QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

Covid-19, Day 95


Today's numbers: New York State has 102,900 reported cases and 2,935 deaths, 562 of those in the last 24 hours. California has 11,000 cases. US overall 257,500 cases and 6,551 deaths. World wide deaths stand at 54,500 and infections at at 1,034,000. It is widely believed all of these numbers are undercounts due to testing shortages and delays. Comparisons of newspaper obituaries, crematorium business, etc, show around twice as many extra deaths than reported covid-19 cases alone.

Speaking of obits, the occasional reports of famous people infected have started to give way to occasional reports of famous people dead from covid-19. You can expect statements to the effect of "this was covid-19 related" or "this was not covid-9 related" in such news story obits. It's reminding me of AIDS obits in the 1980s.

The Supreme Court reports all justices still healthy, but it is postponing all April oral arguments, as it post-poned March ones last month. The FDIC today announced the first bank to fail under covid-19, First State in West Virginia. Failure-in-Chief's son-in-law failure, Jered Kushner, is now taking a leadership role in FEMA, all but ensuring that Michael Brown's leadership during Hurricane Katrina won't go down as the worst FEMA disaster response.

Life goes on for me. My March 14th (Saturday) shopping was the last time I went into a grocery store. I think March 15th was the last time in any store. Since then food, and everything else, has been delivery only. But I still see stores on my daily walks. My local grocery has installed plastic barriers between the cashiers and the customers. The flower display outside has been replaced with a portable rental handwashing sink. The last 24-hour business in the neighborhood has stopped that, and closes at 9pm now. That business, by the way, is a drug store. Lines outside stores, because they are limiting the number of people inside at any one time, are common now.

Round the corner line to enter a store

Seen today (April 3rd) during the 8:30 am dog walk, the longest store line I've encountered during "social distancing".

Someone I know tried to get a test yesterday. After going to a drive through testing facility, answering a lot of questions through a closed window in her car (using a cell phone), and then getting a quick exam through the open window by a suited-up doctor, she was turned away with no test. The questions along the lines of "are you a health care worker?" and "do you work with elderly or immunocomprised people?" led her to believe that the testing center wasn't going to offer a test to anyone with less than extreme symptoms or serious risk of spreading the disease. We are seriously triaging even testing, no wonder the numbers are apparently low.

There was no one else left to blame


Washington, April 1, 2020. At an impromtu news conference at 11:15am local time today, Donald Trump opened by shouting "April Fools!" and then watching the befuddled faces around him.

"Hillary won in 2016 and the game is over now," he continued after the pause. "She has been doing THE WORST job running this country since I don't know when. Since King George at least. She has run the economy into the ground, let thousands of Americans die from a foreign virus. It's like she hates the country. I can't believe so many of you voted for her."

Trump then left without taking questions leaving confused White House staff unable to clarify anything.

This is a developing story and updates will be made as available.

Grant Loaf


A variation of Doris Grant's 1940s no-knead "Grant Loaf". This is a dense whole wheat bread good for toast.

Line a loaf pan with baking paper. I used a 8"x4"x4" "Pullman" pan, which has a lid to use during baking. Recipe in grams and baker's percentages.

Add to a bowl:

  • 450 g wholemeal bread flour (100%)
  • 5 grams salt (1.1%)

Whisk together to mix and aerate.

Mix in another container:

  • 450 ml warm ("hand hot") water (100%)
  • 7 grams dried yeast (1.5%)
  • 7 grams molasses (1.5%)

Pour the wet into the dry, and mix with a wooden spoon for three to four minutes. The dough will be very wet. Transfer into the pan and cover to rise. I waited about an hour.

While it is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). When adequately risen, bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from pan and return to oven for 5 more minutes to give it a better crust.

fresh out of the pullman pan

Just out of the pan, the top weirdly textured from the baking paper.

Site Revamp


Making this blog has prompted me to look at the rest of the site. The main home page was rather sad. I've spruced it up, dropped the downloadable font for the logo and replaced it with an image. It's a lot smaller, and it allowed me to color the image in. The new logo uses "Stereolab" by Blue Vinyl Fonts. A Stereolab logo is in the rotation from the original set of random logos. The designer has changed websites since then (but still doesn't have a good SSL certificate). That font lacks a blank with the upper graph, so I used a dots, edited them out, filled the outline with a gentle red to purple gradient, then superimposed black lines on top of the colored ones in the graph. I think the effect is much nicer than the old "Impact Label" font and is half the size. (The designer of that, Michael Tension, does not have his own site.)

I also changed the Braille content and made the table adjustable in size for smaller screens. Then I labeled the links by some simple categorizations and put a plain text H1 tag at the end for text browsers.

Beyond the home page, I also cleaned up the cardboard shelves how-to which had suffered by Flickr images going away. Fortunately, I have a complete mirror of my Flickr pages that dates back to when I gave up on that size. So finding the images by their old Flickr IDs was trivial.