Brandon's Notepad

April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020: COVID-19 Dashboards, SafeYouTube

COVID-19 Dashboards

I doubt that anyone reading this is unaware of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has had on the world over the past few months. I really didn’t want to blog about it at all, but it’s really hard to ignore, so here we are. The following are a couple of dashboards I’ve been using to monitor the spread of the disease. – This has been my go-to dashboard from the beginning of the pandemic. It was created by a very enterprising high school student in Washington State by the name of Avi Schiffmann. I like it because it looks nice on mobile and breaks down the statistics not only by country/region, but also by State (so I can keep an eye on Texas, of course). There is also a recovery and fatality rate shown for each section, which I think were added recently. – This site has a lot of graphs to play with. You can look at growth by state, projected mortality rates, all sorts of stuff. And on many charts, you can highlight specific states and see how they are faring against the national average. The “Deaths per Capita” is the chart I’ve been watching the closest.


Distance education is a new and interesting challenge, as many parents around the world are now discovering, especially when there is a variety of solutions and technologies being utilized with little or no consistency. Instructional videos have been my biggest peeve so far. Some teachers upload MOV files directly from their phones to Google Classroom, but most upload them to YouTube…which, unfortunately, we block as part of our parental-control regimen. He had to loosen controls for a while and hope for the best.

Thankfully, one of the teachers started publishing links to her videos using The great news is that anyone can generate links, even parents. Just visit the site and paste the URL to any YouTube video and a new link will be generated for you. Not only does the new page exclude all of the excess page elements, like search capabilities, related/suggested videos and comments, but the viewer doesn’t get blocked (at least not with our setup, but I cannot guarantee it will work perfectly for everyone without some additional configuration).

I had been toying with the idea of writing some sort of proxy server that would cache requested videos and present them in a similar fashion, but now there’s no need. The site has an API too, so I may end up creating a self-service function that will save me from having to generate links by hand. They will only be able to generate links using YouTube URLs they already have.

Sharing & Feedback

I have found the resources covered in this post to be incredibly helpful, so please, share this post with your friends. If you have questions or comments about the items above, please leave them in the comment section below or feel free to send them to me via Twitter (@brandonsnotepad). Thanks!

February 9, 2011

“Catholic” Universities

Catholic institutions of higher education are torn between the liberal secularism of modern academia and their Catholic identity. The result is often scandalous. The following is a list of events, derived primarily from headlines from online newsletters and news sites, which have crossed my desktop over time. Each can certainly be researched in more depth elsewhere.


Madonna University cancelled a speaking engagement with a Planned Parenthood employee, Christine Gannon. The engagement was sponsored by the school’s Sign Language Studies department. Ms. Gannon provides services to the deaf through Planned Parenthood. More

The HERO student organization implemented the Atticus Circle’s t-shirt campaign at Gonzaga University. More

Fr. Ryan Maher S.J., Associate Dean of Georgetown College (within Georgetown University) posted a news article with an embedded video promoting the school’s religious diversity. He states “Our job as educators and as priests is not to bring God to people, or even to bring people to God.”

The National Labor Relations Board decided that the faculty of Manhattan College could indeed unionize, because “the purpose of the College is secular and not the ‘propagation of a religious faith’.” More

Former Indiana Governor and Senator Even Bayh addressed Notre Dame students on February 24th (photos)on “the role that government and politics play in the advancement of the common good in a global economy.” Bayh is very pro-abortion, having low NRLC and high NARAL scores. More

Boston College planned to celebrate the life of pro-abortion Congressman and priest, Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J. on the evening of March 7, 2011.

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