Monday, May 24, 2021

I Don't Know Why I Was Surprised

 ... I had figured this out on my own long before seeing the video below. It's simple fluid mechanics.

When they tell you to "follow the science," what they're really saying is, "follow what I tell you."

Science isn't obedience.

You can perform your own, simple experiment to validate what that video demonstrates. Put on your mask and take a deep breath, then exhale. You can feel the wind of your exhalation go past your skin. For me, I feel it mostly on my eyes as the air, which is a fluid, flows out through the gaps around my nose. Of course it does. Those gaps are the easiest way to relieve the pressure inside the mask as you exhale.

I've started going back to the gym and lifting weights. Everyone there is wearing a mask, but loosely so we can breathe heavily as we work out. That means they aren't doing a blasted thing. It's all a charade.

Why didn't I realize this before? I had my own experimental data and saw that the people telling me to "follow the science" were closing hiking trails, where it was practically impossible to contract the Wuhan Flu. I had objective data and the "experts" were clearly charlatans.

It just goes to show how easy it is to get sucked into the popular zeitgeist.


tim eisele said...

I note that there is one easy, obvious test he didn't do, though: he didn't show what happens with no mask at all.

But we've all seen that when watching people smoke, right? Without a mask, there is a fast plume shooting straight out several feet, right into the face of anyone the person is looking at. And all of the masks that he showed, even the most crappy ones, actually did suppress that fast moving, long-range plume.

He also didn't check the effect on coughs and sneezes. There have been occasions in the past where I've been several feet away from a coughing or sneezing person, and been hit by gobbets of spittle large enough to feel. The masks would definitely stop those.

And while he said that the masks don't protect you from other people's aerosols, nothing in his test demonstrates that. In fact, the main failure mode he is showing (pressure forcing the mask forward so that air can come out the edges), happens on the exhale, not so much on the inhale when it is being pulled up against your face.

The thing that annoys me about "demonstrations" like this, is he is falling for the "perfect solution fallacy"; that just because something isn't perfect, it must be worthless. By that argument, the safety glasses that I wear in the lab and shop, the hard hat that I wear on industrial sites, and the high-visibility vest that I wear when I am walking around people operating heavy equipment, are also worthless, because they aren't perfect. And yet, I can point to specific occasions where the safety glasses and hard hat have saved me from serious injuries (and the people I have come closest to hitting with my car over the years have all been people who weren't wearing high-visibility clothing), so they are clearly of value.

The point of safety gear isn't some unattainable perfection. The point is to skew the odds in your favor by being "better than nothing."

K T Cat said...

Fair enough. One problem, however: Air circulation systems indoors and people moving. Any suspended particles are moved around quite nicely. Also, if you're walking around inside, those particles will be uniformly distributed in no time.

Kelly the little black dog said...

Two things to add to Tim's excellent response. The virus isn't a poison gas. You are trying to reduce the number of particles transmitted. It is not necessary to completely eliminate every single one of them. Secondly, if what the video, and by extension you are claiming, we would not have seen the historically low number of flu cases this year. There were 38 million cases during the 2019-2020 flu season. There were just over 2000 this year. A reduction of 10^4. Theory and experiments are fine, but they are always second to ground truth.

K T Cat said...

Or is it worse than a poison gas? It's a virus. Breathe in a few of them and they'll take care of jacking up the concentration themselves.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Tim - I agree that his demo applies to only what he was demonstrating - Exhaling. The available masks simply don't catch a significant fraction of the smallest aerosols. But yes, they reduce the velocity in the first few feet and they will stop sneezing/coughing spittle, so that's something. As to inhaling, the masks do do one thing well... make it hard to breathe in. The negative pressure causes, with even the worst of the masks, to pull tight against the face (eliminating the side gaps which dominate in the exhale). If anyone doesn't think masks make inhaling hard then explain what I hear in Joe Biden's breathing at the 1:00 mark in this: ).

Kelly - Do you think the masks are the primary cause of the low flu case numbers? I don't. I would beat heavily that all the workers that stayed home, the kids that didn't go to school, and the number of people who stopped going to a lot of places (gyms, restaurants, churches, etc) reduced the spread and are WAY bigger effects. Plus lots of people were much more dedicated to washing their hands. I suspect that's also a bigger effect.

But rather than get into a big "how many CoViD-19 viruses can dance on the head of a pinhead", let's talk about why I gave up on masks weeks ago. (Hint: it's data.)

First, we all remember that at the beginning of the "two weeks to flatten to curve" the grand and glorious Dr Fauci said that masks were unnecessary and didn't really work. Then he said they did, but that he lied so that the people wouldn't buy them all up so they could be bought by medical entities. Then the experts said two masks are better than one. Then they did their Emily Litela impressions and said 'nevermind', just use one. From this I concluded that the expert pronouncements were of value equal to ZERO. So where's the data? Not here yet. Through all of this I continued to wear a mask. I just did not, and could not, determine if it really helped me (or those around me) or not. But then Texas and Florida opened and said no masks needed. AND THERE WERE NO CASE INCREASES (despite that same breathless Joe Biden calling this 'Neanderthal thinking'). That's the only data I needed to see.

K T Cat said...

I'll add that almost no one in Arkansas, Mississippi or Alabama were wearing them and looking at Wuhan Flu cases and deaths by state, none of those states have seen spikes. Bama recently had a short, anomalous blip in cases, but deaths are almost zero.

It's like the closing of the schools. Catholic schools have been open since last October and saw no outbreaks. There was no reason to keep the public schools closed. There was no science behind it at all.