battlestar galactica

Red alert, day 22. Lockdown, day 12. Suffolk has 161 confirmed cases this morning and Tower Hamlets has 287 confirmed cases. The UK has 38,168 confirmed cases (of 173,784 tested), and as of yesterday 3,605 patients have died. Deaths outside of hospital are still not included. The daily Public Health England releases do not have permalinks; there is a link to a list of updates of the daily release, but not the updates themselves. The lack of transparency in British government information is again shocking.

There are now more than 1 million cases globally.

The Queen will address the nation and the Commonwealth on Sunday night. Boris Johnson is still self isolating and has not been seen in days. MP Rosena Allin-Khan, a physician, has come off her second hospital shift this week. In an alternate universe, Princess Diana is donning a chic mask to visit patients with her partner Dr Hasnat Khan, and Prime Minister Miliband (David) gives a brief update after his daily 10 am conference call with other G20 leaders including President Clinton (Hillary).

Parliament is in recess and may reconvene as a virtual Parliament. The cabinet is already meeting on Zoom. Johnson accidentally revealed the meeting number in a Tuesday tweet.

To the synonym list of coronavirus, Covid-19, CV19, wuflu (inaccurate), and Miley Cyrus, we can add cooties:

I’ve had a couple of invitations to online seders. I like the idea but don’t see myself preparing a full seder table at my desk, nor can I comfortably eat most of the foods anymore (unless Sainsbury’s has gluten free Passover matzoh).

The lay leader of this week’s online Shabbat service has noted that at the moment we are not even letting in angels, really. Times of plague were also mentioned. The service felt very Battlestar Galactica. Lay leader read a list of reported medical advances and swords-into-plowshares mask and ventilator production efforts as things to be thankful for.

I donated a box of printable overhead transparencies to some group, I thought it was the Ipswich Makerspace but now I’m not sure, which said on the town mutual help FB page that it was seeking plastic sheets for NHS face shields. They’re printing the frames to hold them on a 3D printer. Overhead transparencies were the medium of instruction when I started teaching in Helsinki. They are very satisfying to write on with a soft marker and I have sometimes handed them out to students with the markers to do so some group writing in class – to rediscover the joy of handwriting and seeing one’s own writing. It wasn’t a regular activity because transparencies are expensive and hard to find these days, and of course we can’t do it over video, until we have a matter beamer.

Today I taught the last lecture of Language in the UK, mentioning the potential for dissertations on among other things: 1) government communication on the lockdown, particularly the dramatic transition to plainspeak a weak ago Monday; 2) virus and metaphor, based on a historical analysis of debates in the Hansard; 3) multilingual communication by the NHS during the pandemic. There were seven students, Blackboard stayed up, and we even managed to use chat better than before (or at least, responses were not dominated by “can’t hear you”). I forgot to record most of the lecture so I made an asynchronous voiceover track afterwards for posting. It easier than expected and probably had 95% of the content from the first time, minus going out to hand the plastics to the maskmaker folks and washing my hands. I am not actually the best handwasher but had to model good behavior.

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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