Consider This

I – and many if not most of you reading this – would simply not exist without the findings of science, technology, and engineering.  Unsure of what I mean?  I have written about this topic before but here we go again because this cannot be overstated.

Starting off with the obvious: somewhere during your timeline of life a medical procedure/surgery, external or implanted medical or dental device, topical, or internal medicine, antibiotic, vaccine, or vitamin, – (that was invented, tested, guided, administered, and/or prescribed by the expert skill, advice, and training of medical experts we call medical scientists, virologists, immunologists, bacteriologists, prosthetists, orthodontists, dentists, plastic surgeons, doctors, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and all the other “ologists,”) – has repaired, prolonged, enhanced, or saved your life – or the life of one of your progenitors. 

Speaking of your progenitors; without one or more of the modern medical techniques and procedures I mentioned earlier – they may not have lived or lived long enough to bring those individuals who produced the being you call you into existence…in fact, they – and therefore you – may not have even been born at all.   

Another fascinating fact: it is very likely that some of your progenitors would have never even met each other without a horse and wagon, car, truck, bus, boat, ship, aircraft, or possibly even a rocket bringing them to the instant in time where they first met – changing the course of history to eventually create you.  

How many countless times in your life did a sanitation system such a water purification system, portable water filter, purified water from your local municipal water department, a simple wooden outhouse or gilded penthouse toilet – remove or greatly reduce the chance that you or your ancestors would contract a nasty parasite or deadly disease?

Where would you be and what shape would you be in without your soap, toilet paper, tooth brushes, contact lenses, eye glasses, dental implants, hearing aids, CPAP, Oxygen concentrator, hip, knee, and heart valve replacements, pacemakers, insulin, etc?

Then there was the discovery and implementation of better agriculture/animal husbandry techniques such as selective breeding, fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, genetic modification, preventative medicines – just to name a few – working together to produce a higher quality and quantity of foods allowing you to grow up strong and healthy.

Think about your home appliances for a moment.  Where would you be without your refrigerator, range, microwave oven, dish washer, laundry machines, blender, coffee maker, ceiling fans, HVAC, and all that electricity that powers them…how different would your life be without these technological wonders?

What about all that energy that powers and supports your lifestyle? Where would you be and what would you be doing without petroleum products such as oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene? Then there is all that earlier mentioned electricity you use that is produced by all those coal, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, solar, battery, and nuclear-power stations – and all the inventors, scientists, technicians, electricians, miners, roughnecks, refiners, shippers, managers, and other people who worked together to bring all that energy to you and to keep it flowing when you want and need it?

What about your modern clothes, tents, buildings, your home’s walls, doors, door locks, glass windows, the screens on the windows keeping out the blood-sucking and disease-carrying insects, all allowing you to live a comfortable and safe existence?

Do you perform work that requires the common sense use of PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment) to protect you from the elements such as sunglasses, safety glasses, air filter mask/respirator, chain saw chaps, snake gaiters, clothes, boots, gloves, sunscreen, climbing helmets, life jackets, body armor, or a simple bandana to keep you safe and healthy?

Have you used a personal tool or weapon that has protected you from a predatory animal or human attacker?

Where would you be without all these things?

Would you even exist?

What about your smoke/carbon monoxide alarms…your seat belts and airbags, automatic emergency braking and self-driving systems in your cars…your skateboard, bicycle, or motorcycle…?

That advanced tool of some kind – that hammer, handsaw, cordless drill/driver, Bic lighter or matchstick, pocket knife, multi-tool, Swiss army knife, fishing pole, rifle, animal trap or snare, backpack, length of nylon rope, dry bag, plastic bucket, or tin can, or again the ubiquitous bandanna, – that allowed you to fix a machine, build a shelter, procure, preserve and protect, cook, and prepare food or water so you could beat the odds and survive on and on?

What about all those electronic devices – like the one you are using to read these words – that you love so much; your smartphone/watch, computer, iPad, television, stereo, 2-way radio, that Tesla or Toyota in the driveway – do you have the first inkling on how they actually function? Do you have any idea how much engineering, science, thought, research and development, and testing went into them to bring them to reality on this very day so you can use them and trust them to work as you wish and need them to?

How about the systems in place that allow you to know what the weather will be tomorrow, when the tides will flow, the fish will bite, your exact location on the planet, and then give you turn by turn directions to the bodega where you buy your baked beans and Beluga Caviar – do you even have a clue what it takes to make all these things happen and get those beans and caviar to your dinner table?

And what about your dinner table…?

And what about all the intricate supply chains that have brought all these things to you? Have you ever given any of these technologies and systems the first thought with even just one of your 100 billion neurons?

All these things and systems are products of our science, engineering, technology, ingenuity, vision, and invention.

All of these things are also the products of our own evolutionary development.

Image from this good read: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/monkeys-make-stone-ldquo-tools-rdquo-that-bear-a-striking-resemblance-to-early-human-artifacts/

One of the defining characteristics of our unique species is tool-making and use. All of the technologies we create are nothing more than tools made of modified natural resources (complex combinations of liquids, rocks, fibers, and sticks spiced up with a little bit of fire, electricity, and lots and lots of science and engineering) that allow us to better adapt and survive in this thing we call life.  Since the first time early hominids turned simple rocks and sticks into stone tools and then more recently (maybe 1.5 – 1 million years ago) harnessed the power of fire and added it to his fast-growing tool box – we human-animals have invented, adapted, and “MacGyvered” our way through deep time to bring us to this day in our lives.

The simple fact is this: without our tools (ancient and modern) and without all the inventors, engineers, scientists – without all the experts (ancient and modern) that made them – in all probability we would only exist as just another ape among apes at the mercy of predators, the elements, and the relentless nature of nature.

Ouch!

The simple fact is that many if not most of us living today would not even exist without the findings of science and the miracles of modern technology and engineering – yet, a vast number of people alive, existing, and living today have absolutely no idea how any of these technologies – and the science and engineering that developed and supports them – function – even at a basic level. 

It seems we may have created for ourselves a broken system in which some individuals in the human population today – while they gladly accept and use many of these tools on a daily basis – have willingly chosen to nurture and perpetuate an irrational fear and distrust of many of these most important life-supporting, life-sustaining, and life-bettering technologies and sciences. The very same technologies and sciences and that have allowed many of them to exist, to continue to be healthy, to have the things they need, use, and enjoy. Yet, for whatever reason – they still choose to take many of these things for granted, to fear some of these things while accepting others, and to ignore the findings of the experts even if it brings hardship and harm to themselves, their loved ones, and those around them.

Strangely, a small but growing fraction of the population of planet earth has chosen to not only fear some of these technological tools – but also to use some of them as tools and/or weapons to spread irrational fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about still others of these most important tools they have chosen to misunderstand and distrust. A great example is this: people with little more than a high school education – if that – sitting on a couch at home or in traffic – or in their production studios – safe in their comfortable bubble of air conditioned from climate change (which they also do not understand or believe) existence – using their high technology personal electronic communications devices connected to the internet via fiber optics, ground and space-based data relay stations, and wireless data transmission towers and access points – only to spread loads of made-up FUD and misinformation about the expert advice of an entire planet’s worth of medical professionals on the need to wear PPE’s (masks) and the need to use the medicines and vaccines derived by science to fight off a microscopic viral attacker in the middle of a global pandemic…and then they take livestock dewormer…and sell loads of marketing, paraphernalia, self-published books, “cures” and “potions” and just get richer and richer off the ignorance of their followers.

This last fact is the most dangerous of them all. These “lunatic fringe” dwelling, anti-science, anti-knowledge, illogical charlatans – are nothing more than knowledge terrorists working to bring down the progress of civilization by sewing irrational fears into the minds of those without the capability, the education, or the desire, to see through their toxic charade.

It seems as if a cold-war spy movie mated with Austin Powers and gave birth to today’s reality.

The only way I know to fight this growing anti-science, anti-knowledge, fear-focused trend is to teach, to work very hard to open young minds – and the minds of those that are young at heart and still open to accepting evidence-supported, peer-reviewed knowledge.  The jobs of those of us who call themselves teachers is to plant the seeds of knowledge, inspiration, curiosity in how the natural world and the cosmos in which we float works. Then, we must continue to nurture those seeds with even more empirical evidence, adventure, experimentation, and lots of quality time outdoors in nature.  Hopefully, the seeds of evidence and curiosity we plant will grow into great and wonderful trees of knowledge that will empower its gardeners to cast off their fear, hate, doubt, xenophobia, and anxiety and nurture it with curiosity, knowledge, evidence, wonder, love, trust, passion, and coexistence and a deep reverence for all life. 

Plant that seed.

My personal science story:

The fact boldly stands that I would not exist without the findings of medical science, technology, expertise, and technique.

Why?  

1. I was born premature – medical science, technology, and engineering supported my life until I could support myself.

2. Vaccinations protected me against all the things all the other kids carried – all the things that wanted a piece of me when I was just starting out.

3. I acquired Mycoplasma “walking” pneumonia twice – I may have died without treatment and medications and the experts who administered them.

4. I developed Appendicitis: I would have most certainly died without treatment and appendectomy.

5. I was bitten by a Timber rattlesnake:  I may not have died but I would have probably lost the use of a finger and had lasting ill effects.

6. Both my biological and adoptive parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents – would have never met each other without ships, automobiles, and airplanes.

7. I have been in countless situations – many severe electrical storms and one hurricane come to mind – where a structure, vehicle, or technology provided shelter for me, and without it I would have died.

…and so on. 

So yes, without the findings and application of medical, materials, chemical, food, engineering, botanical, and physical science and engineering – I would simply not exist. 

It is as simple and as complex as that.

I do not fear the science, medical advancements, technology, and engineering discoveries, that have given me life – I accept and embrace them just as I accept and embrace nature – because science is our way of understanding and interacting with, and when the need arises – controlling the nature of nature.  These things have given me life and are a part of me, and for that I am eternally grateful. I am also eternally grateful to all the teachers, scientists, engineers, botanists, doctors, dentists, nurses, immunologists, virologists, biologists, and others who have helped me along the way to become the living, healthy person I am today – and to understand the value science and engineering brings to all of us.

You are all my heroes.   

What about you? 

How has science given you life?

Ponder it.

Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, thrive.

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MASK TEST

Yes, I am posting this one twice – it is that important.

In the early summer of 2020, as the world went into lockdown during the early days of the SARS CoV-2 (Corovavirus/COVID-19) global pandemic – I noticed many individuals declining to wear masks stating personal reasons and evidence-lacking “reasoning” as to why they would not comply with the recommendations of infectious disease experts all over the planet.

I also noticed several stories of different scientists testing masks to show how they were effective in reducing the spread of respiratory droplets/aerosols between people therby reducing the spread of the potentially deadly virus (as well as far less deadly but yet still annoying viruses such as the common cold).

I decided to perform a similar mask test for my students in my science education classes.

To do this I acquired some Petri dishes (from an Amazon supplier), then – with the mask off and a petri dish held at arm’s length – I coughed, sneezed, sang, and yelled at the open dishes. I then put on a two-layer cotton face mask and repeated the demonstration using a new petri dish. I labeled the dishes and let them incubate for a few days in a warm area – I did not have an incubator at the time but it was June so it was warm in the classroom, therefore – growth happened…LOTS of growth, far more than I expected…it was really gross and it smelled really funky.

The odd thing was that, while the dish that was exposed to my respiratory droplets/aerosols without a mask did in fact have more colonies of growth – so did the plate I had coughed on while wearing a mask. At first, it appeared that the mask did little to stop the spread of respiratory droplets.

I wrongly assumed the error was in the growth media of the Petri dishes so I acquired some new dishes (Amazon) with the same growth media used by many of the other researchers – 5% sheep’s blood – and I repeated the demonstration. This time I also added a table and placed several dishes out at .3, .9, and 1.5M (1′, 3′, and 6′) in an attempt to show how droplets travel outward from the body.

Again, the results were the same – not much difference between masked and unmasked.

I was perplexed.

I compared my results to the others and came to the only possible conclusion: my samples had been contaminated by the classroom environment. The natural dust and dirt on our feet, bodies, and hair that the students and I bring inside with us from the nearby forest and garden, our sloughed off human skin cells and hair, animal/bird dander (we have several free-range chickens), the fact that the building is an old log cabin. Along with all this fun with particulates – the classroom is host to many different species of reptile, amphibian, fish, arachnid, and sometimes even an Opossum. Then there are the billions of free-floating fungal spores and pollen grains from the forest all around us as well as the occasional wandering house fly or gnat – and all the fun little friends that hitchhike on their feet and faces. All these contaminants and contaminant vectors were, well – everywhere. So, my first two experiments were contaminated by the nature of nature.

What to do? How could I reduce the natural contamination factor of my classroom environment to produce a more un-contaminated result? A room air filter you say? Yes, I already had one of those – a big one. Obviously, it could only do so much.

Since it would be next to impossible to make my classroom free of natural contaminants – the only option was to build a Cleanroom to rule out some of the contamination in the hopes of obtaining a better result – so, that is what I did.

The video below shows the results of my efforts and I hope it serves to demonstrate the how and the why of why masks work and why it is important to wear them during a global pandemic. Watch to the end if you are interested in learning how I built the Cleanroom.

This video is long because I choose to be thorough and transparent. To demonstrate this requires procedure and patience. If you are in a hurry and want to bypass all the “meat” of the video and go directly to my findings – then feel free to do so by skipping ahead to the time index of 39:17

Special Thanks to Hardy Diagnostics for assisting us with this demonstration: http://www.hardydiagnostics.com

More special thanks to my inspirations for this demonstration:

Dr. Rich Davis, the Clinical Microbiology Lab Director at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/a-microbiologist-used-a-germ-filled-petri-dish-to-show-how-a- mask-catches-droplets-that-spray-from-your-mouth-when-you-talk-cough-sing-and-sneeze/ar-BB16dT0D On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIpHCptKZUg&t=39s

Dr. Nwadiuto Esiobu, microbiologist, Florida Atlantic University https://wsvn.com/news/investigations/mask-test-fau-microbiologist-checks-face-coverings-for- protection-against-covid-19/

Lourdes Aguilar of UMC of El Paso, TX: On YouTube: https://youtu.be/Q1YOHTP5IrA

Dr. Joe Hanson of It’s Ok To Be Smart On YouTube: How Well Do Masks Work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tp0zB904Mc&t=1s COVID-19 & Mask Myths DEBUNKED!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npXP5wqNzaI

My Outdoor Research Mask: https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/face-mask-kit-283298

COVID-19 Resources

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

https://news.ncsu.edu/2020/12/vaccines-koci-101/

https://www.factcheck.org/issue/covid-19/

https://www.snopes.com/collections/new-coronavirus-collection/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus_disease_2019

Even more special thanks to Matt Piper for graciously allowing the use of his wonderful song: Orbital Horizons Please Support Matt via https://mattpiper.bandcamp.com/music https://www.amazon.com/Orbital-Horizons-Matt-Piper/dp/B07KPPW42K https://open.spotify.com/artist/5SH8bpbRuHtzrwqlE6zZdc

THANK YOU ALL!

My mask protects you, your mask protects me. 

Wear your mask.

Unmasked Bandits

I am frustrated at the apparent willful ignorance of so many people – people I thought were smart – acting like it is all a hoax, ignoring the science, promoting and sharing lame-ass conspiracy theories that have the potential to harm – or end – those who choose to believe, follow, and promote them.

In recent weeks the infection numbers have been rapidly growing and are higher than ever before. Yet – in many areas the restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, bleachers, beaches, party venues, churches, and streets are packed with people – many maskless and in very close proximity.

In the USA the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are fast approaching as is winter. I have a great concern that many will ignore the recommendations of the experts and will chose to gather inside with family and friends to celebrate these traditional holidays. I fear that if this happens the infection rate will climb even higher and many more innocent people will suffer and die all because people chose to put their own wants over the needs of everyone around them. They will chose to willfully and deliberately ignore the recommendations of science as if they actually believe they will somehow be magically protected by their deity of choice.

Life does not work that way no matter how much you want it to.

Nature does not care about you.

You must care about yourself and those around you.

In grocery and hardware stores I have seen everyone from toxicically masculine macho men to young parents with their kids – all unmasked – closely mingling with others and acting as if nothing is wrong.

I have spoken to mask-wearing front-line workers in these stores and asked them how they deal with these maskless bandits stealing the health and lives of others. They say at first they were told by their superiors to enforce the mask mandate – but then, after extreme push backs and verbal attacks from these maskless partons – they were told to just let them in the door and stop enforcing the rule. Why? Are the store owners afraid of losing profits? Are they afraid of confrontation or litigation? Whatever the reason it just boggles the mind that a store owner would choose possible contagion over doing what is right – tossing the whining, tantrum-throwing, maskless bandits out on the street and telling them to not come back in their store until they are following the rules set by the store owner, the authorities, and by science.

When I visit any store/shop I always wear a mask. In fact, as I have an elderly mother and other family members who are more at risk, and as I am a school teacher – I must limit my chance of bringing an unwanted hitchhiking virus back to my students/coworkers and loved ones. So, when I enter places where I have noted low mask use – such as WalMart and Hardware stores – I opt to wear a 3M N100 full face mask custom fitted with an exhale filter. Yes, I get many odd looks from the maskless bandits but I do not care.

They look at me as if I’m some kind of fearful nutjob.

The reality is that I am not living in fear – I am living with facts.

I look back wondering what is the matter with them – are they really so blind to facts, do they really have no care in their hearts for themselves or their fellow human beings, could they be some of the blind followers of any number of the anti-science, bible waving, greedy ego-maniacs in politics, religion, and on the internet who think it is all a hoax and/or a way for the government to impart control on the population and/or are just using the pandemic as a way to profit off the fear and uncertainty of their followers? Are they all getting some kind of mental fix from this game of Russian roulette they are playing with their lives and with the lives of countless others?

I do not know the answers. What I do know is that I have given up trying to educate those people because no amount of knowledge I share will make them change their minds and listen to reason. It is almost as if they are part of a dangerous anti-science, masochistic, pseudo-religious, cult of toxic self-centeredness.

Sadly sometimes, we thinking types just have to toss up our hands and walk away.

We must continue to protect ourselves by staying as far away as possible from the maskeless bandits.

We must not give up or give in and we must continue to follow the knowledge and recommendations of the science from the experts.

We must do all these things as well as just curl up in the safety of our caves and just sit back and let natural selection run its course.

We are our own limiting factor.

Do not choose to be a maskless bandit.

Wear your mask.

Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive.

Give me some Oxygen!

The internet is a wealth of amazing knowledge and honest evidence and science-supported peer-reviewed answers on anything you have a question about, educational outlets, DIY tutorials on just about anything you can imagine, wonderful art, photography, music, culture, shopping, and hilarious cat videos.  However, if you look in the wrong dark corner – it is also a putrid cesspool of filth filled, lunatic fringe, manufactured misinformation, disinformation, and targeted doubt, fueled by basement-dwelling, troglodytic trolls sharing selling their own brand of fear-focused snake-oil “medicine” cures for anything that ails you, with all of it leading down twisted paths to dead ends of great gory heaps of rancid hogwash.  The hard part is knowing how to sort out the good from the bad and not get lost in the quagmire of insanity that is the fetid, festering underbelly of the World Wide Web.

Usually, the extreme fringe dwelling claims of internet know-it-all hawkers preaching their versions of their “truth” and their “reality” on websites, social media, and streaming video channels, these are very  easily debunked with common knowledge and common sense.  Other times, when it is hard to see through the words of all the charlatans – there are wonderful fact-checking websites (snopes.com, factcheck.org, politifact.com, and many more), that will help us sort the wheat from the chaff – and there is a lot of chaff.

Sometimes, however, common sense, knowledge, and actual facts are not enough to convince the dangerously skeptical among us.  Many will often cry that the evidence and facts are being manufactured and/or manipulated, strings are being pulled behind the scenes, and that “it” – whatever “it” is – is all a hoax or a conspiracy, etc.

When this happens I feel that it could only be helpful if regular people like me take a serious look at the situation, analyze it with a scientifically skeptical mind, and then share our findings.  In doing this, maybe some of the overly skeptical/fearful folks will see that the results of a friend show exactly what the experts are saying – on whatever the subject may be.  Then, maybe, hopefully, these doubting individuals will be enlightened to the facts found by a friend instead of some nameless white coat and mask-wearing scientist in a lab somewhere, or a talking head on TV.  Maybe once they see that someone they know has come to the same conclusion as the highly educated and peer-reviewed experts – then maybe, hopefully, they will choose to put aside all the crazy internet-sourced, often dangerous to their health and the health of their friends and family bad ideas, and they will decide to choose wisely on this, and whatever the next topic may be.

Maybe with my example as an inspiration, they might choose to do their own research and answer their own questions over just believing anything they read/see/hear/share online.

Obviously, it is dangerous and not in any way helpful for anyone to just believe blindly and without question all the randomly shared stories/comments/claims/cures seen online. Personally, I try to think critically when anyone makes any claim targeting the learned, evidence-supported, peer-reviewed recommendations of the experts in any given field of study.  When I have questions, and I have a lot of them, I choose to do the research and answer the questions with real results and real evidence – with real science. However, if you do not trust and/or believe me in my quest for the evidence, and for knowledge – then please, try it out for yourself and share your results with your peers and see if they come to the same conclusions.  If they do, then whatever the outcome, and if you did your science correctly – it must be true.

Today’s Internet Claim: Wearing masks reduces or depletes your blood oxygen levels and therefore is not a good idea.

This claim instantly sounded like a good one to test due to its common sense and evidence lacking spin – so let’s get into it.

Demonstration #1: I used a super cool homemade two-ply cloth filter mask my other sister made for me.

My job as a teacher requires a lot of speaking, walking around the classroom and grounds – so, yes, I exert myself enough to need good air/oxygen flow.

I wore this mask all day at work while teaching and working inside and outside the classroom.

I only took it off during lunch when no one was in the building – so I could eat.

In total, I wore the mask for 6.5 hours during my class sessions – as I have done every day in class since late March.

During this time I used a pulse oximeter to measure my blood oxygen level (SpO2) at 10 random times throughout the day during all activities.

A masked me with oximeter reading my SpO2.

The Results:

Baseline: At the start of the day and before putting on the mask, my SpO2 was: 97% (This is an average of three readings taken a few seconds apart.  Each time I take my SpO2 level I follow this same protocol – three consecutive readings, averaged together.)

During the workday.

My highest SpO2: 98% (mask on – teaching, moving around the room)

My lowest SpO2: 95% (mask off – sitting during lunch)

My average SpO2: 96.2%

Demonstration #2: I purchased a mass-manufactured Halo Mask (https://halolife.io/ ) – this is a three-layer mask including a replaceable microfiber filter.  

My job as a teacher requires a lot of speaking, walking around the classroom and grounds – so, yes, I exert myself enough to need good air/oxygen flow.

I wore this mask all day at work while teaching and working inside and outside the classroom.

I only took it off only during lunch when no one was in the building – so I could eat.

In total, I wore the mask for 6.5 hours during my class sessions.

During this time I used a pulse oximeter to measure my blood oxygen level (SpO2) at 10 random times throughout the day during all activities.

Wearing the Halomask

The results:

Baseline: At the start of the day and before putting on the mask, my SpO2 was: 96.7% (This is an average of three readings taken a few seconds apart.  Each time I take my SpO2 level I follow this same protocol – three consecutive readings, averaged together.)

During the workday:

My highest SpO2: 95% (mask on – teaching, moving around the room)

My lowest SpO2: 94% (mask on – teaching)

My average SpO2: 95.03%

Demonstration #3: I purchased a GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Dust Half Mask Respirator ( https://www.stewartsupply.com/elipse-p100-size-m-l )

I wore it for a supply run trip into a local hardware store. I also wore it when I was cleaning my classroom three times during the day.  During each instance of wearing the respirator mask I had it on for an average duration of 26 minutes.  During each instance I was actively working – shopping and cleaning – in other words, these are things that require some physical exertion and therefore good air/oxygen flow.

In total, I wore the mask for a total duration of 106 minutes.

My average time wearing the mask was 26.5 minutes.  

During each of these instances I used a pulse oximeter to measure my blood oxygen level (SpO2) at the completion of each session wearing the GVS mask.

Wearing the professional respirator mask.

The results:

Baseline: At the start of the day and before putting on the mask, my SpO2 was: 96.7% (This is an average of three readings taken a few seconds apart.  Each time I take my SpO2 level I follow this same protocol – three consecutive readings, averaged together.)

During the demonstration:

My highest SpO2: 98.3% (shopping)

My lowest SpO2: 94.3% (cleaning)

My average SpO2: 95.90%

Comparing the three demonstrations we see the following:

Demo #1 Homemade Cloth Mask:  Average SpO2: 96.20%

Demo #2 Three layer microfiber filter mask:  Average SpO2: 95.03%

Demo #3: Professional respirator mask:  Average SpO2: 95.90%

Average SpO2 w/o a mask: 95.81%

Average SpO2 with all types of mask tested: 95.71%

Notes:

At sea level, a healthy human has an SpO2 between 95 – 100%.

My SpO2 tends to trend on the low side if “normal” probably due to my age (52), having mild exercise-induced asthma, and having had Mycoplasma pneumonia twice when I was younger…and possibly because I live/work between 2,500 – 3100′ (762 – 945 m) – above sea level (elevation gain lowers SpO2 “normal range” readings – but this last variable is probably negligible).

Then there is the error factor of ~2% for this type of pulse oximeter to factor in as well so my SpO2 level could have fallen anywhere between 92 – 100% during this test.

To all the anti-mask naysayers, doubters, and conspiracy theorists who say wearing masks will reduce your oxygen levels, my findings during this simple demonstration suggest the opposite.

My results suggest the following: Wearing a mask – be it a homemade cloth mask, a mass market multi-layer microfiber mask, or a professional respirator mask does not alter, impair, or reduce the flow of oxygen from the atmosphere into the mask-wearers lungs/bloodstream.

However, what wearing a mask does alter, impair, and reduce is the outward flow of the mask-wearers exhaled liquid respiratory droplets, and therefore, their fungal, bacterial, and viral contents (their nasty germs) contained within their exhaled liquid droplets.  In other words: it greatly reduces (depending upon the type of mask worn) the mask wearers germs, from getting out of them and/or into your body and infecting you or others with something you or they do not want – be it a common cold or COVID-19.

Wearing a mask is caring for others.

Note #1: If you wear the same mask for several days and let it become saturated with moisture, bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, etc. – deposits of moisture, dust, pollen, and possibly, mold, and bacterial colonies could accumulate/grow on the mask clogging up the pores in the fabric/filter thereby reducing airflow – and that in turn could potentially reduce the flow of oxygen. This is not the recommended or the smart way to use a mask – and it is just totally gross. To keep this possible outcome from happening – wash your mask with soap and water at the end of each day.  If your mask has filters, change them at the manufacturers recommended intervals.

Note #2: I am fully aware some people are not able to wear masks due to health conditions. This demonstration is not meant for those people.  This demonstration is for the heathy people who do not have conditions that negate wearing a mask.  This demonstration is for people who are otherwise healthy but for personal reasons are searching for “evidence” that supports their personal decision to not wear a mask.  Heath conditions that negate wearing a mask aside, choosing to not wear a mask for personal reasons is just incredibly self-centered, uncaring, and selfish.  If you are one of these people, if you are choosing to ignore the evidence and the facts, then please – do not be part of the problem and just stay home until all this is over.

Note#3: Oxygen atoms are far smaller than the weave of a homemade cloth mask, an N95, an N100, or even the very best medical or particulate/chemical protective respirator mask. If, in fact, properly fitted, and correctly used masks did block oxygen molecules as some are trying to claim – then all the mask-wearing doctors, veterinarians, dentists, health care workers, manufacturing plant workers, scientists, people painting cars/houses, sanding wood, firefighters, servicemen, police, and regular everyday people choosing to wear a mask to protect themselves and to protect you from them – would be passing out and dropping dead all over the place from lack of oxygen.  Those that survived their ordeal would quickly sling rapid-fire lawsuits at all the mask companies which would then fold. 

But this is not happening – why? Because oxygen atoms are far too small to be stopped by the fibers of any approved professional personal protective equipment mask, homemade cloth mask, bandana, scarf, or old t-shirt wrapped around your face.

Some good mask information from PBS Studios.

Unmasking mask myths.

Uncle Rob using fire and common sense to show how masks work.

How small are oxygen atoms?

Size comparison – remember a water molecule is made of both hydrogen and oxygen atoms – so oxygen atoms are very, very, very small.

Still confused on the sizes/scale of things – check this out.

Mask Update 2021: This is all still true to this day and I am still here and breathing just fine despite wearing masks in public places for over a year. I have also been vaccinated for COVID-19 and all the other expert-recommended vaccinations as well as Rabies.

Mask Update 2022: Again – I am still here and breathing just fine despite religiously wearing masks in all public places I have visited during this pandemic (when and where recommended by the CDC and common sense) – yet, despite the masks I still contracted COVID-19 in the spring of this year. However, it was not because the masks did not work. The source of my infection was traced back to my wife’s place of business where the virus hitchhiked in/on her and then jumped to me. Cross-contamination is a real bummer.

Lucky for us our cases were relatively mild thanks to our vaccinations – Yay Science!

Remember-

There is not democratic science.

There is not republican science.

There is only science.

Science does not take sides – please stop trying to make science political.

People take sides.

Science only seeks to reveal the how of things- it seeks only to find the evidence of what is true and then help us make better decisions on how to adapt to this thing called life.

Science will not dictate your path, it will only offer evidence and then suggest the best path you should take – it is then up to you to logically decide – based on the evidence at hand – which path to take.

Please choose wisely to support science over greed, control, and fear-focused politics and ancient dogma.

Support the findings and suggestions of science for a healthy, safe, and prosperous future.

The future is in our hands.

Please wear a mask.