• SOME 60% OF AMERICANS NOW WORKING AT HOME WANT TO KEEP IT THAT WAY after coronavirus restrictions are lifted, according to Gallup polling. While employers are concerned with ‘slacking off’ and loss of productivity, and researchers “warn that problem solving and creativity suffer when workers are isolated, stemming from loneliness & boredom,” remote workers – especially millennials and Z generation kids – feel differently and perceive greater job satisfaction from: (1) saving stress and respiratory problems from being stuck in traffic; (2) saving money on gas and day care for children & pets; (3) enjoying cleaner environment from reduced air pollution; (4) reducing risk from any communicable diseases (not just Covid-19); and (5) optimizing health from more time for fitness exercise. They recognize but minimize the downsides, like interruptions from mates/children/pets, and resentment from friends/neighbors whose jobs can’t be done by telecommuting (manufacturing, service, health care, retail, public protection, etc.). Interesting times ahead. [NEW YORK TIMES – 5/5/20]
  • EXPECTATION FOR A ‘V-SHAPE’ REBOUND IS RAPIDLY DIMINISHING. While the height level of unemployment is obviously dependent on the depths to which economic activity plunges, there’s little doubt now that until this crisis stabilizes, the output drop will be staggering. If the pace of annual recovery returns at pre-pandemic performance level (2.8%), and ignoring some eight-million workers who are likely to “become discouraged and leave the workforce, in order to count as unemployed and qualify for benefits… unemployment could drop back below 10% by year-end.” Subsequently, however, considering that automated technology and streamlined production models will almost certainly be implemented by most big companies, it could take another five years to reach pre-pandemic levels. So forecasts suggest that “full recovery could take two decades… and that America’s unemployed could face real risk of a lost decade or two.” [ECONOMIST – 5/2/20]
  • OVER SIX IN TEN OF THE WORLD’S AIRCRAFT ARE NOW GROUNDED, more than 16,000 planes which require thousands of workers and huge costs just to protect airworthiness: storage, maintenance of hydraulics & flight control systems, as well as protection from insects, nesting birds and wildlife. Engineers & ground crews work across the globe and around the clock to maintain their fleets, including “running engines, powering up aircraft, checking flight controls, covering sensors and engines to guard from sand & dust, keeping tanks lubricated and fueled enough to keep from rocking in the wind, wheels rotated, landing gear protected from rust, seat covers cleaned, carpets shampooed,” etc. etc. Parking space is also a big problem, involving ‘spare’ runways at airports but mostly longer-term storage in deserts and even the Australian Outback, adding further issues like protection against humidity and even threat of typhoons. And all in anticipation of passengers hopefully resuming travel levels in the New Normal.   [BLOOMBERG – 4/16/20]
  •  NASA HAS A MARS LAUNCH PLANNED FOR NEXT JULY to hunt for extraterrestrial life. Testing of the newest Rover in the Australian desert (which is consistent with the heat, pressure, and dry, dusty, windswept terrain of Mars) has discovered “physical fossils and signs of microbes, biomarkers & organic compounds from hundreds of millions of years ago, that are associated with biology on earth.”  [FUTURISM – 5/4/20]
  •  OFTEN BIZARRE, ELON MUSK has christened his new son with a name that is unpronounceable and unspellable on most databases. He announced it by tweet, saying that he and wife Grimes picked the name X AE A-12 from: X (the unknown variable), AE (magical being or precious friend), A (Archangel – his favorite song) and A-12 (precursor to SR-17, his favorite aircraft with great speed but non-violent).  Speculation is that pronunciation will be “X Ash Archangel.” [SLATE – 5/5/20]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:   California Highway Patrol reports that overall traffic levels are down 35% due to the coronavirus stay-at-home orders, but tickets for speeding over 100 MPH are up 87%.

      30 million ‘small’ businesses in the U.S. employ nearly half the countries workforce, and four-in-ten are women-owned. When ‘medium-sized’ businesses are combined, they represent 83% of U.S. employment (pre-COVID-19) growing at an annual rate of some 1,500/day, but also failing at an annual rate of around 1,600/day.

      A truly outstanding perspective, in poetry for adults and kids, on our civilization and the Virus: https://youtu.be/Nw5KQMXDiM4

 Imagine you were born in 1900. On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th, with 22 million people perished in that war. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday, and another 50 million people die. On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins: Unemployment hits 25% and World GDP drops 27% running until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts and on your 41st, the U.S. is fully pulled in, with 75 million people perishing by your 45th. At 50, the Korean War starts and 5 million more perish. At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years with another 4 million people dead. On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War with Life on our planet at risk but resolved.  When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900 and how they survived through everything listed above. Perspective is an amazing art, refined as time goes on, and enlightening like you wouldn’t believe. Let’s try and keep things in perspective.”   [AUTHOR UNKNOWN]