Read County Shuts Down Eaton Canyon Hiking Trails (
“Eaton Canyon Natural Areas & Trails are closed for the rest of today & Memorial Day, May 25, due to overwhelming crowds that were not following the COVID-19 public health requirements. No walk-ins” the Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation tweeted on Sunday.
The neighborhood has been overly busy since Friday at around noon. I’ve never seen so many people parking (even past our block) in the neighborhood to go hiking over here. Memorial day would have been insane if they didn’t shut it down.
Replied to Background by Kate Bowles (Music for Deckchairs)
Make sure the background is clean and generic, and make sure to remove any family photographs, or anything that might be a distraction. I try not to write much about the place where I work, but thi…
Kate’s excellent piece reminds of this apt New Yorker cartoon from a week or so back, although it features a well-dressed man in a tie.

New Yorker cartoon featuring a man neatly dressed in a cute corner on a computer conference call while chaos and mess reigns everywhere else in the room that the camera doesn't see.
Zoom in on reality.

We all know there’s mess everywhere for everyone, otherwise the “joke” wouldn’t land. The sad reality is that the “joke” is our daily harried existence. We definitely don’t need the added pressure of having to performatively pretend otherwise on top of it all.

Perhaps to help out with the nonsense we ought to all post the dual views of the “fantasy” and the “reality”?

Here’s mine which features an impromptu Ikea table crammed into the living room and just feet from the bathroom, the tiny laundry closet, and the kitchen because the “home office” is overly occupied. Notice the hats/shirts/sweaters for days on which self-care has been neglected and I need to throw on something vaguely presentable to appear on camera for a minute or two. (Note: munchkin removed for privacy, but you can see her work six inches from mine.)

A tidy and cutely arranged bookshelf and lamp in a bright corner. A messy impromptu desk thrown into a living room with piles of paper on the floor, clothes hanging on the couch, a kids doodles on a whiteboard, papers and books strewn everywhere, a laundry basket sitting out. mess on the counters in the background

Listened to Waiting For a Game-Changer from On the Media | WNYC Studios
A silver bullet isn't coming—but the media and the public are running out of patience.

Over the past few weeks, the public has been introduced — by way of Gilead Science, and a leaked video of doctors discussing their preliminary trial data — to a new potential therapy for Covid-19. Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication, was cleared by the FDA this week to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients, despite limited preliminary results from a handful of clinical trials.

Some in the media initially touted the drug as a potential miracle cure. But as the mounting pressure to cope with an increasingly dire pandemic makes anything less than a silver bullet difficult to swallow, Derek Lowe, the organic chemist behind the science blog In the Pipeline, urges caution. He speaks with Bob about how to report on the so-called "game changer" drugs, and where he believes reporting on the "race for a cure" falls short.

Nice coverage about some of the drug process.
Watched Thinking Historically: A Guide to Statecraft and Strategy from YouTube

Francis Gavin, the Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and the inaugural Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at SAIS, argues that history can be employed to better understand and improve statecraft and strategy. It is not a history of a particular event, person, place, or process. Nor is it strictly a discussion about methodology, or how to do historical work effectively. Instead, he explores something he calls “historical sensibility.” Visit to see more lectures.

What a fascinating lecture with some questions and answers. I managed to catch it among many others in the JHU YouTube feed, but I’ll have to take a look at some of their other upcoming programs. 

There’s a lot of hope subtly hiding in this lecture.

I’m hoping that even once the crisis of the pandemic is over that Johns Hopkins will realize what an awesome program this is and continue it on afterwards. It manages to put together the ideas of blogging, vlogging, thought pieces in magazines, academic lectures, and even the idea of Public Television programming into an interesting and engaging format. I like that there are some fascinating broad ideas and themes to delve into. 

The broader themes of historical sensibility, chronological proportionality, and historical revisionism deserve a lot more attention and thought.

See also my wiki notes from the lecture.

Listened to Playing The Hero from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Elected officials offer a flood of facts and spin in daily coronavirus briefings. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the press could do a better job separating vital information from messaging. Plus, a look at the unintended consequences of armchair epidemiology. And, how one watchdog journalist has won paid sick leave for thousands of workers during the pandemic. 

1. Bob [@bobosphere] on the challenges of covering the pandemic amidst a swirl of political messaging. Listen

2. Ivan Oransky [@ivanoransky], professor of medical journalism at New York University, on the rapidly-changing ways that medical scientists are communicating with each other. Listen

3. Ryan Broderick [@broderick], senior reporter at Buzzfeed News, on "coronavirus influencers." Listen

4. Judd Legum [@JuddLegum], author of the Popular Information newsletter, on pressing large corporations to offer paid sick leave. Listen

5. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] on the cost-benefit analysis being performed with human lives. Listen

No doubt many have already seen that Springer has released about 500 books for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Springer, these textbooks will be available free of charge until at least the end of July.

A bit of Googling will reveal people who’ve already written some code to quickly download them all in bulk as well. I’m happy with doing things manually as there’s only a handful of the 8GB of textbooks I’m interested in.

Browsing through, I’ll note a few that look interesting and which foodies like my friend Jeremy Cherfas may enjoy. (Though I suspect he’s likely read them already, but just in case…)

Took a drive down to San Marino and back primarily through more well-to-do neighborhoods, though it did include a commercial section of Colorado Boulevard. Most people were out on evening walks or with dogs, though there were some in the commercial district on their way home or doing shopping.

I counted the number of people wearing masks versus those who weren’t.

  • 76 were wearing masks
  • 145 were not wearing masks
  • approximately 25 people who were walking away or at angles such that I couldn’t discern whether they were wearing masks or not.
While physical distancing, instead of my daily commute, and like many others, I’ve been spending the time to make bread. I’ve come up with some great loaves so far. I’m contemplating doing some matzo today.

For those who are new to the bread world, I highly recommend you listen to Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent podcast series on Bread from 2018. It’s 31 episodes of about five minutes a piece, which makes it a pleasant way to time your kneading process. You’ll learn a lot more about bread while you’re making it!

I have a few subscriptions to bulk products on Amazon that ship every 2-6 months or so and yesterday was the drop date for my 3 pack of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. My dog food in the same order should arrive on Tuesday, but the wipes aren’t estimated to arrive until April 27-29. Apparently the coronavirus scare has too many people stockpiling. Ugh.
Watched COVID-19: The Exponential Power of Now - With Prof. Nicholas Jewell by  Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) from YouTube

Where are we with COVID-19, and how are mathematical models and statistics helping us develop strategies to overcome the burden of infections. Nicholas P. Jewell is Chair of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the London School of Medicine and Tropical Medicine and Professor of the Graduate School (Biostatistics and Statistics) at the University of California, Berkeley.

A brief overview of some of the math and epidemiology for the coronavirus. A vaccine is going to be 12-18 months away at best. There are going to be multiple waves of this. Exponential growth is going to be the serious killer here. Reinfection may be a possible potential concern.

Terry Tao 2019-2020 Novel Coronavirus outbreak: mathematics of epidemics, and what it can and cannot tell us (Nicolas Jewell) ()

Read Opinion: How reporters should handle Trump’s press briefings (Washington Post)
It’s time to socially distance real journalism from Trump
In the interest of protecting the nation’s health, it is time to socially distance ourselves from the crazy things that President Trump keeps saying.