Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
papers.ssrn.com
"We believe rushing to reopen campuses involves wishful thinking and magical thinking, reflecting the comforts from path dependence and status quo bias. While optimism is admirable, so are honesty and realism. Sometimes, defensive pessimism is more adaptive, appropriate, functional, helpful, and useful than unbridled positivity. We are only in the second inning of COVID-19, with testing extremely confusing and statistically unreliable. Rushing to reopen campuses offers only the illusion of safety. In contrast, offering an effective online alternative provides the reality of safety."
An essay from two law professors critical of plans to open college campuses. I really agree with the point I quoted here about the weakness of the positive thinking that seems to be the driving force behind all covid-19 planning.
esquire.com
"And so, like countless other Americans, my family awaits the unveiling of our district’s plan for bringing kids back to school, which will be delivered over Zoom, because it’s not safe to hold a public meeting."
If we still can't hold public meetings, how in the world can we hold public school? I'm grudgingly coming around to this view. We need teachers and staff to be healthy and that means keeping them away from kids right now. As difficult as it is, I think we need to continue to have kids learn remotely until the virus is under control. I think that means we need an overhaul of work and school expectations but I don't see any movement anywhere that makes me optimistic that will happen in the next month or two.

Ride the EPM Podcast Waves

Tonight I'm making a very special non-automated link post to let you know that the Election Profit Makers podcast is the only island of sanity left in this ocean of troubled times. I know I've said it before, but this time I mean it.

RIYL: debates about skylines, obscure gen-x cultural references, and commiserating about politics.
The Verge
"New students matriculating at schools offering fully online programs will not receive visas, per ICE. Students who are already enrolled at such schools will be required to transfer or leave the country."
The cruelty is the point.
Vox
"Hospitalizations and deaths are both lagging indicators, because it takes time to progress through the course of illness,” Caitlin Rivers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told me late last week. “The recent surge started around two weeks ago, so it’s too soon to be confident that we won’t see an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths."
Interesting look at covid-19 data that seems contradictory at first.
photo
Center
Firework
nytimes.com
“You shouldn’t have had kids if you can’t take care of them,” is comically troll-like, but has come up so often, one might wonder if you’re supposed to educate your children at night. Or perhaps you should have been paying for some all-age day care backup that sat empty while kids were at school in case the school you were paying taxes to keep open and that requires, by law, that your child attend abruptly closed for the year.
Cathartic read, and no solution in sight as the infection rate ticks up.
nytimes.com
"This column — and the deactivation of my account — is my way of cleaning up my world. But to say I am confident that you, Mark Zuckerberg, will do your part to clean up the rest of the world would be something of an overstatement. Facebook’s still high stock price and your complete control over the company means you can and will continue to do as you please."
I already deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I now know less about what my family and friends are up to, but I feel like I have no choice but to be a -1 in some spreadsheet somewhere since engagement is the only thing Facebook cares about.
washingtonpost.com
"Facebook has constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy explicitly allowing politicians to lie, and even altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims that it was biased against conservative publishers, according to more than a dozen former and current employees and previously unreported documents obtained by The Washington Post."
This article is a good summary of how Facebook rewrote its policies to accommodate hate speech and misinformation so they could stay in favor with the current administration. Related, so far more than 100 advertisers have agreed to stop advertising on Facebook in July: Facebook’s reckoning arrives.
washingtonpost.com
"Any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling allows droplets to be released from the mask, putting others nearby at risk,” the order says."
I'm seeing valve masks quite a bit more in the wild and I always cringe a bit. We're trying to keep our breath to ourselves.

Camping Scenes

sun rays filtered through trees Running water in the foreground with trees and blue sky in the background Two very tall trees bordered with vegetation an axe stuck in a stump
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