Portland, March 23rd and March 24th, 2020.

Portland, March 23rd and March 24th, 2020

I've meant to make another new reality post, and I've put off as it seems trite, as by now almost everyone is experiencing it globally.

Biking to work is now a bit of a novelty. Usually, I'm one of the very few bikers to be found in downtown Portland these days, although I've seen a fair amount of leisure biking now that the weather has turned nice. Some bikers have an apocalyptic vibe, wearing sunglasses, gloves, and bandanas, taking the face mask recommendation to an absurd degree.

I usually see a few other bikers, but on 03/25 on my bike ride into work, I saw one other biker. Just one. Headed the opposite direction, and that was on in the South East, but I did see a lot of people walking.

Since then, with the nicer weather, I've seen more people on bikes, but mostly limited to the South Eastern neighborhoods that I frequent.

Bad Policy

Portland, 12th street, April 07.

Portland, 12th street, April 07

It's hard not to talk about the politics of Covid-19, as Donald Trump is wholely unqualified As he's either willfully ignorant or simply lacks the mental faculties to comprehend, let alone take action on such a multifaceted problem. There have been weeks of reporting that he and his staff ignored the health experts. The Guardian called his latest briefing presidential tantrum after tireless reporting that DJT ignored key advice. Meanwhile, Trump continues to make dictatorial edicts towards states who are acting responsible and using Covid-19 as a way to roll back regulation. NPR ran a line-by-line breakdown of his promises, A Month After Emergency Declaration, Trump's Promises Largely Unfulfilled. Trump gives himself a perfect 10. Meanwhile, he constantly plays with firing Fauci. Trump has a very delicate ego.

Quite frankly, if you do not believe Trump botched his response to Covid-19, you are willfully ignorant of the facts. Hospitals lack safety supplies. Trump failed to follow the recommendations of Health experts. People have died because of his gross incompetence. He has not delivered his promises and continues to give poor advice to Americans. History will not be kind to DJT.

Bad Reporting

Mericado Food Carts, April 5th 2020

Mericado Food Carts, April 5th 2020

Also, I'm frustrated thus I'm going to direct it against something absurd I've seen posted a few times Big Brother during the coronavirus crisis: GPS data shows which Oregonians are following ‘social-distancing initiatives’ GPS Data Shows Eastern Oregon Isn’t Listening to Social Distancing Directives. You can see the "quality" journalism from WWweek and The Oregonian, itching to slander eastern Oregon. While I might have some political differences being a craft beer and single-origin cold brew drinking, bike commuting web developer in Portland, I'm from truly rural Oregon, my graduating HS class was 60 people. I could list a laundry list of things my home town does not have (Mall, McDonald's, Fred Meyer, Walmart, StarBucks, Movie theater, etc) but the point is to get to a Costco or Trader Joe's or Home Depot, it's 139 miles. It's 25ish miles to Fred Meyer (Kroger) or Walmart or Safeway. There are two grocery stores and two hardware stores, though.

So I call bullshit. Straight up, 100%, USDA grass-fed bullshit as its using a flawed metric. Oregon is a rural state, it's population density would make it the #4th least populated European nation besting out Finland and Kazakistan, and we're fractionally larger than the United Kingdom by landmass. So for starters, anyone living in rural Oregon has large distances and considering roughly 3/4 of the state's population lives in the Portland Metro, Salem metro or Eugene metro, the density of the rest of the state is SPARSE. One look at the map shows the counties' "score" is a strike against population densities. Next up is the dubious methodology:

"Unacast’s location data comes from games, shopping and utility apps that tens of millions of Americans have installed on their phones — information the company normally analyzes for retailers, real estate firms and marketers."

This also seems like a test of modernity, job type, and technical affluence. I, for one, probably do not have unacast applications installed on my iPhone, and block location gathering for everything sans an exceptionally minor amount of applications and often use a VPN. All it shows is the movement has been MORE reduced in areas that have a lot more businesses that would be closed (service industries) or can be done remotely. Unacast is almost certainly isn't tracking devices at the tower level, so the data it's collecting is skewing towards likely Android users were until recently, it made it more difficult to block tracking, also meaning the more reduced users in rural areas might also not being accurately tracked.

After that, there's no way to gauge if the people are socially distancing, or what kind of travel people are performing. It's one thing to drive to the coast, but it's entirely another to drive to your job on the a farm or factory to keep grocery shelves stocked. Nor does it show if the people are clustering in densely populated areas. It's much easier to come into contact with hundreds of people in Portland just by visiting one or two stores, but doing that La Grande would take a lot more effort.


Windmills near Goldendale , March 28th and Pioneer Square, April 5th 2020

Windmills near Goldendale , March 28th and Pioneer Square, April 5th 2020

I've quietly taken to also hiking on BLM lands, which is a loaded thing to admit, but off by myself in the woods strikes me as a lot less dangerous than a trip to the local Target. Before someone lectures me like a parent, I get gas in PDX and bring my own food, and do not see other humans. I'm not part of the quarantine Olympics, or social media grandstanding. It's how I feel normal, just doing an activity that I'd normally do, but in some less common areas.