Friday Links

For many there was a shared experience at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a collective outcry over the newly imposed limitations on people’s lives. Yet, ironically, many amongst the disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodivergent community thrived....

People with disabilities, chronic illnesses and/or neurodivergences have had life-long experience of their realities and truths being underestimated, indeed negated with statements like “it’s in your mind” or “I’m tired, too”. They have had life-long experience of balancing external pressures of conforming with expectations against internal forces of maintaining health and wellbeing. They have had life-long experience of “socialising” virtually and remotely, which in their case is in a bid to maintain energy-levels high enough to continue to function and to avoid additional illnesses, as for some a simple cough or cold may aggravate other conditions. A snapshot of these experiences were poignantly highlighted in two twitter threads published in March 2020 and a few weeks later in April 2020....

I still hold on to that optimism and hopefulness, though perhaps more sobered. At the time of writing that conclusion it was still early days in the pandemic. I was able to see the massive improvements the technological development brought to the lives of disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodivergent academics. Twenty months on the political, economic and societal push towards “normality” and calls to “return to offices” become increasingly louder. Already, despite the fact that we are still in the pandemic, we are seeing conferences and meetings being organised as in-person events only. With presenteeism taking hold once again, I worry that the many changes for the better become unravelled and undone.

Young and old alike are affected — more than 80% to 90% of those diagnosed with the virus, according to some estimates. While most people recover in a few months, 16% take half a year or longer to do so, research has found. According to new estimates, up to 1.6 million Americans have chronic smell problems due to covid.

Most people aren’t aware of the extent to which smell can be diminished in later life. More than half of 65- to 80-year-olds have some degree of smell loss, or olfactory dysfunction, as it’s known in the scientific literature. That rises to as high as 80% for those even older. People affected often report concerns about safety, less enjoyment eating and an impaired quality of life. That rises to as high as 80% for those even older. People affected often report concerns about safety, less enjoyment eating and an impaired quality of life.

Essentially, the chickens are our early warning system. Small flocks of young chickens are housed in strategic coops spread around the area to be monitored. At regular intervals health workers test those chickens for viral antibodies. If antibodies for West Nile virus show up in the sentinel chickens, that means the virus is probably present in the wild bird population. People in the area are at risk.

The US instituted a travel ban on South Africa and seven other countries Monday. But I’d honestly be very surprised if it isn’t here already. 

The omicron variant, officially known as B.1.1.529, surfaced in November in several southern African nations. It set off alarm bells worldwide when public health officials in South Africa saw it beginning to outcompete the previous reigning variant, delta. This suggested that omicron could eventually spread widely. Indeed, omicron has since been reported on multiple continents, likely due to international travel by people unknowingly infected.

I always assumed it went with the territory of a popular art form that it’s the art’s job to grab people’s attention rather than the consumer’s job to concentrate.

In Alberta, it is illegal to make a u-turn in many circumstances, including at any intersection with traffic lights. Even so, Apple Maps will demand you make a u-turn if you deviate from the route it has selected; it is the only way it seems to know how to return you to the route. Because I am not interested in committing traffic offences, if I miss my turn, I will make three rights in a row to get around the block, and then make a left turn to get back to where I started. That is a completely sensible alternative that Maps simply will not suggest, nor does it ever seem to re-route in a way that will let me follow the current road to a different intersection.

About Me

Developer at Brown University Library specializing in instructional design and technology, Python-based data science, and XML-driven web development.