Thursday Open Thread

by Mémé

Thanks to all the Totebaggers for articles and topics posted on Suggest Topics page. I am working through what is there, but more are always welcome, especially the fun ones I am less likely to find on my own.

We always have a lot of finance, and food. So I am going to dole those out one per week, or combine two into one. So if your submission is not posted right away, I am not ignoring it.

Tomorrow we will have an Advice Column post.

97 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. LT, TCM – how much snow do you have on the ground? DS2 is connecting thru there this morning and texted “they have LOTS of snow here.” Growing up here, I know he’s not easily impressed by snow amounts.

  2. It’s snowing now, but only like 2 inches. But we already have like a foot of ground cover, so I guess flying in you’d think we have a ton of snow. I can hear the planes taking off (I live close to the airport), so it isn’t impacting travel.

  3. I am still impressed with how quickly the DPW workers clear the snow around here. I didn’t go out on Tuesday, but I could have because the roads were down to black top event hough it really didn’t stop snowing until almost midnight on Tuesday.They are out there today cleaning up the large piles of snow and hauling it away. It is sunny here today so we keep hearing ice fall off our roof.

  4. What a difference a day makes!
    Tuesday it snowed all day, we got about 6″ here. I went to the gym ~6pm and drove back ~730pm. It took me 20-25mins to get there vs 15-20min normally; so slow, but no big deal. Most of the snow seems to have fallen after I got home.
    Yesterday it was bright and sunny a lot of the time so places where plowing was done and shoveled walkways were dry by the time I went out to the Library around 7 last night. Dry like in the summer. Town did the street after my plow guy had come so I had to dig out 2′ from the bottom of my driveway of hard, packed, icy stuff.
    Today is a brilliantly sunny day, so more melt even though it’s right around freezing. The 10″ of snow we had on the ground yesterday morning will probably be down to 5-6″ according to the measuring stick I have outside my back door.

  5. It is rare that we get a lot of snow and then mild temps (by mild I mean 20-30s). That last big snowfall was like what Fred describes…the roads were so clear within 24 hours. It was wonderful. Typically, like today, we get snow, but then the temp drops to single and sub zero temps. The roads will never get down to blacktop clear because salt stops working, and the plows just dump a grit mixture for traction.

    I’m lucky that my town is plow heavy to at least make some impact. The plow has been been down my road several times this morning. TCM is probably not as lucky.

  6. LT: I just almost spit out my drink when I read that you consider mild temperatures to be in the 20s – 30s.

  7. Lauren, I went out for a walk on Tuesday at 4pm and the non-main roads were treacherous. I had to walk carefully because it was slippery and the cars were driving really carefully too. I switched to the main road, but there, a lot of businesses and homeowners had not shovelled the sidewalks forcing me out into fast traffic with no room to walk. A pox on people who don’t shovel their sidewalks. The worst example was two side by side businesses – a deli and a gas station, who both had impeccably plowed parking lots – and their plows had dumped all the snow into the dividing line between them, meaning theire was a 6 foot wall of snow where the sidewalk ran.

  8. Plowing here really varies by town. Scarsdale is bad. Back when I used to haul kids to the daycare, there was one stretch of street that was in Scarsdale rather than my town. I would go from well plowed, to barely touched in the Scarsdale segment, and then back to well plowed when I turned onto a road in New Rochelle. It was always like that

  9. I was out earlier today with no gloves because it was 35! It felt wonderful because last week was miserable and next week looks really cold. We are not going away for the winter break (week of Feb 15) so i hope it warms up a little for that week.

  10. J-M, I just got back from a walk….22, with a windchill of 8. Wind from the artic is picking up and temp is dropping. Sunday’s high is -1, so I need to take advantage of the temps when I can.

  11. Yesterday it went above freezing and the junk on the roads melted so I could go out running. I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully that will clear all the snow.

    We never go away for winter break because I don’t have that week off. I don’t even get President’s day. It sucks every year because there was never much for the kids to do. This year will be even worse for DD (boys of course no longer get a winter break). She does not do well when she has nothing to do. I think she has one of those intricate woodworking kits she can do, and hopefully there will be a fencing camp

  12. Today’s high is supposed to be 63, but the wind is blowing, so it’s pretty cold. We had rain last week.

    Just trying to figure out how to join the bad weather conversation :)

  13. LT: Good grief woman!! Although since I’ve been here I’ve bought cold weather gear, including Uniqlo long johns based on TB recommendations. Wow, it’s amazing what a difference it makes! :) I never owned a wooly hat until I moved here. I now LOVE my wooly hat. So I guess if I had all my gear on, I could make it a wind chill of 8, but why would I want to???

  14. It’s mid 40s/50s here – waiting for the weather to warm up some more. It’s usually bright most days. Sunset is already noticeably later.

  15. It is all that you are used to….When you get back to TX you’ll be that much more hardy for those “cold” days. That being said, I hate when it is i the 90s. I hate hate hate hot weather and can never be comfortable sweating. I’d rather bundle up.

    I’m a big scarf user…but last year DH got me one from Faribault Woolen Mills that was over $100 and it is the most amazing windblocker of a scarf. Now I just wrap that around my face and I’m good.

    Cass – With the mudslides and fires, and I assume miserable hot summers, you can join right in. :)

  16. Here the Seine is flooding. It’s not at a worrisome stage yet, but it is definitely over its banks. The quais are blocked off, and I have to run at street level. That’s my bad weather report.

  17. how much snow do you have on the ground?
    It feels like normal to slightly less than normal amount. Lemon is much better at answering the snow question. The ground is covered, but it doesn’t feel like a lot. By this time of year the city streets are usually pretty bad because the snow never melts and gets packed down. When there is enough snow to plow, the city will declare a “snow emergency” for plowing. The first night there is no parking on emergency routes (busier streets), then the next morning from 8am – 8pm, no parking on even sides of the street. Then the following day, no parking on odd sides of the street. The plows aren’t able to get all the snow off the side streets before it gets packed down from people driving. I think some suburbs don’t allow for overnight parking on the street, so they are able to plow better. We can never get all the ice off our sidewalk. I’m just glad I don’t live on a corner and have extra sidewalk to shovel.

    I agree with Lemon that 20-30 degrees is mild. Thirty degrees is balmy when walking in winter gear. I’m living in the suburbs while we are remodeling. There is a really flat trail half a block away. It is like walking on a treadmill with no incline. The last few days I’ve walked 4.5 miles at a 14’30” pace because there isn’t any traffic and the trail is so flat.

    I won’t be able to get out today before it gets dark, and I’m not sure the trails are plowed yet. I’m allowing myself to skip my walk when it is under 10 degrees. But now Lemon has me motivated to get outside!

  18. “It is all that you are used to…” +1

    My phone says it’s 39 out now; great sun, no wind. I’m hopeful I can get out for an hour long walk (mostly determined by the wind) after work. If not, I’ll just go to the gym.

    Back to Tuesday…we have a newish (~3 months) Chick-Fil-A, only 1 of 2 around here, near my gym. I have not gotten into the really long line yet. I should have Tuesday…only 3 cars in it. (But I promised myself no food out this week as a bachelor, so kept that)

  19. Just trying to figure out how to join the bad weather conversation :)

    Yeah, me too. It did get a down below 60 after the sun set on the beach last night and everyone took their conference beers inside the club.

    Also, the UV index was 12 yesterday during the part of the day I was able to be outside and walk. Now that I have joined the army of Apple Watch zombies,I have minute by minute updates on UV index and worry about it all the time.

  20. “Just trying to figure out how to join the bad weather conversation :)”

    @Cass – Talk to us in the summer when it is 110. :)

    I consider 30’s mild for Jan/Feb as well. 20’s…not “mild” but not bitter cold. Today it is hovering around freezing, and I hope it doesn’t get any warmer because it is snowing right now. If it turns to rain that will be awful because it will get really icy. We are supposed to get our annual bitter cold streak next week – highs in the teens or single digits & overnight lows around zero.

  21. I don’t consider it “Bad” weather; it’s winter. If I really cared I wouldn’t have taken the relo from LA.

  22. My problem student finished today. I’ve never been so happy to be done with a student. I don’t think she was on time once. A couple of weeks ago she said the problem was she worked evening shifts so I told her to come at 8 instead of 7:30, and she was still late every day. When she was supposed to start at 730 she came around 745 or so, and when she was supposed to start 8 she came after 8. Needless to say, I didn’t offer to be a reference for her like I usually do for students.

  23. So here’s a “how much of a rule-follower are you?” quiz. Talking to a friend whose daughter is a teacher; friend is super upset that daughter is going to be required to go back to teaching in person, even though the daughter will not have access to the vaccine yet (she’s in the “eligible” category, there’s just not enough yet). Daughter is seriously considering quitting the job.

    I immediately forward info from my mom: she got her first dose at a little pharmacy out-of-state where the available vaccine outnumbers the people there to get shots. When friend realizes daughter would need to hide what state she lives in, friend says “oh, I don’t think she’d feel comfortable doing that, thanks anyway though.” So apparently my friend’s kid would rather quit a job she needs than lie by omission.

    It occurs to me that people are on a spectrum. DD is a total rule-follower and would be just like my friend’s kid — horrified at the very thought. My mom is on the far other end of the spectrum, spending hours researching her options and finding some way, any way, to get a shot. Me, I’m in the middle: I’d be most happy waiting my turn, if I had any confidence I’d be able to get a shot within the next 2-3 months, and I’ve signed up with a bunch of in-state vendors; but since that’s not likely, I’ve emailed the guy at the place my mom went and will go if I get a slot. [I self-justify by being angry that smokers have priority and people with asthma do not, as if self-inflicted lung damage is more worthy of protection than lung damage you can’t control]

    Obviously, substitute your own subject matter. I was just sort of floored that anyone would be so much of a rule-follower that she’d rather quit a job she needs and enjoys rather than break the rules to get a shot she’s actually eligible for.

  24. LfB,

    It’s interesting how different each state’s policies are. In NH you need to bring a NH driver’s license or a utility bill with your name and address on it to your vaccine appointment.

  25. LfB, my DD1 would your friend’s daughter. Everyone else in the family would be in the middle. As it stands today, it hasn’t even occurred to DH or I to even look into getting it anywhere. I’ll wait my turn until it falls into my lap.

    You, are in an interesting area, as are others in the NE. The states lines are blurry and to have the rules be resident only seems silly. When we vacationed out that way, we were in four states in one day. Woke up in MD, drove to Gettysburg, came down to Harpers Ferry, and then had dinner with friends in Leesburg. From a COVID standpoint, I could infect residents of all four states.

  26. Although DW is definitely a rules follower, I see her being pissed at relatives who, although not technically in one of the eligible categories, somehow got their first rounds due to connections/pull. And also she’s pissed that NY’s rules are pretty strict (you have to prove you fit in one of the categories) to even get an appt vs NJ’s which are more lax (e.g. you can say you’re obese or list another co-morbidity and that’s a way in) and they’re still taking appts. I looked last night and the message was the same everywhere “no appts available”.

    I would take advantage like LfB’s mom if it was close/convenient enough to do so for both rounds.

  27. Didn’t you get your second dose yesterday? Any side effects?

    Yes I got it. Nothing so far. My arm isn’t even sore today.

  28. Not intended to be political, but human behavior comment.

    Yahoo Finance
    “Congresswoman warns of surprise tax bills for unemployed workers if Congress doesn’t act”

    Is this just another case of ‘some small share of the people actually read the paperwork they’re completing to get their UI/get a loan/whatever financial’? Or they read it, but say “I’ll deal with it come next year.”

    Since the first time I got unemployment, in 2003, it was pretty clear to me that UI is/was taxable because the form asks the question “Do you want 10% of the gross payment withheld for federal income taxes?”

  29. LfB – I wouldn’t do something like that unless I could be 100% certain I wasn’t taking a shot from someone who needed it more. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.

  30. LfB, my dad is the same as your mom, he has no compunction about “bending” rules whenever he needs. I used to be a total rule follower but as I’ve aged I’ve moved a lot toward the rule-bending side. DW is still mostly a rule follower and gets appalled at some of the things I suggest.

  31. Fred, yup, lost of people don’t pay attention. I think some of it is Rhett’s thing about cognitive limitations, and some of is willful ignorance.

  32. Fred,

    Also keep in mind that there are a lot of people who are literally living paycheck to paycheck. As in they can’t go grocery shopping on Friday the 12th as they don’t have any money until they get paid on the 15th. When these people are getting UI that’s less than they were making they are in a world of hurt. So they figure get as much as they can now and worry about later later.

  33. Rhett – I get the paycheck-to-paycheck thing. More I’m on the “surprise” thing. I think lots more people realize UI is taxable income than this Congresswoman wants to believe, but they’re behaving rationally because they need the $ now.

  34. I think lots more people realize UI is taxable income than this Congresswoman wants to believe, but they’re behaving rationally because they need the $ now.

    Eh I think a lot of people are just regular W2 employees and have never really thought about it. This is especially true if they were at your job for 5 or 10 years. They filled out their W4 10 years ago and never thought about it again. Now you might say, “But surely when they had a kid they adjusted their withholdings?” Nah they are delighted to get a larger refund.

  35. “Eh I think a lot of people are just regular W2 employees and have never really thought about it.”

    I hear this in regards to disability benefits too. They are shocked that the benefit is taxed (in most cases) for FICA, and then don’t request to have state and federal income tax taken out, so when they go to file taxes, bam!

  36. LT,

    And I can’t really blame them. Why wouldn’t the default be to have you fill out some sort of W4 equivalent when you make a disability claim?

  37. “I used to be a total rule follower but as I’ve aged I’ve moved a lot toward the rule-bending side”

    Same here, especially when the “rules” are absurd.
    It’s interesting to see how so many of the young — who are supposed to be society’s rule-breakers — are dutifully living a virtual life and quarantining before returning to college, while the oldsters in my dad’s facility are playing poker in unauthorized gatherings in their rooms and violating the rules about offsite holiday family visits.

  38. Scarlett – in this situation the young have been told that a lot of the precautions they are taking are to keep the oldsters safe. When my DD learnt at school that she had been exposed to the virus, she said she was so scared because she had brought the virus home to Grandma literally. OTOH the oldsters feel they have limited time and life without social interaction is no life at all so they bend the rules.

  39. “OTOH the oldsters feel they have limited time and life without social interaction is no life at all so they bend the rules.”

    Eh, I think selfish jerks are selfish jerks whether they are young or old. People don’t become magically smarter, or more kind when they get old.

  40. Lolly – my view is that it’s different for an older couple isolating in their own home. They have each other plus they can have distanced visits from relatives. In a facility where you are expected to stay in your own room for months on end and not interact with any other residents let alone any visitors from the outside, it’s hard to live that way. All the oldsters I know just want to be done with this restricted life.

  41. “All the oldsters I know just want to be done with this restricted life.”

    That sentiment is not limited to oldsters.

  42. Louise, it’s also the case that young people have parents, teachers, and university administrators with the power to control their behavior. The oldsters have more agency and, as you noted, far less time left in which to enjoy life. Many of them have lived through worse circumstances in the past and perhaps they have a bit more perspective on which rules actually need to be followed.

  43. I think if you are in an eligible category to be vaccinated- senior, essential worker – go get your vaccine. It’s better that more people get vaccinated and reduce community spread than letting vaccines sit on the shelf because there is not a person in a particular narrow category to take it.

  44. I see the same people that cheat at most things trying to get the vaccine before their time. For example, three of my faux mom friends are therapists. They qualify for the vaccine since they are health care workers, and they already posted pictures when they received their second doses. The last time they saw a patient in an office was March 2020. They have no plans to go back to their office now, they got the vaccine because they are health care providers. Same with one of my friends that is a coordinator for high school students to get part time jobs. She works one (!!) day a week in a local HS. The last time she set foot in that HS was also March 2020.She showed her school ID and got the vaccine. These friends are the same folks that are usually trying to bend the rules for their kids too.

    The NJ category for smokers is the one that drives me nuts. You just have to say that you are a smoker and you can get the vaccine.

  45. I like that my state has less narrow rules, currently it’s 65+, healthcare and those in congregate living facilities. Then it’s the essential workers which is a huge population but I don’t think they are going to wait till every essential worker is vaccinated before opening it up to everyone.

  46. The simplest plan would have been to offer the vaccine based on age, and forget about trying to prioritize the nebulous categories of “health care workers” and “essential workers.” Lots of people in those latter categories don’t actually *want* the vaccine, and others in those groups are not particularly vulnerable to bad outcomes. Age is easily verified.

  47. I think that teachers that are required to be in school to teach should have access to a vaccine. Older kids are careful in school, but the younger kids can’t be expected to be as careful and teachers may to get close to them to help them. The same seems fair for people that are working in grocery stores and the dentist office etc. Some workplaces are riskier, but people like my friends are just selfish. They know that they are 40-50, healthy and they have no intention of leaving their home for anything that is work related.

  48. “The NJ category for smokers is the one that drives me nuts.”

    That might fall into the category Scarlett mentioned, rules that might justify bending due to their absurdity.

  49. I know that nurses are much less likely to get vaccinated than doctors. But if they suddenly said nurses weren’t a priority, those very same people would be absolutely rip shit. People are funny that way.

  50. Well the way I see it, smokers will pay later for their choices. They shouldn’t have to die now for it. They are at higher risk than others but so are those who are morbidly obese, type 2 diabetes, probably folks with cirrhosis of the liver – it is a slippery slope when we start denying people care because of things we deem to be choices. I’m ok with that. I’m not ok about people lying about these things or their vocation to get ahead. My octo and nonagenarian parents have not gotten their shots yet.

  51. I qualify for the vaccine based on my employment. When I got the email that provided a link to sign up for it, I felt really guilty and sad. I am low risk for bad outcomes even though I am in high risk settings sporadically. I haven’t signed up yet for a slot, but I probably will soon. I wish the system was better. DH does not understand my hesitancy or guilt at all.

  52. I think the reason why my state didn’t make teachers s priority is because realistically it’s getting to the point in the school year where it’s late to change schedules even if all teachers get vaccinated quickly. If schools didn’t make a serious attempt to go to some sort of in person schedule in the fall, they aren’t going to start now.

  53. I am low risk for bad outcomes even though I am in high risk settings sporadically.

    Wouldn’t one of the reasons to get vaccinated be so that you don’t contribute to spreading it among high risk populations?

  54. Reality, get the shot. The longer you spend angsting about being not worthy of your place in line, the longer the powers that be will spend trying to convince you to take it. And that delays getting vaccine out for the rest of the population.

  55. I am not really around high risk populations (for instance, old people). Just more that I am sporadically in a setting with a lot of people, which makes it a high risk setting. I am probably going to get it (soon), but it does make me feel somewhat icky.

  56. Scarlett, you still can’t seem to grasp the concept that even if someone is low risk they can still come in contact with people who are high risk. I’m exhibit A for that.

    Reality, get the shot already and don’t feel guilty about it.

  57. DD,
    You still can’t seem to grasp the concept that asymptomatic spread is not actually a thing, and that age is the single most important risk factor in COVID mortality. There is no perfect way to apportion vaccines, but if the goal is to provide maximum protection to the most vulnerable groups in the population as quickly as possible, an age-based approach makes the most sense. After the 65+ group has been served, it is highly likely that demand will plummet, and those who are eager to get the vaccine will have fewer difficulties in getting an appointment. That people in their 80s are still patiently waiting whilst teachers and younger “health care workers” who aren’t actually in clinical settings have already gotten their second shots is a disgrace.

  58. After receiving notification that DD’s ACT test was cancelled because the location was no longer offering the test, we logged into her account to find that she had been assigned to another location. Unfortunately, it’s about an hour drive versus a 10 minute drive from the original location. The main ACT page listed cancellations for February 6th and there appeared to be hundreds. Is this normal? Since she plans on taking the test more than once, should we be on the lookout for cancellations the week before the exam?

  59. Swim – yes look out for cancellations. Both the SAT and ACt say there can be cancellations. I think many/all colleges will go test optional for the next admissions cycle. Some colleges will wait longer than others but already a bunch of colleges have stated that due to the limited testing available they will not require tests.,

  60. Realty – get the shot. The way the whole thing is presented to the public is that X% of healthcare workers are refusing to the take the shots. The general population feels that if healthcare workers are not taking the shots, something must be wrong with the shot.
    OTOH, as more people have taken the shots with limited side effects word of mouth has gone around in favor of the vaccine. Word of mouth is very important in certain communities. No amount of scientific data in favor will sway opinions. However, if Uncle Joe, took the vaccine and he is all right, it’s fine to take it.

  61. Swim, some of the kids we know had their ACT test canceled the night before the exam. If too many proctors are quarantined, a principal is sick, or a test site is getting cleaned – all reasons for last minute cancelations. DD is scheduled to take the exam on Sat and I really hope it is not canceled because she actually studied for this test and I know she just wants to be done with testing. Many schools are going test optional and they some are already announcing that they are test optional for 2022 and 2023.

  62. Unless test-optional schools refuse to consider scores of applicants who were able to take the test, there will IMO be an even greater demand for testing slots. The Ivies and other selective schools are drowning in applications this cycle, and those with high scores will more easily stand out in the sea of interchangeable files. Especially in a year when many extracurricular activities have been curtailed, grades are less informative, and teachers are less able to write the glowing letters after months of zoom classes.
    If I had a high school kid aiming for one of those schools, I would move heaven and earth to make the test happen.

  63. OTOH, as more people have taken the shots with limited side effects word of mouth has gone around in favor of the vaccine. Word of mouth is very important in certain communities. No amount of scientific data in favor will sway opinions. However, if Uncle Joe, took the vaccine and he is all right, it’s fine to take it.

    Anectdata: at the facility where I got my shots, quite a few staff members (mostly people of color) refused it the first time. After they saw their coworkers get it without issues, many of them got it at the shot clinic this week.

  64. Scarlett, I agree with you and I know that test optional is going to be harmful for a kid like mine that wis considering schools just outside of the top 20. In a test optional environment, she will have a more challenging time in a pool with thousands of more kids. I already see this happening with the current batch of seniors in my HS with a similar profile to DD.

    I can’t remember, but did all of your boys attend the local U? I was wondering if you went through the whole process as a parent with other schools?

  65. Scarlett, asymptomatic spread really is a thing, but you’ve never et the truth stop you from posting nonsense before so I know it won’t stop you now I know the Twitter trolls you get your info from know more than the infectious disease specialists.

    “Asymptomatic spread definitely plays a role in community spread,” said Dr. David Beckham, an infectious disease specialist who studies viruses in a lab he runs at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

    https://www.uchealth.org/today/the-truth-about-asymptomatic-spread-of-covid-19/

  66. Guys and gals, for the past several weeks we have been conducting politics page covid discussions and complaints about distribution, political leaders, and our frustration with line jumpers or our family test sagas, and in fact without much acrimony or personal comments. . I have received offline requests to nip this main page discussion in the bud as it is more appropriate in tone to the other page.

  67. Just curious, are colleges focusing more on essays and interviews? I just can’t figure out how they’ll select students when grades are questionable, tests are optional, and extracurriculars are basically non-existent. Are applications becoming like job interviews…camera on, question on appears on screen, and student answers to a blank screen?

  68. Are applications becoming like job interviews…camera on, question on appears on screen, and student answers to a blank screen?

    The mind reels. I know they use alums to do interviews; several of our regulars do interviewing for their old schools. But trying to do in-depth interviewing would just be so labor-intensive, especially trying to ramp that up out of nowhere.

  69. I just went to look at the requirements for the University of California, and found this:

    ““Today’s decision by the Board marks a significant change for the University’s undergraduate admissions,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC.””

    So you know what we’re moving back to? We’re moving back to the ancient days when each university had its own admissions test.

  70. I don’t have an insight into college applications but from
    what I have read choice of classes and an upward trajectory is good. If you say you are interested in field X, have you taken classes that line up with that interest ? Also what’s the progression. For Class of 2022, there were 1 3/4 years of normal school. Did you keep on the track or trended higher or lower ? Did you make progress towards higher level classes or struggled where you were placed ? These things are looked at even in normal admissions cycles.

  71. So you know what we’re moving back to? We’re moving back to the ancient days when each university had its own admissions test.

    RMS – what was on a university specific test ?

  72. RMS – what was on a university specific test ?

    It varied, but generally they all wanted the basic stuff. Math, English, maybe Latin and Greek (this was a long time ago), history, etc. Eventually everyone switched to the College Board tests because it was easier for the colleges and for the students, and there was a lot of overlap in the various entrance exams. And this business about the SAT originally being an “aptitude” test appealed to a lot of colleges.

  73. DS still hasn’t taken the PSAT. His school opted for a January date offered by the College Board instead of the usual October date, but there was some sort of snafu and it got cancelled. It’s now scheduled for the end of February. DS also signed up for a school-day SAT that his school is offering at the end of March. The school said they can’t do Saturday SATs because of Covid restrictions, but apparently they can manage the school-day SAT.

    This would be DS’ second SAT. He took one in December (at a high school about half an hour away from us). His score was good by national standards, but mortifying by Totebag standards. He’s up for taking it again. If he gets a score that’s good by the standards of a college he’s applying to, he’ll send it; otherwise, he’ll withhold it.

  74. Universities, even rich ones, are forcing all of their departments to do more with fewer resources. Interviews are not going to be a thing, whether conducted by staffers or alumni. In-person or virtually. Even if technology made it possible to run virtual interviews with every applicant, there aren’t enough hours in the day for overstretched admissions staff to properly review the material in applications files as it is — adding in another 5-10 minute task would mean even less time to consider each candidate’s actual credentials.

  75. In other news, our new windows (10 of them) are being installed right now as I type this. There is a nice crew of three Belarussian men who are braving the cold and snow (we have flurries coming down at the moment) to get this done. The house is freezing, but I’m happy that this job is moving along. I’ll reserve final judgement until the project is fully complete, but so far Home Depot (whom I am using for the project) has done an excellent job. (Thanks again to Finn for suggesting them for window replacement.)

  76. Windows…you will SO happy when this is over. It is going to be so much warmer (and cooler) in your house from the new windows. I hate paying for infrastructure stuff, but it usually make such big difference in how you feel in your house. The only thing that I will warm about installing windows in this type of weather is to make sure that they are willing to come back if you have and cracks that appear in the next twelve months. The windows that were installed in my bedroom were installed in the same type of weather. Since it is so cold, there might be some cracks that will appear once the weather changes and there is humidity etc.

  77. “UC President Janet Napolitano”

    Really? I had no idea.

    @Reality – Please for the love of God just get the vaccine. You have absolutely zero reason to feel bad.

    @Lauren – I have seen some bad behavior around the vaccine as well. Multiple people have suggested to me to “just lie” and say that I am essential. WTF? There are some things that are more grey, but I have no business jumping in now at all.

  78. I was talking to a patient in a memory care unit earlier this morning. He was complaining of pain to his knee and ribs from a fall the other day. So the woman sitting next to me asks: “This means he can’t have sex, right?”

  79. When did colleges have their own admissions tests? I never heard of that.

    Many countries rely heavilly on a single test that everyone takes – the Arbitur,the Bac, the gaokao, for example. The reason is the same reason we came to rely on the SAT/ACT – grades are very unreliable because of differences between schools.

  80. Job interviews, as currently practiced, are one of the main drivers of bias in hiring. Interviewers tend to favor those who look and sound like themselves. Do we really want to import that to college admissions?

  81. “Just curious, are colleges focusing more on essays and interviews? I just can’t figure out how they’ll select students when grades are questionable, tests are optional, and extracurriculars are basically non-existent.”

    Were I in charge of admissions somewhere, especially a HSS, I’d mandate submission of exam scores from everyone who took them.

    I think a lot of HSS applicants know they’d have no shot if tests scores were required.

  82. Finn,
    Those applicants should also know that many of their competition crushed the tests back in 10th grade and will definitely be submitting those scores, or worked with their parents to snag a testing spot at a faraway site and, having had lots of time to do nothing but prepare for the past empty months, will also submit their impressive scores. It’s not clear that the test-optional approach will work to the benefit of marginal candidates who would not have top scores — what else will be on their application to set them apart from the rest?

  83. RE: SAT/ACT. IME if you can, select a test that is being offered at a private school. These are less likely to close. My child’s counselor advised us to only submit the scores if they were great. So far we are 4 for 4 on acceptances with like a million yet to come but that’s for another thread.

  84. “It’s not clear that the test-optional approach will work to the benefit of marginal candidates who would not have top scores — what else will be on their application to set them apart from the rest?”

    URM status? First gen?

  85. Those applicants already have a hook.
    So do legacies.
    But the garden-variety UMC white or Asian applicants with 4.5 GPAs and extensive AP courses from large suburban public high schools with cookie-cutter letters of recommendation — and essays about How I Survived the Pandemic — will be hard to evaluate without test scores, and it won’t always be possible to determine whether they really couldn’t get a testing slot or didn’t like their scores.
    This is where the private school applicants will have an edge, especially if their schools are well-known feeders for HSS. They will present well-written targeted letters from teachers who taught them in person, and the admissions office knows how to evaluate them against years of prior applicants from those schools, even without test scores.

  86. “Those applicants already have a hook.”

    Right, but it’ll be easier to let them in with a 3.9 and no test scores than one with a 3.9 and 1200.

    My guess is that %age of Asian students will go down at HSS.

  87. “Right, but it’ll be easier to let them in with a 3.9 and no test scores than one with a 3.9 and 1200.”

    Maybe. But Harvard was already admitting black students with significantly lower SAT scores than Asian and white students in the Before Times.

    “My guess is that %age of Asian students will go down at HSS.”

    To the extent that those students are unable (because of logistics) to submit test scores, that is probably true. Asian admits have the highest SAT scores at HSS. Also the DOJ has dropped its discrimination suit against Yale — the Biden administration has different priorities, and discrimination against Asian students is not one of them.

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