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Reading: Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

From Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

A visit to the monkey house.

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Reading: White House organizes harassment of Twitter employee as Trump threatens company – The Verge

From White House organizes harassment of Twitter employee as Trump threatens company – The Verge

Frightening tactic: harassment.

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Reading: Reopening Indiana University? Troubled Reflections of a Wayward Professor

From Reopening Indiana University? Troubled Reflections of a Wayward Professor

Very complete and compelling analysis of IU’s re-opening plan by Jeffrey Isaac, a professor of Political Science at the university. Brings a much-missing public policy perspective to the discussion. Brings, also, the much-needed insider knowledge of how state university system admins make and affirm decisions with limited input and administrative blinders – in this case, a report that assumes comprehensiveness by limiting its scope. A close reading that ought to be taken to all university re-opening plans.

These [pedagogical and financial questions] are the serious questions that IU strategic planning ought to be considering, through a serious deliberative process that incorporates the full range of relevant knowledge in the institution and that is transparent.

Most of the top administrators at IU are also colleagues, fellow humans who once experienced life on campus the way their employees do, and who truly care about the moral issues at stake.

I know that they face great pressure to reopen.

And I hope that they listen to their colleagues, like me, who are asking them to resist this pressure, and to do the right thing, and come up with a feasible plan to keep IU running as a viable and serious educational institution over the coming year without a premature reopening of campus, so that we can reopen at a later and a safer date in a way that is true to the university’s mission as a public institution of higher learning and safe and autonomous human flourishing.

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Reading: A US passport used to be an asset. Under Trump it has become a liability

From A US passport used to be an asset. Under Trump it has become a liability

Wanna see my evidence?

It’s not just a trip to the US that looks unappealing right now; it seems many countries aren’t exactly salivating at the prospect of hosting American visitors in the near future. The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, for example, called the border with the US a clear “vulnerability” for Canada in terms of infections; the US-Canada border has been closed since March, and will remain closed to nonessential travel until at least 21 June.

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Reading: The truth about why Cummings hasn’t gone: Johnson is too terrified to sack him

From The truth about why Cummings hasn’t gone: Johnson is too terrified to sack him

Bad Family

But if Cummings and his wife didn’t know what they’d done was wrong, why would they choose to write a lengthy article last month about their virus experience – full of personal family information – which omitted all of these dramas, all of these material facts. Or as Cummings addressed these questions of what is unredeemable in the rose garden: “I stress to people that they should not believe everything in the newspapers.” And I stress to people that by far the most inaccurate account of the period in question was in the Spectator, bylined Mary Wakefield and Dominic Cummings. As for his querulous domestic exceptionalism, you’d think they were the first parents ever to get properly ill in possession of children. Or child, in this case. God knows, it’s not much fun. But, dare millions of us say, it is kind of what you sign up for – a reality not lost on the ICU nurse couple I heard on the radio, explaining about both of them being hard hit by Covid-19, and having to isolate with their own three children without help.

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Reading: Dominic Cummings surely knew he was exploiting a rule meant for abuse victims

From Dominic Cummings surely knew he was exploiting a rule meant for abuse victims

Uh oh. Riding on the tails of the vulnerable risks exposing your ideology, Dom.

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Reading: Why are people who cite videos always wrong? From Techcrunch

From Why are people who cite videos always wrong? From Techcrunch

Observed.

It’s not an inherent law of the universe that if you have to cite a 30-minute video, it means you don’t actually have any cogent arguments. But it does seem to be a law of the Internet. Perhaps that’s for the best, though; it means when the deepfakes arrive en masse, we — or, at least, the critical thinkers among us — will be suspicious already. Let’s hope automatic skepticism of videos spreads before then.

My guess is that the citer is passing on the video because they found it persuasive (it’s usually accompanied with, “You have to watch the whole thing!”), not because it would persuade anyone else or because it illustrates some significant point to consider. It’s a litmus test for community: “I was persuaded by this! You should be too.” I would also suggest that the citer would not claim the video was “persuasive” (they wouldn’t use that term) but “the truth.” At that point, bring in McLuhan. There’s a dissertation lurking here.

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Reading: The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

From The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

So now let’s get to the crux of it. Where are the personal dangers from reopening?

The personal is social.

As we move back to work, or go to a restaurant, let’s look at what can happen in those environments.

The crux:

The reason to highlight these different outbreaks is to show you the commonality of outbreaks of COVID-19. All these infection events were indoors, with people closely-spaced, with lots of talking, singing, or yelling. The main sources for infection are home, workplace, public transport, social gatherings, and restaurants. This accounts for 90% of all transmission events. In contrast, outbreaks spread from shopping appear to be responsible for a small percentage of traced infections. (Ref)

Importantly, of the countries performing contact tracing properly, only a single outbreak has been reported from an outdoor environment (less than 0.3% of traced infections). (ref)

Via Academe Blog

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Reading: Our Classrooms and Our Campuses Are Petri Dishes | ACADEME BLOG

From Our Classrooms and Our Campuses Are Petri Dishes | ACADEME BLOG

Martin Kich on Academe Blog considers the implications of re-opening univeristies – and what’s being over-looked by more vocal planners:

Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana has announced his intention to have on-site classes in the fall, emphasizing that about 80% of the West Lafayette community is under the age of 35 and therefore less vulnerable. It seems very improbable, however, that 80% of the university’s faculty and staff are under the age of 35 or that having a large number of asymptomatic carriers of the virus will be reassuring to anyone in the community who is over 35 or living with someone over 35.

If continuing to do most classes online is deemed untenable even for another semester or two, how tenable will it be if even one in three faculty at any university contracts the virus and has to be self-quarantined for several weeks?

How tenable will it be if even one in six faculty have a more severe form of the disease or even have to be hospitalized for treatment and need to be on medical leave for more than two weeks?

How tenable will it be if even a small number of faculty die from the disease?

Add to this the factor that the disease can spread between town and gown by asymptotic carriers and the risk becomes even less tenable. MinnState: take note, please.

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Reading: Nobody Is Protected From President Trump

From Nobody Is Protected From President Trump

Mask in the culture wars. Wearing a mask protects others, no oneself. We know that. And from there, it’s a small step to being taken as a threat.

On Monday the White House belatedly introduced a policy of mask-wearing in the West Wing — but it exempted President Trump. See what I mean about mask as metaphor? Trump demands protection from everybody around him, but nobody is protected from Trump. Story of America.