My Quarantined Neighbors | SAFETY DOC PODCAST #124 | Dr. David P. Perrodin [Podcast]

[Podcast] Doc’s neighbors are quarantined for 14 days after returning from a coronavirus hot zone; update on face validity; this great disruption is similar to Bell Labs 1950s Idealized Design meeting in which phone engineers were told that the existing phone system was destroyed and they had 30 days to re-invent it; portable battery packs that look like explosives; and PBS Kids is not a curriculum.

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A neighbor informs Doc that his family is quarantined for 14 days. However, they receive mail delivered to the postal box affixed to their house, food deliveries, and can travel for essential items such as food. Doc and participants in the chat note the obvious problems with people being home-quarantined without any requirement to alert the public. It would make sense to print a “Quarantined” sign and put it on their door or mailbox. Any political correctness of hiding this information went out the door with governor-decreed “Safer at Home” mandates.


Doc reminds people to authentically observe what is happening in their immediate environments. He notes an uptick in vehicles at hospital parking lot, busier parking lots at grocers and WalMart, no change in activity at the armory, and sharp increase in visible police patrols. Doc noted that a nearby county had a webpage for citizens to report large gatherings to authorities – but the site was removed after a day. This also suggests that local law enforcement agencies might be considering deputizing citizens to monitor neighborhoods.


Doc shows battery charging pack he ordered from Amazon. Works great, but looks like a flattened stick of explosives! Yikes, probably shouldn’t have ordered it in red.


In 1951, Bell Labs (the people making telephones and communications systems) summoned its top engineers for an emergency meeting. As one attendee recalled, “About ten minutes after the hour, the door to the room squeaked open. All eyes turned to it, and there he was. He was obviously very upset. He was a pasty gray and bent over as he slowly shuffled down the aisle without a word to anyone. He mounted the platform, stood behind the podium, put his elbows on it, and held his head in his two hands, looking down. The room was dead silent. Finally, he looked up and in an uncharacteristically meek voice said, “Gentlemen, the telephone system of the United States was destroyed last night. Then he looked down again. (Idealized Design: How Bell Labs Imagined – and Created the Telephone System of the Future, August 09, 2006).” Engineers, now unshackled from the conventional, clunky phone system, assembled in small teams and had about a month to create the phone system of the future. One engineer experimented with using a touch pad calculator to replace the rotary dial, others figured out called ID and conference calls, and another group prototyped voicemail. What innovations and evolutions will the coronavirus event bring forward in healthcare (tele-medicine), schools (virtual classrooms), asset delivery (relaxed regulations for drones)?


A flurry of free content is being pushed to parents who are now responsible for educating their children (with some partnership with schools). Doc notes that a potpourri of enrichment activities isn’t a curriculum and that parents should search for activities that have a scope and sequence. Doc also cautions that some districts are reporting that up to 40% of their students have yet to log into their new virtual classrooms and we are overlooking that some families don’t have the bandwidth or skills necessary to carry out virtual education.


Thanks to Bryan in the chat room for encouraging everyone to be kind to others, check in on relatives, and to avoid judging the atypical actions of people who are struggling to settle into a similarity.


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Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at

Idealized Design Article:

Purchase Dr. Perrodin’s Book: Schools of Errors – Rethinking School Safety in America