Can something positive come out of all of this? A "silver linings" thread...

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Blast it Tom!

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I have been very, very fortunate in all of this. It's about enough to give me a case of "survivor's guilt". And I don't want to appear insensitive to those who have suffered with it, or lost loved ones to it. I know our community here has lost some good souls, and I grieve with the rest of you. But over on Dr. Chuck's thread, @BABAR mentioned:
That could be good or bad, depending on how we replace it. In general, our public schools, spending over $100k per student over 13 years, are a travesty. But that’s another thread,,,,l
We have been forced to discover the advantages of remote learning, remote work, etc. I have been working from home since mid-March, fully employed with two computers, a full resource library, and VPN to the office "monster", a hyped-up machine that we use for finite element analysis. I save 40 hrs (a full work week) every month not driving in. This translates to less gas & emissions, of course as well as my overall health. I believe I am more productive, I'm definitely better rested, have better focus, and in working with the younger folks we've found assistance & collaboration is easier - instead of looking over their shoulder, we simply share desktops and I show them how while explaining why. None of us want to go back to the office. We have a young mother who has been blessed to be able to be home with her baby, born last November, when she thought she could only afford to be off for 6 weeks or so, and she couldn't be happier - I really feel for those situations, who wants to put their 6 wk. old in a day care? I remember my own daughter going back to work after 3 months, handing her baby to my wife - her mother, the baby's grandmother, and she's bawling at having to leave her!

But anyway, it's something I've said for years - "Forget spending billions on self-driving cars (that I wouldn't trust anyway) - give me good internet and collaboration tools and I won't drive at all!"

Any other thoughts that way? (I have my own thoughts about public schooling that are very likely in line with BABAR's, but that is something else yet again...)
 

dr wogz

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Silver linings, we all need something to look forward to!

For me, i'm the opposite. I hate working from home (but am getting used to it). Too many distractions, and I don't care for the isolation / staying in the house. I like going to work / having the separation between home & office. Then again, I'm one of those who tend to be close to work. (My current commute is / was about 15 minutes each way, and not touch a highway. I can bike it in about twice that..)

I am getting used to the technology we have (have had?) at our disposal for years, but never used: Webex meetings, Citrix remote log in, call forwarding, etc.. There is talk that we can expect a 3 or 4 day work week from home, with only going into the office as / when needed. And even then, maybe only a 4 day work week whether in or out of the office. And, I believe we will then be able to claim part of our home s a business expense, and get a tax credit for the use of home as a business.

Insurance companies are starting to suggest we all look at our car insurance, and make the change to "recreational" to help reduce costs. (We drive, but now only to the store.. a tank of gas can last a few weeks now!) No longer are cars deemed "needed for work"..

We are seeing a lot more of the neighbours, as we are all home, the weather is nice (too nice?!) and all are out for walks around the block (The best is the Peloton of kiddies on their bikes going by! Pink helmets, tassels, and training wheels.. with their parents following closely behind. Dogs too, lotsa dogs going by!

My biggest hope, and what I'm seeing up here (in Canada) is that the old folks homes / long term care facilities are going to get an overhaul, a major overhaul. (~80% of the Covid deaths here have been in these places) And it look like this will be coming from both the federal & provincial governments! So, this is good news. Sadly though, it took a drastic event to make our "leaders" finally look at the issue, after years of complaints & such..

Pretty much my biggest fear is getting old & frail. and seeing what was happening in these long term places just scared the b-geezus outta me..
 

Bill S

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Not seeing much in the way of silver linings here. I'm a stay at home Dad, so nothing has changed there, except the boy is underfoot 100% of the time, no breaks at all for me. Wife is a retail pharmacist (ie, essential personnel), so while her job is now harder, she has a fairly secure job. Financially, no significant difference.

Schooling for my son, he hasn't done well with the remote learning. He needs the structure of in-person instruction, and its a full time job trying to keep him focused. Lots of llama drama with him. He needs to learn to stop procrastinating and work more efficiently; its been a real struggle with him. Homeschooling isn't for him, needless to say. He also misses his friends at school a LOT, and being as there are basically no kids in this neighborhood to play with, he only sees his friends every now and then. Socially, hes been suffering, as have I - I have basically zero friends, and need to at least have adult conversation to keep my sanity.
 

Steven

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Where did I put my Saturn?
 

ksaves2

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I'm in a rural county in Illinois. Only 15 cases so far with 12 recoveries and the remaining 3 recovering at home. I notice people are friendlier walking a 3.5mi. trail in an open park. Yeah no one is wearing masks but the separation is way more than 6 feet so relatively safe. Saying "hello" and exchanging pleasantries when one might not do so in other circumstances is refreshing. My children are grown so schooling is not a problem. Daughter works in a quality control lab at a fertilizer plant and has an essential job. If farmers don't get fertilizer, we don't get food and eat. Her husband reviews patent applications for the Patent Office.
He has been tele-commuting for years online as they don't live in Washington D.C. I told them both they have Covid proof jobs and should consider it a blessing. They both replied, "Yeah, we know we're lucky." Hasn't interrupted or burdened their lives at all. I feel sorry for folks not in a similar situation. Kurt
 

BBowmaster

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The biggest silver lining I’ve seen is individuals, churches and community groups are stepping up to help their neighbors and community with food and essential supplies.

Previously the attitude of “someone else will take care of it” prevailed. The “someone else” usually being “the government” in most people’s minds (though often not true). This community assistance focus was a defining characteristic of the U.S. at the beginning of the previous century. It’s nice to see we haven’t forgotten how to care about our neighbors.
 

Blast it Tom!

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I had to give you a "like" on that one... To lessen our dependency on an already-broke "rich Uncle Sam" and returns us to community-based "love your neighbors" is at least that much of a positive effect.
 

Funkworks

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I haven't checked the numbers, but I'm guessing the bicycle industry in in a golden age. It's quite literally the best way of commuting in my personal case (pandemic or not, really).
 

Blast it Tom!

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Funkworks, I would love it if that was the case for me - I have a 27+ mile commute involving steep hills and interstates. I'm useless when I get there just driving right through Pittsburgh and it's legendary "stops an interstate dead" tunnels, much less if it were even possible to bike that. But more people working from home, which I'm doing now, is a definite "silver lining," I think. Less auto emissions, less wasted time, less accidents, I'm better rested and more productive. Poor dr wogz up there might not get along with it, and I feel badly for him and Bill S. but I started this thread to highlight & discuss any good that has come out of it, either personally or for society as a whole. There are plenty of bad trends and personal tragedies to focus on.
 
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Funkworks

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Biking isn't for everyone but in many cases, the pandemic was just the trigger we needed to make it part of our daily or weekly routine. Saving money, staying fit, reducing emissions, and it feels just like another great hobby. Definitely a silver lining for me.
 

boatgeek

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Funkworks, I would love it if that was the case for me - I have a 27+ mile commute involving steep hills and interstates. I'm useless when I get there just driving right through Pittsburgh and it's legendary "stops an interstate dead" tunnels, much less if it were even possible to bike that. But more people working from home, which I'm doing now, is a definite "silver lining," I think. Less auto emissions, less wasted time, less accidents, I'm better rested and more productive. Poor dr wogz up there might not get along with it, and I feel badly for him and Bill S. but I started this thread to highlight & discuss any good that has come out of it, either personally or for society as a whole. There are plenty of bad trends and personal tragedies to focus on.
Back when I had a commute, it was about 25 miles round trip. I found that an electric-assist bike made the run time-competitive with driving and really took teh edge off of the hills. However, I also had a route where I could use roads/trails parallel to the highways I would have driven on. My bike stopped assisting me at 20 mph, so I was trained well to ride at 19.8 mph. Average speed was around 16 mph, including stop lights and an enforced walking stretch where I crossed the locks here in Seattle.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Boatgeek, I have some fond memories of some field assignments in Seattle, but I agree, if you can go ~20 mph and keep moving you'll probably beat the traffic! Around here, it's not really an option for me. We just load'em on the back of the car and drive anywhere from 10 to 90 miles for a good "rail trail" ride!
 

aerostadt

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Everything I have been seeing makes me think that the electronic school is not good for elementary students and some of the young kids I know need the structure and social environment that regular schools offer. I know if I were a college student all over again I would want the on-campus experience, not the electronic variety.
 

Funkworks

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Back when I had a commute, it was about 25 miles round trip. I found that an electric-assist bike made the run time-competitive with driving and really took teh edge off of the hills. However, I also had a route where I could use roads/trails parallel to the highways I would have driven on. My bike stopped assisting me at 20 mph, so I was trained well to ride at 19.8 mph. Average speed was around 16 mph, including stop lights and an enforced walking stretch where I crossed the locks here in Seattle.
Ooo that's very interesting. I've been looking at and wondering about e-bikes lately. Maybe next year.

As another silver lining (the ones I find, I stick to), Tesla just beat Toyota as the most valuable auto maker in the world (despite less selling 1/25 as many cars). Wherever this ends up, this seems generally good for anyone involved with EVs. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/01/tesla-tops-toyota-to-become-largest-automaker-by-market-value.html
 

boatgeek

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Ooo that's very interesting. I've been looking at and wondering about e-bikes lately. Maybe next year.

As another silver lining (the ones I find, I stick to), Tesla just beat Toyota as the most valuable auto maker in the world (despite less selling 1/25 as many cars). Wherever this ends up, this seems generally good for anyone involved with EVs. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/01/tesla-tops-toyota-to-become-largest-automaker-by-market-value.html
If you do get one, definitely get some kind of suspension on the rear or seatpost. Your back gets a lot grouchier about hitting bumps at 20 mph than at 12!

I know someone who works in the local bike shop. They're having a lot of trouble getting parts (cables, brake shoes, etc.) in. Most of that was coming from China and those supply chains aren't really re-established yet.
 

NateB

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Years ago, I was able to commute by bike for my shifts at a fire department. I built up a Surly Crosscheck for the purpose with a rear rack and panniers to hold what I needed for the day and modified a bottle cage to hold a stainless steel mug of coffee. The morning commute was 3 miles and a 5 am, I just road down some 4 lane roads with light traffic. Going home at 6pm made this route dangerous, so it was 5 miles home on smaller roads and through an industrial park.

Now, my commute is 12, 25, or 90 miles depending on where I am working that day and each route uses an interstate. I could commute by bike to our hospital or one of our hangars on some smaller roads, but it would be a long ride and I could only commute if my wife was off work and I didn't have to pick up our son from somewhere. I'm not willing to attempt a century on both ends of a 12+ hour shift whenever O have to work at our rural base.
 

Cl(VII)

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My knee jerk reaction was, no. After thinking (festering) about it, the best thing I can come up with is if mRNA vacines are proven effective. This would be a fundamentally different vaccine technology that could be applied down the road.

From a time to test, ease of manufacturing, and for avoiding underlying vector recognition, mRNA vacines are at least on paper superior. We are going to find out with respect to efficacy and safety this year. This could be profoundly important if we face an even nastier pandemic down the road.

Other than that, I can't see anything positive of consequence come out of this. At least anything that will last more than a small time past the end of this mess.
 

tsmith1315

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Around here, "all of this" has increased the offering of Dual Enrollment (simultaneous college/high school) classes for our high school students that are ready. A local college that was previously too far away for high school students is now accessible to us online. As a consequence, my son will be able to finish the first 3 Calculus courses while still in high school. He's already taking the first course during summer semester. A dream come true for a young math geek. And a proud father.

Catching up on yard work that fell hopelessly behind during chemo/radiation/surgeries has also become a reality - the two pictures compare what my overgrown pond looked like two months ago and three days ago. I'll even get to rebuild my dock that's been out of commission for several years. Trees that fell during Hurricane Michael are finally getting cut up, etc.
Plus quite a few other positive things for my family, including...

...it brought ME here, to TRF, to renew my dormant infatuation with building rockets!
 

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Funkworks

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If you do get one, definitely get some kind of suspension on the rear or seatpost. Your back gets a lot grouchier about hitting bumps at 20 mph than at 12!

I know someone who works in the local bike shop. They're having a lot of trouble getting parts (cables, brake shoes, etc.) in. Most of that was coming from China and those supply chains aren't really re-established yet.
Good point. A shop willing to let me go on test drives will have an upper hand. I have a great aluminum hybrid for now. I just get sweaty. But I won't be buying a new bike until the supply chains have stabilized. Spring 2021 at the soonest, for either an e-bike or an aluminum gravel bike.

Another silver lining I learned about lately: RVs and recreational water crafts are up in sales. People are ditching flying to camp and boat instead. Not suggesting everyone here should buy RVs and boats. Just saying some job markets are doing ok. https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/as-vacation-options-dwindle-rv-and-boat-sales-up/2295915/
 

NateB

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My road bike is a steel cyclocross bike with a leather Brooks saddle, the B17 with no springs or extra padding. Once the saddle is broke in, it is a quite comfortable ride and any bumps aren't an issue. The steel seems to dampen vibrations more than an aluminum frame does. The leather saddles forms to your sit bones like a custom glove. The geometry of a cyclocross bike handles pavement, gravel, and dirt with ease. I even ride it on flowy singletrack from time to time, rocks, jumps and all. I do notice the bumps riding off road in comparison to my full suspension mountain bike. It forces you to pick a smooth line.

PSX_20200703_093340.jpg
 

Funkworks

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I never had drop bar handles yet. I had a steel mountain bike for a while, replaced it with an aluminum one, and sold that one after cracking a helmet on a rock. The difference between steel and aluminum was unbelievable. I literally never had to stand. Never going back to steel. Got a new aluminum hybrid recently and after a few months on it, all seat issues disappeared. My commute is mostly bike paths and lanes, and a few heavy intersections. Pavement maintenance is questionable though, and I have no racing plans, so drop bars, disk brakes, aluminum frame and something just a little more bump-friendly than my current hybrid would be perfect.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Everything I have been seeing makes me think that the electronic school is not good for elementary students and some of the young kids I know need the structure and social environment that regular schools offer. I know if I were a college student all over again I would want the on-campus experience, not the electronic variety.
As a former homeschooling parent, I can agree with that viewpoint to an extent. However, homeschooling has changed a lot since our days, and much more social activity is easy to include - they can participate in public school sports, for instance, and there is hardly a more "off the deep end" socialization environment than sports teams locker rooms, if you think kids are too sheltered!

And we shouldn't have been successful, but the ones we homeschooled the most have become the most successful, and they are grateful to their mother, less so to me because I was a complete fundamental orifice at that point in my life (the good Lord slapped me silly, I'm grateful for that, and fences have been mended). Further, my wife, having suffered greatly growing up, barely got through high school- you can't learn in the environment she grew up in. But one daughter is pursuing her PhD and mother of 2, the other is an ER nurse and mother of 3, having graduated .01 GP points shy of an honors GPA, while working almost full time, and both are in stable marriages. Son has a successful landscape design business - not lawn mowing, landscape design & installation. When we put our autistic son into special ed for the last few years of school, they told her what an incredible job she had done with him.

Now I don't want to hijack my own thread into a homeschool vs public education, though I'll be quick to agree with what BABAR said in the quote I used to open this thread, that we have extremely expensive public schools and in many cases we are not getting the results that we should get. The reasons are complex and would also hijack the thread easily. My hope is that a "silver lining" will develop out of this whereby we find more economical ways to educate our kids more effectively, with more parental involvement and control over curriculum content.
 
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