Tags: George Floyd Protests | teleworking | coronavirus | protests

Let's Look at Some Good News for a Change

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By Friday, 05 June 2020 10:33 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Events of last week contrasted the juxtaposition of two very different views of America.

One, projected an American spirit of boundless possibilities and lofty achievements — a rocket launch to the International Space Station — to a limitless future.

The other portrayal, the one that garnered by far the most media attention, projected an America of hopeless despair — endless scenes depicting a brutally ugly incident captured on video that prompted legitimate protests along with indefensible widespread violence and destruction — all occurring in the wake of a coronavirus emergency.

Recognizing that I'm hardly blameless in wandering (and writing) too often on the "dark side," there's lots of good news about America's future — our futures — that deserves more attention than many of us might always appreciate.

For starters, we have learned that the original model-based estimates of 2.2 million U.S. deaths is likely off by close to 20 times too high. Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford's School of Medicine, blames some eagerness to put out such frightening speculations on the media: "We have some evidence that bad news, negative news [stories], are more attractive than positive news — they lead to more clicks, they lead to people being more engaged. And of course we know that fake news travels faster than true news.

Dr. Ioannidis adds: "So in the current environment, unfortunately, we have generated a very heavily panic-driven, horror-driven, death-reality-show type of situation."

We have good reasons to believe that the present COVID-19 pandemic, like others in the past, is certain to end. When it does, we will have gained a great deal more understanding about how to prevent future viral outbreaks and to protect the most vulnerable among us from potentially lethal infection consequences. New treatments and tools will have been advanced in the process: diagnostic detection tests applying artificial intelligence and genomic analyses, prophylactic vaccines and curative treatments and telemedicine to extend highest-quality diagnostic and health care services to communities everywhere.

Internet-connected "remote medicine" enables patients and their doctors to interact "virtually," as well as through media platforms. This trend is already reshaping and improving ways health care providers manage complex preventive and chronic disease research and treatment programs.

COVID-19 necessitated and accelerated influences of "distance learning" that are similarly transforming both the delivery and content of education programs at all levels and most particularly those conducted at college levels. Although in many instances offering no complete substitute for benefits of direct physical-presence face-to-face interactions between faculty and students — for example those requiring special laboratory and hands-on activities — virtual classrooms afford some very important benefits that are transforming where, how and what learning occurs.

Many students returning home from pandemic-shuttered campuses, along with their families, will increasingly wonder whether a particular on-site program is valuable enough to warrant the costs when the same course offerings and credentials — sometimes even better ones — can be accessed online from anywhere. Online teaching and training programs are enabling these home-bound parents and others to advance learning goals, such as attainment of additional knowledge-based skills, qualifying technical certifications and first or advanced college degrees.

Distance learning can be expected to increasingly affect all profession and job sectors, community settings and geographic regions. This rapidly advancing trend has already become particularly evident in finance, insurance, real estate, transportation, manufacturing and construction and retail industries, along with steady gains in healthcare and law.

Innovative and effective technical non-degree programs are also in growing demand to teach specialized problem-solving skills — for example to support operations and maintenance of automated systems of warehousing, production and distribution that businesses and industries will increasingly depend upon.

Telecommuting to work through communication links rather than through physical presence now enables a new breed of teachers, entrepreneurs and employers to conduct business in sweatpants and shorts from geographically-dispersed offices, personal homes and even vacation retreats.

Decentralized telework and enterprise opportunities are also enabling more and more people to live where they wish: family-friendly communities that are affordable — safe places with good schools to raise their children and natural and social surroundings that appeal to individual lifestyle priorities. Internet-connected businesses also afford working parents new freedom and flexibility to arrange schedules around priorities. Living close to children's schools and avoiding long work commutes enables more time to spend with them and less money to spend on daycare costs.

America is the home of bold free enterprise dreams and opportunities as well. Last Saturday, May 30 — a time when predominate media attention was transfixed upon massive peaceful protests over the depressingly senseless murder of George Floyd, accompanied by inexcusable widespread riots and carnage — some viewers witnessed a far more inspiring and representative view of our nation.

A half-century after America landed the first humans to the moon, we watched a commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to orbit aboard a Crew Dragon vehicle that docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday morning.

Let's not ever forget that America has a winning history of rising to big challenges and COVID-19 will be no different

Meanwhile, let's also remember that the American future we visualize is the one we will get. We all have a vote.

More than that, we all have a role.

Larry Bell is a senior visiting scholar at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He is also an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 600 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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Friday, 05 June 2020 10:33 AM
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