Working from home

It’s a small change, in some ways. Big in others.  I work at a small private school, and as it turns out it’s not very hard to teach a class remotely. We have had the capability to use Google Hangout or Meet to conduct classes with students who are absent because of sickness or while they are traveling, as long as they have a web connection and a web-cam (which most laptops do these days). So, most of us can carry on as before, but from home. Clean up a bit of space to use as an office background for our own webcam connection, and avoid the commute. No possible chance of contagion if they are in their home and I’m in my home office space. Every meeting can be recorded (a variety of benefits to that), and you avoid the commute (which is pretty mellow now). Labs are a bit harder, but the curriculum has dry-lab data that can be used, and some are quite possible to do in any reasonable home setting.

Only downside of working from home is that I really need to get a more comfortable chair/desk combination.  Otherwise it works well. As near as I can tell, around here people are adapting fairly quickly to the new normal as far as working from home and so-forth, though the kids are already getting restless.

On the Covid19 news, my feelings are mixed. It is a fast-moving target. At this moment the Johns Hopkins map shows 55 confirmed deaths in WA state. Local news is reporting 65, 18% higher. On the one hand, there is good news on potential treatments and vaccine trials, and I’m not personally in a particularly high risk group. On the other hand a lot of the official numbers are obviously low-balled garbage, some places have unusually high death rates that cannot be easily explained by the aged population (like Italy) which might indicate a mutation for the worse. Then again, it’s not spreading like wildfire in hot regions like Africa, so that hints the summer heat might slow it down. Masks and other protective equipment are in short supply for those who didn’t already have them. But the US makes some 40,000,000 gallons of ethanol a day that could be turned into sanitizer solution in a heartbeat, and Trump has used the Defense Production At to get US industry producing things we need in a hurry; it will be instructive of the state of US manufacturing to see how fast it actually happens. Meanwhile the argument over who gets medical equipment that is in short supply looks like it might spell the end of the EU, and maybe even NATO, as folks get all nationalist and close border and steal medical supplies. Fun to watch, ugly to be in the middle of with the life of a family member on the line. I can’t even begin to guess how fast that will escelate if/when the case load picks up in a big way.

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