My Life in LA County During COVID-19: May 12

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

We will endure. We will prevail. We shall overcome.

May 12, 2020 at 6:48 AM. I am in the twilight zone of feelings. I have to get on with my life, but I see the heartbreak of over 80,000 deaths everywhere. I am sad. I must be upbeat about the future, but I know full well that we will exceed 100,000 deaths in two or three weeks. How can we live productive lives under this cloud? At one moment, I detest myself for choosing to work as I normally do. The next moment, I feel deep sadness. I must cheer up somehow.

We are still having our groceries delivered by people who are poorer than I and who are risking their health and even lives so that my wife and I can eat. They are probably reluctant heroes who must work to feed their families. Yet, they could find food banks and other means to survive. I am glad that they are doing this and hope that they are taking every precaution along with the store that employs them.  Continue reading

Stories Read Aloud for Children on Facebook

NORFOLK – WHRO Public Media has expanded online learning with a weekly online reading segment ‘Martha Reads’.  This new weekly Facebook segment features stories written by local children.

When Virginia leaders announced in March that schools across the Commonwealth would close for the remaining academic year due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the education staff at WHRO Public Media quickly changed up their normal routines to seek new ways to support teachers and parents as they ventured into at-home learning.

Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. on our Facebook page for Martha Reads.

Since WHRO’s team couldn’t read to children in person, Martha Razor, manager of early childhood learning, decided to bring the stories to students virtually. Each week on Facebook, Martha will read a new story aloud. Rather than reading the books that children may already know, or could possibly find on their shelves at home, Martha will read stories that were submitted to WHRO’s annual Young Storytellers Contest. These short tales are stories written by children, for children, with accompanying illustrations. Continue reading

My Observatory Odyssey – Part 3

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

The unexpected costs just kept mounting.

May 6, 4:53 AM. The unexpected costs just kept mounting. We had to do a percolation test before our septic field could be approved, and the building permit could not be submitted until we had an approved percolation test. Of course, the testing people had a delay, and by the time they were ready, bad weather postponed it another month. We had the permit application all ready to go and just awaiting the “perc” test, which we received in January. The rate of more than one inch per minute was fantastic! It was literally off the charts. We were so happy.  Continue reading

My Observatory Odyssey – Part 2

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

This was to be the first of many skirmishes with the county officials.

May 4, 1:35 PM. You discover laws, rules, and regulations in strange ways sometimes. Property in the mountains of San Bernardino county has a number of rules. One set of rules has to do with it being in a FS-1 zone. That FS stands for fire safety, and one is the highest danger. We are tasked with removing weeds and low branches every year to comply.

We installed our rather plain and unassuming tool shed up near the top of the property so that it would not bother the neighbors.

All weeds must be less than four inches in height. All plant debris, such as leaves, must be no more than two inches thick. Trees taller than 12 feet must have all branches below six feet above the ground removed. You must gather up all of this debris and remove it. As you might imagine a wild 1/4-acre lot has plenty of this stuff. We decided that bringing our tools up 95 miles for every trip was silly and purchased a tool shed made from UV-resistant plastic.  Continue reading

My Observatory Odyssey – Part 1

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

I have had to learn some real patience in my quest for a mountain cabin as well as an observatory.

May 4, 11:18 AM. My Odyssey began long ago. I could write about it as an article, a short story, a novella, or an epic novel. You wouldn’t think that making a small personal observatory could even begin to qualify, but you would not realize the number of detours that this tale might take and actually did take. The ultra-short version is that my company had some excess cash (once only) and was interested in upgrading its astronomy lessons. Our lessons use real experiments, real pictures, and hands-on measurement by students for the most part.

As I write this, the observatory shed is complete, but the dome is not installed, and the telescope remains 95 miles away on my living room floor, a very expensive cardboard coffee table (still in its shipping box).

My wife and I had purchased some mountain land for a cabin, and that land has a site that is really good for an observatory at 6,200′ elevation. So, we purchased the shed, the dome, the telescope, and the camera. We wrote these off and saved on our corporate taxes. It was nice of Uncle Sam to help finance our observatory. That’s the short version.  Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: May 6

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

I have seen people argue that the most at-risk people should be isolated, and the rest of the population should return to pre-virus behavior.

May 6, 2020 at 5:48 PM. Sure, we see some people fuming about shutdowns, about economic damage, and about loss of freedom. However, most people have come together by being apart. This is truly a wonderful response to a crisis. It has been weeks since my wife and I walked around on the streets here. On those few walks, though, people would go out of their way to stay far from us. We have gray hair and are more than most susceptible to mortality from this awful scourge, the novel coronavirus.

When you consider that death is the ultimate loss of freedom, this shutdown makes sense. When you understand that our economy cannot recover until we squash this virus, delaying until the science says that we can lift restrictions makes sense. So, we support the shutdowns and the self-isolation to speed the return to a close-to-normal life.  Continue reading

Reimagining Your Campus for the New Normal – Free Webinar 5/12/20

FREE WEBINAR: REIMAGINING YOUR CAMPUS FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK AND THE NEW NORMAL
Tuesday, May 12
2:00 PM (Central Time)
Click here to register.

Recognizing the fragility of former strategic plans, leaders are scrambling to rethink how to respond in areas like virtual preparedness, digital dexterity, access to campus insight, and student services. The League for Innovation and Beyond Academics are collaborating to present this webinar that will lead participants through a thoughtful discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic will shape the future of work within campuses and the opportunities it presents us in the new normal.

M. Alex

In this session, Matthew Alex will speak to how the pandemic has accelerated the need to become more digital and accessible. The session will be centered around community college education viewed through the Future of Work lens to articulate the shift in how we serve and meet the needs of our constituents. He is Co-Founder of Beyond Academics, LLC, the company bringing the next generation of transformational frameworks to higher education. Alex is a former partner at Deloitte, where he led the Student Technology and Transformation practice. In that capacity, he oversaw some of the most complex Student Technology Transformation projects in the country. He also led Deloitte’s Smart Campus and Future of Work initiatives. At Beyond Academics, he continues to assemble the best and brightest minds in higher ed, entrepreneurship, innovation, and industry to accelerate the narrative around the Future of Work, Future of Student, and Future of Learning.