Categories
Events and Life Science and nature Wellbeing

Facts and rational advice about the coronavirus that causes COVID-19

There is a lot of hype about the current coronavirus pandemic, much of it coming from the media. In times like these, you really want to focus on facts and rational advice about the virus, and precautions you can take.

To slow the virus down, you need to act as if you already have it …

Why fighting the coronavirus depends on you

Obviously, I’m not a doctor, so I won’t offer advice other than urging you to look to science for your information, not rumours and media outlets looking for more clicks.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

What are COVID-19 and the coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization:

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)

Useful resources

I’ve come across a number of helpful, and informative resources about this current virus:

World Health Organisation

The WHO has a useful FAQ that’s worth reading: Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19).

Israeli Ministry of Health information page

Here in Israel the Ministry of Health has advice for Israelis that can also be helpful for non-Israelis: The Novel Coronavirus, Ministry of Health.

Israel has adopted a pretty aggressive approach to the coronavirus in order to limit the spread of the virus in Israel.

Reddit megathread in r/askscience

Here’s a comprehensive thread in r/askscience:

Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus

Ars Technica has also published a pretty comprehensive guide to the coronavirus, and sensible precautions to take: Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus | Ars Technica.

nCoV2019.live

This site contains data scraped from multiple sources.

There’s a really interesting story about the young man who created, and maintains this site here.

SciShow

The SciShow channel on YouTube has an interesting video about whether this is a pandemic, and what that term means:

World Health Organisation’s Twitter feed

Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction

This is a podcast by CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr Sanjay Gupta about facts and inaccuracies about the coronavirus:

Coronavirus Tech Handbook

This is an interesting crowdsourcing initiative:

a crowdsourced resource for technologists building things related to the coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 Dashboards

This site has a collection of data dashboards about COVID-19 that are updated hourly. You can also subscribe to a feed from the site, although it doesn’t seem to load for me.

What the curves mean for COVID-19

This is a pretty good video that explains why it’s important to flatten that infection curve.

Vox’s COVID-19 series

Vox has a pretty good series of videos about aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that are worth watching. Here’s their playlist:


unsplash-logoFeatured image by CDC
Categories
Blogs and blogging

Advice for my early blogger self – be consistent, and be persistent

If I could go back to early 2004, and give myself advice as I started exploring this “blog” thing, I’d probably recommend the following:

  • Write good quality posts over meaningless clickbait more often than not;
  • Be consistent, and be persistent – it takes a lot of work to build an audience, but it’s worth it;
  • Embrace social media … as a distribution channel. It won’t replace a blog as a serious publishing tool (just wait 14 years, you’ll see);
  • Register a great domain early, and stick with it (names are good).

As much as I enjoy what I do, I love blogging. I look at blogs like kottke.org, and I find myself wishing I’d put more effort into my early blogging initiatives back in the early years.

Sure, it still takes a lot of work to succeed, especially back then when it wasn’t that obvious how to make money from these weblogs. At the same time, what an interesting way to make a living if you do.

Featured image by Geraldine Lewa, courtesy of Unsplash

Categories
People Writing

“… something as wondrous as writing.”

I read an article about Susan Orlean on Brain Pickings this morning and love this quote from her about writing:

You have to appreciate the spiritual component of having an opportunity to do something as wondrous as writing. You should be practical and smart and you should have a good agent and you should work really, really hard. But you should also be filled with awe and gratitude about this amazing way to be in the world.

You can read “Susan Orlean on Writing” in full here:

Susan Orlean on Writing

I started following her on Twitter and her tweets make for a fun read too if you don’t have the time to read her articles or books.


Image credit: Pixabay

Categories
Events and Life Mindsets People Writing

My favourite writing advice

Brain Pickings has a wealth of writing advice in the form of a great post with a collection of quotes from great writers which I’ve just started reading.

Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

I’m a big fan of great writing advice and I want to share a few quotes that stand out for me so far.

This first one highlights something I’ve been thinking about lately and haven’t been able to capture in words yet. When I write something that feels worthwhile to me, it feels like I am connecting to something profound, simple and eternal. I have this sense of it as a colour palette, oddly, the felt-sense equivalent of a Polaroid photo from my childhood (well, if there were Polaroid photos from my childhood):

We are part of a mystery, a splendid mystery within which we must attempt to orient ourselves if we are to have a sense of our own nature.

From “On “Beauty”: Marilynne Robinson on Writing, What Storytelling Can Learn from Science, and the Splendors of Uncertainty

Writing that matters is all about honesty, at least for me. Writing honestly is the only way to tap into whatever passes for my flow (I just had this notion of my flow as the literary equivalent of the Speed Force … yes, I’m a fan):

How to feel your way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of your skull.

From “Ray Bradbury on How List-Making Can Boost Your Creativity

This next one is a recurring theme with writers and so true. Unfortunately it is also so easy not to follow this advice. It requires a lot of persistence and good habits which are still very much works in progress for me:

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.

From “Order to the Chaos of Life: Isabel Allende on Writing”.

My favourite quote (so far) is this one from “Susan Orlean on Writing”:

You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.

I definitely have days when I feel ill at the thought of typing anything (fortunately those are often the days I turn to my camera for some non-verbal creative expression) and this piece of advice can be an invaluable help when it’s time to return to my keyboard.

I’m on a Brain Pickings binge at the moment. Go read more “Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers”. It will be worth it. If you enjoyed this stuff, read Om Malik’s advice on how to write good blog posts:

Om Malik’s advice on writing good blog posts

Categories
People Writing

Om Malik’s advice on writing good blog posts

Om Malik is comfortably one of my favourite writers and he has published advice on writing good blog posts which he used to send to new writers at GigaOm. His post is titled “How to write a good blog post”:

How to write a good blog post 

When I think about bloggers/writers who I admire, Om Malik is in my top 5 or 6 writers and I love his article. I highlighted so much of his article for my own reference purposes but two of the sentences that really stand out for me are these two:

So the trick is to write posts that are more informed, more insightful, and more respectful of the readers. In my opinion, you are informed not just by talking to people but by being able to take the time to learn about things you like to write about.

These aren’t the only gems, of course. Orli Yakuel pointed out another wonderful quote on Facebook:

If you are a blogger/writer and you are passionate about your writing, read Malik’s post. Better yet, subscribe to his blog or follow him on Twitter.

Update (2016-03-29): I may have referred to this before but this January 2016 piece by Malik is also worth reading:

How to keep writing when nobody gives a shit?

Photo credit: Om Malik by Christopher Michel, licensed CC BY 2.0

Categories
Mindsets Writing

It’s ok to dislike your writing, just not yourself

I came across this great piece of advice from Neil Gaiman about how it’s ok to dislike your writing but you shouldn’t dislike yourself for writing it.

https://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/139093894706/mr-gaiman-how-can-i-get-past-the-self-loathing-i

I may have a story in progress somewhere and I often wonder if I can write fiction well enough to be worth publishing. Being able to separate my feelings about my work and my feelings about myself for producing work that doesn’t meet my expectations of my work (as if I could actually have remotely reasonable expectations when I am still learning how to write well) makes it easier to treat the whole process as a learning experience and keep going.

Categories
Business and work

Paul Graham’s tips for start-ups, curated

Stelios Constantinides has curated his favourite Paul Graham tips for start-ups in a handy Medium post titled “Paul Graham’s Startup Advice for the Lazy“. Handy reading for entrepreneurs of various shapes and sizes.

Image credit: Power Point by Robert Scoble, licensed CC BY 2.0

Categories
Business and work Events and Life Mindsets

A father's advice to his daughter about words in magazines and make-up aisles

20140215-080041.jpg

I came across this terrific letter Dr Kelly Flanagan wrote to his daughter in a blog post titled “Words from a father to his daughter (from the makeup aisle)” which I want our daughter to hear when she is old enough to affected by them.

Two paragraphs really stood out for me:

When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.
… and this next one which, aside from the bit about fingernails, is advice we could all benefit from:

Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.
Thanks to Daniella for sharing this on Facebook.