68 thoughts on “January 20, 2022: The Beat Goes On”

  1. So I teach a 9th grade religion class. Last night we ended up talking about covid a little bit, and I probably shouldn't be as disappointed in their ability to engage in reason as I am, but, oof...

    Best exchange from the night:
    Student: "I disagree with you. I don't know why, because I don't know anything about this. I haven't learned it yet. But I disagree."
    Me: "So you developed your position before learning anything to inform that position?"
    Student: "When you say it that way it sounds stupid."
    Me: "Do you want to know why it sounds stupid?"

    I don't tend to put a whole lot of stock in generational differences - older generations always shaking their fists at younger ones, younger ones sniping at older ones, etc. (except boomers... those guys are the worst) - but I do think that there is something different happening with way this current crop of middle/high/college students is shaping up, with their constant access to each other and information through phones.

    1. Your assertion being that they're socializing their positions rather than seeking information from developed, trusted sources? I do wonder if that perpetual access to information has changed the standard of what we're (impossibly) expected to know, and therefore we have to feign an informed position on everything?

      1. I have read that younger people are much better and quicker at parsing information than others since they've always had everything at their fingertips. If this is in comparison to baby boomers, that's a pretty faint consolation.

        1. My personal observation is that they don't do much parsing. Finding information quickly? Yes. Making any sort of reasonable assessment as to the validity? No. This is a "first result on google" generation.

          1. This is a "first result on google" generation.

            Is there a generation that isn't? I suppose at least asking Google is better than taking what's said in a FB group as fact.

                  1. People every age these days.

                    It's not the 9th graders that are driving *waves hands* EVERYTHING around us.

      2. More or less. I'm sure there is much that's been (and will be) written about this.

        My observation is that it they don't feign an informed position on anything, they either don't take positions or have positions absent information and are comfortable doing so as long they're in agreement with their peers. Their approach also tends to be to ask for/look up/find out/give the "right" answer and blithely move on, rather than engage in thought. They were very uncomfortable with the exercise I had them do last night where I made them stake out positions and then discuss them, because they felt like any disagreement at all was going to mean they weren't friends any more.

        That said, I understand that this generation tends to be much more empathetic than previous ones, so it isn't all bad.

        1. felt like any disagreement at all was going to mean they weren't friends any more

          Oof. I mean, I get this given the intensity and the stakes created by an everything-is-life-or-death-politics environment. But we need to figure how to dial this back. I've been trying to figure out how to frame this. The best I've been able to come up with is that most differences at their foundation are a different balancing of values held by most of us, amplified by political and social posturing. Degree, not kind. Values in total opposition are rare, I hope.

          1. Sure, that's the reality. But I don't see social/political discourse these days as permitting an acknowledgement of the "other side" having any values. The approach isn't to argue about balancing values, it is to demonize, since that's so much easier. How do we actually move from where we are to where we should be?

            Sorry, that's probably just a frustrating response - "I agree, but don't see it working".

            1. Dangit, you're supposed to be the optimist here!
              It may be that I'm just working out how to frame it myself to keep from disparaging people I care about, to start with. My message to the world would be to stop placing politicians (your team [especially] and the other side [suppose that's not really the issue]) on a pedestal unless they really, really have demonstrated they deserve it.

              1. Briefly de-lurking to get in on this discussion...

                I have been working on this myself, trying to make positive change rather than just complaining about the state of discourse. I've tried to live by these rules for the past year or so:

                1. Assume good faith and intentions
                2. Be honest with myself about my own bias snd remember that my understanding will always have some element of that bias and overall be incomplete.
                3. Be careful of the media I take in. If it's intended to make me angry, demonize the other, or simply confirms my own bias I try to avoid ( a bonus is that this cuts down on time I spend reading political stuff). I also actively seek reputable sources to find the good faith arguments of the "other side" of issues that are important to me.
                4.???? (Profit?)****

                ****Trying to find meaningful ways to engage, FB has proven to be frustrating in that regard

                1. I've been trying to do this, as well, especially the steps you've outlined here.

                  The first step on this path was to remove Facebook from the front screen of my phone. I haven't deleted it, and I'm not likely to, but if it's not on the main screen, I'm less likely to go into it multiple times a day, which is really for the best.

                2. I think this is a very good list. In addition to the above, one of the things I've been working on is finding specific things I like about the people I disagree with, and being greatful for those things. Assuming good faith and intentions goes a long way, but sometimes people are just wrong and unwilling to engage honestly because of that wrongness, which I think can undercut good faith. So in those cases, I don't assume good faith, and therefore don't engage on the relevant topics, but I do try to identify other reasons to see the good in the person, beyond the disagreements.

                  1. True, on an individual level there are people who should no longer get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to politics, but remembering they are people outside of that realm is good.

                    For me it has also been work to assume good faith and intentions on the macro-level. There are a lot of good people who come to the opposite conclusions that I do. Many of them are smarter than me. A big part of my media purge has been getting rid of those sites that claim to know the real, evil motives of those nasty (insert name of political party or advocacy group here) or constantly dwell on the stupidity of the cartoonish version of the other side.

          2. I don't know that that is any different than others.

            I mean, we made rules here on what could and couldn't be discussed to keep from having feelings hurt.

        2. You were asking people to engage in an activity with which most people of all ages are uncomfortable. Go talk to a group of 50 year olds and see how well they do with the same exercise. My guess is not any better than the 14 year olds.

    2. If you were contradicting a position that the student was hearing at home, this makes a fair bit of sense, actually. At that age, it's not uncommon to mostly hold to the opinions you hear most often, without really knowing why.

      I don't think that's any different than it's ever been. It's not like Xers or millennials were really doing the heavy lifting examining the viewpoints they heard at home at a young age and challenging them and breaking them down in ninth grade.

      1. I think you're right about previous generations adopting their parents' viewpoints at that age. But usually that led to people arguing with each other (often about positions that they didn't really understand, but still adopted). That's part of why I bring this up - they didn't seem to just be adopting parents' viewpoints - they seemed to care much more about being in agreement with each other than with defending what they "knew" from home.

        Perhaps the "developing opinions without first consulting information" part isn't anything new. But how those opinions are being developed seems different.

        1. I think nibbish is right about what you’re observing being heavily informed by their stage of development. One of the things I counted on in my classrooms — where we discussed historic events with volatile contemporary connections — was that students were capable of weighing factual information before applying a value-based judgment to it.* Students in secondary grades are entering the stage of development where they are capable of learning those skills — but as with any skill, they need to sense the reward or advantage to possessing well-honed ability to sift and winnow information and reflexively apply facts to preconceived notions or received thinking.

          That’s where contemporary incentives like virtue-signalling/posturing on social media, cancelling, and so forth seem (to me) fundamentally different for today’s youngfolk than for those of us in older generations. So many of their social interactions are held in virtual spaces with a proliferating sort of life-or-death stakes to large and small issues, and those interactions (and the lessons they teach about holding opinions) do not reward the development of skills critical to a healthy civic culture.

          * Certain issues were a clear consensus. Nobody in my classrooms ever suggested we try to see things from the side of slaveholders who owned large plantations, for example, but we did examine how those people leveraged specific social markers and stoked fears to incentivize/compel smaller white slaveholders into joining an effort that was against their self-interest in some very complex ways. Others, like the Vietnam-era anti-war movement, were less clear — exactly how radical should one become in resistance to a war that one views as immoral, and what type of resistant activity does that condone? To what degree is “terrorist” a weaponized label applied by entities (frequently states) with disproportionate power in comparison with a group of people that entity oppresses or seeks to control?

          1. I don't think it's just this generation that has moved in that direction, though. It isn't ninth graders that are posting the fact-free "THIS THING IS THREATENING TO TAKE AWAY ALL OF YOUR FREEDOMS!!!" memes on facebook. If anything, it just makes the home-based feedback loop more extreme, but it's still built on the same principles that we've always had as a species.

            * We're terrible at challenging our own pre-conceived notions.
            * We accept things that fall in line with what we believe, regardless of their veracity.
            * We sand off the edges of our opinions to be as non-confrontational as possible.
            * We don't really know how to fact check, even if we do happen to show some skepticism.
            * The vast, vast majority of us still cling in some way to the majority of the things that we were taught as kids.

            None of this is any different than it's ever been, and it's certainly not constrained to younger folks. Social media merely makes our own worst tendencies more extreme.

            edit: I agree with pretty much everything you posted, to be clear.

            1. I agree with what you say here, too. I think it’s just a matter of some of us being at a stage of development where we can’t claim the excuse of not knowing better, and being likewise personally incentivized by social conditions to act in ways that actively thwart the activities we know lead to sounder, more nuanced judgments.

              I am not an intellectual historian, but I think this current opinion vs. judgment disconnect resembles other periods even in recent history — the “Gilded Age” and yellow journalism bear a striking first resemblance to the contemporary clickbait/fake news environment, if you were to control for the medium. Instead of Hearst, Pulitzer, et. alii battling for readers, it’s the social media platforms and tabloid cable news that battle for eyeballs & screen time. We happen to be experiencing that at a time where the political culture resembles a very toxic mix of a pre-Roosevelt (pick your flavor) political economy, combined with certain politicians throwing back to Thirties Europe and Fifties America, with the radical politics of the Sixties transposed over the top via social media.

              1. I think it’s just a matter of some of us being at a stage of development where we can’t claim the excuse of not knowing better, and being incentivized by social conditions to act in ways that actively thwart the activities we know lead to sounder, more nuanced judgments.

                Perfectly put.

            2. I really wish at times that the sciences were better taught/learned in school -- there would certainly be less confusion and a little more tolerance to information we've been receiving the past couple years if listener had a better grip how the scientific process works and what the results mean. Plus, that any skepticism (which should always be encouraged) is appropriate for the circumstances.

          2. This is very interesting, CH about the clear consensus. There was a screenshot of a question from a Georgia classroom on Twitter today asking students write a letter from the viewpoint of an 1830s American that supports Andrew Jackson's Trial of Tears actions. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why we would be asking a 14 year old to try and put themselves in the position of someone who supported what amounted to be genocide. It seems to me that some things are not worth examining. But, the point I'm making, I guess is that there is a lot less consensus out there than what we might hope.

  2. Today is Younger Daughter's birthday. That means 26 years ago we had a huge snowstorm/rainstorm followed immediately by bitter cold temperatures. The six or eight inches of snow on the roads turned slushy and then froze solid. leaving ruts from tires in the ice and rendering snowplows useless. The temperatures were so cold, in the 20-belows, that road chemicals had no chance. About four in the morning my wife woke me up and said it was time to go. We drove the 25 miles to the hospital in our little Toyota pickup, real white knuckle shit, slipping and sliding in and out of of the ice ruts on the road, never going more than 30 miles an hour, my wife's hand clutching my arm and squeezing like a boa constrictor every time she had a contraction. Good times.

    1. Well, that means that 31 years ago Saturday was the coldest day in StL that winter, but we'd already left for the hospital the day before. Thanks for the reminder for Mrs Runner to remind Runner daughter again of the many countless hours of labor she dealt with.

    1. Did Pederson have anything to do with that pick? If so, I'd pass on him as a head coaching candidate.

      1. Jefferson was widely seen as a slot. Vikings got a hit, but its not exactly like WR is a safe bet. Especially for the Vikings.

    1. South Africa's data indicated a steep climb to a peak and a steep drop after.

      There's a similar tweet about Boston's wastewater from a week ago that shows the same pattern. There are two replies to this tweet that show the pattern continuing for a few more days.

    2. Wastewater monitoring here in the People’s Republic has been reporting a similar decline. Encouraging news, what with the impending influx of folk from thither & yon as the spring semester begins next week.

    3. I'm not convinced that this is the Covid endgame by any stretch of the imagination, but I did find the responses to Tomas Pueyo's bold (and very possibly naive) assertion that this is the end of the pandemic, and that Covid is likely to move to an Endemic stage after this.

      Again, whether that turns out to be prophetic or stupefyingly naive is kind of beside the point. What I did find interesting were the responses. Pueyo puts a lot of info on the table to back up his claim (and he's not some Covid-denier, as he was one of the loudest warning bells just before Covid really blew up). Many people posted refutations of aspects of his stats or questioned some of the logical steps he took. For many, though, it feels like the idea that the pandemic phase could ever end seemed to be something they would not process.

      It will be interesting once we have moved on to the endemic stage, and how everyone handles it. Obviously, out where I live, not THAT much will change, since most everyone has been acting like we were living in normal times for at least a year now. Still, for a lot of folks, keeping safe has been approached with near religious fervor. When the risk is low enough, will they be able to adjust back? Clearly, life has been altered over the past two years, but to what extent?

      1. When the risk is low enough, will they be able to adjust back?
        This past summer before Delta but after vaccines, the risk was very low. There were still people being ultra-cautious that didn't need to be.

        I have a lot of seniors as clients and it is really sad to see what this has done to a number of them. We're going to see repercussions for years.

        1. Let's assume that there hadn't been a delta wave or an omicron wave and things had just continued like they were in the mid summer. My guess is that people of varying risk tolerances would have been watching the data and slowly started to realize that the risk was no longer very high. By now, we would probably have most people back to normal.

          That's not what happened, though. There were new, dangerous risks and risk adverse people -- with good reason -- continued to engage in risk adverse behavior. I myself have altered my behavior because I have confidence in the vaccines -- I got into an airplane 22 times in 2021 -- but I'm not willing to throw all caution to the wind just yet.

          1. I've also returned to air travel (non-Omicron edition), but I also have no qualms with wearing a mask anywhere near an airport or on a plane. Or in a store. Or at church. I'm not going to be homebound, but I'm also not annoyed enough about wearing a mask that apparently some people are.

            1. I traveled on a plane this year already and I got a notification that I was in close contact with someone who tested positive. Almost certainly someone on the plane. I got the notification six days after the fact. No idea if that person was positive during that close contact. I am asymptomatic and tested negative. I'm currently with my parents caring for them. If I did have it, I'm almost certainly not putting them at risk. I think.

              So that's a huge risk that I've taken. I think. Don't know.

              1. I traveled by air once (Seattle in early December); I hated every minute of it.

                I thought air travel had already hit the upward limits of security theatre, but I was quickly disabused of that notion at the security point. Yes, the airport had posted the federal masking mandate, but you had to de-mask for TSA (in the droplet cloud of the passenger next to you), then re-mask until you got on the plane. Or unless you were a random unmasked person wandering around O’Hare with seeming impunity. I crossed paths with these individuals in two terminals.

                Once on the plane, the airline reiterated the masking requirement, then quickly pivoted and informed customers that — as a health & safety measure — it was accepting only contactless payment, and to please have your credit card on file to expedite ordering all the beer, wine, and liquor you cared consume unmasked. But be sure to replace your mask between swigs! *wink wink*

                Because no mere pandemic can force me to shave my Freedom Beard, I researched the best way to seal an N95 mask to my face. Medical journals suggested the Singh Thattha technique, which Sikh healthcare workers in the UK have adopted. I modified it slightly for my purposes. Even despite brushing, wearing an N95 mask for the six hours I was in transit made me intimately familiar with the scent of my most recent meal.

          2. With time, you're probably right. The problem is that some of these people have aged ten years in the last two and won't be able to enjoy the things they used to enjoy. It's really sad to watch.

    1. Player A .252/.327/.366/.693 in 1552 PAs with the Twins
      Gladden .268/.318/.382/.700 in 2698 PAs with the Twins

      Spoiler SelectShow
      1. Don’t forget these legends:

        Player PA Slash OPS+ rWAR
        Gladden 2698 .268/.318/.382 90 5.7
        Player B 1716 .272/.349/.402 95 8.3
        Player C 1909 .266/.336/.378 97 6.9
        Player D 1809 . 262/.322/.360 85 5.3
        Player E 1750 .239/.304/.373 88 6.0
        Legends, I Say SelectShow
        1. I think, as CarterHayes says, that Gladden's induction is not just based on his playing career, but includes his years as a broadcaster. And while I make fun of his broadcasting at times, he's substantially better than what a lot of teams have.

          1. yeah, that better be the reason. I agree though -- paired with the right play-by-play*, he's better than the average bear**

            *Gordo was not that person; he needs someone to challenge his statements at times, and Gordo went along with anything
            **yeah, I know -- they're cool

    2. César Tovar may not have been one of the five biggest stars on any of the Twins teams he played on, but he was often one of the best, and certainly the kind of player every team would love to have on its roster.

      I’m fine with Gardy; he may have been behind the times when he was ultimately let go, but the rosters he was handed near the end were pathetic. assume Dazzle’s induction is more of the “Lifetime Achievement” sort.

      Side note: The Twins had some incredible Latino talent in their early years, to the point that their pipeline seems like it should have been a competitive advantage for years to come. It was in place before Calvin moved the Senators, and yielded two HoF talents (Carew & Oliva), plus regulars like Camilo Pascual, Zoilo Versalles, & Pedro Ramos, and depth guys like Sandy Valdespino and Julio Becquer. Notably, Tovar wasn’t from within their system; he came over in a trade with the Reds. Neither were a couple notable regulars like Vic Power and Leo Cardenas. Clearly, the Twins were interested in talented players from Latin America, yet somehow, the strength of the team’s Latin America scouting & player development pipeline stagnated for years, briefly revived in the early TR era, and then declined again until somewhat recently. I’m surprised no Twins sportswriter has tackled an accounting of that atrophy.

  3. here's a question for the wifi experts out there. I have AT&T fiber (500/500 Mbps) service. I have the wifi turned off on the AT&T box and an Orbi wifi6 mesh system installed (base and 2 satellites; dual-band). I'm getting very fast service everywhere in my house.

    BUT for some reason my work laptop is refusing to connect on the 5GHz band. It is stuck on 2.4GHz, which is limited to 300/300 (and I'm getting more like 170/160). I'm in the same room with one of the satellites, which my phone thinks is super fast. It's not the satellite.

    I've tried turning off the wifi and turning it back on, rebooting, etc. No soap. Even though my laptop wifi is configured to connect to 5GHz first, it is wedded to the 2.4GHz band. What gives?

    and yea, I know, 1st World Problems.

    1. Are you using the same SSID for both bands? Have you confirmed other devices are connecting on the 5 GHz band? Has the work laptop connected to a 5 GHz access point before?

      1. Yes, just a single SSID.I am looking through the devices connected to each satellite. Some are connected on the 2.4 band, some on the 5 band.

        1. I had the same problem with my previous laptop but this was several years ago. The WiFi chip was just a bit too old to support the 5 GHz band. You could have the same problem but anything within the last five years should support 5 GHz.

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