Five Things: June 24, 2020

Hello! Let’s get to today’s five, shall we?

Chair trouble: This morning I sat down in my office chair and kept going down; the pneumatic tube that regulates the height appears to have given out. Unfortunately my desk does not lower, which means working at my usual place of business is not possible today, unless I want a righteous case of carpal tunnel, which I do not. I have thus wandered about the house to get work done with my laptop and have had a fitful time of it. I’m good with the laptops for email and blog work, and when I travel (because I have no choice), but when I’m home I very much prefer my desktop and its big, roomy monitor.

So there will be a visit to the local Staples in my near future. I have taken a look at some super fancy chairs online but thanks to Covid, all of the manufacturer websites warn of shipping delays. I’m not going to be happy waiting two weeks for a whole new chair (or for a replacement pneumatic tube, to forestall an inevitable comment).

Also, this is another one of those times when I reflect that I am fortunate to be in a position where a chair breaking down on me means I am mildly inconvenienced for a day or two, rather than just having to suck it up and deal with it because I don’t have the means to acquire a new chair. Maybe it’s weird to feel fortunate when things break down. But I do, and I think the mindfulness of that is not bad.

The Last Emperox an Amazon Top SF/F Book of 2020 (so far): My publicist sent me the news this morning, which is nice, and also a reminder that somewhat incredibly, 2020 is almost half done. This year has felt simultaneously 10,000 years long and also whiplash fast. Be that as it may, it’s nice to see the book get a little love here on the doorstep of the second half of the year. I’m happy with how things have been turning out with Emperox generally, especially in this trainwreck of a year. No matter what happens with it from here on out, it feels like it’s already won.

Is Joe Biden actually running a good campaign? Writer Jonathan Chait argues that he is in New York magazine, and, I mean, maybe? Biden didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during the primaries, where he always felt like everyone’s third choice (“everyone” in this case being “everyone I know and/or who is on Twitter”) and who, upon locking up a nomination, has mostly appeared to be following the practice of not interrupting his opponent while he is making a mistake. Which, here in 2020, might be enough to qualify as a successful campaign! Chait argues he’s doing other things right too. Sure, why not. I’m going to vote for him pretty much regardless, but I agree it’s nice to see him not fucking it up on a constant basis.

Travel restrictions for the tri-state area: New York, Connecticut and New Jersey say that if you’re coming in from somewhere that has done a shit job of handling the spread of the coronavirus, you’re going to have to quarantine for two weeks. The metric they’ve determined for this basically covers almost all of the south, and Utah and Washington thrown in as spare change. I seem to recall Florida doing something like this a couple of months ago, although I also seem to recall the specifics being different (ie, Florida not doing testing and maintaining that the only way the virus could be in the Sunshine State was if it were brought in from New York). As Michael Scott would say, how the turntables. I’m not going to be too smug about it because the way things are going, other states including mine could find themselves with the same restrictions. Wear those masks, folks.

More Muppets:

The Muppets haven’t been exactly hitting it out of the park recently, but as a card carrying Gen-Xer, I’m always willing to give them another shot.

62 Comments on “Five Things: June 24, 2020”

  1. Please don’t bring your COVID to NJ, people. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. I hear they have beaches in Maryland. See you in 2021. (Cuomo was *so* smug when he was merely musing about travel restrictions for FL. It was delightful.)

  2. I bought an Aeron chair well over 20 years ago, and it’s the best, most comfortable investment I ever made. I’ve replaced a wheel or two, maybe an arm, most while under warranty.

  3. If the chair won’t stay up, can you build a temporary platform, with easily available 2×4’s and plywood, to lift the chair and you up?

  4. NJ seems to have flattened off at around 36-38 new cases per day per million residents, which is certainly better than the 380-400 we were at through most of April, but kind of discouraging compared to the less than ten per million in most of the EU countries. And NJ is being held up as a successful response.

  5. If you want a current assessment of how your state is doing on Corona/Covid-19, here is a great website:

    Rt is a calculation of how many people, on average, are being infected by one person who has been diagnosed with Corona. If the value is below 1.0, great! Your social distancing and mask wearing are great enough that the virus is dwindling in your state. If it’s above 1.0….

    Keep in mind that most places still are not doing testing on demand, much less any general screening. The testing is still at the diagnostic level (“Hmmm. You have some Covid-19 symptoms, let’s test you to know.”), not the monitoring level (“Let’s test as many people as we can, so we can discover how widespread the pandemic is in our area.”)

    Please note that there is most likely a 10-14 day lag between being infected by the virus and showing symptoms. So the Rt indicator is how things were two weeks earlier!

    FYI The latest upsurge is thought to be caused by the ‘re-opening’ that occurred on Memorial Day.

  6. re: chairs…another option is to check any commercial furniture relators in your area (Herman Miller or Steelcase) as they often have floor stock that they sell.

  7. Once you find a new chair, please let us (ME!!!) know what you decided up, as in model number/manufacturer. I have an old office chair wife got from her office when they were buying all new chairs. She has been out of that job for like 15 years, the chair is that old, my back is complaining out loud.

    Thanks! And good luck with shopping for a chair. Not an easy task. I always take a good book, so I can sit for a long time without getting too bored.

  8. I feel your chair pain— our beloved Kitchenaid mixer broke yesterday. We ordered both a replacement AND a replacement for the gear that broke. It will be interesting to see which gets here first…

  9. Re: Biden. There was a time not too long ago that the presidential campaign didn’t kick off until Labor Day weekend.

    What is to be gained from a constant (and probably less than illuminating) back and forth for neigh on to four and a half months? I have the sense that a tad less exposure could be a good thing for now. Choose your moments carefully and more often allow the surrogates to do the push back or go on the offensive on the relatively lesser sins and commissions of the president.

    Is something that dominated the news cycle for 24 hours in June or July really going to matter in November? Perhaps the time is better spent tending to and mending relationships within the party for now.

  10. Ahh, thank you for the reminder that Emperox is likely on Audible, and Audible has just sent me a discount offer, and that I have the two other Interdependency books on Audible, and I love your choice of narrator (Wil Wheaton did a great job), and since all of those things are true, I need to get the book. I feel like I’ve accomplished the most important part of my day, and I should be allowed to stop working now and start consuming the book.

  11. Chair tip: IKEA has a model called the Markus that I think is more comfortable than the Aeron and is only $200. Been using one for a year-and-a-half or so and still love it. According to their site, they’re sold out of them at the Cincinnati store, but have a bunch at Columbus, if you’re up for a road trip.

  12. Congratulations on Emperox

    They don’t make anything like they used to. I am still using a thirty year old office chair, my better half has bought four newer kinds and all have broken. Let’s not talk ,ajor appliances, plastic frames don’t work on those.

    I am also glad you were able to not name that particular T person. I too will vote Biden. It is not that I really want him, but we can fix things later. Right now we need to save the country. We have become a laughingstock.

    I am in Florida and we can see our Governor’s ignorance from here, too bad we can’t fix that this term too.

  13. Are the travel restrictions legal?

    Two dictums which Biden seems to be following (mostly) : “A closed mouth gathers no foot” and “Don’t interrupt your enemy while he’s in the process of committing suicide” (though with the level of incompetence and meanness of this Administration, the enemy might try to move up to homicide and suicide). [Apparently I had the first aphorism as “A closed foot gathers no mouth” – I’m not even sure what that means but it’s not good.]

    It’s good to see universities jumping on the “we don’t care who dies as long as we get paid” bandwagon:

  14. Wearing masks is an act of brotherly/sisterly love for all those around you. My mask protects you, your mask protects me. And don’t think “I’m healthy, so I don’t need a mask”, because you’re contagious for several days before you develop symptoms.

    Don’t think that wearing a mask means you’re a scaredy cat. It means you care about your community. And you do, don’t you?

  15. When my chairs go down I pile pillows on, or blocks of foam. I got a couple nice chairs at a local used office furniture outlet; both have lasted years, except for the pneumatic thingies. (Since I seem to be getting shorter too, this is a nuisance.)

  16. Speaking as a Washingtonian, I resent my state being lumped in with states like Arizona and Florida. We’ve taken COVID-19 seriously, at least in the west part of the state.

    But there is a big spike in Yakima county (in the eastern part) which has overwhelmed hospital capacity. Yakima county has about 6300 cases, which is about 2.5% of the population. King county (where Seattle is) has about 9200 but this is only 0.4% of the population. I’m not sure if this is total cases or current cases, but either way it’s amazing.

    Seems that people weren’t into wearing masks in Yakima county.

    My county, Jefferson, is small but mighty. We’ve had 33 cases total, which is under 0.1%. But we’ve got people here saying that the low incidence means that we don’t need to wear masks anymore. *sigh*

  17. Trump’s only move is campaigning. Don’t cede him choice of weapon.

    Abide, Joe, and be a gentleman. We need some bleeding hearts in the federal government by the end of 2020, or we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    Besides, it’s McConnell who is running the government…into the mitch. And only a few thousand people have any say over that. Kentuckians. Let that sink in. (Full disclosure: I am currently stuck in Kentucky, helping my elderly mother. She loves Mitch. So do all the neighbors.)

  18. Jim Henson’s is the only Kermit I will ever acknowledge.

    The Great Muppet Caper is still my ultimate favorite.

    Biden wasn’t even my fourth choice, but he’s my only choice now, so…

    Never-maskers are delusional, selfish, genocidal excuses for human beings, and you can bury me on that hill.

    I’ve been down carpal tunnel road and never wish to travel it again; happy chair shopping.

  19. Seconding Jeff Hentosz: I’m currently sitting in my Markus that I’ve had for, gosh, 6 years? It’s not quite as good as the fancy Herman Miller Aeron I have at work, but that’s at work and I didn’t pay for it, and this has been generally excellent for the past three months of full-time use.

    My only complaint is that it’s not quite compatible with my desk, so I can’t get as close to the keyboard/monitor as I’d like without taking off the armrests, but that’s a desk issue not a chair issue.

  20. I’ve had the same issue with my desk chair…apparently the pneumatic cylinder is always the first thing to go. And since I’m too cheapass to go out and buy a replacement when the rest of it works perfectly fine, I’d rather do a kludge. Wikihow suggests getting a couple of hose clamps and a bit of hand-dirtying. It works surprisingly well, and I’ve rarely ever needed to adjust it again. :)

  21. Thanks for the Muppet news! My officially KERMIT KRAZY 9-year old is so excited she can’t contain herself. Lol.

  22. Dear CardinalRam,

    Oh, good recommendation! That’s one of the primo websites out there. Some comments about it for people who are new to it:

    ~ Pay attention to the error bars. That’s the 80% confidence level. That is, there is an 80% chance that R falls within that shaded area. There’s also a 10% chance that it could be better than that… or worse. Keep that in mind before you get too invested in the exact number.

    ~If you mouse over your state’s graph, it will bring up lines showing when sheltering orders were put in place and when they were relaxed. As you will see, this has worked out very well for some states and very badly for others. Every one is running a slightly different medical experiment — unfortunately, we can’t run them in series to find out which ones produce the best survival rates!

    ~Clicking under the state’s name will show case counts. The blue line is significant — it’s the best attempt to correct for changes in testing over time. The dashed black line is the actual number of cases reported each day. That’s the number you see reported in the headlines, but it doesn’t take into account changes in testing. The blue line likely undercounts the number of cases, but it’s much closer to being an accurate monitor of whether things are getting better or worse.

    For example, California has seen a massive increase in the number of cases reported every day, but that’s almost entirely because testing has massively increased. The normalized cases are going up, but nowhere as catastrophically as the raw numbers would suggest. In other words, not at all good news, but not as bad as the unadjusted cases imply.

    If I may make one correction to what you wrote, I don’t think the 10-14 day lag is accurate. Putting aside the 50% (??) of cases that are asymptomatic, the incubation period runs from approximately 2 to 12 days in 95% of the cases, with the peak likelihood being five or six days. Symptoms seem to show up pretty quickly after incubation, unless I am misremembering, so it seems to be that a 7-10 day lag is more accurate.

    This for everyone else: the 14-day quarantine time you’ve been told is not actually safe! If you’re symptomatic, 99% of the time the disease will manifest within two weeks, which is where that recommendation came from. The problem is that half (?) the time, if you’re sick you’ll never know it. In other words, 14 days doesn’t really buy you 99% confidence.

    If you want to be sure you’re “safe,” isolate yourself for four weeks instead of two. That’s enough time that if you do get it asymptomatically, you’ll have recovered from it (at the 99% confidence level — nothing in life is certain). In most cases, even if you do get it symptomatically, you will have recovered by then. If you haven’t, well, it sucks to be you, but it isn’t like you won’t know!

    And, because it cannot be said often enough, everybody wear your %^$#! masks.

    – pax \ covid-free (fingers crossed) Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  23. Like John’s old chair Disney’s version of the Muppet Show was a bust. Put it back in deep freeze till re-re-imagined again. Stay safe everybody.

  24. Looks at Asian countries like Singapore, South Korea, etc.

    They wear masks.

    Their illness rate is WAAAAYYYYYY below ours.

    Hm. Two plus two….

  25. I don’t know much about Joe Biden, but I know he had the common sense to question the “wisdom” of giving a tax cut during war time, a time when “we’re all in this together” supporting some of us to go fight…
    But only some of us would benefit from a tax cut, the results of which would never “trickle down” to those serving and their families.

  26. Peers wistfully through the fog that is “American exceptionalism” at Singapore and South Korea and whispers, “If only.” ☹

  27. “2nd update: working from the front porch today. It’s nice.”

    Bit too flag-y for comfort for me. The only correct time for flying flags is when your national team is playing rugby.

  28. The Covid information was too depressing for my state of mind, and I have nothing to Ed about the conversation on office chairs, but I did watch the trailer for the Muppets and then they linked to rainbow connection on YouTube, and I have since spent the last two hours watching Muppet highlights. I can’t call the time productive but it was great for my mental health so thank you!

  29. I can recommend the Aeron as well. I have two (Office and Home Office) for >20 years now. I had to replace one lately and still got a three digit credit for the old one on buying a new one. Over the 20 years i replaced one arm and two armrests. Go for the leather option, it needs a bit of upkeep to hold 20 years but is much more comfortable than the plastic armrests.

  30. I’m from CT, and the governor hasn’t seen fit to explain just how they’re going to go about it. I mean, it’s not like the airports are teeming with passengers. If they try to enforce this quarantine, who’s going to cover the cost of the 14 days? Passenger or the financially strapped state (my state is about $1-$2 billion in the hole for the current and upcoming fiscal years)? Where are they gonna put them up? Fancy overpriced hotels near the airport, or crappy no-tell motels? What if they decided to drive in, not that anyone wants to drive to this p.o.s. state. how they gonna enforce it? Set up barricades at all the major highways and have the po-po stop and arrest?

    Good idea in principle (barely), but impossible to enforce.

  31. Ikea is a great source for office furniture. My desk is Ikea and the legs are adjustable, so I can tweak it to match the chair so that I sit properly in the chair with respect to leg length and body height. Got a small file cabinet that sits next to the desk which is just high enough for the printer to sit on, and has a small drawer that’s perfect for the cable collection.

    Biden has been running as “Generic Democrat” and that is really paying off for him.

    In the last 2 weeks cases have risen by 84% in states that do not require wearing masks in public, but have fallen by 25% in states which do require wearing a mask in public.

  32. Well then, why don’t they just do nothing and let God and nature sort it out.

    They can eat the dead when the pandemic cripples supply chains and food stores dry up.

    Someone, perhaps our dear host, needs to write the coronavirus version of A Modest Proposal.

    I really did try to understand the war on protective measures before branding most republicans, libertarians and conservatives as evil and, subsequently, writing them and anything they have to say off in disgust.

    Alas, the evil to logic ratio has convinced me that I was right all along.

    They dream of a social Darwinist fantasy land where them and theirs step triumphantly over the bones and ashes of the dead and into a depopulated land of prosperity and sociopolitical/ideological purity.

    The old, the poor and the brown (the racism underpinning the overlap between the last two categories isn’t lost upon a single one of them) will have been eradicated, leaving behind a nation primarily comprised of well to do whites and healthy bodies suitable for producing brown skinned worker bees and boosting the white majority.

    Meanwhile, as coronavirus cases spike, they point accusatory fingers at antiracist, anti-lynching protesters while studiously ignoring the consequences of the reopening that resulted, primarily, from the bare faced tantrums conservatives threw in April.

    You know the ones; a bunch of angry white people and white supremacists took up arms and hit the streets in open defiance of shelter-in-place orders to protest the stripping of their “murican” right to kill people for a haircut and a night away from the kiddies.

    What’s hilarious is that their attitudes toward and characterizations of the coronavirus seem to change according to what Trump and conservative media say.

    It was a liberal hoax designed to kneecap Trump’s reelection until it became a handy way to eliminate undesirable segments of the population. It was seasonal influenza’s second cousin, a deadly but mostly benign bug that was as likely to kill you as a car accident or lightning strike. That was until it was a deadly and highly contagious virus that could only be spread by BLM protesters.

    Watching them scramble to move the goalposts would be a lot funnier if the tens of thousands of the millions of infected Americans weren’t lying dead and/or being poured into earns as I type.

    Watching Trump and his acolytes plug their ears and cover their eyes as governors band together to mop up the mess that is the Federal governments “response” is why, for the first time, I nod in solidarity with any and everyone with a bad word to say about The United States.

    We started our short march to the loser’s table on November 8th, 2016 and have been wiping spitballs and cold french-fries off of our national shirt ever since.

  33. Didn’t you just get that chair recently? Shocking. I’m sitting in my Aeron equivalent, from Staples a few years ago, three, I think, working fine. I got the kind with mesh on the seat as well as the back since it gets muggy here and I don’t have air conditioning. Full mesh for the summer, and I made a seat pad from an old sweater for the winter. Best of luck with making do and finding parts or replacement.

  34. I support reasonable restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic, but I don’t see any reason to cast a moral judgement on the people in “those” states. Some of those states responded way better than NY from the start. NY only became sane when it was forced to at gun point because it had become the center of the GLOBAL pandemic. So turntables what now? You could argue that Cuomo has a lot to answer for, but to his credit, he at least learned to adapt.

    Biden thinks Black Lives Matter can be placated by any black woman, regardless of their personal history as prosecutors/police. That pretty much sums up Biden: a man who is less covered in excrement than his rival. A man who could not sell the contents of the 1994 Crime Bill to Ronald Reagan because Ronny thought it was too harsh. A man who pushed our current bankruptcy laws because he represents Delaware’s corporations. A man who had more sexual harassment claims than Senator Al Franken. A man who cheered on the Iraq War as the one of the Chairmen who got all the classified briefings. A man who “managed” the Clarence Thomas hearings.

    So is all that better than a gutless version of a fascist dictator? Yes. But Obama and a bunch of other people made it their business to see to it that that was our “choice.” Even a few weeks ago Pelosi and Clinton were trying to prop up a putz like Congressman Engel because he was a friend of theirs, even though he admitted on camera that he only bothered to visit his district (during a health crisis) because there was a primary.

  35. Re: Biden’s campaign so far, I see nothing wrong with keeping a low profile and your powder dry while the British keep a comin’. Biden is promoting his positive, smiling image on Facebook and in the meantime raising more money than the GOP is, all while Trump is busy providing plenty of material for the Lincoln Project to boost Trump’s already ample negatives. People are yearning for a return to normalcy, which Trump will never give us and we all know it.

    Oh, and in a poll that came out this morning from the NY Times, Biden’s support among blacks is 92% for with 5% not for. Seems they’re not so much placated as dedicated to Biden.

  36. @privateiron:

    Some segments of the American population can’t afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the safe.

    American born, SWM’s, their SW/CIS womenfolk and their SW/CIS offspring are likely going to be fine no matter who wins the 2020 election.

    Others, not so much.

    All the shockingly left leaning SCOTUS decisions in the world won’t make that any less true.

    So, my answer to your question is an unequivocal yes, and I say it with my full throat and through my closed nose.

    With regard to moral judgments, certainly, generalizing about and ignoring the preventative efforts in “those states” is problematic, but the never-maskers and virus-deniers who dominate them are most definitely worthy of judgment, scorn and blame.

    So, I’ll morn the innocent among the dead and eat my schadenfreude pie with relish and gusto, thank you very much.

    Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have dirty hands and will have to live with their delayed action for the rest of their lives.

    Those politicians who, from beginning to end, initiated perfunctory and/or insufficient closings or ignored the virus altogether are dirty from the tips of their toes to their hairlines, and I haven’t seen a single one of them express contrition in the way that Cuomo and de Blasio have.

  37. Somewhat on topic … My wife bought a very nice electrically adjustable desk with a sleek glass top and even sports 3 USB ports and 4 height memories with a digital readout under the glass surface. There a ‘touch’ operated recessed operational buttons in the lower right corner surface. . It’s a ‘Tresanti’ brand and got it at Costco late last year. It adjusts anywhere from a very low height to a high height for probably even a taller person to comfortably use while standing. The surface is about 2 by 4 feet. Very heavy duty and nice. With the glass surface I almost expect it to support a large LCD Touch display under it! I think it was under $300 as I recall.

  38. “They wear masks.

    Their illness rate is WAAAAYYYYYY below ours.”

    I think this is less about guidelines and restrictions put into place by the government (which are necessary) and more about people acting intelligently and responsibly to stop the galloping spread of the pandemic.

    In Singapore and South Korea, measures were imposed on time, but they were also embraced by the general public. People stayed inside when they were told to, wore masks, and avoided large gatherings (with the exception of that one cult in SK). There is a culture of respecting the rules and seeing oneself as part of the wider community.

    In the US, any attempts to impose sane measures will be met by mouthbreathing covidiots screaming about their “freedumbz”. Scowling, obese people defiantly taking selfies or making incoherent YouTube videos while not wearing masks at Walmart. As G. B. Miller correctly points out, quarantines, lockdowns and masks are good ideas, but who is going to enforce them? Even sending in the military would not be enough. So it comes down to Americans behaving like civilized, intelligent people. In other words, we’re screwed.

  39. “They wear masks.

    Their illness rate is WAAAAYYYYYY below ours.”

    I think this is less about guidelines and restrictions put into place by the government (which are necessary) and more about people acting intelligently and responsibly to stop the galloping spread of the pandemic.

    In Singapore and South Korea, measures were imposed on time, but they were also embraced by the general public. People stayed inside when they were told to, wore masks, and avoided large gatherings (with the exception of that one cult in SK).

    In the US, any attempts to impose sane measures will be met by mouthbreathing covidiots screaming about their “freedumbz” and taking selfies of themselves not wearing masks at Walmart. As G. B. Miller correctly points out, quarantines, lockdowns and masks are good ideas, but who is going to enforce them? Even sending in the military would not be enough. So it comes down to Americans behaving like civilized, intelligent people. In other words, we’re screwed.

  40. I didn’t really want Biden – I have the problem that the people I liked (Warren, Klobuchar) and the people whose policies were closest to mine (Bloomberg, Biden) were not the same. He has significant liabilities (his assault allegation, his plagiarism, general old man crankiness, age). On the other hand, he seems to have something closer to an operating soul than the current White House occupant (I mean, one not as black and deep as an empty diamond mine), is certainly less crooked and icky, and probably more competent (I could be more competent, I think). Better is still better.

    At some point, though, the Democratic Party is going to have to listen to the further liberal wing or it’s going to neuter itself. If that’s not consistent with being elected, then we have a problem, because splitting cedes policy to the GOP who seems to be actively interested in destroying America (or turning it into the conservative version of Venezuela).

  41. Update: “Washington state was originally in the list due to a discrepancy in their reporting, which has since been corrected, and the state was removed from the list, said Caitlin Girouard, a spokeswoman for Cuomo.”

  42. @Hap

    If you take a look, the Democratic Party is, in general, well to the left of where it was 4 years ago, and Biden, today, is well to the left of where Obama was in 2008. The Overton Window is shifting left.

    But also keep in mind that the Democratic Party is a coalition, many of whose members would be Republicans if the GOP wasn’t racist. A non-racist, non-misogynistic, religiously inclusive, conservative party would do well in the US.

  43. I’m enjoying these ‘5 things’ updates! They’re interesting and just long enough not to go past my attention oh look pie!

  44. I think this is less about guidelines and restrictions put into place by the government (which are necessary) and more about people acting intelligently and responsibly to stop the galloping spread of the pandemic.

    Yep — there’s pretty strong evidence that Hong Kong, despite a not great response by it’s government, has kept the infection rate low because everyone popped on a mask at first news. Good job, people of Hong Kong!

  45. Oh, disagree.

    Muppets have been knocking it out of the park for years with YouTube shorts. Take this one:

  46. Re: unsolicited advice about the chair. Someone already suggested hose clamps, but you can also use a length of ABS pipe or something similar to MacGyver the chair shaft if you only need a fixed height, at least temporarily.

  47. Yeah, I think my point about Asian countries was more about mindset and culture than about government.

    Concern about others is not an American cultural value.

  48. I had a Herman Miller Mirra 2 for a while when I worked in Big Tech. I tried both the Mirra and the Aeron and decided that the Mirra worked better for me. What a choice to have! The place I worked before the Big Tech outfit was a penny-pinching startup so this was a big change.

    These chairs are absolutely worth it if (a) you spend a lot of time in the chair, (b) you can afford it, and (c) you put the time into adjusting it correctly. It’s like spending money on a good bed. I’ve tried the knockoffs and they just aren’t the same.

    FWIW, I failed test (b) so bought a decent-quality normal chair for my home office.

  49. If we’re shifting left, and everyone’s (or enough people) shifting left, we might be OK. If we’re shifting left and the GOP is shifting right, then it’s GNBN. Good news – we could move left without killing the coalition because the people in it have nowhere else to go. Bad news – lots of people with no overlap would likely mean that we’re going to spend time fighting while we burn – a federal government that does nothing favors Republicans (because eventually the problems put off from the past will have to fixed – all the money people have spent that they didn’t have – and if we can’t fix it, the federal government will likely be nonfunctional at best, which appears to be their goal, anyway).

    I don’t think I’m conservative, which is good because the Republican Party hasn’t had much in the way of principle in my lifetime. They had decent people once, but seem to be rapidly deselecting traits like logic, honesty, and humanity our of their intellectual gene pool. The problem seems to be that their selection process is working well in the general population as well, which seems like a self-limiting phenomenon with a lot of collateral damage.

  50. Dear Folks,

    I need to update my previous covid-19 report. some important things have changed.

    On the good (ish) side– the CDC has issued an improved list of risk factors and age has been deprecated. Yes, increasing risk with age, but as many of us suspected, that’s been exaggerated by the increasing likelihood of comorbidity factors. So, those are things you should be paying closer attention to.

    On the bad side– there was an unbelievable jump in the number of deaths reported nationally yesterday. I say unbelievable because a real threefold increase in a single day is unprecedented and it’s beyond belief that the death rate has suddenly, in a single day (or even a few days) returned to what it was in April.

    It’s possible it’s a typo in some database (I checked several sources, but I can’t get at the underlying data). I’m hoping. But I think it’s more likely that there’s been some kind of bottleneck in the case reporting for a few weeks and they’ve suddenly gotten caught up.

    In that case, my previous cautious optimism at the slowly dropping death rate was misplaced. The number of deaths per day is gradually rising.

    I really don’t know; I’m making educated guesses. But I don’t like what I’m seeing.

    Stay safe, everybody.

    pax / Ctein