. This kinda makes me even angrier that Pima County wouldn’t let Old Tucson keep open our existing online ordering/carry out food service when they shut us down. Even though other restaurants can do Carry Out.

    2. The problem is it is open to charges of sexism — there needs to be a comparable service for gals. It seems Firehouse Subs is missing a market opportunity?

      Boober is also engaged in discriminatory hiring, employing only those women who don’t resent being ogled demeaned by the male gaze.

  24. I think we’re also going to see, even more than after 9/11, people realizing that-

    1)Most people aren’t the massive assholes that we’ve been told for years that they are. Even the weird ones. Perhaps especially the weird ones.
    2)We can do an amazing amount of stuff, ourselves. And, there are more people that are closer than can do things than we knew about.
    3)There are a lot of things we can do…if we get the nanny know-nothings out of the way.
    4)I’m slightly more hopeful about large-scale events and comic book stores remaining open. We’ll see a major shakeout, absolutely. Comic book stores are going to tell DC and Marvel and Diamond that if they have to buy on spec like they did before, they just won’t. I’d be doing everything I could to get the stores back, even if that meant publishing independently, offering a 50% buyback of titles after 60 days from the store itself, and getting rid of all the stupid-stupid writers, stupid editors, stupid artists. Pare down our business model and write for the core audience. We can take chances-after we get the core market back.

    Conventions…be assures that any sci-fi/anime/gaming con that survives is going to tell all the special snowflakes and #MeToo people to pull up their big girl panties and that unless they’re actually leering and/or making unwelcome physical contact, to grow up and accept that some people are assholes. I would also add that they are going to come down HARD on anyone that actually does stupid things. (Anybody pulling half the hi-jinks at RainFurrest 2015 will be gone and on a two year ban list. With photos.) Once again, they need to get their core market back now when they reopen. If I was in charge of Hotel Liaison/Ops, I’d be calling the hotel and saying, “We haven’t canceled yet, we aren’t going to cancel yet, we’re going to stay in as long as we can. Can we get any deals or such from you guys because we’re willing to hold out?”
    5)The media is going to have to either clean up their mess or realize that they’re going to be going the way of the dinosaurs. And, they don’t have a museum for their bones anymore.
    6)And, we need to bring it back-pay that little bit more for a supply chain that is entirely American or is in countries that we can trust numbers from.

    1. Re comics: “Pare down our business model and write for the core audience. We can take chances-after we get the core market back.”

      You know, to this day I remain open to going back to buying comics. If somebody wants to do 1980’s Marvel-DC style books with heroes and villains and lots of exciting adventure, I’ve got money for that. Hell, I’d buy 1960s Robot Fighter comics, particularly if they were kid-friendly. I don’t want adult conversations in my comic books. The reason for buying them is to get -away- from that stuff.

    2. I would love, love to see laws that overturn the Thor Power Tool decision. That would really help discourage the just-in-time system for a lot of products.

        1. Either way would work, but there’s a hill to climb in court getting them to reverse anything precedential given the legal world’s whole stare decisis thing, so legislation is the way to just make it so.

    3. … accept that some people are assholes.

      More: accept that some people are simply socially awkward and you need to stop the charisma-shaming.

      So long as the nerds don’t go all Biden on you or make Clinton-y remarks just show some compassion and ignore them. Show the tolerance you’d like to receive.

    4. All you have to see is the screeching from the Left section of the fan community to realize that they are going to double down. And look for increasing use of things like “public accommodation”, “hostile environment”, etc. to be used on conventions and hotels to make sure they don’t have to change their behavior..

      1. My hope is that the sane(er) factions in fandom start telling these people to FOAD ASAP, or there won’t be a place for us to have and hang out. We don’t have the luxury of dealing with their stupid right now.

  25. On masks in public:

    I went to the dump/transfer station today, the quietest day of the three it’s open per week. One other guy dumping stuff, and the attendant, and me. I was the only one wearing a mask (dust mask to catch a cough–I don’t have a lot of surgical masks).

    The attendant and I normally chat a bit, but when I mentioned that I had been sick, she (60+ years old) immediately took two steps back. I told her it had been 12 days since the fever broke, and she relaxed a tiny bit. OTOH, as soon as I paid, she retreated to her office and didn’t emerge until I left that area.

    I hit town tomorrow for supplies. I suspect it might not be a good idea to explain the mask to strangers. FWIW, the official (really, honest, wanna buy a bridge?) Kung Flu count for the county is 1. OTOH, the last I saw an update, they still were short of testing media, so were using the almost completely but not quite useless CDC guidelines. (68 negative test results.)

    1. Hmm, patient #2 in the county was just announced, “a health care worker”. Contact tracing underway, but no further details. We’re at the other end of the state from the Metro Portland hotspot, and 140 miles from the Bend warm (15 cases) spot.

      Nope, not admitting my mask is to catch a cough.

      1. Puts you how far from Lane County? Count 8. Including at least one from homeless population …

        Further than Bend. Closer than Portland.

        1. We’re 170 road miles to Eugene.

          More detail on Klamath County’s second case: Med worker, but located at an outlying facility from the only hospital/clinic (I use the main campus). Airplane travel, with no *known* hotspots, but a layover at LAX.

          No commercial aviation to Klamath; the person landed at Medford. They already got a CV+ passenger, IIRC from Seattle. I swore off flying when O was president. No plan to get Real ID (put off a year, now).

          1. “No plan to get Real ID (put off a year, now).”

            We won’t either, until next license renewal, which for me is ’22, I think. Not that we fly much, or at all. But then we at least already have our border passport cards. When we renew will likely go full passport + passport card route, maybe. Those trump Real ID anyway.

  26. Uncle Screwtape once noted that a half hour of a real toothache would be enough to dispel imaginary romantic self focused distress.
    It may be that the reality of the future may dispel the canalwater of the current SJW intersectionalist, those who adopt status as fashionable victims needing lots of extra care and babying.
    When people have to spend time, money, and effort to ensure that their beloved parents and grandparents and friends with immunity issues are kept safe and cared for during difficult times, it’s hard to give a shit about some wanker with a useless degree and self diagnosed PTSD from seeing MAGA hats.

    1. And, I think it’s likely that the snowflakes will throw a conniption fit when they realize that their oh so serious concerns are ignored. I love the sound of progressive heads exploding.

    2. This … the Daughter Unit and I are running grocery errands for a number of our elderly and health-compromised neighbors, in spite of the fact that I am myself barely over the 65-year line with a heart murmur just serious and noisy enough to attract medical attention. My mother, who lives now with my younger sister in So-Cal, is basically a home-bound quadriplegic – and I hope that my sister is basically washing down the assistant home care nurses with disinfectant, whenever they set foot in her household…

  27. And when we talk of the Future, how can we not post these amazing words from the Amazing Criswell:

    “Greetings, my friends! We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friends; future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, the unexplainable; that is why you are here. And now for the first time we are bringing to you the full story of what happened on that faithful day. We are giving you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimonies of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places, my friends, we can not keep this a secret any longer; let us punish the guilty, let us reward the innocent. My friends, can your heart stand the shocking facts about the grave robbers from outer space?”

  28. Ok, I know I’m odd, but I’ve seen the past few decades as getting MORE reasonable. Not ‘sane’ precisely, but more like actual human interaction than The March Of History.

    See, the election and (against all the Left could do, propaganda-wise) popularity of Ronald Reagan broke the two-party lockstep of Progressive Authoritarianism. And about that time, people who didn’t buy the ‘we know what’s best for you’ drivel of the entrenched Political Class started fighting back…and winning. Back in the ‘70’s, only one state (Vermont) had what is now known as ‘Constitutional Carry’, and it was expected to mend its ways any day.

    What I’ve been watching since is a formerly dominant clique fighting a rearguard action. And historically such cliques get LESS reasonable as they lose power. See, before they KNEW they were winning; it was just a matter of time. They would get around to every item on their wish list, eventually. Now, they know they have to get everything passed RIGHT NOW, so people will see how WONDERFUL gender fluidity/total gun bans/State Mandated Atheism/what have you is and stop this TRAITOROUS move away from Progressive Paradise.

    It’s messy, but it’s a lot more real than the state of things when a Big Government RINO like Richard Nixon was Right Wing because he thought vermin like Ho Chi Min and Pol Pot should be opposed.

  29. Sarah, your comments on inter-state sales tax are already in the law. The economic nexus sales tax laws which were ok’ed by the Supreme court in the Wayfair decision all have a minimum threshold of activity before the vendor must begin collecting sales tax. Generally, the seller must examine his sales at the end of the year by state’ If these sales exceed, generally $100,000 in s given state for the year then the seller must begin collecting the sales tax in the following year. Nobody wants to talk about what happens in a subsequent year if the sales fall below the $100,000 mark.

  30. >> “Dan and I have sort of worked out an arrangement, where he can talk to me about programing, and sometimes it helps, but I neither really understand it nor can I really help if he has a snag.”

    I assume you’ve heard of rubber duck debugging by now, right? If not, trust me when I say that you’re helping: https://rubberduckdebugging.com/

    1. Sarah DGM is right. Never heard of the Rubber Ducky Debugging myself but boy does it hold true. I don’t know how many times I’d spend hours to days trying to figure out why something wouldn’t do what I told it to do. Code looked right. Sound theory. It just wouldn’t work. Or why I couldn’t trace something down. I’d finally give in and go to the “expert” and ask for help. Which of coarse meant explaining the problem … do you know how many times I’d get half way or less and stop, stare at him and state “Never mind I think I just figured out what is wrong … I’ll let you know…” Every. Dang. Time.

      The only time that didn’t happen is when I knew what was wrong & I wasn’t the one who should fix it (not couldn’t, though it would have taken me longer for reasons) but shouldn’t & didn’t want to get my hands slapped (hard, verbally), and not worth the fallout. But the “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong” when I knew what was broken but someone else was responsible was a much better way to get a response VS “you broke this, fix it”. I mean sometimes the nice approach didn’t work and had to resort to the not-so-nice, but rarely.

  31. I think wearing masks inn public is going to be as much a thing here as in Japan.

    If that catches on, I’m not going with any wimpy little things such as used in Asia. I’m going full on CBRNE mask. Probably not an M17A1 (as I recall that was a tad warm in summer time and restricted vision).

    Or just get some of those bandannas that make your lower face look like a skull.

    1. Probably not an M17A1

      Yeah, hot, and smelly even if brand new. And designed by somebody critically concerned with the future shortage of clear plastic, so the made the eyepieces as small as those on stormtrooper helmets (OK, I know it was because small eyepieces reduced the surface susceptible to nyukyuler flash effects, but it’s still hard to see out of the darn things). Only the Eastern Block gas masks were worse.

      The SOF guys have some much cooler (in all ways) stuff, but I’d personally go with something commercial like the 3M FF-400 series or full face 6000 series – it’ll be a lot easier to find filters and other spares for those. IIRC you can even get a heavy tint faceshield.

      Of course right now there are none of anything like that to be found.

      3M fullface catalog:

      https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/815734O/3m-reusable-respirators-product-catalog.pdf

  32. Because of age and widowed, I (and disabled daughter who lives with me) moved from isolated (well water, self sufficient) country property to a crowded suburban development property to be closer to hospitals and son and family. Now self-isolating, daughter is in hospital severely ill (sepsis), house has insufficient water pressure, can’t see grandchildren…who knew things would turn out this way? I am still luckier than many others. This blog and comments are a lifeline to me. Am wondering if this virus will be like Black Death and recur over decades?

    To keep reasonably sane, am reading and reading. Thankful for e-books as now have e-books replacing old books had to get rid of in move. (Authors might be delighted to know that over time we have bought 3 or 4 different versions of the same book.)

    1. I’ve been writing in because I find myself isolated working from home, afraid of what’s happening, and crave conversation. I too am finding this lifeline.

      Keep the faith. I suspect that this too shall pass

    2. *virtual hugs for Bobbie* Part of the problem with the Black Death was the climate shift and the near-generation of malnutrition that came with it. Add a new disease and wow! Disaster. Plus no antibiotics, people in very close proximity (more than NYC close), and a few other problems.

      Corona is a virus, unlike Y. Pestis, and now that we know to take this family of viruses (viri?) seriously, we can start looking at vaccines and tailored anti-virals. They couldn’t do that in 1346.

  33. Right now I am stuck waiting on electronics suppliers to return to supplying normal tech instead of them supplying the medical field. Amazon is now dumping supplying anything except food and very closely related essentials so I can’t use them for any ordering books unless they’re made solely of electrons. The shelves at local stores are getting bare.

    I’m trying to avoid turning into a dragonrider but I do feel like I am on Pern where I have tech but if anything breaks at the moment I have no way to get parts to fix anything. The tech at home isn’t exactly the latest and greatest but I am shepherding it as best I can. I know I got one novella up in the Kindle store but I do not want to be stuck with just a Buckley-style PDA and bluetooth keyboard for an extended period…

  34. There are things we know and don’t know about C19 (the abbreviation I use).

    We know China lied about the number of deaths. I understand some members of the military were briefed on the numbers the military thinks. I’m led to understand more than an order of magnitude above Chinese reporting.

    Something we suspect. It wan’t developed in China, nor the U.S., nor is it a natural mutation. I suspect, for several reasons, it was developed in a university lab by people playing around with, that is researching, using a gene editor. And a Chinese national was among them, or knew about it. And smuggled not only the virus into China, but instructions for making it. Brings up another point – if you have a Chinese national working on or with knowledge of any project, assume the Chinese government is being fed everything about it. Doesn’t matter how long they’ve been here or what kind of confidentiality clauses they’ve signed…. And because of Chinese quality control, lack thereof, it escaped into the wild. China and quality control don’t go together.

    We have been told there are two varieties going around, one more deadly than the other. What I don’t know and haven’t been able to find out – Do any of the diagnostic tests differentiate between the two? Difference in death rates and symptoms could be due to geographic distribution of the two. There are also stories circulating it can be caught more than once, that the immunity doesn’t last. That, if true, is a real problem.

    Apparently, we know what biological pathways it takes to damage the human body. And for all those people who say there are no racial differences, there are. Chinese, and apparently most Asians, have twice as many of these pathways as Caucasians, and presumably blacks. Does this make the C19 pathogen twice as deadly to them? 4 times? Or a many multiple times? That’s something we don’t know.

    On deaths here and in Europe, there is no reporting on the following, all of which would help in risk assessment, especially for individuals-

    1. Race of the deceased. The areas where the number of death are highest have a lot of Asians. In Europe and here. My son remarked New Orleans doesn’t. I said “Vietnamese.” They pretty much own the fishing industry there now…
    2. Was the deceased a smoker or vaper?
    3. Did the deceased have any history of prior lung damage- asthma, pneumonia, COPD, etc.?

    I’m sure you can think of some other important factors, but those are basics we should know to do a proper risk assessment.

    Now, are we going overboard on precautions? Maybe, maybe not. Unknown: Does it affect Asians at a much greater rate than non-Asians. If yes, then we likely are. If no, and the numbers the military have are true, then probably not.

    Should we all be wearing basic masks just to reduce airborne exposure? Possibly yes. So far, I’ve seen a whopping 4 people wearing them Not surprisingly 1 Asian, and more surprising, 3 blacks. My county is 93% white, .7% Asian, and 5.3% African-American or mixed races according to census figures. So we are not an “average” county. You may observe very different numbers. Me? I dislike masks of any kind. I wear them when engaged in cleaning soot or doing very dusty jobs. And that’s it. I would have to have symptoms myself- and a readily available mask – to wear one. I’m not going to worry about exposure. Too many other things to worry about in life.

    1. FYI: Under “we now know”: no, it doesn’t erase knowledge of itself and “reinfects” was an artifact of false negatives and the fact it has an up-and-down profile. (You get better, then worse, better, then worse, etc.)

  35. Some things I didn’t see coming but make sense now that I’ve seen early indications of them:
    One use disposable menus in restaurants and one use packets of condiments and spices instead of a bottle or shaker on the table (even or especially at nice places). In fact, a return to disposable stuff in general.

    Senior shopping hours. Seniors and other vulnerable populations have a special window of time to shop early in the AM at a less densely populated store and before the regular customers come in and germ up the place (but presumably after nightly cleanup).

    Masks with color or other symbol codes to indicate some status message. (E.g. “I have A compromised immune System”, “I am wearing this because I’m sick’, ‘Just a cosplayer’)

    Sticking your mail in the toaster oven

    1. “Masks with color or other symbol codes to indicate some status message.”

      Could happen. I suppose. Not the way I’d bet. Take a look at the service animal (dog or horse in US) community sometime. Legally there is no standard. Some of professional training organizations (for profit or not) have tried to impose color standards for patches. The resistance? Handlers, for good reason, do not want to advertise why they have a service animal to the general public. If the animal wears patches at all (not required in US). I can see that attitude for people wearing masks. Especially in the US.

  36. “I expect once this is all said and done a good 1/3 of American workforce will move to the home, permanently.”

    If this happens, it will kick the hell out of the commercial office property market. Cities like Chicago will lose IMMENSE amounts of income. Abandoned buildings will be everywhere and property tax collections will plummet. And cities are already on the edge financially. Commuter trains will increase fares. Taxes from restaurants and bars near office will plunge. Home delivery of purchases will go up; why go out shopping when you are there for delivery anyway? That will hurt every kind of bricks-and-mortar retailer there is. All kinds of effects.

    Watch for huge property tax increases on homes and increases in personal income tax. They surely won’t cut expenditures much.

    1. No. The office buildings will become condos. Americans tend to assume that “everyone will move to the country.” As someone who has worked from home for 30 years, nope. If you don’t drive to work, you want to be near food and entertainment. Man is a social species.
      The condo crunch will be BRIEFLY lifted.
      As for taxes, undoubtedly, what else is new.
      Commuter trains and highways? Way empty.

  37. one of the things that always seems to tingle my spidey senses is when some “expert” makes pronouncements with emotion (we are about to be overwhelmed …) or switches between hard numbers and percentages … (the percentages are usually a white lie) …

    So every time a governor or doctor or official says we are about to run out of beds or ventilators or whatever they never say “We have 1,000 beds, 900 are in use and 100 are available and are filling up at 25 per day” …
    instead, we get something like “we have 122 ICU beds and 90% are in use” they are lying with the 90% number I can almost guarantee you …

    Because if they were 110 beds in use (122*.90 = 109.8) they could easily say that …
    my bet is that the real number of beds in use was 104 or 85% but they just rounded it up … because saying we have 18 beds available doesn’t sound as good as having people assume we have only 12 beds available …

    and as far as NY needing 30,000 ventilators why is nobody asking Cuomo why he expects 300,000 sick elderly patients to be infected … because that is the number (10% requiring ventilation) of sick elderly we would have infected to require 30,000 ventilators … Someone is not doing a very good job in NY state if 300,000 sick elderly patients come down with corona in NY … gee I wonder if that somebody in Cuomo …

    1. one of the things that always seems to tingle my spidey senses is when some “expert” makes pronouncements with emotion (we are about to be overwhelmed …) or switches between hard numbers and percentages … (the percentages are usually a white lie) …

      Or the numbers sound a lot scarier when they’re stripped of context– and then they’ll flip back to things like percent of increase.

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