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SoylentNews is people

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the sudden-impact dept.

A lot has already happened this year. SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) which can cause COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 2019) has been making headlines shortly after it was first reported. The first cases were reported to WHO (World Health Organization) on 2019-12-31. The virus spread. It began as an epidemic in China . The world watched apprehensively. Reports surfaced of cases in other countries and the the apprehension grew. For many folk, it turned to fear when it was upgraded to a pandemic: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020: "We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic."

We have seen increasing efforts to stem the spread of the disease. Efforts have run the gamut. Closing of borders. Cancellation of sporting events. Conferences cancelled. Churches and other places of worship also closed. Schools closed. Panic buying of household goods and supplies. Supply chain disruptions affecting manufacturers. Restaurant, bars, and other such establishments closed. Work-from-home policies established and enacted.

The changes have been many, widespread, and continuing.

Reading about all the ways that "other people" have been affected is one thing. It seems different, somehow, when it hits closer to home and affects us directly. With many of our usual social activities curtailed or cancelled, it is easy to begin isolating and lose perspective. SoylentNews arose from a troubled period (the SlashCott) and a community has formed from that challenging period.

How have you been affected? Have you been infected? Had a family member or friend who was? Helped neighbors who are struggling? Hunkering down and isolating? (In a basement is optional.) Are you suddenly working from home and finding it challenging to manage your time? Still working on site, but now have a faster commute due to all the other people staying home? Catching up on watching TV shows? Reading more SoylentNews? How has your life changed?

From a somewhat different perspective, how have others helped you to cope... and how have you been able to help others? One of the potential impacts of social distancing is isolation and depression. I count myself fortunate, indeed, to have served this site for over 6 years and for all the people I have gotten to know, here. For those who may not be aware, SoylentNews has its own IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. Feel free to drop in to #Soylent and just say "Hi!"

Social distancing is permanent when you're dead. So, practice good hygiene and stay safe.

Previously (oldest first):
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
Working from Home: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by AndyTheAbsurd on Tuesday March 17 2020, @12:26PM (19 children)

    by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Tuesday March 17 2020, @12:26PM (#972149) Journal

    I work in IT for a large newspaper in Florida.

    Today is Tuesday, which is typically a smaller newspaper anyway, but we're down to just two sections in the physical paper: "news" and "classified". We're combining the "sports" section with "news" most days because there just isn't enough sports news to justify running off a section. We've also got a special e-newspaper only section for readers of our online replica edition (really just PDFs of the pages that we printed, in a nice interface that lets you "flip" through them).

    Our website, which has a paywall that kicks in after five articles read, has a special "coronavirus" section that's tracking nationwide and statewide infections and death, which has been excepted from our paywall.

    We've all been asked to work from home as much as possible - not just the IT department but everyone across the entire company. Of course, we still need to produce a physical paper, which means some people need to be at our printing plant to run the presses; but most of the other jobs in the company don't require being in the office these days. We're meeting using Microsoft Teams, which has been okay but definitely has some noticeable degradation past about a dozen people in one meeting.

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 17 2020, @01:06PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 17 2020, @01:06PM (#972172)

    How many newspapers are left in Florida? I remember when the Miami Herald was crashing and burning due to internet competition... about 20 years ago.

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @01:52PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @01:52PM (#972194)

    We're meeting using Microsoft Teams, which has been okay but definitely has some noticeable degradation past about a dozen people in one meeting.

    Much as I like to bash microsoft you can't blame Teams for that. The last time more than ten people in the same meeting accomplished anything was the Solvay conference in 1927.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @02:55PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @02:55PM (#972239)

      You ought to know, since you were there!

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @03:08PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @03:08PM (#972251)

        The sad thing is, you probably think that was an insult.
        https://physicshorizon.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/solvay_conference_1927_crop.jpg [wordpress.com]
        If you don't recognize at least 20 of them you can hand in your geek card.

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday March 17 2020, @05:21PM (1 child)

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @05:21PM (#972340) Journal

          Maybe you were there because you were the photographer. :-)

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18 2020, @12:12PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18 2020, @12:12PM (#972726)

            Did you see the list of intellectual titans who were there? Even as the mere photographer I would wear that badge with pride.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday March 17 2020, @02:33PM (7 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2020, @02:33PM (#972218) Journal

    Why is "sports" actually dignified under the banner of "news" ?

    In my dream world, sports would come in some section buried right after obituaries and horoscopes. (and common CPUs would have enough cores to make GPUs unnecessary)

    It pisses me off to no end that Google News puts Sports ahead of Science. Which has done more for humanity? In what way have sports "heroes" benefited society worthy of the fame and fortune lavished upon them?

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @03:04PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @03:04PM (#972247)

      Sports is the only news they can't fake because too many people have seen the event in person.

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:40PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:40PM (#972549) Homepage

        Surely there are cheatings, perhaps the leagues want certain teams to win for certain purposes like how the New Orleans Saints got royally fucked by the refs in critical games two years in a row, or when the Chargers had the best kicker in the league and he missed 4 kicks in a critical playoff game, but yeah, there's still enough free will involved to make watching sports fun as fuck. But sports are going to be out for a bit so when I feel comfortable sucking on my booze stash, it's going to be to shitpost on SoylentNews.

      • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:50PM

        by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:50PM (#972554) Journal
        The Black Socks Scandal?
        --
        SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @05:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2020, @05:46PM (#972359)

      You're obviously clueless about how this human body is what sustains the brains inside the bodies.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:36PM (2 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:36PM (#972546) Homepage

      Sports are a distraction that was traditionally allowed to continue during hard times because of their positive contribution to country morale.

      Last I checked every single sport except for UFC was cancelled outright for a good 2-3 months. It was pretty sad to hear the tone of the commentators gradually become more and more grim from "This is total bullshit and will blow over in a week" to "the leagues will continue to play without fans in the stands" to "Well, teams are *Cough Cough* being quarantined in their locker rooms and tested *Cough Cough*" to finally today "Well, looks like we're all going to be teleconferencing and doing interviews from our homes."

      I'm appropriately stocked up but it's looking like San Diego will be implementing a mandatory San Francisco-style quarantine-in-place where you're not allowed to go anywhere unless perhaps to the store to get essentials. The mood in the stores is somewhat more nervous but as of today there was still plenty of everything despite panic buying, and outdoors life goes on in the streets: People are walking their dogs, tons of cars on the highways, groups of cyclists are cycling etc. Only 0.5% of people I see outdoors are wearing masks and/or rubber gloves.

      I got really fucking lucky because I got furloughed late last year, and now due to these events my furlough became unemployment outright - the full award of $1800/mo for sitting on my ass and fucking off all day. So not only did I get a head start with this but if this hysteria continues then I'll have a good legal excuse for an automatic renewal. Let's hope it doesn't continue too long though, I want to enjoy my fucking summer.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @08:13PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @08:13PM (#973915)

        I got really fucking lucky because I got furloughed late last year,

        So, they discovered your SoylentNews posts, eh?

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:32PM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:32PM (#973967) Homepage

          Let's just say that Boston Dynamics tolerated it because I made magic with interpretations beneficial to the company. When both of us decided that we could no longer tolerate each other, we made an amicable split.

          And that will set up new inside-jokes about which big name I will work for next. I am looking for work, of course, but unfortunately nobody's hiring right now.

  • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:37PM (4 children)

    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Tuesday March 17 2020, @11:37PM (#972548) Journal

    Of course, we still need to produce a physical paper

    Don't bet on that. 90% of the papers that existed at the turn of the century are dead and gone.

    --
    SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    • (Score: 2) by AndyTheAbsurd on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:34PM (3 children)

      by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:34PM (#973816) Journal

      Sorry for the late reply, just got back on the site.

      90% of the papers that existed at the turn of the century are dead and gone.

      I suspect that number's somewhat higher than reality (though just a gut feel, I don't have anything to back it up), and also the shift to online news was still happening back in 2000/2001. Plus there has been a lot of industry consolidation since then (Gannett, Hearst, etc. buying up smaller papers and "consolidating" them into larger operations or just selling off their assets).

      We're seeing a 15% drop in number of papers produced for the same date compared to the previous year for weekdays, Sundays are more like 10% to 12% drop. This is remarkably consistent. I give the physical paper three to four more years before it's simply not worth printing, trucking to our distribution centers, and delivering to homes anymore. At that point, we'll be at about 52% of our current subscriber base. COVID-19 being more deadly to older folks may accelerate this somewhat.

      In the meantime, we're working on increasing our digital subscriber numbers so that perhaps we can continue to exist as a journalistic outlet even if there's no longer a need for printing plant. (No idea how that building is going to get repurposed, though.) Local journalism - stories about "hey the local hospital administration fucked up" or "the mayor of this local town got caught doing cocaine" - seems to still be very important to people, and seems to be the thing that mostly drives subscribership.

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      • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:55PM (2 children)

        by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:55PM (#973969) Journal

        No idea how that building is going to get repurposed, though.

        Repurposed as a COVID-19 hospital, a morgue, a homeless shelter, a jail for the swamp (hey, I can dream, right?)

        There used to be several free and paid local papers here - they're all gone. Plenty of consolidation among the majors, with former independent papers reduced to a section in the acquiring paper, and losing their editorial independence at the same time, end eventually just being part of the regular paper's reporting - no separate section.

        The only way you'll have eyeballs a decade from now is if you have an online presence. And the way to do that and stay relevant is to open up reporting to volunteers in the communities where you don't have the staff to cover everything. Which, unfortunately, will undercut regular reporters jobs if not done rignt, but can preserve them if reporters do in-depth follow-ups and investigative reporting. And it will create editor jobs for some of those reporters.

        --
        SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
        • (Score: 2) by AndyTheAbsurd on Sunday March 22 2020, @03:38PM (1 child)

          by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Sunday March 22 2020, @03:38PM (#974151) Journal

          Repurposed as a COVID-19 hospital, a morgue, a homeless shelter, a jail for the swamp (hey, I can dream, right?)

          Given the contamination from industrial solvents, it's probably not a place where you can house the living for very long. And it's 200,000 square feet so it's probably too big for cooling down to morgue temperatures.

          The only way you'll have eyeballs a decade from now is if you have an online presence. And the way to do that and stay relevant is to open up reporting to volunteers in the communities where you don't have the staff to cover everything.

          We tried that for a bit a few years back; it was an abysmal failure. I wasn't involved in that particular project, so I'm not sure if the time just wasn't right for it or if it wasn't promoted in appropriate places or if it's just that it turns out that having actual journalists (with actual journalistic ethics around things like accurate reporting and being accountable to the community) ends up being more important than just having content for people to point their eyeballs at.

          We'll continue trying new things, until we either find something that works or go out of business. (Hopefully I'm not still there if the latter happens.)

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          • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Sunday March 22 2020, @06:57PM

            by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Sunday March 22 2020, @06:57PM (#974192) Journal

            Triage. Those who smoke will probably die, since their lungs are already damaged. And now that the "underlying conditions" are mostly from being obese or morbidly obese (think type two diabetes), and the cardio-vascular problems that go with that, you won't have to worry about them living long.

            They may even enjoy the solvent fumes.

            Okay, I;m being a bit cynical, but it may come to that - "death houses", where you stack those who you know will die because there aren't enough ventilators or specialized health care personnel and you have to devote your resources to those who can most likely be saved with the tools and personnel you have.

            "underlying health conditions" is a good excuse to do aggressive triage, and past a certain point that's the only sort of triage you want to be doing.

            --
            SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.