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Just-At-Home vs. Shelter-In-Place

by: anon.yyz

Sat Jun 09, 2007 at 16:08:06 PM EDT

(important paradigm shift - promoted by SusanC)

I have a proposition.  I think we should change the thinking of Shelter-In-Place to Just-At-Home.

Why is this important?

anon.yyz :: Just-At-Home vs. Shelter-In-Place
The notion of SIP is like a bunker mentality, that every thing around you grinds to a halt.  For a society to be resilient, we need to think in terms of carrying on our lives at home, be it work, play, or schooling. Our world has become such a fast-moving one that people bring their cell phones, Blackberries and even laptops on their vacation - and they can actually accomplish some useful work.  So paradoxically, the new economy actually permits a Just-At-Home operation and although counter intuitive to Just-In-Time, it is actually complementary.  I see this as the next phase of economic efficiency, not going backwards.

Once this idea catches on, there is nothing wrong to build infrastructure around it, be it tele-working, or distance learning.

There was a previous diary discussing a  three-household mutual support system. If some one could bring that back and brain storm it, that will be great as well.

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t'is here

SusanC suggested mini-tribes of 3 families:

* A couple of adults and the kids stay in one home.
* The other adults stay in the second home.
* The third is left for isolation and quarantine.

A comment here. We need to find the link to SusanC?s original idea.

Further comments:

* Why 3; i.e. what are the real factors involved. Could it be 100 if group closed enough, or infections far enough, and then slam the doors to split up in smaller gangs at the first noise of closer infections?
* How to swap safely in mid-term? Maybe using the third home for this, kind of like the logic games of a number of people crossing the river with just one boat that comes and goes.
* Wondering if they can use two full homes until one is needed, for some extra space while they can. I think they can, if that home has two doors: one for entry of the isolated or quarantined, one for quick exit of the protected ones.

All of them ideas for our toolbox. We want more, not less. Thanks for thinking!

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

the 3 families idea as originally stated (check the dates!)

current plans are based on voluntary compliance
even though it may very well turn out the other way.  But for the purpose of planning, we need to set it up so that the 'voluntary' compliance will be smooth compliance, and not panic cos nobody had prepared for it.

So, yes, everything that you say.  It just follows logically from any plans to close schools early.

OTOH, even though a big co-op is not a good idea, I would imagine that smaller units of say 2-3 families can get together and work out some childcare/schooling arrangements so the kids can SIP, have a bit of a life, get an education, while some of the parents can still go to work.

I am thinking of a 3-family system.  For example, let's say we have 3 families with 7 kids and 4 working and 1 non-working adults in total.  We can have the kids and 2 adults SIP in one house, with the other 3 going to work and living in another house, while the third house is reserved for quarantine when these working adults want to switch roles and become the SIP adult, or for isolation if someone gets sick.

You gotta work the numbers.
by: SusanC @ Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:31:50 AM EST


  kids and parents
Also, if only the kids will be SIPing, wouldn't their parents who go to work, be the vectors to spread the virus to other working adults who are not SIPing because they have no kids?

Several things: yes, that can happen, but where do they catch the virus from?  If most transmissions are due to kids, then the chance of anyone catching the virus is much reduced if we keep the kids safe.

Now, I do have a suggestion as to how families can enhance their protection while at the same time ensuring that at least some of the adults can go to work.  This is a 3 family plan.  Suppose you have 3 families with a total of 6 kids and 5 adults, 4 of whom normally work.  You can conceivably have 2 adults SIP with all the kids (therefore adding only 1 absentee) in one house, while the other adults go to work, get provisions for those in SIP if necessary, and live in the second house.  The third house can be kept for isolation/quarantine needs if someone gets sick or when the working/non-working adults want to switch.

This is just one example.  I'm sure there are other similar ways that communities can help each other.

The important thing is if we are talking about 6 months or more of living in very restricted and difficult circumstances, what are the chances of society remaining stable unless we all make efforts to make it so?

That is very important to think about, iMO>

You gotta work the numbers.
by: SusanC @ Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 03:09:30 AM EST

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Call for Home schooling or distance learning best practices
If any one has information on these, please post in this diary.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.


You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Also, there is a website for all states
concerning laws for homeschooling in the Websites For Preprardness diary.

United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
the most important thing to remember
is that if everyone reduces the number of social contacts, we can reduce the disease incidence to such a low level that for those who need to go out, the chance of them catching the infection is dramatically lowered.

Imagine if there are 10 cases in your community as opposed to 1000 cases, then it becomes safe for those who need to go out or go to work.

What this requires is not 100% self isolation, but a general reduction of contacts practised by the vast majority of the population.

Stockpiling of provisions will go a long way to support social distancing. 

Imagine if everyone goes shopping only once every 2 weeks instead of 3 times a week.  This would only work if enough people have sufficient stockpiles so that they are confident there's enough to last till the next time supplies are available.  When people do not have enough stockpiles, they are far more likely to panic-buy whenever new supplies suddenly become available.

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

less people ill at the same time, higher chance of access to treatment if needed

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
the economic case for Just-At-Home
telecommuting is made very powerfully in this excellent paper Weathering the Storm by Robert Armstrong and co, at the National Defense University.

On page 13 (23 of the pdf file), the lessons from Y2K are explored.  The investments made as a result of the need to fix the broken code for y2k resulted in tremendous boosts to the productivity of companies.  The authors make the case than preparing for a pandemic will carry the same economic benefits for businesses.

Once a company has prepared its workforce for telecommuting, however, the potential for increased productivity is considerable. A 2001 survey from the International Telework Association and Council noted that almost three-fourths of managers polled reported slightly or greatly increased productivity from their employees who were working at home.  About one-fifth of managers felt that productivity stayed about the same, and only about six percent felt that productivity declined. The impetus for spending money to remove old code was preparation for Y2K.  Similarly, the impetus for preparing the workforce for telecommuting may be pandemic preparedness. In the end, the chicken with bird flu may eventually be the source of a golden egg for your organization, as the pandemic expenditures may well prove as beneficial to organizational efficiency as the Y2K expenses.

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

Telecommuting will work, but only in a limited number of industries
The problem with telecommuting is that the vast marjority of people do not work at a job that would transpose to telecommuting.

There are whole segments of the population, for example, here in Florida which are directly or indirectly dependent on tourism.  During a pandemic those jobs will come to a screeching halt.  Worse, it will take years to rebuild that industry after a massive shutdown, especially if international travel does not quickly kick back in.

The same is true of many other economies in the USA alone.  Many destinations around the world are the same way, so we aren't all that unique in that respect.

The food and entertainment industries, though not stricly tied to tourism, will also suffer dramatic losses.  Look at what happens to certain restaurants when a food born illness is found on their premises or is in some way linked to their chain.  And the food industry operates on a very, very thin margin.  How many people does McDonald, Wendy's, Burger King, and (name your chain) employee anyway?

Even our own business - property management - is another example.  We can do on the financial accouting, etc. at home ... the the actual collections and repairs and maintenance MUST be done in the field. 

Working from home is not a realistic panacea for many. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
yes, but again
it's a matter of the cup being half-full or half-empty.  The point is far too many industries for whom telecommuting would work are not investing in it.  That's what we need to change.

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]
also, investments for telecommunting
such as 'broadband in every home' described in the paper I quoted, would bring other benefits as well, including especially educational opportunities currently unavailable to many.

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]
that's a bit like preppers buying food now, vs trying to do so along with everyone else later.  there is excess capacity for the current demand.  as demand increases over time, the networks are upgraded to meet the increased bandwidth needs.  it's not just how many people have network access, it's how much they use it, and when - the total bandwidth utilization for a given area will traverse equipment sized to meet a specific capacity.  if everyone doubles the amount they use the net - at roughly the same time - they exceed the capacity of their path to the network, and won't get far.

consumers in the US have driven the excess capacity out of the networks; substantial excess capacity isn't cost-effective for business, and in order to keep costs to the customer down, business has to reduce its costs - which means the same issues in everything else with regard to JIT, also apply to network capacity upgrades.  the biggest problem we have in the US with resiliency is that business is interdependent on other business, and it's all about getting the most for the least - which ok...  so long as bad things don't happen, and more is needed quickly.  JIT permeates all areas - including the net.  folks don't want to pay much for their network access - and they don't - but what they get is very close to what they paid for..  and we're pretty cheap over here.  too many folks believe in magic.

[ Parent ]
that can be prepared for at a provider level, but not through grassroots efforts... because the net is critical infrastructure, coordination across the sector would need to be handled through DHS - probably NCS...

[ Parent ]
Actually, I'm more optimistic about post-pandemic tourism
When a single place is hit by a disaster, it takes (many) years for it to build up its tourist industry again, yes. The public has bad associations with the name of this place, and, given that there are so many other places they could go, they go somewhere else.

In a pandemic, though, ALL tourism would basically stop. Then, when pandemic is over, no particular place is likely to have more bad associations than anywhere else. Also, there will be a lot of people desperate to take holidays as soon as they can.

So tourism can only reestablish itself once life has got somewhat back to normal in terms of travel and people's cashflow, and of course if it turns out to be TEOTWAWKI, so that that never happens, all bets are off. However, if, say, we had a 1968-style pandemic, I think tourism would be back to normal within a year from the end of the pandemic, possibly even sooner.

[ Parent ]
it may depend on how bad things were handled in the touristic place, no?
I mean, there will be variations on how things are done, both from the tourist and from the tourist-sector workers ...

Things will be worse in some places than in others.

Just guessing, tho'.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Depends on the type of tourism
If it is tourism based on naturally occuring things like national parks, hot springs, etc. that shouldn't be so bad.

However, artificially created environments ... like Disney, Busch Gardens, theme parks, etc ... require constant maintenance.  There will be a huge start up, or should I call it restart up, costs before the doors can even reopen.  If there is no venture capital to get this going then those places won't reopen.

Most of these places, as well as the transportation to and from these places, are dependent on fuel sources.  How quickly will that industry get back on track?

A lot will then be dependent on how very bad the economy becomes.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
I think you have a good point Kathyinfl. After the devastation of the 2004 hurricane season many motels and several large hotels on the east coast of Florida just disappeared/folded up because of the enormous costs associated with rebuilding, insurance and lack of tourists. The Daytona area has at least 30% less hotel and motel rooms. It was easier to sell the land to developers for condos, etc. Tourism definitely never came back 100%
  As far as working from home goes, I tried for 2 weeks to limit my repiratory contacts as an experiment at work. Being that I work in the automotive industry I have to deal with several dozen members of the at large public every day and this is besides the dozen or so coworkers I am in close quarters with. Yes, I am able to order parts and maintain inventory for both shops(and did) from home but I guess that I'm stuck with a rather large minimum level of public interaction. I did get most of our techs to start wearing disposable gloves (they're happy to keep a lot of the chemicals off of their hands). My clients were curious about the gloves in my case. The lady that sells apparel couldn't use gloves...that was just too wierd for the clients. I still have to deal with supply deliveries & pickups from FEDEX & UPS every morning & afternoon since we work JIT. I'll just be vigilant & take myself out of circulation at the first sign (probably too late) of successful, consistant H2H. I have a feeling thats what we're all doing.

[ Parent ]
a number of jobs could be done with non-full presence,
same as what shoe-makers do: work at home and then hand their "produce" in at the end of the week

Anyone has figures of "kind of work" in this regard?

Also, there was this survey on "number of daily respiratory contacts per person" (half had more than 20, if I recall correctly).  We should find a way to do that if it hasn't been done.  I can imagine myself walking around the place with a "click counter" just like air-hostesses do when making sure all the passangers have boarded.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

A positive experience
What I am looking for is a positive experience of a Just-At-Home life style. A number of social changes have taken place in the last few years:

1. people socialize from a distance - the Utube and Facebook phenomenon

2. more backyard living room, outdoor cooking

3. work, social life, and play are no longer confined to certain calendar days or hours, or locale

So it is no longer a matter of hunkering down, but a smaller adjustment.  As in any other social change, it doesn't encompass every sector of society - it doesn't have to.  It just needs to have enough change to make a difference. As early adopters (enterprises) reap the benefits of such efficiency, others will follow.

It could be a little bit of Just-At-Home for some and more for others.

I am saying we are half way there with Just-In-Time, the next phase is Just-At-Home.  Some entrepreneur will figure out how to make it a positive experience.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

yup - for some teenagers, having 4 respiratory contacts a day would mean they'd have to double their (two) contacts! ;-)

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
that's too funny! LOL n/t

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]
4 respiratory contacts
My son would be converted into a veritable social butterfly with 4 respiratory contacts/day. ATT stocks would fall through the floor.

[ Parent ]
Same with mine! n/t/

[ Parent ]
Longer Periods
Add a longer work period, living out, and isolation periods before going home for those whose jobs require being out in the world.  Twenty days of work, ten days of isolation and twenty days at home, not easy but doable. 

something along that line is what a number of HCW have suggested for themselves,
so if that's what some HCW imagine themselves doing, and they have a higher risk than anyone else, then we should all do it if the risk is high enough for all.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Not sure about this
I'm not saying it's a bad idea but there is no way I'm letting my kids stay with anyone but me through this. It's going to be a stressful enough time for children without being separated from their parents. So that leaves me in the house with the kids. I don't really want anyone else's kids to deal with during this stressful time. I already find that I'd rather be having a root canal than babysitting for a friend.

I guess I'm just anti-social.

we need options for millions of people, and a framework for all
We'll finish our soup, one spoonfull at a time.  Each group of workers, type of family, etc, would be a spoonfull.  After a few days or weeks, many will want and need options.  That's what we're planning and preparing for: options so that we'll keep essential needs covered even in a high CFR pandemic.

The way I see it, it's just the good old "individual freedom + common good", only in (very) different circumstances.

Likewise, I was told by an emergency manager that airline companies are responsible for their passanger's safety at ALL times - if the wind is too strong, safety may mean the plane stays on the ground - so you could say sometimes the business of an airline company is NOT to fly.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
I think Muttcats, that you are being realistic-
or perhaps we are antisocial together.

I recently had the experience of keeping a friends two kids for a week-it was pretty awful.  They were good kids, well behaved that wasn't it, it was just that they are used to different food, different house rules, they watched waaaaay more tv than I allow my kids, and about day three they really really wanted their mother.  Also these kids were younger-9 and 10 as opposed to 13 and 16 (my kids)  We were all pretty stressed by the end of the week.  I like my friend, but I could not SIP with her/her kids.  There would be a fatality here whether we were infected or not.

On the other hand, we split a weeks lodging/expenses with my b-i-l and family on vacation-pretty remote area (No getting away if things got bad!)  To be honest, going into it dh and I had some strong trepidations but this was the only way we would be able to take this vacation.  IT turned out great-everyone got along so well.  We were all pretty much on the same page as far as house rules, and food/cooking and chores  and all that, and we were able to work out to everyones satisfaction the few differences we had-mostly the difference in ages of the kids-their kids were much younger,needed more supervision/attention and some minor food allergy issues.  This is a family we could SIP with. 

My advice is if you are thinking of the three family plan, start spending time together NOW.  Start hammering out those rules, if there are children start spending time with them and let everyone get used to each other-take a vacation together in a remote area.  If you don't want to spend time with them now, you are certainly not going to want to SIP with them.

[ Parent ]
That is so true
My advice is if you are thinking of the three family plan, start spending time together NOW.  Start hammering out those rules, if there are children start spending time with them and let everyone get used to each other-take a vacation together in a remote area.

we need to give people time to work these things out.  tptb sometimes appear to think that childcare and stuff can be arranged on the fly.  They can't.  They need a lot of forward planning.

That's why people need to be informed now.

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]
and consider if something happens to the parents that are out
-if they never come back, or come back and get sick and die; controlling the other family members/preventing infection, oh there is just no good way to go through through this.

But people have to think of some do-able, survivable ways,

while they have time to think and get supplies and everything..

[ Parent ]
I like the idea of Just at Home as opposed to SIP.
SIP makes me think of hunkering in the basement during a storm.  JAH is,-well, just being at home where we go through our pretty much regular routine.  We live out in the boonies so we are already used to a great deal of social isolation.

What will make a critical difference for us if the grid.  If the grid stays up we'll be fine.  If the grid goes down...real problems then.  Everyday I try to work on making us a little less dependent on the grid but actually our lifeline, if you will is the net.  I think we could even handle power outages but it would be extremely hard sipping without the net especially for the kids, but for us too-its our news source, our communication with loved ones and friends, we're allways looking up info/howtos etc and how in the world could I get through panflu without the wiki? 

Home care training

#124  anon.yyz Says:

#119 Dr. Woodson and #121 Science Teacher

I would recommend not only the home care manual be made available, but also hands-on courses be conducted at schools. One possibility is a series of parent?s nights at grade schools.

If emergency workers need drills and exercises, so do parents.
Posted June 10th, 2007 at 11:34 am

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

SIP/3-day Disaster Kit vs Just At Home/Stay Home Reserve
I think you have a wonderful idea.  So much of our confusion comes in trying to apply the same terms to very different situations. 

Shelter in place (SIP) is commonly used to refer to a specific response to events like a nuclear accident/attack or chem/bio attack.  It does not carry with it an implication of long-term normal activities restricted to the home setting, but rather to battening down the hatches and hunkering down while the disaster passes. 

Just at Home (JAH) describes the kind of NPI that is more narrowly applicable to the Pandemic Preparedness/Response discussion. 

In the same way, what we often hear discussed is a 3-day Disaster Kit, intended to tide you over til the authorities arrive and generally intended to be portable to allow you to grab it on the way out the door in an evacuation scenario.

A Stay Home Reserve is more narrowly defined as the supply necessary to support a Just at Home for a given period of time (say 90 days). 

These are not mutually exclusive concepts or terms, but they describe different preparedness practices to meet very different disaster responses.

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

Practising Just-At-Home stretches our capacities.
If we as a society think Just-At-Home life style i.e. trying to make it work, we will start looking for ways to stretch limited resources.  Take electricity, for example. Working/living at home during a pandemic period may mean rotating blackouts. Each district take turns 'working' a night shift at home to maximize the utilization of generating capacity. Some semblance of normalcy can be maintained as long as the schedules are published well in advance of a pandemic and society as a whole go through drills to iron out the bugs.

We can start creating and testing solutions instead of worrying about why it won't work. It is better to focus on solving problems than fighting fear and wondering when the crisis is over.  We can have staying power and not be too hasty in declaring the end of a pandemic (lessons from 1918 and more recently SARS Toronto). We will remove much of the causes of panic.

Just like WW-II, the war can only be won with the population focused on fighting it, not by avoiding it, or fearing it.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

In other words, there is only one way to win the pandemic war.
It will be a test of our COLLECTIVE wisdom and ingenuity.

We outlast the virus with as much society intact as possible. AND we don't give the virus chances to spread.

To do that, the entire population has to be educated, some directly, others via early adopters.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
hive mind and muscle - a summary from a colateral conversation
  • Politicians will do what they must, or less.  In time, or (quite posibly) too late.  Anger at them is not too useful (except if/when it is).
  • We (the larger fluhive) must do what we can, which means helping them (specially if/when/where they request it or at least "seem to request it"), while at the same time bringing the whole hive mind (and muscle) to the next level (if we can figure out how to do that).
  • Booklets have been suggested, some are on their way, and we have many resources already.  Maybe we need to look deeper into this?  What broad kinds of booklets do we need?  We have home care (Dr Woodson's), and we need community organisation, self- and community-reliance, scenario-creation tools or whatever's needed; so what are specifically the needed areas?  They should be simplified so it works, and directed to some different cultures if at all posible.  (Could we even try and see how many million lives we can help save in Africa, Asia etc.  NPIs - their primary available tool, together with home-care, self-reliance and not much else -, could be applied rapidly if there's a presensitised network of care and advice.  Helping the "developing" world means indirectly helping the "developed" world too.)  "Home care" is a great model, and we have http://www.instructa... and http://www.appropedi... to work at (appropedia has 3000+ articles and a panflu portal might be used to select the most useful tools and make room for whatever other tools are needed), and http://www.worldchan... to spread the word out and engage folks in several areas: permaculturists, peakoilers, sustainability geeks, innovative business people, inventors, etc.  I think we could engage the most clear-headed and practical folks in these areas, with the idea of taking practical steps without freaking people out: "there's a range of posibilities and an unknowable timing, and it sure makes sense to do this and that, practically and starting today".  Could we draft an appealing invitation?
  • Online collaboration has been suggested, with monthly closed online meetings of leading members of the communities to plan a strategy and agree to jointly implement it for the following month, for sinergy and focus.  There's need for hours in the day to organise this.  Maybe there could be a mixture of open and closed aproach for this: closed e-meetings with open "annonymised" summaries (even the location could be annonymised, as in "750,000 people county", and summaries could of course be shared), creating a model that could self-replicate at many local levels?  This might be a good outcome of the coming "leaders' meeting".  Maybe the whole thing could be further designed in the open and see what the hive itself comes up with and who does have time/resources/ideas/contacts to help?

Maybe this takes a separate thread/diary?  Please feel free to repost where appropriate, wikify, etc.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

Sounds like a thread
Sounds as if we need a "Hive Mind Strategy" thread, or something like that. I'm excited.

[ Parent ]
a "hive mind strategy" thread, hum! :-)

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Hum, indeed ;->
We have to create a bit of a buzz, don't you think?

[ Parent ]
Just-At-Home Resilient Living Parties
This is an idea I'd like to post for consideration and refinement.

First caveat - "party" isn't the right word, and alternative suggestions are welcome.

Hilarious irony - I'm thinking of gatherings based in part on the model of those at-home parties I never go to - you know the sort I'm talking about - Pampered Chef parties, PartyLite candle parties, Longaberger parties, Tupperware parties, Arbonne parties, and the like.

I like the idea of pitching prep as the concept of Resilient Living - this ties in with what anon.xyz said in the opening post on this thread, and I'm going to lift some stuff I wrote on another thread by way of explanation. Resilient living is  not running scared but being savvy, as in not standing first in line for the next Darwin Award.  To  be "afraid," to be "alarmed," is a kind of a social no-no in our society; no one wants to appear to be perturbed by a threat. But being "resilient" sounds smart. It implies living sustainably and being prepared for whatever comes, being intellectually nimble, resourceful and adaptable, and it also implies being psychologically resilient, not preyed upon by fear and worry. In short, I like the idea of drawing people together around the idea of personal and collective resilience.

In any case, I know we've got to make it cool and smart to prep, not "alarmist," and we've got to find common ground and build upon it. I think we can use social networking to do this.

So I'm thinking of home or small group Just-at-Home Resilient Living gatherings, involving participants in learning about the pandemic threat and preparing for it (video, information, resources on display, some hands on activities).  Such gatherings could also introduce the idea of collaborative planning among people who have some connection with each other.

We might model Resilient Living gatherings loosely on the home party industry, where the host is not the presenter.  I like the idea of the presenter being a knowledgeable volunteer instead (perhaps from a neighboring community) and the host being (or posing as) someone who is not necessarily a prepper but simply someone who has an interest and a concern for friends, family, and co-workers.  I think there needs to be some protection of the privacy of the presenter, such that presenters aren't putting their personal preparations at risk by speaking publicly.  Hosts and presenters could be people who've never met each other before or they could be a pair of preppers in nearby towns who simply agree to switch roles as host and prepper in each other's communities.  That second strategy might get things started. We'd have to devise a means by which willing hosts could find presenters and vice versa.

This model could scale up to larger events with a large group presentation and smaller demonstration booths (how to purify water, how to build a solar oven, how to give good home care, how to put on a respirator and otherwise minimize risk of infection, etc).  Venues wouldn't have to be limited to people's homes, of course.

If we could find sources of funding, I'd like Just-at-Home Resilient Living event kits to be potentially more than just files we can download to use (invitation templates, event announcements, PowerPoints or videos, event plans, and printable informational handouts), but actual materials for use in demonstrations that could be returned or sold at cost to participants.  The host might receive a gift. (I don't want a for-profit model - that would muddy the mission's credibility.) 

Could this work?  Ideas?  Refinements?

there's a way to see if it would work - try it out.
InKy, shall I create a wiki page for this?

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Feedback first?
I'd love to get some more input. People who are "home party planners" might give us a little guidance, or even those of us who've hosted such events in our homes.  As I said, I never hosted a party and have only been to one or two in my life.  I'm interested not only in what we might learn from a proven marketing system but also in what we'd need to do differently. 

There's usually some kind of reward for hosts, for instance.  Maybe we could work out a deal with some prep suppliers for discounts - a modest regular discount for guests and a steeper discount for hosts and presenters.  I don't know - just thinking about incentives that might leverage greater participation.

[ Parent ]
Group/bulk purchase could be an incentive n/t

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Great idea
Let's keep thinking and also list the suppliers we'd like to approach with our idea. 

[ Parent ]
We need the government to legitimize it as a positive social trend.
Let's repeat what you said in emphasis.

"In any case, I know we've got to make it cool and smart to prep, not "alarmist," and we've got to find common ground and build upon it. I think we can use social networking to do this."

An HHS branded Just-At-Home logo will help, just like recyling or energy star.

The Resilient Living crowd certainly can contribute to the effort, but government endorsement is a prerequisite to success.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Government endorsement required?
It may not even be wanted - at least not official endorsement. 

First, endorsement is like money, it comes with strings.

Second, it would take for bloody ever.

Third, given what we continue to see even on the fedflublog, by the time it was endorsed, it would likely not be recognizable. 

That is not to say that a consistent official message would not be helpful, nor that their public support of the Resilient Living Movement would not be welcome. 

I just think we have to stop waiting for them and stop relying on them.

That does not mean we let them off the hook, it means that just as they are obligated to do their thing, we probably need to do ours as well.

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
Yes, we probably do . . .
. . . actually, I think we certainly do need to continue to do what we need to do.

I did comment to the Admiral last night that we needed truth, and we needed validation - and that if they would give us the truth, we would then find our own validation.

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure about that-
eventually, yes probably, but initially, I don't think so.  Many sustainability/resilient living folks are doing what they are doing because they mistrust the government.  I think it would be prudent to get folks on board before we throw any government endorsement into the mix.  Plus we may never get g-e anyway, so my feeling is best proceed without them.

[ Parent ]
Inky, I quoted your comment in a HHS blog post

#15 anon.yyz Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.


Thank you for posting this concise yet precise assessment of the situation and what is needed to move forward.

What I would like to add is a comment posted on the Flu Wiki in a new thread ?Just-At-Home vs. Shelter-In-Place?.

The hurdle we are faced with is that people do not like negative ideas.

In the words of a Flu Wiki poster (Inky)

We?ve got to make it cool and smart to prep, not ?alarmist?

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Wow, thanks.
I've had a couple of irons in the fire, so to speak, and hadn't gotten over there to respond to Weinrich's excellent post.  If we want to sell the pandemic flu preparation message, we have, ultimately, to sell empowerment, not hopelessness, personal and collaborative resilience, not fear. 

[ Parent ]
There is allready a kind of fringe or underground movement-
of do-it-your-selfers who are doing lots of neat resilient living things but with a hip or cool edge.  Check out either "Make" or "Craft" magazines-both have web-pages. 

Theres also a growing Urban Homesteader movement-people who are not going back to the land or trying to be totally self sufficient-these are Urban/suburban folks who are doing small back yard gardens, canning/preserving food/ crafts/do it yourself projects-I know knitting is HUGE with some of these folks, many are into the "slow food" movement-food cooked from scratch at home-trying to be somewhat more self sufficient. 

[ Parent ]
I think we do well to find these people in our local communities and to forge connections. I'm taking my own incremental steps toward becoming a "subdivision homesteader." Judging from people's yards, I don't think subdivision homesteading is all the rage just yet in my town ;->.  The zoning department isn't going to let me create the next Path to Freedom project , either, complete with goats and chickens. Still, I can do what I can do. The trip to Berea's ecovillage and permaculture food forest is on for Wednesday morning at 10:00 (open invitation, of course), and I'm going to check out a couple of local organic farms later this week or early next.

[ Parent ]
Urban homesteaders vs. Code Enforcement
Oh yeah.  Many code enforcement departments have it in for urban homesteaders and wannabe homesteaders.

And let's not forget those darlings, the deed restriction nazis.  LOL!

We are slowly trying to go that direction, but you have to move slow or you draw too much attention which can land you in hot water.

My hope is to do more with edible landscaping this fall.  At least then people can't complain too much.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
No kidding.
I think it's a hoot that our short-legged  Jack Russells are OK, but a couple of Pygmy goats are not.  (In my area, lifestock must be quartered at least 100 feet from any neighbor's property line - my lot's not that wide.) I guarantee Pygmy goats would make less noise and dig out of the fence less often. 

I'm working on the edible landscaping strategy, too, along with a few raised beds for vegetables.  Nobody can say much about what I plant.  Or they can say what they like, but I'll do as I please :->.

[ Parent ]
Edible Landscaping?
Something other than vegetables and fruit? Enlighten me, please. I know certain bulbs can be eaten, but what types of other plants do you have in mind? Any book rec? Thanks.

[ Parent ]
Edible landscaping - some info
Edible landscaping means different things to different people.  LOL!  For some it is just having a fruit tree in the yard.  For others it is their window box that has herbs growing in it.  Or, it can go all the way up to a huge all encompassing landscaping project where no space in the yard is devoted to anything that cannot be eaten or used for flavoring.

Here are some links that I've found over the last couple of years that I've been researching my own project that started with just two grapefruit trees we inherited when we moved into this house.

(catalog, commercial, but worth a look)

(one of the less annoying about.com websites)


(from Ohio State)

(about edible landscaping in NJ - there are other state specific websites, this one is just pretty as well as informative)


These should get you started.  Hope this helps.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the edible landscaping info (nt)

[ Parent ]
Edible Landscaping
By edible landscaping, most people have in mind nuts, fruit, vegetables, and berries.  Of course, if you are hungry enough, you can eat your daylilies and your dandelions, too.  My edible landscape is very young (just bought this house, newly built, not quite four years ago).  I have a pecan tree (will buy another this fall), dwarf peach trees, disease-resistent semi-dwarf apples, including some that keep well in long-term storage, blackberries, blueberry bushes, gooseberries, currants, grapes, strawberries, familiar garden vegetables, and herbs.  The yard will be an Eden someday. Everything is too little to produce much now except the blackberry canes and the annual vegetables.  The blackberries are rampant. Plant them in a raised bed. 

Here's an introduction to edible plants at plantea.com.  Books on edible and medicinal wild plants are easy to turn up on Amazon. I bought Peterson's Field Guides, but I can't compare them to others by way of a review.

Sorry, didn't mean to duplicate.  I was writing when you posted :->.

InKY ... the more the merrier
LOL!  What is it they say?  Great minds think alike.  LOL!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
there are other aspects to this thread other than edible homes, so
maybe we need to work out a couple of different threads?

Paradigm changes such as this (SIP vs JAH [courtesy of anon.yyz, deep bow from grateful learners]) are explosive in our minds.  Maybe we have these [and more, or different - whatcha think?]:

- How to be more resilient at home
- How to work from home
- How to help each other while we're at home (neighbor phones neighbor)
- How to get the whole ball moving *
- Other things yet to be mentioned or revived

* I'm thinking of a thread called "Hive or not, here we go", or something to that effect, but I need time to think and write!  Yes, darling, I'll walk the dog!

Side note: we're not alone and maybe your want to read this piece, where Dave Pollard suggests a new acronym, based on our well known YOYO (you're on your own): WOOO! (we're on our own).  Funny what difference a "we" makes.  And of course "we" can be as inclusive as "we" like - hey, even governments are welcome to join in!  ;-)

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

Some basic concerns
I just still have some very real concerns with everyone thinking that people working from home will be an "easy" fix.

If you really exam that majority of jobs out there, they cannot be accomplished from home.  Some aspect of them might, but then again some are actually based on portions of jobs - or entire industries - that are not convertible to at-home doing.

Put it this way, yes, you would think that most clerical and/or secretarial jobs could be done from home; but, what if those positions were part of the entertainment and/or tourist industries?

Only so much therapy can be done without direct interracation with a patient - either psychological or physical.

Mass food production cannot all be done by machines.

Sales, retail or otherwise, requires both human interraction and economic stability.

Generally, the lower your income the more direct people-to-people contact that you have ... the fast food industry is one example.

I think the idea of work-from-home is a piece of the puzzle, but is by no means a large piece of it.  And, the potential economic depravation caused by a pandemic could very well mean that more people than not are going to be dealing with job loss or job change just when they need their personal economic stability the most which will tempt many to break social distancing "rules" that may be in place.

A few more cottage industries - soap, herbs, small-scale food farming, etc. - may spring up to address this.  We need to add ways to facilitate people's ability to do this.  Perhaps community news bulletins or community bulletin boards (nonelectric in case of utility interruption and for those that do not have access to the net for whatever reason).

But again, this would be something that would require the forethought and preparation prior to the pandemic.  Trying to get equipment and/or supplies for this may be difficult at best during a pandemic.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
1% at a time, plus other tricks
even if "work from home" works for a small percentage of jobs and industries, it's still one more trick for the bag

other things:
- shops with customer contact can use plastic sheets between customer(s) and employee(s) [having contact just with other employees cuts contacts maybe to 10% of normal, or more], work outside in the sunshine if the weather allows it, or other strategies
- hair cutting might be done with the customer's head stuck into a perforated umbrella, maybe (?)

it would be good to have a list of types of jobs (with number of people in each kind of job) in order to design a variety of strategies for each of them - then it's just a matter of selecting from a menu that would be in newspapers on day one - but we have to have the menu ready - could we do that?  it looks like a good job for a wikipage+diary/thread combo

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
In our county the largest employer is the school system-
Which will most likely (I hope) be shut down if pan-flu hits.  In second place is a couple of factories which are not really crucial-they make car parts and I don't see a huge upswing in the purchase of new cars during a pandemic.  I'm guessing these will be closed. this will totally wreck our county.  One glimmer of hope is that we are a agricultural county-and most farmers are self employed.  There is a huge chicken factory farm one county over, but none here-as far as I know.  Most farm chores are done outside, or in nice big airy barns, so work could go on there, plus this will be a VITAL industry.  Many of the auto workers/teachers may seek farm jobs-which would not be that weird, here, because anyone who has any bit of land, and land here, now, is pretty cheap has tobacco or cows already.  When I was a substitute teacher, often I would cover classes for a teacher who had to go home because her cows had gotten out.

I'm thinking some people may just have to switch jobs.  My dh thinks its a good idea for everyone to have some sort of "trades" skills and experience under their belt-"just in case"  Many of the jobs tradespeople have don't require them to come in contact with a lot of people.  Jobs like carpentry, electricians, plumbers, linesmen, farmers-these are vital now, they will be ten times more during a pandemic.  I think if you have any of these skills, now would be a dandy time to brush up on them.  There may even be time to fit in a couple of vocational classes.  Many vocational schools have evening classes for adults already working at another job. 

[ Parent ]
Good point
  Admin (Hr, purchasing, forms), some programming, customer service and some help desk fuctions and writing can be done at home.

  Manufacturing, computer networking, server control, customer.

  However the specter of "Lost data" from missing PCs or people making Home copies of finacial records looms heavily over all that.

  Then there is intenet connectivity and bandwidth usage.

  Who will come and fix my PC should it break or need company software?

  Ocassionaly OSHA is brought up. If I trip and fall at home while working - can I claim workmans comp? Can my boss inspect my home to make sure I have a safe environment?

  BTW, the federal employees have not embraced working from home. It is not the great boon it was suppose to be and "out of sight, out of mind, out of promotion."

  I actually am glad we think this stuff through. Kudos to all.


[ Parent ]
Heres a couple of ideas to keep working-
DH is a mental health practitioner which will be in super high demand during a pandemic crises-he's already overworked now.  His agency has no pandemic-flu plans, so he's trying to come up with some ways to continue to meet clients.  Heres some of his ideas:

He can do some counseling over the phone-not ideal, but better than nothing.

He can meet with clients outside in the air, weather permitting.

Through a Plexiglas window.  They already have one office with this set-up.

Use lots of social distancing-no group therapy, for example, and ppf gear.

Or, his least favorite, but he will consider it, just do an at home SIP through the worst and then try to help pick up pieces afterward.

Greenmom .... has your hubby
given some thought to how well people with mental health challenges will be able to deal with SIP?  What happens to their social networks that enable them to remain independent?

My other concern is for the hospitals that serve the population that simply cannot function on their own ... not just group housing, but the really ill that live institutionlized either due to mental "defect" or violence-related mental health issues.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
Kathy- he has and it makes him very sad.
one positive thing is that in our county most people have have large extended family networks.  Its rare here for a person to  not have any family, or just a nuclear family unit.  Of course there are a few, but its the exception not the rule.  He does a lot of family counseling and working with family members of clients to set up support systems.

The bad news is that this is a low income area and even two or more family members working(often kids drop out of school to go to work) people are living paycheck to paycheck and are not prepping.  Pan flu is simply not on their radar-they just have too much on their plates. 

[ Parent ]
may prove the only viable alternative to any of it.  If pandemic occurs as some of us fear, the emotional problems of those who can't deal will be "back burner issues" - there won't be services or support.  Telephone support sounds great, until you stop and think that there may be no phone service. 

I do not even expect that in the midst of pandemic a case of acute appendicitis could be properly treated.  I don't think any degree of reasonable medical care or psych care will be available.  Hard as it sounds, outpatient psychiatric care will be an unaffordable luxury. 

I think there's a whole lot of talking about a whole lot of things that really won't make any difference when push comes to shove.  The quote that BirdGuano uses as his sig line sums it up - a quote from a NJ HHS person about how for a year there will be no work, no school - all we'll be doing is trying to stay alive.

THAT'S what I think people should be concentrating their efforts on - how best do we stay alive.

Anything else may be inconsequential.

[ Parent ]
That does sound harsh, Clawdia, but
we are afraid thats what we will be looking at.  We're taking time now to try to wrap our minds around it.

[ Parent ]
WOOO had already been invented by Pixie :-)

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

Independent Study Option: K-12 or University
Please post links if you know of any distance learning or e-learning programme in your state.

I found this one for the Province of Manitoba, Canada:


I was at a technology symposium and heard that distance learning capacity can be scaled quite rapidly these days.  The company claimed to be the second largest e-learning vendor (don't know who is #1). 

An example of distance learning at University of Minnesota.


You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

anon.yyz, there's stuff at fluwikie.com

and a bit more here http://www.fluwikie....

method: google "site:fluwikie.com distance education" (or whatever your keywords are)

hope this helps

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Distance Learning for Home Care
I just have another thought.

It might be feasible to produce some DVD's or online self-paced program to educate the public on basic home care. At a later stage, some hands-on practice or simulation at a local school may be useful, at least for the champions. Distance learning can also be used to train the trainer.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Are you Just-At-Home Ready?
I have a question, or may be this should be a poll, but I don't know how to set up a poll for an existing diary.

If a pandemic arrives tomorrow, are you just-at-home ready?

What about next week, next month, next year?

My point is it takes most of us a year to get nearly ready, by which I mean not just stockpiling food and water, and make contingency arrangements for schooling, work, finances, etc. 

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

THAT is a good slogan!
Are you Just-At-Home Ready?

in and of itself!  I can imagine flyers or PSAs or newspaper Ads with that title!

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]
we could survive three months-
Homeschooling is in place, plus all our banking, and fixed bill paying is on-line-we figure if the Grid goes down everybody's screwed and at that point we won't worry about it.  But we wouldn't have to leave the house to take care of bills.  Dh is working on ways to continue work through pan-flu but if his office is shut down, we've taken out a "medical emergency" insurance policy which will cover basic expenses for three months-and if pan flu doesn't constitute medical emergency I don't know what would! 

We are so far out in the boonies that campaigning politicians and door to door salesmen haven't found us- plus we have a big barky dog.  We also have, if worse comes to worse, guns and ammo and a Gulf War veteran who would not hesitate to use them.  He subscribes to the Viking philosophy of "if you meet up with someone you don't know, just go ahead and kill him, because he might be a troll."

Ive been buying up books,puzzles, games, craft projects.

We have three sources of water-one is iffy during a pandemic-if grid goes down, and one would be a pain to collect but we could do it.  Mostly, right now I'm trying to stash as much food and med supplies as I can, and get my garden producing year round.  But every day I stick something in my prep stash, even if its one can of peaches.  The longer it holds off, the better we'll be and if we make it to fall 2008, we'll be in realivly good  shape.  Right now we would survive.  2008 we would survive in comfort.

[ Parent ]
We have preps and plans
We have enough calories to take us out nine months, but towards the end of that time the menu might get really strange as I'm still working on filling in with extras.

We have a lot of continuity plans that we will try and put in place including plans for our business.

I too feel like if we can make it into 2008 our family will be able to be in a much more comfortable position.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
Social Connectedness
I would like to think Just-At-Home is about Work, School, Play, Eat and Care.  Supposing for a moment every one in your community has stocked up for three months, do  you want the only activities remaining to be Just-At-Home Eat and Care?  I for one will go nuts after a while, and I think it will become very difficult for kids.


I think the term ?Social Distancing? is not quite practical.  I would like to be Physically Distant, Socially Connected.   I still like to connect to the outside world, be able to communicate with friends, may be even have some fun.  The Internet has enabled some of that.  We have instant messaging and e-mail, and of course this and other forums to share ideas.  Then there are computer games for the kids.  Many of us have stocked up on books and non-electronic games (no power needed).  I think the social-connectedness is very important to maintain order in society.  We don?t want a community going crazy.  Since we can?t gather in public, really the only things left are the phone, the Internet and (one way broadcast) TV or radio.  We should not under estimate the importance of Social Connectedness during a pandemic.  It may very well mean the difference between maintaining societal order and plunging into anarchy.


We have talked about distance learning, e-learning, or online school programs.  This depends on the Internet being up and running, and power being available.


The same Internet access allows some of us to work at home and still connected to the office.  Not every job can be converted to working Just-At-Home, but some can be done without too many changes.  Other jobs may require re-thinking.  Most people would agree that it is no longer viable to plan on a one job or even one industry career.  People need to develop multiple career paths, with several distinct skills.  That is why Continuing Education is a growing phenomenon.  While this is happening, advances in information technology allow jobs to be moved around the planet, much of this through outsourcing to countries with lower labor costs ? call centers being an example.  The same technology should enable moving the jobs back to people?s home in a local community ? because it is likely easier to keep local portions of the Internet working continuously than for the whole world.

Since pandemics come in waves, lasting over 18 months or longer, it is important to find ways to allow the labor pool to produce without risking people lives.  During a pandemic, how do we make use of home-based worker?  What opportunities are available to businesses?  Right now, pandemic is a taboo subject in social situations.  Perhaps if it becomes front and center, then companies can start planning for different job arrangements to make use of the home-based labor pool, even publish a list of home-based jobs. People can start acquiring alternative skills.  It may be less efficient than where we are at, but we can keep some people employed.


As far as I know, the Core of the Internet is quite reliable.  The problem is mostly at ?the last mile? ? the connection from your home to the cable TV box on your street or the DSL Access Module at your phone company.  We need to find ways to keep power running to these boxes. 

Then there is question of power availability at your home for the Cable or DSL modem, the router and the PC.  The home PC power requirement is not so low any more and a consumer battery pack does not allow you to run the PC for longer than 15 minutes.  A laptop will use less power but you still have to run the Cable/DSL modem and the router.  In looking at this problem, we need to find solutions that are marketable during non-pandemic years.

One recent development in computer technology is ?Virtualization? which essentially means that the PC is not a physical device but one of many virtual computers running inside another more power computer at a distant location.  It is therefore conceivable for your Internet Service Provider to run many virtual PC?s at a central location and you only need a low power device (similar to a Blackberry, but with a bigger screen like a portable personal DVD player).  It may be possible to have a built-in DSL or Cable modem so it becomes plug- and-play.  Similar to cellular phone services, I can imagine the service providers giving away this device to a subscriber on the ?hosted PC? service on a 2 year contract. Since it would be easier to guarantee power availability to one service provider location than all homes, this set up will provide more service availability.  In addition, communication between subscribers to the same ISP can occur within one Data Center, therefore reducing bandwidth requirements on the Internet.  This ?feature? is particularly important during a pandemic as there will be more community based communication.  The portable terminal without any hard disk or DVD drive will consume much less power and therefore can likely run several hours on batteries.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

great thinking!
Powerful concepts, anon.yyz!  http://www.ltsp.org + wireless for close server-pc contacts + other type of waves for far-far contacts (server-to-server) + solar power for servers ... there's a full market for "RESILIENT LAST MILE" gadgets (both the neighbourhood server and the client machines would be part of it).

If the whole internet comes down, you still get the neighbour-to-neighbour socialisation, mutual help, etc.

And of course some of those boxes could be recycled or whatever.

Now, when I think about work, play, etc ... there's TRANSPORT.  I'd like to have offices without transport.

One idea that has been put forward is living in a connected village, which has cyber-offices.  You walk into your local office and, voila!, the walls and voices and so on, it all tells you that you're in your business's headquarters (virtually).  You even have to wear a tie if that's the done thing in your business!  You've avoided all transport crowds and, if you're at a 10 minute walk from home, all you need is an N99 for those 10 minutes - which means about a mask per week.

We need to look more deeply into transport as such.  All else failing, what would be the effect of everyone wearing simple washable masks since day one?  We don't know, but it might be substantial if it's "everyone" and "since day one".  Buys us time to get more masks and other things, no?

What other things can we do regarding transport?

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Computerworld article about enabling work at home
Hat tip to Snowhound1 who found this article in Computerworld;



Security is a concern. Businesses may want to distribute laptops in advance to ensure that endpoint devices coming into the virtual private network are properly secured, says Ross.

Bank of New York has a VPN but is in the final stages of choosing a thin-client, desktop application virtualization technology that?s capable of securely supporting remote access by a large population of users working from home.

The new system will securely support any computer equipped with a browser, thus eliminating worry about the security of home computers or supplying company laptops. Configuration and management will all occur on the back end. ?The solution we choose will minimize or eliminate any visits to people?s homes,? says Jobin.

The key phrases are "thin client" and "large population" .  Using less Internet bandwidth means a larger number of employees can work from home.

Another article discusses the challenges of anticipated surge in online traffic during a pandemic. Traffic needs to be prioritized. The thin client desktop PC virtualization model will allow more people to work, and if the low power consumer video web terminal that was discussed earlier becomes reality along with ISP hosted virtual PC consumer services, the risks of choking off the Internet will be reduced.



You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Touchless Grocery Vending, Micro-Containerization
At some point in time during the 18 months pandemic waves, most of us need to replenish our stock.  Before a pandemic arrives, preppers need to rotate the stock, which is no small task.  I have been thinking about this problem for quite some time, and was looking for an industry wide solution.

I came up with two main ideas :

1. micro-containerization
2. touchless grocery vending

Some of you may have noticed the addition of self-service checkout lanes.  You may also have heard of RFID tags on products so items can be scanned without moving each one onto the conveyer belt.  We have discussed the perils of grocery shopping cart being a vector for transmitting infectious diseases.

Just like ocean going container shipping, the retail industry could develop a limited number (say three, small medium and large) standard sized, stackable micro-containers for individual items.  The next thing we need is a standard sized, stackable mini-container (the size of a recycling blue box) which can snap onto a grocery cart base with wheels, with a personal push handle that snaps onto the personal shopping container.  The design has to be such that the micro-containers will stack nicely into the mini-container.  The micro-containers should also fit nicely into fridges and pantry shelves.

Supposing this is accomplished then it becomes possible to use vending machines to sell these items (say after hours).

We may even be able to use the stackable mini-containers to store our preps.

It will be possible to order grocery online and pick up at a drive through (or use the vending machine).  Payment or identity could be conducted using proximity cards (no touch).

As for my stock rotation, with standardized micro-containers, some one could design a vertical storage system, like a chute, with which we drop our newly purchased items, and simply consume the ones coming out of the bottom opening.  (Now you know how lazy I am ? )

Please comment, brain storm, kick this around.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

good concept, implementable with high/low/no-tech, maybe?
I keep thinking in two time-scales: we have lots of time to do stuff, or we don't.

If we have no time, I recall Monotreme's "asynchronous transfer" meme.

We could have two competing teams of creative folks in a "big brother" setting, and tell them to come up with ways to "transfer stuff, not viruses" in a variety of situations.  Each team evaluates the other team's video, highligthing good/bad/seed, then the public gives points to each team, then a final set of recomendations is issued (not the most important part, maybe; it depends on the number of people who actually watch the whole thing).  The public has a chance to send text messages with their suggestions.

This idea is offered free of charge for the next flu season.  It might include "no tech" situations such as those in the developing world.

Treat "common flu" as a nice, huggable bug.  Or what would be the huggable counterpart if the bug is to be avoided?

This needs more thinking.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
No pandemic justification needed.
I am looking for new ways of 'doing things' in normal times that just happens to be good practices during pandemic years. New products and methods are invented every day. They might as  well support a Just-At-Home pandemic-safe lifestyle.

Things like telecommuting will save money, increase productivity, reduce transportation without a pandemic. It will come in handy during one.

Same goes with distant learning. It enables self-paced learning of a much broader variety of subjects to a much bigger audience and as a result reduces costs of training.

Touchless grocery vending will reduce retail costs, encourage bulk buying, extend shopping hours and increase convenience. It may start off low tech, but as containers and product packaging are standardized (they are developing RFID anyway), some business may build an automated lights out grocery vending plant some what like a postal or Fedex sorting plant. You place an order via a drive through and you pick up a bin at the other end with grocery all stacked properly. They may still need to maintain a fresh produce section because consumer behaviors are hard to change, but at a later phase consumers may buy more pre-packaged fresh produce.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
there were a few suggestions over at blog.pandemicflu.gov to that effect,
like phonecalls among the elderly and so on

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
and that is all very do-able.  today.  much of our work force can do at home what they do at work - they're limited by management, not technology.  business would save huge amounts that are currently invested in real estate and facilities to house employees so managers can watch them work during business hours.  i remember sitting in a management class in college, and being taught that programmers were not to be trusted by management - that was before the instructor learned that i was a CS major..  didn't hear much along those lines afterward.

[ Parent ]
The biggest draw-back to working at home...
Is that there a tons of distractions. Home is comfortable, and as such, many things can get in the way of a productive "work day". Kids, laundry, neighbors at the door, pets, housework. It's going to take a major mind change to get the average worker to sit at home, at a desk, and do the same amount of work they did in an office environment. I'm not saying it can't be done, it's just going to take some effort by both the employee(s) and management.

In my last place of employment, we sent home about 300 employees (we called them WAHs, for Work-At-Homes). After 3 months, nearly 1/2 were brought back into the office because their productivity fell to almost nothing...and these were call-center operators. The company had paid to have ergonomic furniture installed, cable/DSL lines installed, dedicated phone lines installed, company computers installed...everything the employee needed was provided.

I was told by a few of the employees that they just couldn't get out of the mind-set that since they were home, they felt they could get things done around their house and visit with the neighbors while they were working...

Not an impossible task, but one that needs to be addressed by management before sending someone home to work.

[ Parent ]
Work at home requires discipline, or incentives.
If the expenditure and computing power of an office desktop PC is transferred to a bank of virtual PC servers (e.g. Citrix, VMWare), then an employee can work at home using a relatively low powered device. If you get people to log on in say short 3-hour shifts, then more people can work collaboratively.

Business won't be quite as usual, but it will be more resilient or survivable during a pandemic.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Work at home is very different,
I did medical transcription at home, paid based on production, for several years.  Everyone else expected that since I was home I could do laundry, dishes, shopping, etc.

I did it.  It meant my work day amounted to about 14 hours, and it also meant I was still working at 3 a.m. a lot of days.  For me, I could accomplish a lot more at home than at an office, but I was exhausted all the time.

I think in the initial stages of a high CFR pandemic some people might get some work done at home - pretty much, though, I think things will gradually grind to a standstill as we lose the power grid. 

[ Parent ]
Working at home does indeed require a lot of self-discipline.
There are some who would be tempted to spend their time browsing the Wiki instead of doing the aforementioned laundry, dishes,shopping,etc.  Nobody I know personally, you understand!  :-) 

[ Parent ]
tempted to....browsing the Wiki
Heh...I do that now. At work. Working at home wouldn't be much different...

[ Parent ]
I'm having trouble coming up with many jobs
that can be done at home that are actually necessary. Sure, many white collar jobs these days involve some or a lot of computer work but much of it is generated by someone physically doing something - manufacturing, cooking, cleaning, building, repairing, transporting, etc.

Even data entry often requires access to the real world - paper files, people, production, etc.

The UK is now mainly a service society and many of those services are redundant in a pandemic. They might even vanish after a pandemic if money is in short supply - hotels, theatres, spas, fun fairs, hair dressing, gyms, etc

Even managerial roles lose their value when they have nothing to manage.

I think more people should telework (save the planet and all that) but those jobs aren't going to keep the country running.

The best use of pandemic time I could come up with was learning and teaching. Not that I think it will happen. I suspect most people will fritter the time away worrying.

[ Parent ]
Work force retraining.
You got a good point. High touch low skill jobs won't be available. Some won't resume after a pandemic. Use that time to retrain workers via distant learning. We may need more health care workers after a pandemic.

Not all employees working in front of a computer all day long are 'overhead'. Some are 'production'. For example, software product developers, computer game developers, any one creating intellectual property.

As for manufacturing, new models may need to be developed to allow a new version of "micro-factories" at home to make something useful. The economics may very well be different during a pandemic. I may be willing to pay $10 for a part locally made if I can't get it at 10 cents made in China.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
I agree
First aid and care of the sick will be VERY useful to learn.

Software production was one of those I thought of but it all depends upon the pandemic. Games software might be one of those things we can't afford after a pandemic, along with manicures and pet grooming.

Micro factories would be great, but if there's little drive to shut schools then there isn't the drive to become self sufficient.

The perfect model of an existing micro factory is the sewing machine but given a lack of needlework skills or inclination and an overabundance of clothes (second hand will be the fashion) it will be a while before people start making their own.

Life might change dramatically, but it will happen after a pandemic.

[ Parent ]
BB ... that's what happened in my husband's banking position
When my husband still worked in commerical banking he spent nearly a year as a telecommuter.  If was great.  The first three months was that he was in the office M,W,F and telecommuted on T and R (Thursday).  Then since productivity remained stable for this group they were allowed to go 100% telecommuter.

Three things happened. 

(1) People lost their focus, similar to what you described.  They lost their personal fixation and boundaries for their work and procrastinated to the point of inefficiency.

(2) Loss of boundaries by management.  By this I mean that since they weren't restricted to office hours per se, management didn't care how long it took them to meet their quota and/or file review.  And, since he was salaried, he had no safety catch to keep management from overloading him.  So instead of a standard 40 to 45 hour work week he sometimes spent 60 hours getting his work finished.  At first it was a non-issue because the extra work just replaced the commute time, but gradually the extra work began to take its toll on everyone.

(3) Security issues began to crop up because they had to have paper files to do their job.  The paper files where shunted around using FedEx, but customers did not like the idea of their personal information making its way into employees personal homes.  And files were lost, computers were hacked, etc.

There was a handful of these people, my husband among them, who were able to double their productivity by telecommuting.  But by and large, productivity fell sharply because of the loss of accountability.  People wouldn't answer their phones or return emails.  Or, they claimed they were sick, when they were taking in a movie or going to the beach during office hours.

There is a reason for management.  Sometimes management oversteps their authority, but there is also the other side of the coin that some people need a separate location to maintain a particular mindset towards their job.

And there are alot of jobs that don't translate well to telecommuting and those that do are dependent on people who aren't telecommuters.  Its that interdependence thing agian.

I think a lot of people forget that telecommuting came about to try and address the question of overhead expenses.  Those overhead expenses are what keep some places in business that serve the various business sectors.  Take away that and other people will lose their jobs.  Round and around and around we go.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
I'll take the half full cup.
There are challenges to telecommuting.  Perhaps partial telecommuting is the way to go.  At least reduce the number of people in the office.  The National Defense University paper (near beginning of this diary) recommends having 3 x 8 hour office shifts to reduce people density.  We can extend that by  partial telecommuting. Another way is partial employment, not full employment. There will be less revenue and employee will have less time to work due to lower efficiency in house chores.

There are other jobs that cannot be done at home, and some industries that won't have customers e.g. Disney World, cruise ships, hospitality industry in general. To the extent some can convert the revenue stream into digital delivery, some jobs may be saved.

One option is to bring back some outsourced jobs, and have people who we know won't have any work during a pandemic trained in advance. Businesses may do that just because it is difficult to predict how reliable an intercontinental network is during a pandemic.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
One problem that will have to be address for
possible shift work is the likelihood of curfews.  Dusk to dawn curfews will be likely in any area that experiences civil unrest ... and there will be areas like that, I just don't know how widespread the problem will be.

Curfews will limit the number of shifts that can occur.

Secondly, if the availability of fuel or mass transit becomes an issue this will disrupt any kind of mitigation plan that hopes to keep businesses going.  This will be true regardless of whether you live in an urbanized area or in a rural area.  I forget where I saw the data so cannot quote it, but compared to even ten years ago, people are commuting much further to get to their jobs.  And it didn't matter whether they lived in a rural setting or urban setting.  Some rural residents traveled even further for their commute.

There is no easy answer especially given how many people today are living pay check to pay check and even if not, have a very shaky house of cards when it comes to their personal finances.

During a pandemic, funds to spend which supports most areas of the economy will be in short supply.  That means that a lot of people who depend on the entertainment and tourist type industries are going to be laid off and companies who may already be struggling will go under.  Unemployment payments may also be compromised if the economy gets too bad.

While I don't like the entitlement programs that morphed out of the New Deal that FDR put together to address the Great Depression of the 1930's their public work programs would be something to seriously consider.

That was the era that many national parks, highways and other roads, etc. were built.  People worked for their state check and were receiving job training and life experience at the same time.  Such programs would be a good way to introduce job re-training if certain industries collapse.  That is what was missing in the 70s, 80s, and 90s when a lot of good paying blue collar jobs disappeared because of increases in technology that made their jobs moot.

The same thing could happen, in reverse, from a pandemic.  Technology, management, and other white collar positions may lose their hold on the job market and those people will need to re-train into trades. [shrug] Its a thought anyway.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
commuting much further
When I lived in the SF Bay Area, I knew of people commuting from the Livermore Valley and cities of Manteca, Stockton and Modesto to be able to afford housing. A distance of about 90-100 miles each way...in their cars! These folks weren't telecommuters, either. They had physical jobs that required their presence. Many still do that.
One of the possibilities, with the 50% vacancy of commercial office space there, is for companies to open satellite offices closer to their workers' homes as a temporary measure. Obviously, deals would have to be struck with the money handlers, but it could be done...

[ Parent ]
wow...  i worked from home for a year when i was doing controls...  onsites for installs, but most was at home...  several days i'd write/debug c code 20+ hrs per day..  it was sweet - no traffic.  only real trouble i had was remembering to eat periodically - once every day or two..  never got anywhere near that productive in an office - too many distractions.  next closest was a hotel, and after that, a hot and loud engine room - no people, nice hum from the motors.. lost a few frequencies of hearing that way, tho.

[ Parent ]
home delivery of bulk foods
I've organizes a monthly order from a small warehouse for about a dozen families in my neighborhood.

Once a month, the truck drives out to our town and drops off boxes of non-perishables:  oil, flours, grains, honey, dried beans, canned foods, soaps, soy milk; essentially everything you could buy in a small health food store except for ready-to-eat meals, produce, and dairy products.

We combine our orders to make about the equivalent of a small groery store order-- which make sit worth the while of the truck to make a stop for us.

Out items are packed in boxes and left on someone's front porch.

Assuming that there IS food available and that people HAVE money to pay for it, and that there IS gas available for the truck (I know -- asumptions!)  I don't see why we couldn't continue to use this approach during a pandemic, to avoid needing to go into a grocery store.

The trick is learning to feed ourselves using non-perishable foods, and only ordering once a month!

Pandemics are "Wicked Problems". - Average Concerned Mom

[ Parent ]
get solar cellphones into the mix, maybe

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

SIP for the masses won't happen.
That being my estimate, I no longer spend time and money to increase my stock pile beyond 90 days.  My thinking is some time during the first severe wave, the government will ration what's available. If I don't go out like every one else, I will become an obvious target. That is why I am doing this diary, thinking through how to make every one safer, building a more resilient society. That is why I think remaining socially connected is going to be very important to survival, while keeping physical distance. That is why maintaining production in society is important. It gives people hope to fight our way out.

A rhetorical question: what happens if pandemic waves lasting 18 months happen every 5 years?

Answer: we live a Just-At-Home lifestyle.

Some think that we will necessarily end up with a 19th century or worse society. I think we can find a new 21st century society.

Hope is not a plan. We need to work hard on this.

Being fatalistic is certainly not a better option.

Change the thinking and new ideas begin to pop up.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

The Other Manhattan Project.
I have heard many times on flu boards about 'we need to have a  Manhattan Project' to fight this threat. IMO, throwing a lot of money at long shot research may not yield results quick enough to matter. Vaccine research should be done, but not at the expense of eating up all the budget.

First off, we need to understand our biggest problem is the JIT Vulnerability, which is exposed by a pandemic Threat (or other hazards).

Securing transport trucks, shipping.

Truck drivers may not want to work for fear of their own safety and their family. We also have a risk of gasoline shortage.

We need new sustainable practices, not just quick fixes.

We need our hive minds to think through this. Please contribute.

Thank you.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

Are we talking survival or prosperity?
Personally I don?t think that JIT is a major problem to life, only a problem to business.

Even with a large proportion of the transport system damaged there would still be enough capacity for the essentials. Rules can be broken in emergencies and it doesn?t take that long to train a driver.

Fuel would be directed towards the essentials, as would security. Industry uses a large proportion of the power generated in a country, shut most of it down and there isn?t that much problem supplying individuals.

Food production might be international but if you don?t try to feed people luxury items, many countries can survive on their own supplies.

Getting economies back on track after a major pandemic is another question, but I don?t think JIT is the major hazard.

[ Parent ]
lack of spare parts and drugs/medicines will be hazardous n/t

[ Parent ]
Which is why some things should have priority
A spare part for an Ipod manufacturer would come a long way down the supply queue compared to the spare part for a drug manufacturer. And the spare part to make insulin would come above the spare part to make an anti obesity drug.

There are hazards to life after a pandemic but JIT is not a major one.

In reality many companies don't actually operate JIT. I worked for a major chemical company and while most things were ordered well before they were needed and stored, a few items were late. I called it JTL - just too late. It meant that we weren't a very good comapny and our takeoever was inevitable. However we still made our product, just not fast enough to be very competative.

One area we should do much better in, is waste. We won't need as much if we don't fritter it away.

[ Parent ]
during will be a problem
there are some situations where just a few minutes or hours
too late/without will stop something that can't be restarted easily (power plants?), or will cause loss of life (power grid out, or no medical care, no police, no firefighters, for instance), or will cause a disaster (maybe just because skilled people were lost who know how to handle/run a dangerous materials site). Or if roads can't be cleared because equipment is missing some bit (or fuel)...

"For the want of a horseshoe nail", sort of add-on scenarios. "Known unknowns"?

No one is currently telling industry nor the public not to fritter... (more's the pity).


[ Parent ]
But that's not JIT
As I've said, power isn't as finely balanced as you might think. There is spare capacity normally (there has to be to deal with unexpected demand) and unimportant industry accounts for a lot of usage. Shut them down and you have more than enough.

If the skilled people are missing, that's another matter and it is a major shortfall in the modern world.

The problems of shortages will arise due to management and by that I mean government downwards. If government and business haven't identified what are critical needs and supplies and they let them be used up for non essentials, then we have a big, big problem.

All the minor problems can be put on hold until the end of a pandemic, it's the biggies that have to be sorted before. They all depend upon people taking a pandemic seriously.

JIT isn't a vital tool to keep up production it's more about profitability.

Supplies from abroad are often available close to hand but aren't used due to price, regulation, preference or just because the buyer got a good bottle of whiskey from the supplier.

[ Parent ]
And talking of power
Heavy engineering (including power) doesn't always operate JIT that closely. Accountants are always trying to bring it in but engineers are cautious types and stash stuff away for a rainy day. Vital chemicals tend to have an overlap of days rather than hours.

The UK energy industry is in a much more precarious position than the US. We rely heavily on gas from the former Soviet countries and it travels through Europe. We're the last in the line.

Coal production is almost dead and our nuclear is about to expire. Still... we'll have our windmills... some of the time :-(

[ Parent ]
My main concern is social stability.
Keep the people busy at home either working or learning, and still have some entertainment. Of course we need food and water.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
What is social stability dependent on?
The only way to answer that is to look at the basic needs of your area.

Keeping people home may have the opposite effect you are looking for.  Look at when domestic violence goes up, its when a lot of people are stuck at home with no way to get away.  Its during times of high stress.

Also, if you have to have sudden releases of non-violent offenders and non-emergency mental health patients back into the public to address congregate living issues inherent with a pandemic, you are are likely to have a loss of stability within the community those people gravitate to.

When do kids get into the most trouble?  When school is out.  So you will have those issues added in as well if your community institutes mitigation procedures that include school closures.

For a time, high infection rates may help control some current problems associated with social stability.  You will still have sectors though that bleed their strife into other areas.  And if there is a loss of law enforcement to address this, a slow bleed can become a major arterial spurt.  If recreational/addictive drugs aren't available in quantity, some families are going to be in big trouble with the person that is addicted - or who has gotten used to the money selling these drugs has created - has withdrawals.  Same thing with alcohol.

The problem of social stability has so many layers that it is going to require a very localized response to even begin to address it.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
That's why I don't want to call it SIP.
I am just trying to address the mainstream population. It is not going to be easy. At least try to get people gainfully occupied. They can still go out if they want, but large gatherings will need to be shut down. There will be some non-compliance with Just-At-Home.  There will be less compliance if the thinking is hunker down shelter-in-place.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
People don't have to be at home to be safe
They just shouldn't be together.

My sister works for a railway signaling company. I keep trying to persuade her that a pandemic might be the ideal time to get a lot of work done because the trains might not be running. Lot's of work out in the fresh air.

[ Parent ]
that's the point!
Just look at SusanC's chart up there somewhere - it's the number of different contacts that matters.

Call it "respiratory promiscuity" if you wish.

We want to reduce it.

That's why I started the Heterogeinity and What to do diary.  (A bad name, I know.)

Apparently, we specially want to reduce it in the most "respiratorily promiscuous" + "respiratorily infectious" of the whole society.  That's why schools should close early.

That's why we should be creative, and help people be creative, about the other "layers".

One idea would be to set up a list of jobs (maybe there's some massive statistics site out there) and try and create "safer sex - sorry - safer breathing" alternatives for the most frequent/dangerous.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Monogomous Respiration? LOL!
Some people have enough trouble being monogomous when it comes to sex, being monogomous with breathing is going to really trip society out.

Although there might be a way to use it as a visual tool.

Just like that visual they used to use that you weren't just have sex with your current partner, you were having sex with everyone that you current partner ever had sex with.  They used that when I was in highschool and around the time that HIV and syphillus was make inroads into heterosexual teen populations.

So how about, you aren't just breathing the air that has been around your respiratory partner -- you are breathing the air that has been around all the people your respiratory partner has been fraternizing with?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
and folks need to factor the changes in their activity into their preps.  if we go hiking through the mountains so the kids don't get bored, we'll burn alot more than sitting at the house over a day of backgammon. two obvious things of note - going out makes you more visible, and if you go far, it's hard to get back quickly (be certain that what/who you leave behind are secure).

[ Parent ]
"Idle hands are the devils tools" - old saying

  Well put on the domsetic violence and kids. I had not looked at it that way

  Hence things for the kids to do that do not involve the computer, TV or phone.

  Running boys around periodicaly helps tire them out so they are less likely to fight or rough house at home.

  Yes this means the parents have to change. Yes the guys will need guy time just like women need woman time.

  Unfortunatly many events need a min number to get group dynamics going like Young Life http://www.younglife... so kids can work through things in a positive way.


[ Parent ]
Touchless Grocery Vending - Restocking of Preps

I would ask for more examination of the theme. I am not in retail and so I could be quite incorrect.  I am looking for ideas to make grocery shopping a little safer during a pandemic or between waves.

Thanks in advance.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

posted in wrong place
home delivery of bulk foods

I've organized a monthly order from a small warehouse for about a dozen families in my neighborhood.

Once a month, the truck drives out to our town and drops off boxes of non-perishables:  oil, flours, grains, honey, dried beans, canned foods, soaps, soy milk, peanut butter, condiments; essentially everything you could buy in a small health food store except for ready-to-eat meals, produce, and dairy products.

We combine our orders to make about the equivalent of a small grocery store order-- which makes it worth the while of the truck to make a stop for us.

Out items are packed in boxes and left on someone's front porch.  Each person stops by to pick up their order.

Assuming that there IS food available and that people HAVE money to pay for it, and that there IS gas available for the truck (I know -- asumptions!)  I don't see why we couldn't continue to use this approach during a pandemic, to avoid needing to go into a grocery store.

The trick is learning to feed ourselves using non-perishable foods, and only ordering once a month!


Pandemics are "Wicked Problems". - Average Concerned Mom

[ Parent ]
Does this help?
The UK already operates online grocery shopping with deliveries made door to door for about £5. This service doesn?t cover all areas but seems to work quite well. The supermarket gives the buyer the option of buying exactly what they ask for or having substitutes made if the item they want isn?t in stock.

Assuming people still have fuel, this could be modified for personal pick up.

For those without internet, people could have a paper menu and order over the phone.

Less common here, there are deliveries made from farmers/local producers who will send a random selection of fresh fruit and veg. This has increasing popularity due to the carbon foot print idea.

Not so common now, there are some deliveries of fish or meat, door to door. It usually requires the buyer to take a minimum supply and order new items in advance.

Other ideas -

A street or small area might have a designated shopper who goes out with masks and gloves.

A street or area might have a designated divider and distributer of bulk supply.

A central organisation could determine individual household needs (based on census) and deliver minimum requirement supplies to each household.

[ Parent ]
each option can be explored - and in fact maybe we should even at this stage
best practice?

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Different options would suit diferent levels of severity
and shortage.

What we might do is start threads for options at different levels of disaster. From a mild pandemic to our worst nightmare.

We could do this for SIP, stay at home, energy shortage, water shortage, education etc.

eg - one thing I'd like to see if we had THE BIG ONE is the UK totally locked down. Like New Zealand's plan of shutting all borders, sending everyone home except vital workers and trying to stamp it out. Once the country was clear of it we could return to some normality (barring travel abroad). This plan would need everyone to be able to SIP for about a month though and a government with some guts. So it's not going to happen.

[ Parent ]
I was looking for "touchless" grocery shopping

We have a similar service in Toronto. It hasn't been too successful. Most customers are busy working parents who place order online and have it delivered to the home.



The bulk delivery method is good for now, but we need a modified industry wide practice to ensure availability to the masses before, during and after a pandemic.

During a pandemic, I would be concerned how the food was packaged, how many people touched it (or sneezed on it).  Then there are the hazards of handling cash and change, the shopping cart etc.

I didn't mention in my earlier posts. The food packing plant also need to be modified. For example, the workers need to wear masks and gloves while packing the food into transparent water proof containers, then the packaged items go through a disinfection stage of either bleach solution or UV or both.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
We have to work with what there is now
or what could be quickly set up after a pandemic starts. Nobody is going to set up touchless systems before hand, we run up against the 'it might never happen' barrier.

Even vending machines have to be packed so it's hard to achieve a completely human free system.

Masks and gloves for staff is a given.

[ Parent ]
Business case doesn't come from pandemic preparation.
I started out with the notion that it is a uphill battle to get any business to seriously look at pandemic mitigation. My earlier proposal about a Touchless grocery retail system did not have anything to do with doing business during a pandemic "which may never arrive" (although pandemic safety comes as a free feature).

The justification comes from handling, transportation and storage efficiency, lower real estate and labor costs, incremental revenue from longer shopping hours without more expenses. The model is also consistent with recent trends in self-service checkout and RFID. If it is more profitable, business will change and invest.

It is hard to find business justification to invest in piece meal pandemic specific modification of current processes.

As for vending machine, the loading can be performed by workers wearing protective equipment during an outbreak.  The customers don't have to be that concerned other customers have touched the item umpteen times.

In the grocery shopping experience, it is the multiple human and surfaces interactions that increase infection risks.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
There is a stores system
that operates in a similar way to what you have in mind. I'm not sure how successful it is. The one place I saw it working spent a lot of time fixing it. Introduce repair men and you've got another group of potential contaminators.

If a masked shop packer packs pre ordered bags/boxes then there are no more contacts than the person who fills the vending system.

Food doesn't all lend itself to the same type of delivery. A machine that could deliver cans would crush eggs, chips, bottles, bags etc.

Separate arrangements need to be organised for frozen or chilled food.

The current way we shop relies on us doing the majority of the work. It's hard to replace it.

[ Parent ]
Any info on that business?
I'll be interested in knowing more about their experience. It take false starts to make a new business model, and many times it is not the concept but the execution that is critical to success.

Perhaps I should not use the term Vending. I wasn't talking about a traditional vending machine selling chocolate bar.  I was thinking each purchase will be delivered in a bin the size of a recycling blue box. Think bigger milk crate. I know this is a bit futuristic, but consider that some refrigerators will have a computer built in and update stock level (Samsung or LG), some expect major shifts on the horizon.

I just realized if we have micro-containerization, and automated bin filling, it may also make grocery delivery viable. I think their problem is labor costs in picking each customer order.

The biggest challenge faced by grocery retailers is thin margin. It doesn't help when Walmart and Costco are getting into the business. Some grocery retailers tried to change the store format to a one-stop superstore for not-just-food to compete with Walmart, but have failed miserably and are re-focusing back their core grocery business.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
The reasons that home delivery doesn't work
Are numerous.

Delivery times tend to be inconvenient because people are at work during the main delivery slot (which is why they wanted delivery in the first place).

People are reluctant to let others choose fresh produce for them.

There is a move away from canned and long life produce towards frozen or chilled quality meals. These need to be transported quickly in a chilled vehicle. They can't be left to warm up at the delivery point.

It's expensive in terms of man power but that wouldn't be so much of an issue during a pandemic.

I'll try and find info on the stores machine supplier but I can't go to the place that used it because they've gone bust.

I realise what you had in mind for the packed boxes but at some point they need to be packed. Damp foods  - fresh meat, milk, frozen foods, veg etc should be separated from dry foods - flour, breakfast cereal, break etc. Uncooked from cooked. Etc. Heavy items need to be placed at the bottom. Delicate items at the top. Varying package sizes and shapes make it hard to economically pack a set sized container especially one that is rigid. Etc.

Automation hasn't yet caught up with this kind of decision making.

Scan your own food systems are taking off because the customer does even more of the work themselves. The risk of shop lifting or mistake is increased but the saving in employees makes it viable. It reduces the human contact for the customer but doesn't reduce the need for the customer to be there.

Computerised fridges and freezers only work if people have a set pattern of orders. Personally I like to vary the shops I go to, what I order and which special offers I take up.

And basically many people like shopping.

For supermarkets there are also disadvantages. If people aren't in the store they can't use all the old inducements - smells, placement, etc.

I won't say it'll never come in but it's a long way off.

[ Parent ]
This is Tescos system

Tesco's business model is radically different than Webvan's was, though, and is based on the idea of using a company's existing infrastructure to serve Internet customers. Rather than building new warehouses, Tesco operates a store pick system in Britain, where orders submitted over the Net are assembled at the nearest local store. Safeway.com will now use this model.

Webvan put its faith in high-tech infrastructure, creating an immense Californian warehouse that was reported to cover 330,000 square feet and contain five miles of conveyor belts and £2m of electrical wiring. The company believed that its workers would be up to 10 times more productive than traditional shoppers, ensuring significant productivity gains.

However, the move didn't pay off, and in July 2001 Webvan filed for bankruptcy.

In contrast, Tesco's Internet arm has clicked with British Internet shoppers. It announced recently that its online arm would become profitable earlier than expected, after it enjoyed solid sales growth in 2001.

Some analysts have warned, though, that the "store pick" model may not be as popular with American shoppers.

[ Parent ]
"Been there, done that"
OK, I remember WebVan's failure. Dot-com bubble classic.  So centralised automated pick won't work (economically), and retailers want to up sell with store presentation and appeal to sight and smell.

The only idea left to consider is the shopping cart. There has been some concerns about the environmental (and cost) issues with grocery shopping bags. A large supermarket chain has started selling personal shopping bins slightly smaller than a recycling blue box, with should straps. I think this can be modified to replace the shopping cart i.e. if it snaps onto a cart. 

During a pandemic, we may have to change to store worker picking the items and filling the customer's bin, to reduce contact, and deliver to the parking lot.  The customer will pick up the bin after the store worker walks away. The (plastic) shopping bin can be disinfected with bleach when the customer returns it on the next shopping trip.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Don't know if that would work
For one, it wouldn't work for a family of any size.  I couldn't even fit the basics into a bin that size.

Secondly, such small bins would require going to the grocery much too often.

Cleaning the carts wouldn't be that hard.  Just have an employee with a pump spray container spraying down the carts that are turned in.  If there are enough carts then by the time the cart gets to the head of the line to be used again it should be dry or can be wiped down by the customer with their own rag.

And, no kids in the stores.  That would be rough, even for me.  But if we are trying to segregate the kids to keep them from being super spreaders then it would be easy enough for a store to say "no kids allowed to address municipal code such and so of the emergency pandemic plan."

Might not be popular, but it could be done.

People with young children would have to tag team or have a single individual they trust to pick up their rations.

And, I do expect rations similar to what occured during WW2 which will limit choices that people have anyway. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
They are trying to get rid of plastic bags
because bags end up in land fill and harmful chemicals leach into ground water. They use cheap plastics to make the bags. I think the bin is going to be a trend. It just has to be designed right to make life easier.

Well, the bins could be as big as a shopping cart and just sit atop of a cart base.  The customer takes home the bin instead of bags.  Make the bins stackable (like milk crates) then you can have two bins, on a cart with a lower base or 2 levels.

I think during a pandemic, I wouldn't want any one not wearing  PPE and gloves to touch the items, other than well protected workers. That's why I think they may have a 'short menu' during pandemic (may be rationing) and only allow workers to go inside the store, else there may be fights - remember the ABC movie last year?

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
"Get rid of" as in outlaw n/t

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Also been there and done that ;-)
Here's a reference to an attempt Sainsbury trying cool boxes for home delivery.

I don't think it worked because I've never heard of it.

Sainsbury also had a system where trolleys had frames onto which large blue oblong shopping baskets could be fitted.

The idea was the boxes could be filled by the shopper and then lifted off the trolley straight into the car.

I can't remember whether you had to buy the boxes or not but massess of them were aquired by the public. Problem was, they never came back with them.

They probably ended up on tool shed shelves full of junk.

As far as I could see they had three additional faults:-

They had their own weight. They had to be sturdy to carry the full variety of shopping - bags of potatoes or piles of tins. With anything heavy they were very hard to lift.

They were bulky and if the shopping was stacked above the lip of the box they couldn't be placed one above the other. Also, shopping didn't fit economically into the boxes so space was wasted. This might not be as much of a problem in roomy American cars but it was an issue here.

Once the boxes were filled (often carefully) it was hard to scan the contents and repack in a hurry at the till.

I think the answer to this is simplicty. A picker could fill the trolley (no need for bag packing) and the customer recieves the trolley before unloading it into their car. Hand wipes or gloves could be issued with the trolley.

The only part of the trolley that realistically needs to be sanitised is the handle.

[ Parent ]
Make the customer pay a deposit n/t

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
They still wouldn't bring them back
people just didn't remember to put them in the car. They also fall under the problem of pre pandemic preparation. They didn't work before, they probably won't be introduced.

Paper bags or card board boxes are options. But the best option is cart (forgot you guys call trolleys 'carts') to boot.

[ Parent ]
And before you think of it
They did fit into each other (tapered) but they were still too bulky to leave in there all the time.

I vaguely remeber them being free, probably because people wouldn't have invested in something they could only use at Sainsbury. It was a bold experiment that mostly flopped.

[ Parent ]
Your boot is smaller than my trunk,
so we need local solutions.

We are trying to recycle almost everything, and have a Green Bin organic waste composting program.


Sooner or later, shopping means BYOB - no it's not booze.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
Yep, we got recycling too
And the route people are taking here is 'bag for life' (a stronger purchased plastic bag that lasts longer and can be exchanged for free once it is damaged) and 'I'm not a plastic bag' (a non plastic bag that can be repeatedly used, sadly it instantly became a fashion item, not to be sullied by shopping).

None of these solutions will be very successful until we have to pay for bags.

[ Parent ]
Oh and if we're being green...
Smaller boots/trunks all round would be better ;-D

Sadly people are pro green ideals but very resistant to actually doing anything.

I'm not sure that changes made for one cause (the environment) are naturally useful for another (a potential pandemic). We can make predictions about what we will be doing when a pandemic kicks off but the first plans should be based on what we've got now and how a pandemic will change things.

[ Parent ]
Tesco also worked because
most deliveries were tighter geographically.  The places in the US where home delivery works is either urban areas or tight suburban areas where trucks can make multiple deliveries in a short amount of time.  The more spread out, the less money they make or even loose.  This would be the case in PF as well.  And folks in rural areas have to deive many, many miles to get to grocery stores.  If there is no gas for them to get to the store, will the store have gas to get to them?

[ Parent ]
Grocery home delivery has been only moderately successful
in most areas.  Many companies have come and gone due to higher than expected costs and lower than expected demand.  In my area there is only one chain that delivers.  It happens to be ther largest in the area BUT it would take them ages to ramp up to a large scale system if PF hit and no one wanted to go to the store.  They need warehouses, order-fulfillment areas, people to fill orders, trucks, shipping containers and drivers.  Supermarkets have razor thin margins as it is, so no one will invest additional funds into such a system unless there was a guarenteed payoff. 

[ Parent ]
In addition
Payment should be via credit and debit cards.

The government could issue special cards to those who can't afford one and/or we should all be issued with a 'ration debit card'.

Deliveries would be made to the card address only.

[ Parent ]
Card could also be used
as a Tamiflu logging device.

[ Parent ]
"Almost half of US businesses are operated from home"

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost half (49 percent) of the nation?s businesses are operated from home. Working from home provides amazing freedom, but with that freedom can come isolation.

This is from the folks who created civicspace based on drupal - jargon for "internet based cooperative platforms" to help people work from home.

Now they are also helping people meet in fleshspace say once a week.  Which paradoxically may be what's needed for work-from-home to happen!

From a virus' perspective, it's small, stable, closed human groups that matter!

- A group of five people who usually work from home and meet once a week can shift gears and have short protected meetings once every two weeks.

- People who work together can use this new service and paradigm, too - if it scales up.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.


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