Covid-19


19
Mar 20

How are you settling in?

Everyone is getting a little more adjusted to their current realities. More people are staying indoors and at home, such as they can. And there are adjustments we’re all learning to make. It’s interesting to see and hear about. In between the many work emails and such.

Not everyone can, of course. Some people’s work requires them to be physically present. And some people just don’t get it. (But they’re liable to, if they keep that up, and they’re going to give it to others.)

And, it turns out, we don’t have the power of bulletproof young people we thought we did, either. Yes, Young People Are Falling Seriously Ill From Covid-19:

New evidence from Europe and the U.S. suggests that younger adults aren’t as impervious to the novel coronavirus that’s circulating worldwide as originally thought.

Despite initial data from China that showed elderly people and those with other health conditions were most vulnerable, young people — from twenty-somethings to those in their early forties — are falling seriously ill. Many require intensive care, according to reports from Italy and France. The risk is particularly dire for those with ailments that haven’t yet been diagnosed.

I wonder when the stigmatization of the people living their social lives really begins. You’ll have to somehow distinguish between the folks going to work to pay their bills or venturing out to take care of the vital necessities of life. But places that haven’t shut down their venues, or had their events shut down for them by executive power, the people there are going to get judged, I’m sure.

Even our cats get it; stay home.

We had to open a box late last evening and boxes, as cat owners know, may as well be C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe. So I thought I would turn it upside down. Defeat the cat! He can’t get in. No, he couldn’t. He got on. So, I thought, maybe I’ll just make you a little cat house.

He liked it immediately.

Because they don’t have enough things to climb on or in around here.

I shared that picture with a fellow cat owner, and she sent me this video and urged me to build …

I will not. Because I have another idea.

On the dual subject of pets and finding things to break up your days just now …

Don’t watch that one while walking up steps, that’s what I learned.

This one is quite interesting, for different reasons:

These sound interesting to me.

Experiments: Now is a great time to learn science by doing science. In this series, we take kids through real scientific research projects, showing them how to apply the scientific method to develop their own experiments. Check out the full collection of experiments — and give one a try!

Explainers: We have explainers on many topics, from how to read brain activity to the greenhouse effect. Each is designed to take a deeper dive into the concepts that underlie science news and research.

Technically Fiction: These stories look into the science behind fiction, from Harry Potter to bigfoot to what it would take to make an elephant fly. These can be a great place to start if your child doesn’t think they like science.

I started a musical conversation this evening. Some of the good ones that came through …

And this is aimed at marketers, but we’re all doing a bit of that these days, if you think about it. So think about it.

Be mindful. That’s terrific outreach advice. Grace and patience, friends. Grace and patience.


18
Mar 20

Hello, hello, hello

The best time, I told Instagram, for a run in the early age of social distancing? Obviously on a day when it is in the mid-40s. The preferred time would be when it isn’t raining, but the forecast was not a reality today.

Aside from the wind, and the rain, and the cold, it was a nice little three-and-a-half miles around the neighborhood. In a few weeks, if and when it warms up, I’ll have to think adding a few more miles back into the routine.

After a big meeting today, and thinking of an email and a conversation from the last few days, I pitched an idea which got the approval for further pitches. Up chains it goes. Now it needs a title, apparently. So that was a happy task for much of the afternoon, and perhaps part of the rest of the week and, if it goes well, for some time into the future. More on that then, then.

Let’s look at links.

I’ve come to really admire The Undefeated in it’s short run. It launched in late 2016, but it has covered a lot of ground and its writers manage to have a simultaneous air of authority and attitude that’s not always easy to pull off.

Maybe it is a bit easier in this brief essay, because the whole system has been a farce and the women who have been at the center of it have carried themselves with such poise, none more so than Simone Biles, who does all that while still competing at heretofore unknowable levels, having to maintain a criticism of her sport and constantly being the center of that as a spokesperson while also, you know, at the ripe old age of 23, being amazing:

She knows that it takes a village to raise a predator above reproach, to look the other way when his predations become so far out of hand as to be a well-known secret. She knows, from experience, that true, explicit acknowledgment and real structural change are required.

It’s unforgivable that Biles must use her hard work and success in this way — risking it all to advocate for herself and other gymnasts trapped under the governing body’s irresponsible purview. It’s unfortunate that the other side of her luminescent medal and legacy is dulled by that governing body’s paternalism and neglect. By pressuring an institution that performs in the face of its own inaction and injustice, Biles makes legible the ways our society tucks violence against women under the proverbial floor mat, and the ways in which women continue to materialize the strength necessary to demand the world beyond violence that we deserve and imagine.

This will be something a lot of people find useful, or will otherwise be looking for in the coming weeks. Stuck at home? Enriching activities to do with all ages from the Indiana Young Readers Center:

Looking for extra activities to keep children busy? Explore some of these activities put together for you by the Indiana Young Readers Center, located in the Indiana State Library. Remember, children of all ages can benefit from play and reading. Keep your kids engaged with some of these resources.

Sadly, my age group was not included. I’ll just have to fall back on my experience as an only child.

The apparently innumerate senator is from Wisconsin.

And the 3.4 percent he’s using here in his rhetoric works out to just over twice the population of his state. But, really, it is the rhetoric that’s a problem here. That data point isn’t being used correctly. So he’s using an incorrect data point, incorrectly.

To say nothing of the knock-on effects, and the many other medical cases that will be marginalized as hospitals become forced to triage everything:

These choices could be particularly devastating for the tens of thousands of Americans awaiting new organs, transplant experts said.

The outbreak has already caused serious disruptions. Doctors in some parts of the country say an inability to quickly test potential donors for the coronavirus has led them to decline viable organs, forcing some ailing patients to wait longer. To avert the spread of the virus among vulnerable patients who must take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of their new organs, doctors have canceled most routine follow-up visits for transplant recipients. And in anticipation of a surge of coronavirus patients requiring beds in intensive care units, some hospitals are now performing transplant operations only for patients who are at the most dire risk of death.

[…]

Without a transplant, Branson said his surgeon told him last week that he might only have about 30 to 45 days to live. But he said the hospital considers the surgery needed to remove part of his uncle’s liver to be elective — and therefore nonessential.

In a statement to NBC News, Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret, the chief of transplant surgery at UCHealth, confirmed that the hospital had suspended some transplant surgeries.

Meanwhile …

Never mind that younger people are also susceptible. But if you’re talking ’bout my generation (and not the one that actually claims that song) …

So, who is taking COVID-19 seriously? Possibly Gen X, who are born between 1965 and 1980 according to Pew Research Center, and are often referred to as the “sandwich generation” because many are caring for children and older parents. On social media this weekend, the hashtag “GenX” trended, with the “latchkey generation” saying that they were the most prepared to live in isolation.

From a psychological perspective, there might be some truth to this argument.

As they tried to explain this — and I stipulate that painting sweeping generalizations over a 20-year cohort, which is nothing more than the thinnest of constructs anyway, is silly — they missed one important potential external factor: MTV.

Now, usually, when I point to MTV, it isn’t in a good way. But it works out this time. We were just ready, because of what we already knew.

Also … is any other group allowed to see itself in this light?

Our little group has always been
And always will until the end


16
Mar 20

Happy Monday

And how was your weekend? Ours was fine. We’re doing just fine. We hope you are, too.

We’ve gotten settled in to the new routine, hoping it is temporary, trying to think and plan as though it may not be. We went out for a brief time on Saturday, probably the last time in a while.

Loved the sign:

There just aren’t enough marquees with attitude anymore, and we should remedy that problem. I’m sure that’s a corporate concern for corporate types, but a good local sign adds a great deal to a place, if you ask me. And in a social media world, you’d think there’s an unending vein of material from which to draw.

Things are changing at restaurants. This is just the beginning:

People suddenly have a lot of toilet needs:

I hope you have your groceries in order. We did pretty well this weekend. The Yankee made us pie for Pi Day Saturday night. It was as tasty as it looks:

Our relationship really started with pie. OK, it actually started with a bad professor, but the second step was pie and that’s a much better story. I invited her to a barbecue place while we’d been carpooling an errand or two and said we should go try the pie. She said nah. I said, “Come on, it’s Friday. Friday’s Pie Day.” That worked. We shared a slice of lemon ice box.

A server at another barbecue joint had said the same thing to me the week before, trying to upsell the dessert. She did. I got the pie that day and a week later I used her line.

To great success, I must say. That was 15-plus years ago. For the next 11 years, until we moved where there is no pie, apparently, every Friday was pie day.

We had a beautiful day for our run on Sunday afternoon:

Happily everyone was off doing something else:

The regular Monday checkin with cats? They’re doing great, too. Poseidon is eager to see all the new things that the coming spring has to offer him:

And I caught Phoebe as she was getting ready for an office nap:

And that was the weekend. Hope yours was equally fine, and brought you some peace and cheer and rest and lovely memories. Take it slow. Be safe and well. Have a little grace and patience.


12
Mar 20

Tonight’s shoot

I worked from home today, which we’ll all be saying a lot in the weeks to come. I did go in this evening for a television taping. The sports crew was up tonight. They wandered in, wondering if this was the end of their year on campus. Our last in-person classes are tomorrow, and then there’s spring break and at least a few weeks of virtual classrooms.

Students are being encouraged to return home. We’re now well into the plans of how we work with 46,000 students on this campus, the 100,000-plus at all of the statewide IU institutions and the countless projects that go on at each and every one of them. Unprecedented is a word you’ll hear a lot. We’re making this work as we go, or some variation, is a theme everyone will hear a lot.

Grace and patience is something I imagine I’ll be saying a lot.

Sports kept it simple tonight. This was a sink in moment for a lot of us.

Michael Tilka, a senior, and IUSTV’s sports director for 2019-2020 signed off. It is surprisingly typical that he was talking about everyone else. That’s what he’s done throughout. He was, this semester, the longest-serving member at IUSTV. I hope that wasn’t the final sign off of his four-year run at IUSTV, where he’s won awards and helped others win awards. I hope it wasn’t the last time, because I would miss his demeanor and what he’s still capable of doing here.

What he saw his freshman year and what he’s leaving his senior year are remarkably different things. He, and the sports directors that came just before him, righted the ship. They developed the right kind of culture in the sports department. It is one of those things I’m always telling the student leaders will come up in a job interview. One of those questions that will give them an advantage, if they distill these experiences into an anecdote.

I sat in a post-production meeting with all the younger sports students tonight. I wanted to thank and congratulate them, as I so often want to do. They each went around the room and shared their favorite moment of the year — and I hope this is not the end of their year together, but it has that feeling. Some of the stories I knew. Some I heard for the first time. All of the memories got laughed at. They had a great time with it. Real bonding is taking place there. Michael, I think, realizes it’s a lasting culture he’s helped establish. Along the way, most importantly, he’s found his own mature voice.

I’m glad they didn’t ask me to take part in that favorite moment exercise. It’s hard to explain my favorite moment of a year when my favorite moment, each year, is always the same. It is gratifying to see the progress the students make, collectively and individually. Sometimes it is downright tangible.

I am proud of my friend Michael Tilka. I hope this wasn’t his last time on air at IUSTV, but if we don’t get these last few weeks back for him, and all of our other seniors, I am excited to see him go out into the world and continue his success.

#LEO


11
Mar 20

The drawdown

More meetings today. Meetings about meetings. Meetings which begat other meetings. A fair amount of time canceling meetings. Meetings about canceled meetings. And oh so many emails and rapidly evolving and newly created policies. Our employer, Indiana University, is taking it seriously, which is nice.

My dean, in fact, told everyone at a meeting this morning to not be in the office after today unless it was essential that we be there. I have to go in for a brief while, tomorrow, but today is the last full day of on-campus work until April as we duck Covid-19. These are not off days. We’ll just be working from somewhere else. I’ll be in the home office.

It’ll sink in eventually.

We went for a run this evening. It was a quick three-and-a-half-miles of progressions, where you continue to build up speed as you go. This was just as we got int the third mile, which means she was going pretty fast, which meant the photo was blurry:

Earlier in the run I saw this, the second green things of the season. The tulips of February are false advertising. The longer days are a signal, next week’s spring break is a clue. March is a mirage, but there are now, suddenly, a few green things:

The next warm-ish day we have I’m going to take a walk through the woods behind the house. I have to find more green things.