Life in semi-enforced lockdown, weekend 1

Like in most Aussie households, Saturday’s in hours are Dad’s Taxi days. Ferrying the youngsters around to their music one-on-one & group lessons. It’s bonding time, both quality & quantity, when I’ve barely been home the rest of the week.

Not so this weekend. The conservatorium has sensibly chosen to either cancel lessons or take them online. It’s learning time for everyone – how do teach & learn music virtually. 

Both the 1:1 lesson & the group lesson have been done online. And in style. The kids adapted like ducks to water. It wasn’t perfect, sure. Asymmetric data transfer meant that there was lag. And lag means irregular rhythm. It didnt’ faze the kids who had a ball. The tutors had fun too. And interestingly, the whole family was around watching the kids orchestra have fun. I’m sure it was the same in every household too.

Telecommunication is quintessential at this time of isolation. Maybe we do miss the human touch, the spontaneous connections when we’re mobile.  Many others are quite easily done using technology. Like today’s music lesson.

Social exclusion hurts: and how [Article]

A US-based psychologist, Kip Williams, was strolling through a park when a mis-thrown Frisbee caught him on the back of his head. Unhurt, he picked it up and threw it back to one of the players. They threw it back to him. Briefly he was involved in their game, before the Frisbee players stopped passing it to him and returned to their back-and-forth routine.

A relatively unremarkable social interaction, the scientist was nonetheless surprised at how hurt he felt at being excluded from the game and hurried off to his lab to ascertain what is happening in our brains when we feel left out.

Read on

The Rip Van Winkle Family in Siberia [Article]

The Lykov family, in Siberia, Russia, lived completely disconnected from the rest of the world for 40 years, a la Rip Van Winkle, until they were discovered by a pilot & four geologists. An incredible story of the family who knew there were places called cities where humans lived crammed together in tall buildings. They had heard there were countries other than Russia. But such concepts were no more than abstractions to them. Their only reading matter was prayer books and an ancient family Bible.