Category Archives: Science

Why are people wearing face masks with unfiltered outflow valves?

The Oregonian has been running a “fake news” ad on their main front page for weeks for a vendor of face masks. Here’s the ad, with their defective component highlighted:

The product they are marketing contains an outlet valve. Which defeats the entire purpose of the use of the face mask – to prevent outflow from those who have asymptomatic Covid-19. Indeed, some jurisdictions prohibit the use of these masks as the entire purpose of face masks is to prevent outflow of Covid-19 from asymptomatic individuals.

Continue reading Why are people wearing face masks with unfiltered outflow valves?

Most COVID cases don’t spread virus—it’s the superspreaders , say researchers

Of interest:

According to mounting data, as little as 10 percent to 20 percent of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 may be responsible for around 80 percent of transmission. On the flip side, a stunning 70 percent of infected people may not pass the virus to anyone, some data suggests.

….

Superspreading events tend to occur in specific settings—large social gatherings, bustling nightclubs, crammed workplaces. Instances where one apparently highly contagious person can spread it to many others in short order.

Source: Most COVID cases don’t spread virus—it’s the superspreaders we need to stop | Ars Technica

Oregon has seen a sharp rise in cases since May 28th. OHA public health enthusiasts suggest multiple reasons including outbreaks in work or social groups, significant expansion of testing. Or may be re-opening – except the largest county remains in lock down and the next 2 are only in Phase 1 while most of the state has been in Phase 2 and is not seeing an expansion of cases.

Outside the large metro areas, there was a significant expansion in Lincoln County due to an outbreak at a fish processing plant. Yesterday, there was a huge increase of 99 in rural Union county. A church there is said to have offered free testing to nearly 400 church goers and many results came back positive (hundreds more still pending). There is no information if these were symptomatic or asymptomatic cases. For example, in the fish processing plant, about a dozen people had confirmed cases so they tested everyone. Found 124 cases of which 95% (at time of reporting) had no symptoms.

Update: On June 16th, OHA added an additional 119 cases to Union County, saying in addition to the huge Church service in May, the Church hosted two other large events (wedding and a graduation), each having more 100 people in attendance. At this time, over 1 in 5 people in the tiny town of Island City, OR may be sick with Covid-19.

The OHA also says they are unable to contact trace many recent patients – which is a hint those may have been protest related – but the OHA may not wish to say that as, per the Oregonian, the OHA has been a supporter of recent protest super spreader events (previously referred to as “Kill Grandma” events). Buried in this article is that La Grande, next to the tiny town with the church, held public health enthusiast approved mass super spreader protest events during past weeks.

Continue reading Most COVID cases don’t spread virus—it’s the superspreaders , say researchers

Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range? | Ars Technica

Cool stuff: Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range? | Ars Technica

And the answer is: mostly plate tectonics, speed of movement, nature of the materials involved.  Erosion (and hence climate) play a tiny role but not much

This is why I read ArsTechnica.com and why you should too. Their news reports are written by people actually trained in their field, in this case, by a hydrogeologist. Their reports on public health are written by actual microbiologists and molecular biologists.

Continue reading Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range? | Ars Technica