Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
The Atlantic
"Despite ample warning, the U.S. squandered every possible opportunity to control the coronavirus. And despite its considerable advantages—immense resources, biomedical might, scientific expertise—it floundered."
Devastating. Continued essential pandemic reporting from Ed Yong at The Atlantic.
washingtonpost.com
"Teachers don’t feel safe. Most parents said in a survey that they’re “very concerned” about sending their kids back to school. So why are we getting bullied into opening?"
School administrators are being forced to choose between the health of their communities and losing part of their funding. They shouldn’t be put in this position.
Black and white picture of Willamette River
River Texture
Willamette River panorama with a kayak at the far right
Socially Distant
TIME
"’Unfortunately, not only has little to none of that funding been utilized, you are now proposing the very cuts that we sought to avoid with that emergency line of credit,’ Manchin said in his letter."
The new Postmaster is considering closing several post offices even though the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress included up to $10 billion in Treasury loans. I wonder if it's because the new Postmaster has a financial interest in seeing it fail? From the Washington Post: Trump ally takes over crisis-ridden Postal Service as top Senate Democrat demands inquiry on hiring:
"DeJoy and his wife, Aldona Wos, the ambassador-nominee to Canada, have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors, according to Wos’s financial disclosure paperwork filed with the Office of Government Ethics."
It's just grifting all the way down. The USPS is going to be critical to democracy here in the near future.
bloomberg.com
"Just as premature reopenings of bars, stores and restaurants ended up causing big Covid outbreaks and hurting business activity in many Sun Belt states, virus outbreaks on campuses could cause a stampede away from universities eroding trust in universities as responsible stewards of young people’s health and safety."
In the face of no good choices, I think colleges should prioritize the health of their communities.
The Atlantic
"There are two key mitigation strategies for countering poor ventilation and virus-laden aerosols indoors: We can dilute viral particles’ presence by exchanging air in the room with air from outside (and thus lowering the dose, which matters for the possibility and the severity of infection) or we can remove viral particles from the air with filters."
Time to think about filtration and ventilation.
their.tube
"Theirtube is a Youtube filter bubble simulator that provides a look into how videos are recommended on other people's YouTube. Users can experience how the YouTube home page would look for six different personas."
What if the YouTube I see is not the YouTube you see? This is a good demonstration of how personalized recommendations work.
nytimes.com
"Federal tactical teams that have clashed with protesters in Portland in recent weeks will soon be leaving the city, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon said Wednesday."
Relieved to hear this.

Update: Surprise! Now, not true. Article I linked has been updated to the headline: Federal Agents Agree to Withdraw From Portland, With Conditions. Those Conditions? Never! (Paraphrasing.)
The Markup
"“As a search engine, Google’s mission is to quickly direct searchers to great information, wherever that information is, as Page went on to explain. At that time, that generally meant to direct people from search results to websites. As search technologies have developed, that’s not always the best way to assist people.”

She did not answer questions about whether those changes present the search engine with a conflict of interest."
It's a meritocracy! Google just happens to make all the best things. AND they decide which things are best. Win-win.
mediamatters.org
"Fast forward five years and journalists and commentators are still talking about imminent pivots and praising him for always-temporary changes in his tone."
Tiring Trump trope.
threadreaderapp.com
Let’s say we threw the kitchen sink at COVID-19 in the U.S. Let’s say we started now with the goal of being open for business in October— meaning schools, in person voting, sports, everything. If we did everything. What would happen?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Nice to see someone write out the logic of a new, stronger lockdown.
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