Saturday, May 22, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Catching Up Edition

So, last week's post didn't happen. My Friday afternoon was spent on kid things - I took Pumpkin for her first shot and then Petunia to get the tips of her hair dyed blue. She's experimenting with color with temporary dye before she decides if she wants something semi-permanent and so we had to reapply the dye last night. I did an OK job of that I think!

Anyway, I didn't get much work done on Friday afternoon and so I had to work Saturday morning and then I didn't really want to be on the computer after that.

Also, I was feeling pretty annoyed by the CDC's new mask guidance in general and by how the reporting on it was received by Petunia in particular. She has watched as time after time during this pandemic adults have made decisions that seem to ignore her and her peers. We opened indoor dining before we opened schools, and in fact it seemed like some of the opening we did back in last July was responsible for a spike in cases that kept schools closed in the fall. And then we did it again in October and the spike around the holidays scuppered plans to open after the winter break. 

Now she's back in school, with masks and distancing and weird rules at lunch and she's watching adults who can be vaccinated decide that masks aren't required even though she and her friends have no option to get vaccinated.

All of which means she's decided adults don't really care about kids and is feeling ignored and left behind. So it seemed a good time to finally take action on her request for blue hair.

I have been at a loss for how to help her understand the decisions our society has made over the last year and a half, but I think maybe I have the seed of what I need to tell her, which came from a podcast I listened to yesterday. It was Sean Illing's conversation with Max Linsky about Linsky's new podcast 70 over 70. The entire conversation is really, really good and I recommend it highly (and yes, now I've started 70 over 70). The bit that made me realize how I can help Petunia understand our pandemic response was when they were talking about how some people implied (or outright said) that the pandemic wasn't such a big deal because it was mostly killing people over 80. One of them made the point about how America has such a strong libertarian streak running through our culture and that gives us a "you are responsible for yourself and don't owe anyone else anything" ethos that really messes us up in times of crisis like a pandemic.

But what I'll point out to Petunia is that many, many people didn't take care of only themselves and that a lot of people have taken a lesson from the pandemic that maybe that "everyone is on their own" ethos is a bad one and are working to make a different ethos more common. Maybe we have a chance to truly build back better here. 

Also, in the end my state and county decided to stick with their original plans and keep the indoor mask mandate until June 15.  San Diego county's vaccination progress is good - we're at just over 50% of the population vaccinated, and if I'm reading the report right at over 65% of the eligible population have had at least one shot. Our case rates are way down, too.

We'll still need to figure out what we will do about masks once the mandates are gone. I found this article helpful on that topic.

This is the end of a long, data-filled thread about what we know about transmission of infection by vaccinated people:


And this is a good look at how we're undercounting the occurance of MIS-C (the post-COVID inflammatory syndrome) in kids.

Brian Beutler wrote about his experience with long COVID and it is a disturbing thing to read right after your husband reads statistics to you from the Economist about how many kids get long COVID (it is not as many as adults but it is also not zero).

Jessica Valenti is righteously angry - and right - about how American mothers have been treated during the pandemic.

I thought this Charlie Warzel piece about burnout and the need for companies to lead in giving workers time to recover from the weird and exhausting past year was really good. I looked at my leave balance and my burnout level and realized there was a serious mismatch. I asked for the ability to take some time off without pay and was granted it, so I am merrily burning down my leave balance this summer with plans to take time off without pay in the fall/winter when I am out of PTO. I can afford to do this and so I have a path to deal with burnout. But many people cannot or will not feel they can ask for the special accommodation and will just burn all the way out.  

Companies would be smart to head this off - because it is the right thing to do but also because if they don't they will lose a lot of good employees. Recruiters are out in force right now. It has been years since I have had so many recruiter contacts. Burned out people are more likely to listen to the recruiter and make a move. Also, a few weeks off between jobs is one of the few accepted ways to get a break in our culture and I wonder if that is playing into people switching jobs.

I had an interesting call with a recruiter and I've spent the past several days sorting through how it made me feel but I'm not quite ready to write about it - it is tied up with some more general thinking about jobs and career and life that I've been doing. I may write about it soon.

In other news... the results of the recent trial treating PTSD with MDMA and therapy are really encouraging and Derek Lowe has an excellent write-up on them.

I thought this was a good opinion piece about the anti-Trump Republicans, their best path for countering the pro-Trump Republicans, and why that is such a hard path for them to take.

This observation from the chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is spot on:

In recommended listening - the Sean Illing-Max Linsky interview I mentioned above is my top pick but I also enjoyed revisiting the 80s Satanic Panic in his interview with Sarah Marshall (and then trying to explain what happened to my husband...) and David Roberts' discussion with Washington state legislator Joe Fitzgibbon about Washington's awesome new climate laws is both encouraging and a good look at how laws that will impact climate change actually get passed.

Some smile-inducing things:

This beautiful bird:


These beautiful babies:


This looks so peaceful:

This tweet and the embedded thread are delightful stories about New York City:

Here's your bunny for the week:


Happy weekend, everyone!


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