First student meeting…accomplished!

The semester has genuinely positively started. It’s happening. Can’t turn back time now.

By the way, I seem to be the only person on campus masking up anymore. I will continue to do so. I missed Skepticon this year, so I escaped some consequences there: Three attendees have come down with COVID so far. The pandemic is still around, be careful out there!


  1. says

    Dear PZ, you are wise. Masking and distance are the most important. There is no effective vaccine for the latest strain and covid hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise again. We will continue to mask-up and keep our distance, too.
    Glad you accomplished your first student meeting. And, glad to hear you are at least ambulatory. Hope your healing continues.

  2. says

    O. K., sorry for the pun about ‘healing’/heeling.
    Off topic, but I think it is important:
    Our society has serious but overlooked problem. The person that shot and killed the store owner in Arrowhead Calif. over a pride flag obviously had a fatal infection of intolerant, violent hatred. I checked around and main stream news has provided almost no information about the killer. If we don’t know the cause of his hatred; what implanted that infection of violence and hatred in his mind, we will not be able to neutralize the source of that infection. It is important that society not hide, ignore or rationalize these sources of hatred, violence and intolerance or it will continue to grow and infect others’ minds; resulting in our society rotting from the inside outward.

  3. raven says

    Yeah, I posted that murder OT last night because it was both very disturbing in its complete pointlessness and also not at all uncommon these days.
    For those who want more details.

    OT: While we are being all cheerful and optimistic, there has been another shooting in the USA.
    Why is this unusual? There is a shooting every few hours after all.

    A store owner was killed over a Pride flag she flew in front of her California business
    Associated Press Updated Sun, August 20, 2023 at 12:33 PM PDT·1 min read

    CEDAR GLEN, Calif. (AP) — A dispute over an LGBTQ+ pride flag at a California clothing store spiraled into deadly violence this weekend when a man shot and killed the 66-year-old business owner right in front of her shop, authorities said.

    The man ran away from the store after the shooting Friday night but was later found and killed in a confrontation with officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

    This woman was killed by some creep for having a Pride flag outside. Which BTW, isn’t the least bit unusual in a lot of places including where I live. She wasn’t even gay herself.

    It does have a happy ending. He also decided to shoot it out with the cops.
    One less Trump voter.

    Lincoln County Oregon man charged with bias crime, assault after dispute with neighbor
    “They’re going to make you people and your daughter disappear,” Labrousse said to Lindberg, who is a transgender Vietnamese man.

    Another attack on a Trans person.

    This is happening a lot lately. Attacks on gay and Trans people from MAGAts.

  4. billseymour says

    I, too, wear my N95 whenever I leave my apartment, and try to keep my distance from everybody else, almost none of whom seem to be taking any precautions at all.

    For various medical reasons, I’m at high risk for serious complications if I catch the disease, so I certainly want to give myself as little risk as possible for catching it to begin with.

  5. jenorafeuer says

    Yeah, two weeks ago I was at a convention up in Ottawa… which had a mask mandate everywhere in the convention space that wasn’t a meal. The Province doesn’t require mask mandates anymore, and they couldn’t require masks in the rest of the hotel; but when you have an event of over a thousand people, many of whom may have been travelling from a fair distance away (several attendees were from the U.S., and I know one was from British Columbia on the west coast) then requiring a mask makes sense. You don’t have a mask and you refuse to put one on when requested? Hi, according to the contract you signed your badge is actually the property of the convention and we can take it back if you don’t abide by the rules.

    Not that anybody got caught like that from what I heard; the convention was pretty openly advertising the fact for months ahead of time, and anybody who was going to be that much of a ‘muh freedom’ type probably wouldn’t have got into the convention in the first place.

  6. eliza422 says

    I just did a quick trip Chicago to Atlanta, and we masked folks were few and far between. Considering the 1000s of people who go through airports I’m amazed how blase everyone is. Amazingly to this point I still haven’t gotten Covid although almost everyone I know has at this point. Masking when I’m in public is still my standard practice. We’ll see how long it will last, but I feel no desire to unmask at this point.

  7. wzrd1 says

    The WHO on Thursday announced that it had declared BA.2.86—formerly referred to as BA.X and dubbed “Pirola” by variant trackers, after an asteroid—a “variant under monitoring,” the lowest of three levels of alert. “High flying” variants EG.5, XBB.1.5, and XBB.1.16 have been designated as “variants of interest,” of greater concern. “Variant of concern” persists as the highest level of alert.
    Looks like the virus just isn’t quite done with us yet.

  8. billseymour says

    eliza422 @6:

    I feel no desire to unmask at this point.

    Yeah, it’s not like I’m doing anything difficult.  What’s the problem?

  9. Robert Webster says

    As to the murder, I usually default to Joe My God for that kind of info. He said that the murderer was some kind of anti-government nut, which is why he didn’t surrender, which is too bad. I would have preferred him be dragged through the courts. As to Covid, just waiting for the updated vaccine to appear; gonna try my pharmacy later today.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    As this is your workplace, your lectern might feasibly be enclosed in a transparent plastic bubble under overpressure, with fresh air pumped in from outside or pumped through a filter. That would spare you having a mask on all the time.

    I am certain the administration would not begrudge you the modest cost (sarcasm).

  11. skeptuckian says

    I am always suprised that people who are investing large $$$ in their brain (college students) and people who make their living from brain power and have sunk a lot time, effort and $ into developing their brain (professors) can show such disdain for protecting said brains from long COVID or worse.

  12. wzrd1 says

    birgerjohansson @ 10, sounds to me like a reasonable accommodation.
    Saw far more expended for lower paid personnel in civilian life and government.

    Robert Webster @ 9, largely anti-law enforcement and anti-LGBTQ+++ATH.
    Sorry, I lose track of acronyms quickly enough, dyslexia, protect everyone or protect no one.
    I go for the former.
    In short, a general loose nut, finding a wrench far too late, treatment would’ve been preferable. But, I’m not going to lose sleep over his loss. He made bad choices, they resulted in a predictable conclusion.

    @tccc, don’t mask, but am high risk and already have significant cardiac damage from COVID. Don’t mask simply because, my high quality reusable mask was stolen and I’ve yet to find a replacement that I can afford.
    And honestly, don’t give a shit if I go, as long as I don’t take anyone else with me, save if I somehow end up in the middle of an asshole convention.
    No, that’s wrong, as an asshole convention would happily spread their plague.

  13. lumipuna says

    I recently complained about the lack of access to covid vaccine boosters here in Finland, because our national health authorities are just being plain weird about this.

    Now, it has been confirmed that high risk groups (anyone over 65, and some younger individuals) will receive a booster shot this winter. Everyone else (including myself) is expected to just continue not worrying about covid a single bit. Naturally, almost nobody wears a mask these days either.

    The boosters will be delivered in public healthcare, together with annual flu shots, in November and December. That’s the traditional “optimum” season for flu shots, and I guess it makes sense to cover the winter months with peak immunity if you’re only allowed one booster shot per year. The shots are separate, but delivering them on one stop will save healthcare labor, which is deemed supremely important. Therefore, there’s no consideration for the idea that there might perhaps be an urgent need for the elderly to get boosters right now, because delivering those shots in November will be more convenient. At one point last year it was announced that high risk groups can get new boosters every six months, but now it seems like nobody in this country is actually administering covid shots outside the Nov/Dec seasonal vaccination campaign.

    The covid high risk groups are the same group who are eligible for a free annual flu shot, which is again considered highly sensible and practical. Flu shots are also available on private healthcare market, but covid shots apparently will not be. Why? Nobody is willing to explain, or even confirm that this is indeed the case. I guess the assumption is that since the covid vaccine is only approved for the high risk group (who will get it for free if they wait till November), almost nobody would want to pay for it. Why is the annual flu shot approved for ordinary working age people, when it’s not considered really medically necessary for them, but the covid shot is not? Nobody knows.

    I’m so glad that my parents are retired and largely homebodies and both of them have recently passed the 65 mark. I guess I should also be glad that they care enough to take the recommended boosters.

  14. rorschach says

    Funny isnt it, to have a vaccine-only strategy, and then not actually provide vaccines to all vulnerable people, not just those over 60 or 65. And not to the main drivers of this pandemic either, children. The pandemic will only end once vaccines stop infection and transmission, for that you need a nasal spray which many have promised but nobody has yet delivered. Until then, mask up. The Covid primary infection is not the disease.