Thought experiment: Imagine the death rate from Covid-19 were about 1/10th what we’re seeing, making it about as deadly as the flu; now imagine it’s about 10x what we’re seeing, making it about as deadly as smallpox. Would we respond differently?
The Innocent Pleasure of Trespassing: a delightful essay by Nick Slater.
“Trespassing is an act of resistance against this slow strangulation of our living spaces. Human beings should be free to wander where they please—indeed, for much of our history, this has been taken for granted. Nomadic and semi-nomadic civilizations like the Plains Indians or the Turkic tribes of the Eurasian steppe weren’t the only ones to prize freedom of movement; those who insist such a concept is incompatible with the property-loving values of Western civilization may be interested to know that ‘the right to roam’ has been ingrained in the cultures of many Northern and Central European countries for centuries.”
This article makes a good point:
“Ultimately, we the public will decide when the economy reopens, not the government.”
If people decide not to fly, not to stay in hotels, not to eat at restaurants, and to wait and see how things work out before making major purchases, it doesn’t matter if the “stay-at-home” orders are lifted or not.
I have written my congressman:
Dear Congressman Davis:
I am writing to urge you to support the United States Postal Service—both in general, and on an emergency basis.
The internet, email, and courier services all have their place, but the U.S. mail remains a critical service. It is used by many businesses and many individuals. Services only available from the post office (such as dated postmarks, and the presumption that something mailed has been delivered) are embedded into laws and common practices beyond counting.
On an emergency basis, the post office needs financial support similar to any business hard-hit by the pandemic.
On a longer-term basis, the post office needs relief from the onerous pension pre-funding rules imposed in 2006. (Or, if those rules are really a good idea, perhaps they should be extended to all businesses, and all local, state, and federal pensions.)
I remind you that the establishment of post offices is one of Congress’s enumerated powers, and urge you to work within Congress to ensure that the post office is preserved. Please let me know about the efforts you’re making.
Philip M. Brewer
I wrote the letter, printed it out on paper, signed it, addressed an envelope, put a stamp on it, and dropped it in the outgoing mail. (I used t-rex stamps, which are really too good for Congressmen Davis, but I was trying to make a point.)
Happily, except for playgrounds, outdoor public spaces are still open where I live.
The outdoors and sunshine are such strong factors in fighting viral infections that a 2009 study of the extraordinary success of outdoor hospitals during the 1918 influenza epidemic suggested that during the next pandemic (I guess this one!) we should encourage “the public to spend as much time outdoors as possible,” as a public-health measure.
Always true, just now laid bare by the pandemic:
In transit conversations we often talk about meeting the needs of people who depend on transit. This makes transit sound like something we’re doing for them. But in fact, those people are providing services that we all depend on, so by serving those lower income riders, we’re all serving ourselves.
Climate emergency “skeptics” seem weirdly incapable of understanding that the various deadlines for taking action are the dates after which certain consequences become inevitable, and not the dates after which everyone is dead.
Do municipal taxes bring in enough money to maintain our urban and suburban infrastructure? In the densest urban areas, probably yes. Otherwise, generally no.
It might shock most people to learn that in many American cities, the poorest neighborhoods subsidize the wealthiest.
It is my considered opinion that no article on medical marijuana, CBD, or THC should use the phrase “There is little scientific evidence” without adding “because for decades the federal government prohibited the research that would have produced such evidence.”
I looked for @doctorow’s tweet of this (excellent) article, but his twitter feed was so stuffed with retweets of years-ago articles I couldn’t find one.
A phone that knows about you—but doesn’t tell anyone what it knows about you—would be your interface to a better smart city