July 12, 2021

Musing #5: Aiming for the Middle


In the heat of our current pandemic scramble, a clear continuum exists: 

the “covidiot to covidian” spectrum.  

At one extreme lies the covidiot. The covidiot is not afraid of contracting Covid-19 for any number of reasons. For example, s/he sees himself/herself as invincible or as the victim of a government ruse. Whatever the reason, life must go on. The covidian, to the contrary, sees the possibility of contamination around every corner and is driven by miserable fear. You can identify a covidiot because she will enter a busy store without a mask; you can distinguish a covidian because he will be driving a car all alone, wearing a mask. I find myself somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, guided by science, data, and keen self-awareness. 

So here’s the rub: technical hygiene standards for virtual reality in schools are really aimed at the large crowd in the middle. Most covidiots will ignore, fake or delay adhering to hygiene standards unless forced to do so; covidians will see such standards as “not enough” and are likely to “just stay home”.  Now let’s apply this spectrum in real life. Take for example the AMC theater hygiene standards, which are fairly comprehensive, in my way of thinking. I have seen covidiots take their masks off after the theater goes dark, even though our state requires masking indoors. Conversely, I have numerous covidian acquaintances who would never go to a theater, no matter what safety standards are in place.

 So, safety standards really benefit the sensible middle, not the extremes. They are aimed at the thinker, the analyzer, the realist, and the rationalist. In the main, businesses are hoping that catering to the middle can carry them through our unfortunate economic hard times.

July 5, 2021

Musing #4: What’s missing?


    Isn’t there more to safety than merely disinfecting any shared equipment? In the Hologate VR standards for location-based entertainment (see my previous post in this series), what’s missing is physical distancing of customers, masking, temperature taking, reduced facility capacity, staff testing and hand washing, air and HEPA filters, and ‘enhanced’ facility disinfecting, and other ‘enhanced’ disinfecting procedures. Does education offer their own industry-preferred hygiene standards for VR equipment use? Can you think of anything that is missing from the procedures/practices followed in your school or university? What's missing?