Current Affairs

Scarves Vs. Masks

The President has mentioned a few times that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to cover your face with a scarf. I also think I recall watching him say that it may be better than a mask because they’re thicker.

Which got me wonder: Would a scarf be better than a mask? We don’t have any official scientific guidelines on this, so we’re really left to our own deductive reasoning to figure it out.

After a few minutes of thought I decided the answer must be ‘no’. But why is the answer ‘no’? Because in order for it to be ‘yes’ one of two things would have to be true:

  1. Doctors are choosing to wear scarves instead of masks
  2. There is a bigger shortage of scarves than masks

Now, all that being said, I do still believe a scarf is better than nothing. If you don’t have a mask you should really cover your face with anything you can.


WordPress You Fancy

I started using WordPress again this week for the first time in years. Color me impressed.

I had spent years doing WordPress development and I’d occasionally write my own posts. Last time I used it everything felt antiquated.

But this editor. WOW. It’s so nice that I couldn’t even imagine wanting to use another CMS.

It’s likely that developing for it still has a lot of the same difficulties, but this is true of any old codebase. If the post editor is any indication of how the code is changing then I have to imagine it’s improving.

Further, unlike previous times where I had to fiddle w/ a janky host or try to remember how to configure my server this time I just used Laravel Forge which has a one click WordPress install.

Easy peasy


Travel Will Never Be The Same

I thought about naming this “Travel Won’t Come Back”, but before starting to write it I decided that was too grandiose and I have no way of knowing that. But I do feel comfortable saying it will never be the same.

Why? I don’t think people realize how easy it’s been to travel over the past 20 years. You’ve been welcome almost everywhere because there was a lot of trust and a lot of help being offered. I don’t think this is the case any more.

The trust has eroded on two fronts.

The first is that most diseases were either wide spread around the world where many people were immune or it was visibly clear the person was sick. Then we welcomed COVID-19 where no one (and soon to be not many) is immune and people spread it without even knowing they have it. I also believe in many parts of the world this will be worse than most people think – to the point of everyone knowing someone directly or indirectly who died of the virus. It’s only logical, in a Spock kinda way, that local communities, especially in more corrupt and less educated areas, will be fearful of welcoming foreigners into their towns. 

Additionally, if you are traveling you’ll be more cautious of people you meet along the way. Where have they been? What could you unintentionally bring back to grandma in n days? This makes the entire experience less fun.

The second reason trust has been eroded is because of the lack of help between countries during COVID-19. What happened to the great helpfulness and cooperation of the EU? I don’t recall seeing anything about Germany sending ventilators to Italy or France setting up field hospitals. IDK, perhaps I missed it, but as globalization slowly shifts back to localization the uncooperativeness of the EU is another nail in the coffin.

Both localization and globalization have their advantages, the later of which includes easy travel. I think whether people realize it or not people are happier to receive you in a globalized world because there is a feeling of togetherness.

I couldn’t tell you how long this will last, but I wouldn’t expect travel in September 2020 to be similar to travel in September 2019.

Current Affairs

COVID-19: NJ, How you doin?

So I’ve been tracking NJ COVID-19 trends for the past week (here):

Information has been sparse so I figured I’d try collecting some data to get an idea of what’s going on. The spreadsheet also includes breakdowns per region (North, Central, South) and per county, which I think is important.

Ultimately I found out the spreadsheet can’t tell you anything that you haven’t already heard because we simply don’t have enough data. Hopefully though, as we get data, it’ll show a clear and early trend.

We’re missing data on things like hospitalizations, ICU patients, and number of tests per county/region.

Those are all important to know so we can get an understanding for the rate and severity of growth in different areas. Additionally, I found out during todays press conference that the tests are taking 7-10 days to be processed. So the data we see today is only reflective of last week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My main worries are:

  1. We have no data to show if our actions have been helping and policies seem to be made on best guesses
  2. Large numbers are masking small numbers that will continue this pandemic if not identified
  3. Number of tests have plateaued and the number of positives may catch up to our total capacity

It’s really hard to look at this data (or lack thereof) and be positive, but I do have a positive outlook.

Even though the data is missing it’s easy to see that things are being done today that will have a positive impact and I think that trend will continue.

Like everyone else I accept that this is bad and I’m just hoping that it isn’t as bad as it could be.

Personal Growth

I’m Done Moving

For those who know me they know I’ve been traveling pretty heavily for the past four years. Sometimes I’m called a Digital Nomad, but I never really felt that term applied to me. Regardless of the label, it’s an activity I’ve been looking to lessen for a while. COVID-19 didn’t spark or cause it, but it did coincide with me stopping in one place.

So why did I decide to stop in one place even before COVID-19?

The exploration I was doing became dull. Another mountain in another town. Another beach in another country. Yes, some are nicer, but the growth had stopped. For the last couple of years it’s only when I stopped in places for a while that I was able to grow.

When I lived in SLC for a year(ish) I was able to learn how to hike and camp. While I still can’t start a fire (2020 goal) I was able to build up to doing a 3 day solo trip. For someone who has never thought more than a month ahead it was an amazing feeling to spend months working up the skills and comfort level to survive at ~11,000 ft. on your own for multiple days.

When I lived in Santa Teresa for ~5 months I learned how to surf. Another amazing time where I was able to go from sliding off my board while laying down to comfortably catching head high waves on a daily basis.

In neither of the above examples did I become some pro who you should be impressed with, but in both I had a lot of personal growth and achieved my goals. This is the answer to the original question of “why did I decide to stop in one place?”. After getting a lot of growth from experiencing different places I now require one place to grow. One place to find what I like. One place to dig in.

My initial idea was to head back to the mountains I loved so much (SLC), but from what I’ve read it’s changed a lot since I’ve been there. Then, with COVID-19 coming through it’s just not a friendly environment to move. So here I am happily at the NJ beach getting back in to surfing. With a bit of luck you’ll find me flailing on the water 7 days a week.

I intend to stay for a while so if you surf come flail with me.


Brining Back The Blog

While I sit in physical isolation and thinking of what to do with my time I recalled that I used to have a blog. While it was updated infrequently I do recall it being fun. So I’ve decided to bring it back.

Similar to my old blog I’ll be sharing my thoughts on my interests. As I recall my old blog sparked a few discussions and created a few fun interactions. This blog won’t have any particular theme other than my interests, which currently include COVID-19, politics and world events, and how organizations work (governments, companies, crypto, etc.).

While this blog doesn’t have a specific theme I do have a few goals:

  1. Share my thoughts with people I otherwise wouldn’t be interacting with.
  2. Spark discussions with my thoughts.
  3. Find focus through sharing.

Out of all ideas I’ve come up with over the past few weeks this one excites me the most and I look forward to continuing it.