Bookmarked We Need A Massive Surveillance Program (Idle Words)

What is the point of building this surveillance architecture if we can’t use it to save lives in a scary emergency like this one?

Maciej Ceglowski puts forward the idea of utilise the surveillance infrastructure developed by platform capitalism to aid in the fight against coronavirus.

Of course, all of this would come at an enormous cost to our privacy. This is usually the point in an essay where I’d break out the old Ben Franklin quote: “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither.”

But this proposal doesn’t require us to give up any liberty that we didn’t already sacrifice long ago, on the altar of convenience. The terrifying surveillance infrastructure this project requires exists and is maintained in good working order in the hands of private industry, where it is entirely unregulated and is currently being used to try to sell people skin cream. Why not use it to save lives?

This is a wicked question. As John Naughton raises the concern that such a decision would consitute ‘crossing the rubicon’:

If we use the technology for this purpose we will have crossed the Rubicon into nightmare territory. And if we do cross, there’s unlikely to be a way back — because once states have acquired access to this technology, they rarely give it up. So will we do it?

I guess Ceglowski’s point is that the genie is already out of the bottle, the challenge is using such powers for good.

I continue to believe that living in a surveillance society is incompatible in the long term with liberty. But a prerequisite of liberty is physical safety. If temporarily conscripting surveillance capitalism as a public health measure offers us a way out of this crisis, then we should take it, and make full use of it. At the same time, we should reflect on why such a powerful surveillance tool was instantly at hand in this crisis, and what its continuing existence means for our long-term future as a free people.

Bookmarked Visitors & Residents – teaching during Coronavirus (David White)

Fundamentally, one mode or tech is not ‘better’ than another. What is important is how we connect them as a learning narrative and how we communicate that narrative to foster engagement. This helps to ensure we provide opportunities which are mindful of the range of technical, geographical (time-zone), cognitive, social and emotional contexts/experiences of our students and teaching staff.

David White uses his vistor vs resident model to make sense of online learning and the challenge of engagement during such times when everybody is forced into different spaces. He explains that what matters is not the technology, but rather the learning narrative that surrounds this use. It was interesting reading this alongside Kath Murdoch’s personal inquiry into online learning.
Bookmarked School closures and COVID-19 – what the research says we should be doing (EduResearch Matters)

We must close all schools in Australia before the spike in the epidemic. Whistle-blowing doctors argue this is a critically important part of using ““every mechanism to ‘flatten the curve’ “ and will buy them time to equip and cope with the rise in cases.

Rachel Wilson looks at the research into the influence of school closures have on flattening the curve of a pandemic.

blockquote>Leaving closure until things look grim, near or after the epidemic peak, means that they are likely to be less effective in slowing the disease.

Interestingly, there was no discussion of the idea that students may not stay at home when they are out of school and expected to stay at home. I still think this is a part of the government’s thinking as confirmed by Brendan Murphy on Four Corners.

Bookmarked Every day that passes brings a new political wonder you’d have never thought possible (ABC News)

Every day as the scale of this present coal-black cloud grows across the globe, it’s harder to spot a silver lining, but perhaps in this country it might be this; that in a time of crisis we formed a national decision-making body roughly half of which came from each of our two major parties, and decisions were made that were well outside the orthodox political comfort zone of the people making them, and that some loud voices shut up for a minute, in recognition that the situation was bigger than their own need never to give an inch.

Annabel Crabb reflects on the ability in times of crisis for people and politics to get things done.

Getting private hospitals to work hand in glove with the public system?

Asking vast chunks of the schools sector to educate children remotely? Publishing newspapers from empty newsrooms? Whole companies working from home? Turning over hotels to homeless people?

All of this would have seemed impossible just weeks ago.


A great video that demonstrates the power of cleaning your hands to stop the spread of the coronavirus
Replied to #tdc2999 #ds106 Replace one word in a film title with “toilet paper” (The Daily Create)

People seem to be obsessed with hoarding loo roll – maybe they’d like some films about it. Replace one word in a film title with “toilet paper”, “loo roll” or wh…

Avengers: Toilet Paper War. Having acquired many of the staples, including flour, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, paracetamol and hand wash, Thanos goes out in search for the one item that no-one can find … toilet paper.
Bookmarked “Doing School” In The Time of Coronavirus by Chris LehmannChris Lehmann (Practical Theory)

“What is the least bad thing we can do?” is, in some ways, a darker version of “What is the worst consequence of my best idea?” which is a concept we’ve used at SLA for years to make sure we stayed humble and never fell in love with an idea without examining unintended consequences or questioning who is privileged by it or what will go wrong, even if the overall concept goes right. “Least bad” is a recognition that whatever we do right now to move schools into an online version of themselves, it’s not the way we should do it under any normal circumstances, and what it becomes, then, is perhaps our own educational Hippocratic oath to remind us that so much of what we’re about to do is triage.

Chris Lehmann suggests that in the time of coronavirus our focus should be on the ‘least bad decision’. This includes teaching the child, remembering that online learning is not automatic, simplify assignments, rethinking assessments, doubling up on feedback and remembering the purpose of it all.
Liked Civic Engagement for Young People During Social Distancing (User Generated Education)

Civic engagement and activism in normal times has benefits, but in these times of coronavirus and social distancing-isolation, the benefits are amplified as such engagement can move young people from feelings of helplessness to feelings of empowerment.

Replied to Coronavirus and the VUCA world by gregmiller68

Never have I better understood the term ‘VUCA’ than this past week. Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity were at levels I have not experienced before in my place of work.

Thank you Greg for sharing your perspective on the current crisis. My wife has actually stepped up into a deputy principal position this year and it has been intriguing seeing the challenges from both a system and a school level. For her it has certainly been a trial by fire. There is only so much that we can be prepared.

I liked your point about ‘weekyears’:

No doubt, there will be many more ‘weekyears’ like it in the months to come!

It goes with the Lenin quote doing the rounds at the moment:

There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.

Good luck with the weeks and months ahead. Stay safe. Thoughts with you are your community.

Bookmarked How the Virus Got Out (

We analyzed the movements of hundreds of millions of people to show why the most extensive travel restrictions to stop an outbreak in human history haven’t been enough.

Jin Wu, Weiyi Cai, Derek Watkins and James Glanz provide a timeline for how coronavirus started in  Wuhan and spread around the world to become a pandemic. This includes a range of graphics to breakdown the various events.
Bookmarked How the Pandemic Will End (The Atlantic)

Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time. Group B must now “flatten the curve” by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission. Given the slow fuse of COVID-19, to forestall the future collapse of the health-care system, these seemingly drastic steps must be taken immediately, before they feel proportionate, and they must continue for several weeks.

Ed Yong discusses the challenges currently facing America in regards to coronavirus. He explains the current challenge of social distancing and sufficient testing and care, as well as how this may play-out in the long run.
Liked Coronavirus Is Speeding Up the Amazonification of the Planet

In a scenario as dire as that, Amazon’s moves this week could prove presciently symbolic for a permanent transfer of traditional jobs at local small businesses to unreliable, part-time work for tech giants that distribute products and services through online platforms — the “Amazonification” of our economy.

This Amazonification is already underway. The consumer shift to online retailers away from meatspace malls and boutique shops has been the subject of hand-wringing and prognostication for years, and, if anything, the evolution was moving slower than many feared. Walmart, after all, remained the world’s largest retailer long after fears of Amazon’s dominance had become mainstream. Warehouse automation, a key goal of Amazon, was advancing but not yet leaving humans out in the cold by any stretch of the imagination. Yet Amazon caught up in 2019, and if anything, this coronavirus-fueled surge may accelerate its supremacy over the retail market.

While 100,000 new Amazon jobs will have a minuscule impact on a soaring unemployment rate, it’s what the shift symbolizes that’s of note.

Gregg Gonsalves explains the benefit of social distancing in a visual:

Bill Fitzgerald explains that social distancing is about our ‘obligation to each other’:

Brian Iselin visualises the difference between infecting 2.5 people (the average) and 1.25 people:

An Italian doctor reflects on the crisis and explains who social distancing is so important:

We all have a duty to stay put, except for very special reasons, like, you go to work because you work in healthcare, or you have to save a life and bring someone to hospital, or go out to shop for food so you can survive. But when we get to this stage of a pandemic, it’s really important not to spread the bug. The only thing that helps is social restriction. Ideally, the government should issue that instruction and provide a financial fallback—compensate business owners, ease the financial load on everyone as much as possible and reduce the incentive of risking your life or the lives of others just to make ends meet. But if your government or company is slow on the uptake, don’t be that person. Take responsibility. For all but essential movement, restrict yourself.

In addition to a ‘game’ for running different simulations, Amy Hoy provides some basic rules associated with social distancing:

  • Avoid large gatherings — including religious services
  • Cancel kids’ parties, sleepovers, sports, playdates, etc.
  • Don’t shake hands, hug, or kiss anyone who doesn’t live with you (and if they’re not social distancing… cut back!)
  • Don’t attend parties, concerts, film showings, or other public events
  • Skip the gym, dining out, bar scene, sitting at a café, club
  • Limit visits to stores — buy more than you typically would to reduce trips, go on off-hours
  • Get curb-side pickup, carry-out, or local delivery if possible
  • Don’t go to other people’s homes — including your close friends and family
  • Don’t have guests over to your home — including your close friends and family
  • Cancel or reschedule any non-urgent outside appointments such as physicals, hair appointments, physical trainers, etc.
  • Cancel or reschedule any in-home appointments you can, such as home maintenance and cleaning
  • As much as possible, get longer refills on your prescriptions, and use drive-through pick-up or delivery
  • As much as possible, work from home, keep your kids home, encourage your housemates to stay home
  • Encourage your elderly and at-risk loved ones to stay home; arrange deliveries etc. for them if possible
  • Text, call, video chat, host a virtual watch party, play online games together, form a digital supper club!
  • Keep in contact with your loved ones as much as possible… just don’t share air space.

Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris visualise the spread of the virus and how social distancing impacts on this:


Ed Yong explains that there are two groups of people in a pandemic:

Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time. Group B must now “flatten the curve” by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission. Given the slow fuse of COVID-19, to forestall the future collapse of the health-care system, these seemingly drastic steps must be taken immediately, before they feel proportionate, and they must continue for several weeks.(source)

Craig Spencer provides a day in the life of an ER doctor and explains why social distancing is so important:

David Truss questions whether social distancing is better understood as ‘physical distancing’:

Since then I’ve come across the term ‘Physical Distancing’ a lot more. This is really the issue. Reducing or actually eliminating our physical proximity to others long enough that the virus doesn’t spread. However, we can still be social in the digital world. Video helps. It’s nice to see the people we connect with.

Bookmarked Thread by @Craig_A_Spencer: Thank you everyone for your incredible messages of support and encouragement. Many of you asked what it was like in the ER right now. I want… (

Thread by @Craig_A_Spencer: Thank you everyone for your incredible messages of support and encouragement. Many of you asked what it was like t now. I want to share a bit with you. Please RT: A Day in the Life of an ER Doc – A Brief Dispatch from the #COV…

Craig Spencer provides an insight into a day in the life dealing with the coronavirus.
Bookmarked COVID-19 in 2020: several scenarios (Bryan Alexander)

For nearly two months I’ve been tracking the coronavirus outbreak.  I’ve been sharing forecasts, examining analyses, and collecting forecasts here, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and Facebook…

Bryan Alexander continues with his futures work posing three possible outcomes for the current crisis:

  1. The Hubei Model: A single, short wave
  2. Viral Waves: Long durations, uneven impacts
  3. The Long Plague

Alexander also documents a series of forecasts for the US each using a different approach

Replied to Good Enough by Pernille Ripp

That as schools plan for this remote/virtual/online learning that we are all expected to be able to do now, that we cannot for one moment think that it is going to be like school. That even if we invent amazing learning adventures to go on using online services, those websites may not be able to handle all of our traffic. That even if we provide devices and hotspots that doesn’t make our learning equitable. That we cannot ask our students to sit in front of screens for hours each day, trying to patch together what would have been the learning we would have done together. That we cannot expect our students to be in a healthy place for learning. That even if we send home work to do, it may not get done. And we need to be okay with that.

Thank you always for your honesty and openness Pernille. I feel that the most important thing to consider at the moment is care for self and others.