Livin' on the MDedge

Who needs self-driving cars when we’ve got goldfish?


For COVID-19, a syringe is the sheep of things to come

The logical approach to fighting COVID-19 hasn’t really worked with a lot of people, so how about something more emotional?

Flock of sheep on a farm ChiemSeherin/Pixabay

People love animals, so they might be a good way to promote the use of vaccines and masks. Puppies are awfully cute, and so are koalas and pandas. And who can say no to a sea otter?

Well, forget it. Instead, we’ve got elephants … and sheep … and goats. Oh my.

First, elephant Santas. The Jirasartwitthaya school in Ayutthaya, Thailand, was recently visited by five elephants in Santa Claus costumes who handed out hand sanitizer and face masks to the students, Reuters said.

“I’m so glad that I got a balloon from the elephant. My heart is pounding very fast,” student Biuon Greham said. And balloons. The elephants handed out sanitizer and masks and balloons. There’s a sentence we never thought we’d write.

And those sheep and goats we mentioned? That was a different party.

Hanspeter Etzold, who “works with shepherds, companies, and animals to run team-building events in the northern German town of Schneverdingen,” according to Reuters, had an idea to promote the use of the COVID-19 vaccine. And yes, it involved sheep and goats.

Mr. Etzold worked with shepherd Wiebke Schmidt-Kochan, who arranged her 700 goats and sheep into the shape of a 100-meter-long syringe using bits of bread laying on the ground. “Sheep are such likable animals – maybe they can get the message over better,” Mr. Etzold told AP.

If those are the carrots in an animals-as-carrots-and-sticks approach, then maybe this golf-club-chomping crab could be the stick. We’re certainly not going to argue with it.

To be or not to be … seen

Increased Zoom meetings have been another side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more people have been working and learning from home.

Multiethnic group having discussion and online meeting. Shared medical appointments (SMAs) become virtual SMAs (V-SMAs) filadendron/E+
Some people are lucky and are allowed to stop their video on Zoom meetings, which is extra helpful for those of us who haven’t left our houses or brushed our hair in 3 days. Some people, however, like to show themselves on camera and like to be able to see themselves. Those people are usually the ones with the willpower not to work from home in their pajamas.

A recent study from Washington State University looked at two groups of people who Zoomed on a regular basis: employees and students. Individuals who made the change to remote work/learning were surveyed in the summer and fall of 2020. They completed assessments with questions on their work/classes and their level of self-consciousness.

Those with low self-esteem did not enjoy having to see themselves on camera, and those with higher self-esteem actually enjoyed it more. “Most people believe that seeing yourself during virtual meetings contributes to making the overall experience worse, but that’s not what showed up in my data,” said Kristine Kuhn, PhD, the study’s author.

Dr. Kuhn found that having the choice of whether to have the camera on made a big difference in how the participants felt. Having that control made it a more positive experience. Most professors/bosses would probably like to see the faces of those in the Zoom meetings, but it might be better to let people choose for themselves. The unbrushed-hair club would certainly agree.


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