The new Boom Towns are ZOOM TOWNS

First, there were boomtowns. Now, there are Zoom towns.

The coronavirus pandemic is leading to a new phenomenon: a migration to “gateway communities,” or small towns near major public lands and ski resorts as people’s jobs increasingly become remote-friendly. This is straining the towns’ resources and putting pressure on them to adapt.

There has been a drastic increase in remote work since March, when the pandemic hit the U.S. Nearly 60% of employees are now working remotely full or part time, according to a recent Gallup poll. Nearly two-thirds of employees who have been working remotely would like to continue to do so, according to that same poll. That would seemingly give workers a lot more flexibility when it comes to where they call home.

For more than two decades, working from home or on the road was how I earned my living. Piece of cake. Portable computers became as important a piece of hardware as a reliable car. The road stuff I adapted to aren’t even a problem for the growing number of folks who can do everything they need – from home.

Most institutional workplace “experts” think the overwhelming majority of folks working remotely will rush back to the office habitat. Even a cynic like me doesn’t agree. The social and personal culture of an enforced collective workplace ain’t a kibbutz by any stretch of the imagination.

What goes around comes around…

A few other folks on TWITTER questioned whether or not she was qualified to run the office she was elected to. Mostly for jive reasons. So, Juli Briskman responded on that count:

Jaime Primak…also volunteered that Juli Briskman, now on the Local Board of Supervisors, oversees legislation for leisure facilities in her county.

A county which includes Trump’s National Golf Club. 🙂

Hawks and hope


Ellis Juhlin

I am a graduate student in ecology studying the parasites of ferruginous hawk nestlings. I have worked studying birds and promoting their conservation since I graduated college in 2017. I watch the diversity of birds that migrates through Cache Valley, Utah, keeping my outdoor lights off to diminish the light pollution they struggle to navigate through. Birds are a great unifier, the most accessible wildlife we have. No matter where you are, you can almost always spot a bird nearby. But now, as someone who works with wildlife in the West, I am scared for my hawks, and the rest of the wildlife that calls this place home.

What I am observing in the lives of these birds, and experiencing in my own life, surpasses the emotionless term “climate change.”…In an online discussion in November between Terry Tempest Williams and Pam Houston, two authors I admire, the term “climate change” was not used. We were discussing Williams’ book, Erosion, where the changing climate is a central theme. However, these two authors referred only to climate collapse. The moment Houston said “climate collapse,” the buzzer in my head went off, as if we were in a game show. I immediately knew what she meant. I am living through a climate collapse.

RTFA. Ellis Juhlin is a grad student at Utah State. An advocate for “the cultivation of responsible relationships between humans and our natural world”.

I’ll second that emotion!

Significant and growing class of American voters

The voting patterns of religious groups in the U.S. have been scrutinized since the presidential election for evidence of shifting allegiances among the faithful. Many have wondered if a boost in Catholic support was behind Biden’s win or if a dip in support among evangelicals helped doom Trump.

But much less attention has been paid to one of the largest growing demographics among the U.S. electorate, one that has increased from around 5% of Americans to over 23% in the last 50 years: “Nones” – that is, the nonreligious.

I am a scholar of secularism in the U.S., and my focus is on the social and cultural presence of secular people – nonreligious people such as atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and those who simply don’t identify with any religion. They are an increasingly significant presence in American society, one which inevitably spills into the political arena.

The voters characterized as the “religious Right” continue at least as noisy as ever…while their economic and political power diminishes outside of the opportunist brigade in the Republican Party. And Trump has shattered that segment badly enough that it may be reduced to the same sort of historic footnote as George Wallace’s American Independent Party.

Meanwhile, I find Professor Zuckerman’s article encouraging – offering hope for scientific realism, hard facts, playing more of a role in American politics. Finally!