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Good Morning on March 28

OK, I’m toast from getting up at 5 AM and I will have to sleep late tomorrow. At my middle age, I can only burn the candle at one end, not both ends as when I was in my 40's.

I’ve added the 232-megapixel panorama below to this example page:

Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR Examples: Alabama Hills

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

Below, I was wrapping up my shooting when this oddball veiled lighting showed up. I am pretty sure I could “pop” this image nicely given more time and effort, but I’m enjoying it as it stands. It shows the Alabama Hills and nearby Sierra Nevada with Lone Pine Peak and Mt Whitney combined in a way not often seen.

Early Morning, Owens Lake in the South to Mt Whitney in the West, Veiled Lighting
f9 @ 1/80 sec EFC shutter panorama 5 frames cylindrical, ISO 100; 2020-03-28 08:32:19
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR @ 40mm equiv (50mm) + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5200 ft / 1585 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, -38 Highlights, +48 Whites

[low-res image for bot]

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

COVID-19: Revising my Optimism Somewhat

Thank you to knowledgeable readers, particularly medical doctors, who have given me sound perspective over the past few days—much appreciated!

Looks like I will be living in my van for at least 2 more weeks and maybe another month! I have zero risk of infection except when getting supplies every 10 days or so.

Asking around, and ready to be proven wrong by facts, I nonetheless retain my optimism that in ~2 weeks (by mid April) medical professionals will have at least some hints at where we might go from here in terms of drugs to treat COVID-19, as well as faster and hopefully more accurate diagnosis, along with improved triage and initial treatments.

The triple-drug treatment involving hydroxychloroquine might be a dud, might be premature optimism. Apparently there are more than a dozen protocols being tested with many different treatments. Of those, if only one of those treatments works well (and is widely available), we are in much better shape. Two weeks should tell us something, given the rapid progression of the disease.

One big problem I see in managing the whole thing is that apparently we do not have a test for infected/recovered/virus eliminated from the system people, which would require some kind of antibody test. So we do not know who is “safe” and we do not even know for sure if re-infection is possible. Not good.

While people are dying from COVID-19, having everyone isolate for months will be a disaster with repercussions for years to come and cause deaths by various other mechanisms. I hope the experts can figure out the tipping point between more versus less harm as infections rise. If there is immunity, I wonder if the requirement to wear a visible “I recovered” badge might be socially useful for getting things functioning again.

A light at the end of the tunnel is badly needed. And it doesn’t matter much whether the optimism is unfounded for 'A', should 'B' comes along instead and prove-out as a solution.

Various thoughts

  • I have myself and my wife and my parents all in the 'kill zone' and so a lot on the line. I know people that if lost would shake me badly. So do you all. I’m doing my best to talk about this whole thing in my own way, so I hope that “mind reading” my thoughts and intentions will be suspended among my readers, and my good intentions taken as default. I will be wrong about some (maybe many) things, but my heart is in the right place.
  • Would it make sense on a strictly volunteer basis for young low-risk people to volunteer to travel to special tent-city “infection camps” of 10K people or so in isolated areas to gain immunity for ~1 month and thus get them recovered and non-infectious and then back to work (wear a special badge of honor?) quickly so as to protect the rest of the country from transmission vectors and to have able-bodied workers? Terrible idea? Probably, but I don’t know but I wonder if such ideas are at least considered by experts.
  • Public policy is incoherent with respect to those most at risk. It might be time for those at high risk to be handled specially: strict limitations on movement and exposure along with special services like home delivery of all necessities so that those at risk need not expose themselves. Good idea or bad? Not for me to say, but I do know that we cannot afford to have too many at risk people get seriously ill, or the entire care system will collapse. If you are at low risk, see what you can do to help your neighbors who might need help, such as getting groceries or medications or whatever, all with appropriate protective gear of course. I don’t understand why the government is not directly forming such groups, or some private company, like Apple or Google or whatever.
  • As an entirely apolitical question: it good or bad for a President (any President, set aside politics!) to offer unfounded optimism, e.g., “encouraging results” that remain entirely unproven? Is it better to remain non-committal or even to express alarm/negativity? Or just shut up and let doctors communicate, most likely in terms most people cannot understand? I tend to be in the camp that optimism is better, even if it doesn’t pan out with 'A', and 'B' arrives to the rescue instead. I don’t know what is best, but I doubt that anyone else knows either. I do know that mass panic and social breakdown are huge risks if people come to believe that all that is left is save-yourself mentality. It is critical that the national psychology be strengthened, as in “we are all in this as a team and there is hope”—that’s what I expect from our leaders at every level. The opportunity for shared purpose is massive, all-important, and could end up being tremendously constructive.

I’m considering stopping these posts on COVID-19—I have to ask myself if they are helping anyone or just one more voice in the wind. While nearly all readers have been supportive, there are some not so nice emails each day (usually only one), but that’s one more than I want in my day.

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Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR Examples: Alabama Hills (Fujifilm GFX100)

Kicking off my review of the Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR are some examples I shot today. Much more to come.

Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR Examples: Alabama Hills

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

See also a first example in Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 Examples: Alabama Hills.

It was tough shooting this morning at 25°F with a stiff wind, but I managed to get some decent shots. It’s a bit of a strain to be writing this at nearly 1:00 AM, but I need to be up at 5:30 AM for a shot I want tomorrow morning, and the sunrise won’t wait!

As usual, it takes me 10X longer to assess and process and publish, so I have a ton of Good Stuff and I can hardly do more than just skim and pick out a few images to get done each day, what with all the other efforts.

View Southeast Towards Lone Pine and Owens Lake
f3.5 @ 1/400 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2020-03-27 07:09:24
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR @ 40mm equiv (50mm)
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5200 ft / 1585 m, 34°F / 1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Fresh Snow on Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney
f8 @ 1.9 sec IS=off electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2020-03-27 06:26:05
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR @ 198mm equiv (250mm)
ENV: Alabama Hills view to Mt Whitney, altitude 5200 ft / 1585 m, 25°F / -3°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, +45 Whites, +5 Dehaze, +5 Texture

[low-res image for bot]
Pre-Sunrise Snow on Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney
f8 @ 1.0 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2020-03-27 06:34:30
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR @ 40mm equiv (50mm)
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5150 ft / 1570 m, 25°F / -3°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, pull 0.85 stops, +50 Whites, +10 Dehaze, +5 Texture, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{30,0.7,20,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Cactus View from Alabama Hills to White Mountains, Dusk
f9 @ 5.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 6 frames, ISO 100; 2020-03-27 19:28:12
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR @ 40mm equiv (50mm)
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5250 ft / 1600 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, push 0.9 stops, -37 Highlights, +5 Dehaze, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{40,0.8,20,0}

[low-res image for bot]


COVID-19: those Frightening Graphs on Infection Rates and Mortality are not Exactly What They Seem To Be (Updated with reader comments)

Synopsis: the scary charts showing exponential rises in infections and mortality of COVID-19 speak only to those people tested and confirmed to have COVID-19. Those not tested are not included. Which makes the meaning of those graphs and statistics far more limited than it might seem, scary as they are.

I’m going to speak only of the USA because I don’t know what is going on elsewhere as far as statistically valid randomized testing of the populace (if that is done, anywhere).

Unknown numbers making a misleading statistic

To obtain a mortality rate or similar statistic, we need to know two things: (1) the number of deaths (numerator), and (2) the total cohort (how many infected), as the denominator.

Mortality rate = deaths / totalNumberInfected

What is the totalNumberInfected? No one knows, because we are not testing people who are not showing symptoms (asymptomatic). And due to limited testing kits and facilities, many if not most of those with mild symptoms have not been tested either. Furthermore, if you are tested today, a week from now you would need to be tested again to rule out infection with certainty! Thus anyone asymptomatic is not likely to be tested.

The official line is that most people have mild symptoms and recover without significant issues. Most of these people do not get tested (if you don’t feel sick, why would you?). So they are never included in the denominator of the statistic, which makes it invalid. And do the tests detect those have have been infected and have already recovered?

To be tested at this point, you must have symptoms and a doctor must order the test and a test must be available and you have to go get it done. And that assumes the test is reliable, with very low false positive and false negative results. Here in the USA, only a tiny fraction of the population has been tested (I’d guess it is at most 0.1%).

That means we don’t know how many people are or were infected (and recovered) and thus we don’t really know how bad COVID-19 is, except in the relatively small group of people who have tested positive, a tiny minority (in the US) at this point.

There is a potential silver lining here: if the actual (unknown) number of infected people greatly exceeds those who have tested positive, it might be that we are further along on our way to “herd immunity” than we think. For example, it could be (no one knows) that for every person testing positive, there are 2 or 3 or 0.738 other people who are infected but who have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, who will recover and gain immunity and not shed virus once recovered. There is a nasty flip side however: those people could unwittingly infect vulnerable people for a time, not knowing of their own infection. So everyone should assume they might be infected at any time, and behave accordingly.


  • Some statistically valid random testing ought to be done every week or so in order to get a handle on the true status of COVID-19—infection rate and rate of growth. But to date that is just not feasible, even if the number of test kits were adequate.
  • The charts showing rapidly rising infection rates may be more a reflection of the number of tests performed than of the actual number of infections! One month ago, very few tests were conducted (here in the US). Maybe there are 3X as many infected people as we think. The true number is just not known.
  • As the number of tests increase, we can expect the infection count to rise rapidly. But that conflates the number of tests performed with the actual infection count and rate of growth. If we could test everyone in the country every week, then we’d know the actual number of infections and rate of growth, but that is impossible. Conversely, if we want to keep the known infection rate down, tests could be limited to 1000 per day (crazy and bad idea, but the point is that testing is expanding rapidly, so we must expect many more cases to be detected which before would not have been detected, which is precisely what is happening now).
  • It is a certainty that there are far more infections than officially stated, since not everyone is tested and authorities have already stated that many people can be asymptomatic (and thus go untested).
  • The actual mortality rate per infection is unknown. All we know is the mortality rate for those who tested positive, leaving out all infected persons who were never tested and recovered.
  • Knowledge still seems to be limited on specifically why COVID-19 hits some people hard and others shrug it off. Age and existing conditions apply, but genetics, gender, diet, and other factors may be involved.
  • Only when geographically widespread randomized testing is done (or many months pass with a large percentage of the population tested) can anything meaningful be said about how many people are or were infected (does the test detect those infected but recovered and no longer infected?).

Reader comments

Tony K writes:

Here in Alberta, the health authorities post the number of test performed and that is 2-3,000 per day. Fortunately the positive results are just in the hundreds as of yesterday.(542) And they have full understanding of the nature of the recent up tick of new cases.There was only 9, yesterday here in Edmonton. The lowest in two weeks. As before the increase of diagnosed cases were in the 10s,20s, and early this week it was a 50% increase in new cases in one day.

DIGLLOYD: if and only if the number of tests per day is the same and if and only if the number of positive results (CV19 infections) is 50% higher than that same number of tests performed in the prior time period* and the tests have a very low false positive and false negative rate and the testees were randomly sampled among the population... then that number would mean something of broader applicability. Why health authorities do not specify these essential facts is baffling—the data cannot be interpreted properly or used for intelligent public policy with such questions left unaddressed.

Numbers quoted like that without stating the key variables have no scientific, statistical or logical merit whatsoever with respect to the population as a whole, since the test subjects are self-selecting (showing signs of illness and therefore tested).

OTOH, I have little doubt that the disease is spreading fast.

* More precisely, what is the rate of positive results per person tested? (and that's assuming an error-free test).

Jonathan G writes:


Iceland is the only country thus far to do population testing, which as you pointed out is essential to getting this data (which is in turn absolutely essential to planning a response against an epidemic of any contagious disease). Without this data any response plan is based on imaginary epidemiology. Not great news for herd immunity unfortunately. It looks like the 1/20 or 1/10 numbers being speculated on were hopeful wishing. Still unknown is: 1) Do asymptomatic individuals spread the disease? Yes, no, or at a reduced rate? 2) Does catching the disease make you immune? A lot of people assume this is the case, but reality doesn't care about our assumptions. Individuals in Italy and China appear to have caught it again.

DIGLLOYD: Jonathan G’s statement of “population testing” does not tell me what that means: does that mean randomized sampling across geographic areas? If so, that is highly significant.

However, the official Icelandic site does not say anything about the testing approach (at least not that I can find). I even downloaded the data; it is a trivial spreadsheet with nothing detailing methodology at all. There are numerous problems with the data as presented:

  • Failure to state whether random sampling was done (highly unlikely, almost certainly only sick people were tested).
  • Failure to state whether the rates are on a per-person-tested basis (e.g., the number of infections found for every 1000 tests performed). For example, if 1000 people are tested and 150 test positive (15%), and a week later 5000 people are tested and 300 test positive (twice as many), that is very good news since the infection rate would be only 6%, way down from 15%.
  • Failure to call out the fact that the infections are highly localized (clustered) and thus self-selecting samples with no known relevance to the population as a whole.
  • In the infections by age graph, failure to relate the distribution of ages within the total population versus the ages of the infected persons. I can guarantee that there is a ZERO infection rate for those of age 130 to 150 years old, for example.

I can find no notes or footnotes or explanations of any kind as to these key details. I consider this extremely slipshod work/reporting.

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COVID-19: Stanford Clinical Virology Laboratory has deployed an in-house diagnostic test for COVID-19 for Rapid Identification of Infected People

The world’s best minds are working all over the world on all sorts of things. Good news today!

COVID-19 research at Stanford Medicine

Drive-through coronavirus testing available by appointment at Stanford Health Care

Stanford Medicine COVID-19 test now in use

Stanford provides coronavirus testing to hospitals in Bay Area and beyond

MAR 5 2020: Stanford Medicine COVID-19 test now in use

The Stanford Clinical Virology Laboratory has deployed an in-house diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19. Rapid identification of infected people could help limit the spread of the virus.

The test is being used for patients at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health suspected of being infected with the respiratory virus SARS-CoV-2, which is spreading globally after being first identified in Wuhan, a city in China, late last year. It is expected to deliver results within 12-24 hours.

As with all currently available tests, it’s not yet clear how long a person needs to be infected before testing positive, or whether someone who's infected could be identified by the test before displaying symptoms.


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Today’s Weather in Alabama Hills

Dull and foggy all day, getting colder and colder.

Folks in tents look miserable and mostly sitting in their cars here in Alabama Hills.

Tomorrow morning around 5:30 AM I am hoping for clarity and a snow-speckled landscape view with clear air to Mt Whitney... if I can rouse myself—brain sleep cycle all screwed up again (concussion after effect).

Snow in Alabama Hills
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec panorama, ISO 640; 2020-03-26 19:17:52
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5200 ft / 1585 m, 28°F / -2°C

[low-res image for bot]
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COVID-19: If You Are Lucky Enough to have an N95 or N100/P100 Particulate Respirator Mask, It Must SEAL to be Effective

At the grocery store two days ago, I saw two employees there, both bearded, wearing cheap masks badly fitted with air leaking in from virtually every side of the mask. Everything was wrong with that; it was a parody of mask usage, a poster for how NOT to use a mask:

  • A bearded face makes it IMPOSSIBLE to seal the mask against the face—the face MUST be freshly shaven.
  • Seal around nose and face MUST be there or air just leaks in.
  • Straps must be tight enough to reduce chance of breaking the seal when smiling, grimacing, whatever (those masks with straps around only the ears are a total joke and cannot ever work properly).
  • Poor quality mask, but maybe better than nothing if fitted properly.

If not fully sealed, the particulate respirator mask will have some partial value depending on the amount of leakage. Pay attention to at least trying to do it right—it’s not simple or fast without practice. Also some faces are too small or too large for standard mask sizes.

Roger Cicala (medical background) at LensRentals.com states that “bitrex or isoamyl acetate test” should be used to validate sealing (these substances are unpleasant to breathe and thus show leakage or not). But I doubt that most of us have any such stuff sitting around!

So.... do your best to make sure there is no leakage. I know from experience that I have very good sealing from usage in fine smoke, heavy pollen, dust, etc, but I have no way of knowing if my N100 mask is sealing perfectly at all times. I just know that when I take it off, I quickly have bronchospasms under conditions of pollen, dust, smoke, etc.

And I do have to take off an N100 mask at about 7000' elevation on up during double centuriesbecause my unusually large lung capacity and high VO2 mask start to collapse the mask as my lungs pull in huge quantities of air. In one instance, I had to use my inhaler a dozen times in 5 hours as a result of pollen after no longer being able to use the N100 mask (vs 4 times a day as normal treatment). So clearly the N100 particulate respirator was getting most of it.

Finally, even a handkerchief will keep someone’s cough from directly landing on your face and that might have some value, but better just to maintain 3 meter distance (6 feet is the official minimum). Just keep in mind that hands touching things are probably a much more concerning transmission vector.

Full disclosure: when I shopped for groceries, I did not wear a mask. I just kept my distance, and sized up anyone and listened for coughing. This is good enough for groceries so far and I trust on maintaining distance as most of us must, taking a small risk once every 7-10 days for 10-15 minutes to resupply.

See also:

Understanding the Difference between Surgical Masks and N95 Masks

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COVID-19: Should Doctors and Their Families Get Priority Access to the “Trump Pills”?

See also:

I refer here to the “Trump Pills” for which Trump is being bashed as a liar—the triple-drug cocktail of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (Zithromax) and zinc that seem to be all the rage as the key treatment that states and governments are now locking down supply on and now starting to restrict and ration. Don’t confuse that with the one older drug that the scum in the press claim as ineffective to just to try to take away hope.

Assuming there is a shortage of the Trump Pills and they work as they seem to, the #1 national security priority right now should be securing supply. Why aren’t we hearing about that?

Question: should doctors treating COVID-19 patients and their families have priority access to the Trump Pills, given that this would deprive others of the treatment?

My answer is an unequivocal “yes”—doctors so engaged must be protected and that means their families as well, since they cannot risk infecting them or being infected by them or having to worry about them. Case closed in my book—if we lose our doctors, then all hell will break loose.

Question: should Congress get priority access to the Trump Pills?

Here I am so tempted to say “no”—they have been failing miserably at their jobs , many should resign in shame, and they should be at the back of the line as the last priority. Furthermore they should lose their gold-plated health plan and all be forced to use Medicare like so many Americans. The equation is simple: if a congressperson added anything not intended to alleviate the COVID-19 suffering, that person should be OUT as they are unworthy of their position, unworthy to lick your shoes—this is an emergency not politics as usual.

But since they still are required in this emergency for ponderous ill-conceived legislation that will cause problems for years to come, I will have to grudgingly say they should get priority for the sake of the (broken) system. Still, any Republican or Democrat, or Socialist congressperson who added pork to the relief bill should resign and be pummeled mercilessly on Twitter for the worthless scum they are (I am not calling for any physical violence, just public shaming). Sadly, the press will never list all these human turds and their actions, so the public just won’t know who made the 'sausage'.

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Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Examples: Alabama Hills (Sony A7R IV)

I’ve added two examples below at full resolution in:

Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Examples: Alabama Hills

I just love how the Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art delivers outstanding real (actual) depth of field. It makes a terrific lens for panoramas and stitched images.

I really should buy this sample, because it shows perfect symmetry and amazing sharpness, better than the sample I tested on the Nikon D850 some time ago, even though the sensor on the Sony A7R IV raises the ante to 60MP.

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Sigma Lenses for Sony FE

This 2 X 2 stitched 129-megapixel image surely contains more detail than I could have obtained with the PhaseOne IQ4 150 megapixel, that is, because of lens quality and depth of field. At about 1/10 the cost.

Granite formation in Alabama Hills, Pre-Dawn Glow
f8 @ 1.6 sec electronic shutter stitched from 4 frames (2 X 2) cylindrical, ISO 100; 2020-03-24 06:33:40
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5150 ft / 1570 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Lone Pine Peak to Mt Whitney, Pre Dawn
f3.2 @ 20.0 sec EFC shutter panorama 6 frames cylindrical, ISO 100; 2020-03-24 06:07:38
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5150 ft / 1570 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{40,0.7,20,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Lone Pine Peak to Mt Whitney, First Sunlight
f4.5 @ 1/60 sec electronic shutter panorama 6 frames reposition, ISO 100; 2020-03-24 06:48:52
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5150 ft / 1570 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, +30 Shadows, +40 Whites, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{30,0.7,20,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Stars Over Mt Whitney, Pre-Dawn Deep Blue Sky (Sony A7R IV)

This series at f/1.4 and f/2.2 and f/3.2 looks at the Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art at far distance for astrophotography. It speaks to practical considerations as well, such as focusing.

Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Stars Over Mt Whitney, Pre-Dawn Deep Blue Sky

Includes image up to full camera resolution.

I am planning on shooting something like this from another vantage point with the Fujifilm GFX100 and the Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR, assuming I can get similar atmospheric conditions.

Stars Over Mt Whitney, Pre-Dawn Deep Blue Sky
f3.2 @ 30.0 sec EFC shutter LENR off, ISO 100; 2020-03-24 06:02:17
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5200 ft / 1585 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, push 1.1 stops

[low-res image for bot]

Hydrogen Peroxide to Sterilize N95 Masks?

See prior post: With N95 and N100/P100 Particulate Respirator Masks in Short Supply, What Might Work to Disinfect / re-Use?.

Bart van H writes:

First of all, thanks for keeping us up to date on your experiences in the Alabama Hills. Im sure that if anyone can stay safe, it is you. I envy the views you have, the wacky tea somewhat less...

I am lucky enough to live on the edge of the woods and dunes here on the coast so I can take long and lonely walks to stay healthy and sane.

The Dutch health authority has done some research into disinfecting masks for re-use an came up with a technique that is feasible to use in hospitals and allows 2 re-uses. It is not of much practical use to you (nor me), but it shows that degradation is a real issue, as expected. The document is available in English from our government website here: https://www.rivm.nl/en/documenten/reuse-of-ffp2-masks

DIGLLOYD: hey, don’t knock it till you try it (tea)!

Quoting from the above link:

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has conducted a pilot study and found a reprocessing method that leads to an acceptable quality of reprocessed face masks. The caveat is that only limited research has been done on the retention of particles by reprocessed face masks.

This study shows that FFP2 face masks retained their shape and were able to retain particles in a ‘quick’ test after sterilizing once and twice with a short hydrogen peroxide process. In times of scarcity, FFP2 masks can be used three times when sterilized twice with hydrogen peroxide in between use.

This finding appears to TRIPLE potential mask supply.

Unfortunately, the procedure does not appear to be suitable for home use.

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COVID-19: there is WAY too much Negativity in the Press; Stop Watching Talk Shows for your Mental Health and Get OFF Social Media!

IMO, most of the press is scaring the public to death, promulgating a message of hopelessness and death and unable to say anything positive. Loss of hope deals a severe blow to psychological and physical well being. It is thus unspeakably vicious to continue along these lines.

Stop watching the negative news media. Limit it to at most 15 minutes per day and I mean that literally. Get OFF social media as it is terrible for your mental health.


  • Go outside and take a nice walk (in nature if possible), have sex, or do anything (healthy!) that makes you feel good.
  • Watch comedies on Netflix, and not anything about dire situations.
  • Be kind to others and try to help them—that can make you feel great.
  • Be a leader, doing whatever you can to help wherever you can.
  • Encourage everyone you know to do the same!

IMO, we will see a turning point within two weeks more or less.

Here are my predictions and perspectives.

  • Infection rates will continue to rise and we will see more deaths. We will see certain hospitals overwhelmed, but not most. However, the curve will flatten, which is what matters right now.
  • The sheer genius and heroic efforts of so many people will come to bear: more of everything needed in supply terms will ramp up (masks, ventilators, etc).
  • Within two weeks (maybe one), we will have widespread confirmed efficacy of drugs for treating COVID-19 and death rates will PLUMMET.
  • Within two weeks we will know a LOT more about how to save people and that will greatly reduce the death rate.
  • Doctors and nurses are heroes, putting themselves at risk every day and will continue to do so. They will have more respect than ever when this is over.
  • America is strong, will weather this and come back stronger than ever, leading the charge, and the rest of the world will benefit and also recover well.
  • The $2 trillion or whatever the government is spending will be mostly wasted and have very serious downstream after-effects, but maybe that’s the only way to help those in need, given dysfunctional politicians—so in this case I support it anyway, because there are many vulnerable people out there.
  • The medical supply chain and hopefully many others will come home to America (or at least out of China), since China (the communist Chinese government) has shown itself to be the deadly enemy of all human beings in so many ways (not just COVID-19). Politicians and business leaders who fail to insist on this will be seen as despicable people. Well, that latter point is more hope than prediction.

Take COVID-19 seriously, but be kind to yourself in every way possible.

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Persuading your doctor who wants to follow guidelines when you have distinct COVID-19 Symptoms and WANT TO *STAY ALIVE*

Please FIRST read COVID-19 Symptoms: Will Your Government Try to Kill You by Insisting on a $1000 5-day test instead of $20 “Trump Pills”?.

Waiting one or two days too long might death or something life-changing such as permanent lung damage (one possible “sequelae” or lingering problem). No one knows yet what the sequelae are of COVID-19 are when one recovers from a bad case of it.

Talking with your doctor who wants to follow guidelines when you have distinct COVID-19 Symptoms and WANT TO *STAY ALIVE*

Your doctor has no real skin the game here but you do—possibly your very life. If your doctor makes the wrong decision, there are no repurcussions for him/her, but you are hit with all consequences. NEVER forget that when consulting a doctor for any medical issue—one of my doctors could not even be bothered to call me back, and I suffered two years of recovery from nerve damage and still have lingering issues.

That said, I believe that the great majority of doctors are hard-working people who care and are doing their very best for you—no question there. And many are heroes by putting themselves at risk in this pandemic—nothing but praise for those on the front lines. But that is NOT the same as being right more than most of the time, or having enough time for every patient. And having to deal with the pressures of dogmatic medical and licensing boards and regulations surely influence medical judgments—doctors are human beings just like you and me and very few can have truly independent judgment (or the time to have one).

So you go to your doctor because you don’t want to die suffocating and drowning in your own lung goop—a godawful horrible death.

Your doctor is supposed to follow guidelines, so s/he may push back on the Trump Pills, indeed is required have a confirmed positive test as per guidelines. But s/he can prescribe the drugs off-label legally, without the test.

This conversation below assumes that you have confirmed COVID-19 symptoms. Trying to get the drug with no symptoms is just not appropriate and would lead to shortages, so don’t do that!

If your doctor suspects that you know less then she/he does you are not likely to succeed, so you MUST be informed enough about this narrow medical situation to be persuasive.

Your doctor CAN give the drugs to you off-label without the test that the guidelines for COVID-19 require. Waiting for the test is the bureaucrat’s choice. Fuck the government and fuck any doctor who wants to play God with my life or yours when it’s the choice of $20 of drugs versus the risk of a horrible death waiting for a 5-day test.

Doctor: yes, you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Patient: so will you be prescribing the hydroxyquinoline and erythromycin (Zithromax) and zinc triple-drug combo that is keeping people from dying?
Doctor: no, that requires you to take the test first and we are not sure it works.

Patient: doctor, look me in the eyes and tell me that if you had these symptoms, or your spouse or family member did, you would wait for the test?
Doctor: [doctor either answers “yes” honestly, or “no” and is lying to your face, no honest doctor is going to say “no”]

Patient: how long does the test take?
Doctor: about 5 days.
Patient: but the disease progresses quickly.
Doctor: well, the guidelines say you have to take the test first.

Patient: so I have a potentially deadly disease that could kill me in 5 days and you can legally prescribe the drugs off-label without a test and I could take a $20 course of drugs that might save my life OR I could take a $1000 test, wait 5 days and maybe die?
Doctor: ummm....

Patient: Doctor, you are treating both my body and my mind. And I am going to go fucking insane worrying about this for the next 5 days. You can legally prescribe the drugs right here and now. Or you can demand a test that costs 50 times as much and puts me a huge risk of pain, suffering and death.
Doctor: [doctor can now agree, or demur].

Patient: Doctor, my preferred choice is that you prescribe the drugs for me because you can monitor my whole situation. You and I both know that the risk is low and that the prescribing is the right thing to do. You know that doctors themselves are using it, and that the disease progresses rapidly and could kill me in 5 days. You know that the cost is trivial versus a huge cost for the test.

So here’s the deal: you can prescribe the drugs here and now, or I am going to walk out of here and shop for a doctor that will, or on the black market if necessary. One way or another I am going to walk out of here and be on those drugs by the end of the day.
Doctor: [now looks like an asshole or writes the prescription. Be prepared to find another doctor and try again]

Anon MD writes:

I cant agree more on avoiding social media. Totally useless construct designed to amplify fear. Network news is right behind. Not really, news, just entertainment cloaked as news in order to hook you into staying long enough to watch the commercials and then come back tomorrow and do it again. All of the news channels are pretty much worthless on both the right and left side.

First of all know that I DID NOT HOARD CHLOROQUINE or Hydroxychloroquine for me or my family. I have plenty of patients on the latter, and they need that drug in order to keep their chronic autoimmune diseases at bay. Chloroquine is rarely used anymore because its so toxic and the malaria parasite has developed resistance in most of the world. HCQ is a much safer drug, though still with risks.

If I had COVID I would want to try HCQ myself. The problems are multiple, though. What’s the dose? No one knows. Will it PREVENT infections? No one knows. Will it cure infections? No one knows. Can you get it? Good luck. There has been such a run on the drug by hoarders that multiple states have stepped in to stop their pharmacists from filling Rxs unless they are legitimate Rxs for patients with Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. And if California doesn’t shut it down too, at the very least they will probably not fill Rxs for the docs themselves or their family members with the same last names, and certainly not in amounts like 500 tablets with unlimited refills for a year.

If you were a patient who walked into my office and wanted a Rx for the drug and you had no clinical findings, I wouldn’t give it to you. But I WOULD give it to someone who met the criteria. But if I wrote the Rx and you couldn’t get it, you’re SOL. I’m not gonna make a special case to an out of state pharmacy or a Canadian pharmacy, etc. You can stand in line with everybody else.

And if I knew that you were some douchebag who had totally ignored the anti-infection recommendations, I would send you to the hospital and let them deal with you but I wouldn’t have much sympathy for you. I have myself, a family and staff that I need to protect from getting infected so we can continue to care for as many people as possible. And the patient being a douchebag will not help their case, at least not in my office.

DIGLLOYD: I am in complete agreement on hoarding and I am not suggesting that doctors are or did hoard it. See COVID-19: Should Doctors and Their Families Get Priority Access to the “Trump Pills”.

As for treating careless patients who endanger themselves or others, I agree with the sentiment—help those first who helped themselves and idiots can get at the end of the line.

Anon writes:

A good friend and colleague works in a regional hospital in respiratory ER care. The lack of PPE is putting them and patients at risk. While far from perfect we came up with two ideas that seem to help - using rolls of building Tyek to make gowns or gown covers (48” X 100’ stuff) and using furnace filter material to make mask pre-filters or as the actual mask filter element (dropped in between the layers of a washable cloth mask). The furnace filters can be found with HEPA standards - far out performing cloth masks and relatively cheap (and you are already breathing through them).

My brother is a doctor at ******** (oncology) - the stories are difficult to hear. As he says, it is the doctors and nurses that pay a steep price fighting a plague. I am convinced that a broad portion of the population does not understand the level of discipline necessary to bring Covid to ground. And this is just a baby pandemic. I work for a public institution and the ideas are clearly not on the traditional approved list.

It is not possible to beat on this too hard. You can do great service by doing what you are already doing - get people to not just take it seriously but to act seriously. The world has already changed and it will be a different place going forward. I saw the projections out of Harvard sometime back and the numbers were horrible then. One of the Profs in my Department has a number of students from China - we got quite an earful about what was coming back in January. Anyone in medicine or national security who says the risks were not known was not listening or worse. Months were wasted. It is going to get far worse and very soon.

In today’s medicine Docs do NOT drive the day in the running of a hospital or setting public health policy. Physicians and nurses as a group face high degrees of burn out (approaching 50% by some reports) and that was before Covid. Docs simply do not yet have what they need to bring the fight to this virus.

Here we are bringing nurses and docs out of retirement and we are getting ready to graduate medical classes early with expectation that our front line docs will either get sick or have uncontrolled exposures and will be quarantined.

The virus is relatively fragile - I do not know how much energy is necessary to de-stabilize it. Strong, sustained UV might do it. Nuking it would definitely do it.

Thank you for discussing this on your platform - we need every reliable voice. Your health profile (from what you have shared on-line) and mine are very similar - I know that if I get it I will have a tough time.

DIGLLOYD: it’s terrible that frontline doctors and nurses are getting such a lousy safety deal. I hope that 3M is ramping up their Minnesota factory to 24 X7 and figuring out how to build another one ASAP.

Reusing masks: I wonder why we cannot build a large lead-lined chamber with some deadly radioactive material inside it behind a safety door. Load chamber with palettes of gear. Open baffle for radioactive material... in a few seconds all organic molecules are destroyed. Close baffle, remove gear, job done. Heavily armed team surrounding the area to prevent anyone getting the radioactive material. Basically, heavy duty irradiation with gamma rays as was once proposed for food safety. Maybe high energy XRays would work also.

COVID-19 Symptoms: Will Your Government Try to Kill You by Insisting on a $1000 5-day test instead of $20 “Trump Pills”?

See also Talking with your doctor who wants to follow guidelines when you have distinct COVID-19 Symptoms and WANT TO *STAY ALIVE*.

You are not a statistic. You are an individual human being who loves your own life and the lives of those in your life.

The government (CDC, FDA, etc) is NOT out to save your particular life. It’s goal is statistical, to do something that on average that helps save lives. And sorry to say, it could be about saving “important” lives first when resources grow strained—you can trust that the rich and powerful will jump the right hoops to be taken care of.

It’s not official, but knowledgeable sources say that the triple-drug cocktail of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (Zithromax) and zinc (“Trump Pills”) are keeping people from dying from COVID-19 and getting them back to health quickly. These drugs are all well studied and very low risk. Don’t be fooled by the scum in the press that will refer to just one drug just to try to take away hope.

If the drugs don’t work, why are frontline doctors out there using the drugs for themselves? (in NO WAY am I implying that doctors are hoarding or doing something medically approriate, and I fully support any doctor risking infection in dealing with patients who feels that s/he should take it as a precaution, though whether that usage is worthwhile remains unclear).

Stricken people with advancing symptoms can die a HORRIBLE death by drowning in their own lung fluids in less than a week!

***IF*** the state of New York or California comes back a week from now and says “we gave X thousand people the Trump Pills and they didn’t work”, well at that point, readers can shit all over me—I’ll take that risk gladly and acknowledge it in my blog as being wrong. But I won’t be.

No one should die needlessly because the FDA and CDC are actively working to make those deaths a reality by insisting on a 5-day $1000 test when $20 of drugs can be applied immediately. For those who are in trouble, 5 days can mean a death sentence because the disease progresses rapidly. And (fucking assholes!) forbidding home tests and forcing people to go into a swamp of COVID-19 virus in a facility to get tested and thus both be exposed and to expose others—your incompetent government at work. At least at Stanford Medical, they have drive-in tests where you can stay in your car.

Distinguishing factors

Some people will be asymptomatic (show no obvious symptoms). Others will have mild symptoms. Only you can truly be the judge of how you feel and whether testing or treatment is justified (meaning if you actually do have COVID-19 symptoms); your doctor is going to assess that, but triage you based on guidelines—you have to be your own advocate.

I am not advising needless testing or worry about the first sniffle that could be something else entirely (not COVID-19). Let your doctor do his/her job in confirming whether symptoms are COVID-19 or not.

If you are showing signs of COVID-19, see the doctor immediately and pay strict attention to healthy choices, particularly sleep and rest if you are not already doing so (and self isolate). If symptoms progress significantly and/or you have other risk factors, you could be in big trouble.

Suppose you have clear symptoms of COVID-19 and overnight they seem to be worse. This already means you are worse off than asymptomatic people and therefore you are at risk, your life possibly balanced on a knife’s edge—one little push and you’re in deep trouble. Even if you don’t die, you could be left with permanent damage to lungs or other as yet unstudied issues to organs. This is not just a death-or-resume-normality equation.

If you have other risk factors (age, diabetes, asthma, immune issues, etc), then you cannot afford to take the slightest chance. At 55 I am not particularly old, but I have asthma and have had very serious lung infections before which took a long time to recover from. No one, absolutely no one has the moral right to tell me to wait 5 days for some test when already showing confirmed symptoms, because there would be a substantial probability of extreme suffering or death within five days.

Moreover, this is NOT just a physical harm—the psychological/emotional toll of being forced to wait 5 days when already showing clear symptoms is IMO medical malpractice.


Talking with your doctor who wants to follow guidelines when you have distinct COVID-19 Symptoms and WANT TO *STAY ALIVE*

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Today’s Weather in Alabama Hills

Dull and foggy for some time, then clearing up.

Full resolution version of this image is on the Alabama Hills examples page.

It rained all night last night. Plants should be very happy.

Below, I goofed by not immediately shooting this scene with the Sony A7R IV—things then changed rapidly.

Home base, clearing storm
f2.8 @ 1/19000 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2020-03-23 08:54:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0mm f/1.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5057 ft / 1541 m, 45°F / 7°C

[low-res image for bot]
View east, Alabama Hills
f1.8 @ 1/3400 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2020-03-23 10:45:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0mm f/1.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5510 ft / 1679 m

[low-res image for bot]
Alabama Hills, View South
f8 @ 1/250 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2020-03-23 10:10:01
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art + polarizer Breakthrough Photography
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5500 ft / 1676 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Selfie, Alabama Hills
f1.8 @ 1/1300 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2020-03-23 10:46:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0mm f/1.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5500 ft / 1676 m, 45°F / 7°C

[low-res image for bot]
Alabama Hills, View South
f1.8 @ 1/6800 sec panorama, ISO 25; 2020-03-23 16:41:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0mm f/1.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4642 ft / 1415 m, 55°F / 12°C

[low-res image for bot]
Alabama Hills, View South
f2.8 @ 1/1250 sec, ISO 20; 2020-03-23 16:48:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0mm f/1.8 ENV: altitude 4811 ft / 1466 m

[low-res image for bot]
New Mac Pro?

Or iMac 5K or iMac Pro?
Consult with Lloyd ASAP before buying!

System configuration for CPU, GPU, memory, SSD, backup, RAID, optimizing performance, workflow.
For YOUR optimal workflow

Avoid costly mistakes in throwing money at the problem for less performance and/or buying the wrong machine for your own needs!

Remote screen sharing available for RAID, software configuration, etc.

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Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Aperture Series:Backlit Sagebrush View to Peaks (Sony A7R IV)

Kicking off my coverage of the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G, this series from f/1.8 through f/11 evaluates sharpness, color correction, focus shift and bokeh.

Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Aperture Series:Backlit Sagebrush View to Peaks

Includes images up to full camera resolution along with crops and commentary.

The about $898 Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G looks to be a tremendous value.

Backlit sagebrush view to peaks, Alabama Hills
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec EFC shutter, ISO 50; 2020-03-22 16:52:02
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5200 ft / 1585 m, 48°F / 8°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]


With N95 and N100/P100 Particulate Respirator Masks in Short Supply, What Might Work to Disinfect / re-Use? (UPDATED with info from expert in the field)

Update: see industry expert comments at the end as well as this PDF from Stanford.

Stanford MedicineAddressing COVID-19 Face Mask Shortages at COVID-19 Service.

See the table “Can Facial Masks be Disinfected for Re-use?”. It appears that UV light as well as baking in an oven at 70°C for 30 minutes are both effective on E Coli, and thus presumably COVID-19. It’s unclear what intensity UV light or wavelength are needed, and thus it is unclear how effective sunlight would be.

  • Frontline health care workers across the United States report shortages of PPE ranging from gloves, protective gowns, eye wear and face masks.
  • It is unknown how wearing the same mask multiple times effects the fit of N95 masks [NIOSH]
  • NIOSH states“there is no way of determining the maximum possible number of safe reuses for an N95 respirator as a generic number to be applied in all cases” and advise to“discard N95 respirators following use during aerosol generating procedures.”
  • Some methods of N95 mask disinfection can maintain filtration efficiency. Their effect on mask fit is unknown, and these methods are not approved by NIOSH.


First of all, keep your immune system strong just in case you are exposed/infected. And hang in there—we are likely to see more infections and more death BUT with a lot of good news over the next week or two (e.g. drug treatments, rapid ramp-up of masks, ventilators, etc).

With N95 and N100/P100 particulate respirator masks in short supply, re-use is the only practical approach for those of us with a very limited supply (for example, I have only one per family member). I was lucky enough to have one for each of my parents also.

First of all, the idea that going bare-faced and unprotected is better than nothing at all makes no sense to me. Obviously it is better to have a stash of masks and use a fresh one each time, but that’s a luxury that only health care workers can take, and the masks are better used there.

The idea that the general public does not need a N95/N100/P100 mask is a bald-faced lie which translates to “in shortage and we don’t want people using them because medical professionals need them more”—fair enough on the latter point, but that people who already have masks are misled into not using them is disgusting and can only lead to more infections—counter productive.


  • Basing my assumptions on the white fabric 3M N95 and N100/P100 masks. Other designs and materials... dunno.
  • UV (ultraviolet) light kills many pathogens. How long it takes is unclear, and how far sunlight penetrates into the fabric of the mask are unknowns. However, water left in a clear plastic bottle will disinfect from sunlight for many pathogens.
  • Glass partially blocks UV light but plastic should pass most UV light.
  • Heat degrades most pathogens. Heat plus UV may increase the degradation.
  • Most trapped virus particles will be nearer the outside surface of the mask than the inside surface, hence the chance of UV penetration is at least promising.

Suggestion for disinfecting

If there is an expert out there who can find a flaw in my reasoning/assumptions, please advise specifically as to which item and why, with supporting factual evidence saying why it won’t work. Along with alternatives. At present, apparently no one in the world knows exactly such basics as how long COVID-19 can live on various types of surfaces and what environmental factors apply (heat, humidity, etc). So it’s guesswork, but I’ll take UV light and heat as a hell of a lot more promising than no mask, or sticking it in a cool dark place inside a paper bag.

These are my thoughts on what *I* would do for myself. Use at your own risk. Note that in no way I am suggesting that this process will result in a sterile mask since the masks I’ve recommended are not sterile even to begin with. I am merely suggesting that killing or weakening any COVID-19 might occur with heat and UV—you can either throw away perhaps the only mask you have or make some effort at reducing the risk in a way consistent with known facts.

As described above, my thinking is that the combination of sunlight/UV surely and the heat will surely degrade the virus to some extent.

  1. Wash hands thoroughly before removing the mask. This step is critical in case either mask or hands are contaminated. Ideally, wash hands then don disposable gloves before removing the mask. [if gloves were worn, remove them and put on fresh ones before removing mask].
  2. Place mask in fresh 1-gallon Ziploc plastic bag. Close the bag mostly but not entirely, so that water vapor can escape yet heat will be trapped. [MAYBE: seal bag and place silica gel in bag, to suck all moisture out of bag; this might be ideal if in fact near-zero humidity kills the virus].
  3. Wash hands again.
  4. Place bag with mask in outdoor location having direct sunlight all day, preferably in a wind-free and dark nook so that it gets hot. The dash of a car would be perfect, but the glass likely blocks too much UV to be ideal. If you have a small thermometer like this, then you can also monitor the temperature.
  5. When reusing the mask, wash hands thoroughly, then don disposable gloves before putting mask on again. Take care to touch the mask as little as possible, just in case the process was not fully successful.


  • Would placing the mask in an oven at 140°F or so kill the virus and leave the efficacy of the mask alone (and not damage the straps, etc)?
  • Could a UV-A lamp be used to disinfect the mask?

A home gamma-ray “microwave” would be handy for such situations!

David G writes:

I have washed the n95 mask with soap and water focussing most efforts on the outside of the mask. Then heat dry on my radiator overnight. Also thought of wiping both sides of the mask with 90% isopropyl alcohol. I would wear gloves for all of these processes. What do you think?

DIGLLOYD: could washing damage the fabric and thus affect its filtration? Is the fabric treated in any way such that washing would damage that treatment, or is it just fabric? I don't know.

As for wiping, could the alcohol make full contact embedded virus particles ? And does the wiping damage the fabric and affect its filtration? I don't know. I suppose that saturating the mask with alcohol would do it.

Expert view

Industry expert Mark R writes:

Here is an excellent summary of the attention to detail which must be applied to determine sterilization standards. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/sterilization/steam.html

I worked with Anthony Faucci and other at the NIH and the CDC in 1980’s. Myself and many others represented Industry to help formulate the initial round of Universal Precautions published in 1985. The issues you are attempting to address here are extremely complex. One mistake with an AID patient in the 1980’s or early 90’s or Ebola or the 2019 Novel Corona Virus could mean death. Of course, I know that you fully and deeply understand this. Further, you are to be commended for having, very early on called on your readers to obtain the N or P 95’s and 100 class masks to prevent either dust or biological pathogens from entering ones airways.


I can address this issue only from the perspective of great gravitas. Let's consider a fact. Mount Sinai Hospital, in Manhattan, normally uses approximately 10-12,000 masks every 24 hours (I sold them masks for years so I know the usage rates). They reached out to me this week (I sold my dental, then medical supply company 5 years ago but my Latexx Partners account is still in their system). The buyer informed me that their daily mask usage hand topped 40,000 masks per day. They are facing critical shortages precisely because no protocols for mass of sterilization “used’ masks has ever been established.

It is one and done for good reason if the exterior wall or inner ply are bearing a pathogen and if they continue to use the same mask it could eventually be drawn into the airways of the medical professional or be blown back and shed on someone not infected. So to your line of inquiry. Again the tolerances under discussion are critical.

Surely heat can kill a virus please see the "heat plus pressure" paradigms discussed in my previous CDC link. I might add that the articles to which that validated science apply are generally reusable stainless steel surgical, dental or tattoo staples. Soft, multilayered, highly woven medical masks represent a very different matter. Today the CDC revealed that "A high proportion of asymptomatic infections could partially explain the high attack rate among cruise ship passengers and crew. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted (Takuya Yamagishi, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, personal communication, 2020). Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted”.

How longer can a virus live in a pleated corner of a mask? The heating of the woven used to form meshes used in masks would if it were to exceed 125 degree F would certainly cause an expansion and contraction which would invalidate the published mask permeability standard. Chemical or or Alcohol application to any mask can again easily degrade a masks woven structure.

The material most commonly used to make a mask is polypropylene, either 20 or 25 grams per square meter (gsm) in density. Masks can also be made of polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene, or polyester. 20 gsm mask material is made in a spunbond process, which involves extruding the melted plastic onto a conveyor. The material is extruded in a web, in which strands bond with each other as they cool. 25 gsm fabric is made through meltblown technology, which is a similar process where plastic is extruded through a die with hundreds of small nozzles and blown by hot air to become tiny fibers, again cooling and binding on a conveyor.

If Alcohol can damage/devulcanize rubber lens rings what can it do to the bonds which holds these plastic particles together? The chemicals which are used to disinfect surgical suites or the Diamond Princess are surely destructive of such particulate bonding found within masks.

I simply wanted to reiterate how very difficult it is to clean or sterilize something so simple as a mask. One mistake and that which looks like a mask not longer truly functions as one.


“At Beth Israel Lahey Health in the Boston area, workers were told this week of “extreme shortages” and asked to wear only single-use protective equipment “for as long as they can tolerate during their shift.”

They were also asked not to discard any surgical masks, N95 respirators or eye protection but to place the used ones in special bins to be saved. “BILH is investigating potential options for mask sterilization and future repurposing,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Post. *** “This is not currently active but we are storing supply in the interim”.***

Called my wife’s Uncle who is a physician in Houston (two PhD’s and am MD)-- brilliant fellow. Originally from Taiwan. Amazingly, an article his friend, Lin Tzu Hsien friend had written on the subject at hand. Turns out to be dead on.

Filter quality of electret masks in filtering 14.6–594 nm aerosol particles: Effects of five decontamination methods

UV light can indeed kill bacteria in the air (provided their is continuous exchange of air in conjunction with light concentration density). It is also effective at reducing or eliminating certain pathogens on a planar surface.

I can, as of yet, find no more detailed analysis in the clinical literature that would allow us to offer a solid, replicable solution using such an approach. I am thinking that the density of the spun poly weave beneath wherein pathogens, which easily by pass first outer layer layer, would need to be exposed directly and for an extended period of time by a UV light source of x minimum strength. I think you will find the conclusions very much in line with the methods and consequences I broadly suggested earlier.

A more detailed analysis of these issues is dealt with in this article. In particular, why it would be so important that pathogen destruction efficacy be assured by any medium used. Please see, especially from, “Human Factors”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4610368/

DIGLLOYD: something may be better than nothing, or it may not. Too much for me to grok.

I am reminded of proposals to irradiate food with gamma rays years ago—gamma rays will destroy all pathogens very quickly. But whether any such facilities exist is dubious.

Physician James G writes:

Effects of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) on N95 Respirator Filtration Performance and Structural Integrity

Evaluation of five decontamination methods for filtering facepiece respirators

One of my partners just sent the first article to me and that one led to the second. Talk about prescient. Thank God there are nerds in the world who think about this stuff. Both articles have useful tidbits. Among other things one presents data that show viruses are the most susceptible and sensitive to UV-C. Anthrax and similar spore-forming bacteria are the least sensitive.

The UV-C wavelengths appears to be the most effective of the UV spectrum, though not much UV-C makes it through the ozone layer. Here’s what wiki has to say about germicidal UV:


So sunlight UV could work but is obviously less effective than a germicidal lamp. The devil is in the dose. Sadly, nothing on hypochlorous acid sterilization. I would guess the data would be similar to the bleach in the second article, though without the odor and skin sensitivity issues.

DIGLLOYD: this makes sense to me on ultraviolet (UV). As I understand it, UV-C is the shortest wavelength (versus UV-A and UV-B), and thus the highest energy and most destructive to living organisms. This is why I mentioned gamma rays (extreme 'hard' radiation that destroys or severely damages living cells and is a major health risk to astronauts going to Mars, even when mostly shielded).

Bart van H writes:

First of all, thanks for keeping us up to date on your experiences in the Alabama Hills. Im sure that if anyone can stay safe, it is you. I envy the views you have, the wacky tea somewhat less...

I am lucky enough to live on the edge of the woods and dunes here on the coast so I can take long and lonely walks to stay healthy and sane.

The Dutch health authority has done some research into disinfecting masks for re-use an came up with a technique that is feasible to use in hospitals and allows 2 re-uses. It is not of much practical use to you (nor me), but it shows that degradation is a real issue, as expected. The document is available in English from our government website here: https://www.rivm.nl/en/documenten/reuse-of-ffp2-masks

“Summary The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has conducted a pilot study and found a reprocessing method that leads to an acceptable quality of reprocessed face masks. The caveat is that only limited research has been done on the retention of particles by reprocessed face masks. This study shows that FFP2 face masks retained their shape and were able to retain particles in a ‘quick’ test after sterilizing once and twice with a short hydrogen peroxide process. In times of scarcity, FFP2 masks can be used three times when sterilized twice with hydrogen peroxide in between use.”

DIGLLOYD: hey, don’t knock it till you try it (tea)!

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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Alabama Hills Plain View to Mt Whitney Range, Pre-Dawn (Sony A7R IV)

This series from f/2 through f/5.6 shows the spectacular total optical correction of the Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar in intense blue pre-dawn mountain light, blue light being the hardest to correct, a serious challenge to any lens. The air is of an unusual clarity (no dust or smoke) and because of the sub-freezing cold it also has no atmospheric distortion—that combination is hard to come by.

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Alabama Hills Plain View to Mt Whitney Range, Pre-Dawn

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

I like this image a lot because it shows the Alabama Hills from a vantage point that shows the main plain (very popular area), along with Mt Whitney and nearby peaks, a sum total that I had never seen before, never having been at this vantage point, nor do 99% of visitors.

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

Main plain at Alabama Hills, view to Mt Whitney and nearby peaks, pre-dawn
f4 @ 4.0 sec EFC shutter, ISO 50; 2020-03-12 05:43:44
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5400 ft / 1646 m, 25°F / -3°C
RAW: LACA corrected, pull 0.33 stops, -60 Highlights, +50 Whites, +10 Dehaze, USM {6,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Painting of Idyllic Ocean on Burned-Out Van Door (Sony A7R IV)

This series from f/2 through f/8 shows the spectacular total optical correction of the Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar, visible starting wide open. Shooting distance was two meters away.

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Painting of Idyllic Ocean on Burned-Out Van Door

Includes a pixel shift frame at f/6.3 which is stunning in its finely detailed rendition of texture and color detail, bypassing the spatial and color resolution degradation of Bayer matrix demosaicing. Crops including some 2X enlarged crops.

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

Painting on door of burned-out van
f6.3 @ 1/30 sec electronic shutter pixel shift, ISO 100; 2020-03-19 16:28:37
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5100 ft / 1554 m, 42°F / 5°C
RAW: pull 0.48 stops

[low-res image for bot]

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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Examples: Alabama Hills (Sony A7R IV)

I’ve published some examples taken in the Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney area.

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Examples: Alabama Hills

Includes single images, panoramas and focus stacked images, some up to 237 megapixels.

I am quite behind on my processing of images, but one thing I can say is that the Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar is a world-class performer and would be an unbeatable value at twice the price. It is also one of my favorite lenses of all time for focus stacking.

Dry Desert Wash, View to White Mountains Towards Lone Pine
f8 @ 1/13 sec electronic shutter focus stack 3 frames, ISO 100; 2020-03-20 17:46:48
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4950 ft / 1509 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, pull 0.35 stops, +30 Shadows, -36 Highlights, +49 Whites, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{20,0.8,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Blue Dawn over Mt Whitney, Alabama Hills
f5.6 @ 20.0 sec electronic shutter panorama 2 frames spherical, ISO 100; 2020-03-20 05:23:28
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5050 ft / 1539 m, 25°F / -3°C
RAW: LACA corrected, pull 0.66 stops, +100 Shadows, +40 Whites, USM {10,50,0}, SmartSharpen{40,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Plant life along dry desert wash
f9 @ 1/10 sec electronic shutter focus stack 4 frames, ISO 100; 2020-03-20 17:39:22
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4950 ft / 1509 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, pull -0.5 stops, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{30,0.8,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Lloyd’s Whacky Morning Travel Tea

This bizarre combination is so outrageous that I felt I had to try it—and boy is it good! Hey—when traveling and no coffee, you do what you have to.

About 32 ounces total fluid:

  • Two Yogi Egypitional Licorice tea bags steeped for ~7 minutes.
  • 2/3 or so cup of grass-fed organic whole milk*.
  • Two tablespoons first cold-press olive oil.
  • 2/3 scoop caffeinated Tailwind.

Stir it all up. The olive olive wants to float which is a bit of a nuisance, but it adds a nice bite with the right oil—I tend towards a rich and robust olive oil for this purpose.

* Science has NEVER proven a proper link between saturated fat or high cholesterol and heart disease. Check out the LYON nurses study showing the opposite of the dogmatic groupthink among doctors, and the ethically corrupt JUPITER study, which was used to justify widespread statin usage. The whole sordid “science” of heart disease and the poison of statins is a huge crock of steaming shit. Indeed, a high fat diet can lower cholesterol, but the medical establishment carefully avoids studies that would threaten the $30 billion statin industry. A decade or two from now, we will understand how millions were damaged and killed by bad medical advice, just as has already happened from the “low fat ” diet craze which surely caused millions of heart attacks along with obesity and diabetes spikes.

Lloyd’s Whacky Morning Travel Tea Ingredients

Abe H writes:

Egyptian licorice tea is sooo good....I don't ingest caffeine anymore though. Hope you're doing well, Lloyd - I've always enjoyed your blog, and even more-so now in these trying times.

DIGLLOYD: the Yogi Egyptian Licorice Tea is caffeine-free, which is why I add the Tailwind. Tailwind is also available non-caffeinated (try Mandarin Orange flavor). Organic Valley Grassmilk is available as 2% low-fat also; substitute more olive oil.

Hydration — Tailwind is an outstanding drink for hydration and electrolytes in general. A 175-pound man will lose at least 1.8 liters (4 pounds) of fluid overnight via persipiration, breathing, urine. I typically lose 2L and as much as 3 liters overnight (6+ pounds) if I’ve had a hard workout and/or if the humidity is low and/or temperature high. These are reliable figures I have determined from years of weighing-in in the morning vs bedtime—see the evening-vs-morning graph. Thus, hydrating in the morning mans taking in half a gallon of fluid.

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Smart Move with COVID-19: Boost Your Immune System with Sleep, Outdoors, Lowering Stress, Eating Well

Beyond self-isolation, boosting your immune system is the smart move with Coronavirus making the rounds, with these things proven scientifically to boost the immune system:

  • Plenty of sleep.
  • Outdoor nature activities.
  • Lowering stress.
  • Eating well (I ate 10 candy bars one day as that's what I was craving, but before and after that it was all very healthy fare, and no, I am not joking!).

I was exhausted for a couple of days, having done Joshua Tree Double Century last weekend (Southern Inyo Double Century the prior weekend), going into it feeling way off my game which cost me at least 30 minutes in ride time, although it was within 2 minutes of my 2019 time (2018 was a different course, but I was under 10 hours). Soloing it (no drafting) as usual. Cannot complain about pulmonary function—superb, but the brutal and cold headwind coming in made a one-hour section take 2+ hours.

But my energy is now back, so I did an easy 3-hour MTB ride today in the lovely snowstorm in the Alabama Hills. You just can’t ask for nicer weather—it’s invigorating and about 1/10 the usual number of visitors makes for an awesome nearly private park. Damn, some days I love life, and that is a serious reward all in itself. My fitness is now back where I want it—good for 10-12 hours at 128 bpm or so heart rate @ ~200 watts—unless I am 'off' as at JT.

I’m in the mood for hot food... Chinese food would be great—Kung Pao prawns would be tasty, but not much chance of that in Lone Pine and now it's 'illegal' with the entire state locked down at shelter-in-place. So tonight it was a bunch of vegetables and Kimchi and beans and some hard-boiled eggs and guacamole and some wine.

Damn the garbage quality of iPhone, which makes me look like I have a skin disease. I have to start carrying my Sony RX100 again.

Relaxing for a minute or so during a 3-hour ride
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 25; 2020-03-19 13:12:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8 ENV: altitude 5530 ft / 1686 m

[low-res image for bot]
Snow at Alabama Hills, view to Owens Lake
f2.8 @ 1/1000 sec panorama, ISO 50; 2020-03-19 13:18:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5614 ft / 1711 m, 34°F / 1°C

[low-res image for bot]
High States
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 40; 2020-03-19 12:53:29
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 5366 ft / 1636 m, 35°F / 1°C

[low-res image for bot]

Not everyone is having a good time; this van burned-out within the past two days. I feel sorry for the former occupants, with ruined trip and loss of something surely dear to them. I assume they are fine, because the front and rear license plates were definitely removed, I suspect with the intent of leaving the mess for others to clean up. I wish them well in health terms, but they ought to take care of their own mess. I never cook inside my van except for boiling water (electric), for several good reasons, this being one of them.

Burned-out van
f1.8 @ 1/1050 sec, ISO 20; 2020-03-19 14:24:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8 ENV: altitude 4741 ft / 1445 m

[low-res image for bot]

Spring cleaning after two weeks of van living.

Spring Cleaning after two weeks of van living
f1.8 @ 1/3000 sec, ISO 20; 2020-03-19 11:02:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4875 ft / 1486 m, 45°F / 7°C

[low-res image for bot]
Van life at Alabama Hills
f1.8 @ 1/6800 sec panorama, ISO 25; 2020-03-19 10:34:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4881 ft / 1488 m, 45°F / 7°C

[low-res image for bot]
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A Tale of Two Stores: Coronavirus Infection Vectors

No wonder Coronavirus is spreading.

Store 1, a hardware store, Lone Pine, CA

Clerk puts on fresh disposable gloves on both hands, inserts my card, hands me the touchpad, which I press wearing my own fresh glove. PERFECT.

Store 2, grocery store BiRite Market in Lone Pine, CA

Clerk with visibly dirty gloves handles every one of my purchases (which had to be placed on not very clean looking checkout counter), wrapping both gloved hands with around a group of energy bars, thus ensuring contamination of all of them. All items are now definitely contaminated by whatever is on his gloves, which I watched him use for every prior customer, and look not to have been changed since the start of the day.

Another clerk with filthy stained dirty gloves then bags my groceries in fresh plastic bags which he had just handled with the filthy gloves. If Coronavirus was present, my groceries now are all contaminated with it.

Knut H writes:

Dump the groceries somewhere in your van, where warm air can blow over them. Wait 8 hours. Your problems should be solved. Corona is very sensitive to a dry environment. Drying inactivates the virus. We have had virologists retest the hypothesis that Corona can last 9 days... It didn't materialize. Maybe under optimal conditions, moist, wet... Definitely not under normal conditions. Be prudent. Keep things you get in stores dry.

DIGLLOYD: interesting advice... sunlight is presumably good also (ultraviolet light). Heat is not good for vegetables and chocolate, but that aside, the humidity is about 10% here near Lone Pine, and temperature was in the 60's °F in my van... though it's now 28°F at 6800' elevation.

I was not all that alert at the store, or I would have asked to have the clerk put on fresh gloves and let me scan. But I was sleep deprived and groggy from several nights of trying to get a mouse out of my van half the night (which has really screwed me up all day each day). I hate to use glue board traps or kill wildlife when unnecessary, but tonight that mouse will meet his maker I hope—besides poop and Hantavirus risk and eating my food and chewing wires, I’ve had enough.

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Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Examples: Alabama Hills (Sony A7R IV)

This examples from the Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art were shot in Alabama Hills.

Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Examples: Alabama Hills

Includes image up to full camera resolution and some large panoramas.

More to come.

Clearing Storm over Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney range
f6.3 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 100; 2020-03-11 06:43:10
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
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Shelter in Place

The San Francisco Bay Area now has a 7-county “shelter in place” directive. I’ve revised this post now that I found the actual health department orders.

County of Santa Clara Public Health Department order
County of San Mateo Public Health Department order
County of San Mateo Shelter in Place FAQ

Stay healthy! We’ll get through this if we keep our heads!

Summary / highlights

2. All individuals currently living within San Mateo County (the “County”) are ordered to shelter at their place of residence. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses, all as defined in Section 10...

5. All travel, including, but not limited to, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, except Essential Travel and Essential Activities as defined below in Section 10, is prohibited. People must use public transit only for purposes of performing Essential Activities or to travel to and from work to operate Essential Businesses or maintain Essential Governmental Function...

10a. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following “Essential Activities.”... To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running. To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations. To care for a family member or pet in another household.

10b. ...individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any “Healthcare Operations” including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. “Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals. This exemption shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of healthcare, broadly defined. “Healthcare Operations” does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities....


I wonder if the mandate is actually the worst possible thing (as written)for unforeseen consequences? By all means, shut down public gatherings, but “shelter in place” deals a psychological, economic and perhaps counter-productive blow not just in the end, but immediately, for some.

The geniuses issuing this edict did not prohibit the user of reusable bags at grocery stores—what better way to infect people than to put your food on the same surface as the last 500 people with their virtue-signaling reusable bags replete with all the bacterial and viral load from their homes. But requiring single-use plastic or paper bags would conflict with the nanny-state bans in Bay Area cities.

There is no rational justification for prohibiting numerous activities of normal life that do not involve any measure of risk and minimal if any contact with others. But the order is not written that way; it is written in a way that needlessly prohibits a wide variety of activities without addressing only the undesirable behavior (contact with others). It’s a sledgehammer.

The psychological effects are inscrutable as yet, but the economic effects are clear: for many people “on the edge”, the economic blow will be bad; those unable to work but who still need food and shelter and now without a paycheck. Well-paid employees of big corporations and those with savings can shrug it off—so what? But millions in the Bay Area cannot tolerate the loss of even one paycheck. And now many of them have to commit a misdemeanor by going to work? Then there are the self employed that no politician thinks about.

Will this order result in desperation from no more paychecks, increased hoarding, and overall social disintegration for the “haves” (those who continue to be paid) and the “have nots”—those forced out of work and with no savings and rent due and no money for food?

Meanwhile, our government packs people in like sardines at airports so that a single infected person can infect scores of other people. Then the dozens of people who pass testing but are now latent newly-infected carriers then go on to infect others. What criminally stupid jackass thought that one up? That language is far too polite, given the needless risks created there. Take people off the plane in an orderly fashion, maintaining distance, while keeping the recirculated but HEPA-filtered air going for those on board

Staying indefinitely near Alabama Hills

I am sheltering in place in a far more pleasant spot albeit a cold wet storm right now, and will not be returning home indefinitely given this lockdown situation. I am getting low on W. Donaldson champagne, so it’s going to be rough, but the Don Julio tequila is better than nothing. And if I can just get that damned desert mouse out of my van, which kept me up half the night and chewed into my bag of black walnuts.

There is no bottled water to be had in stores such as the 1-gallon Crystal Geyser I use on my trips, so I have to pump water from the creek using the MSR Guardian, which is tedious but the water quality is fantastic. Some stores are sold out of some stuff, but just two days ago in Twenty Nine Palms, the Stater Bros grocery store was fully stocked except for bottled water and toilet paper—meat, fresh fruits and veggies, canned food, etc.

Tip: skip the tuna (mercury content) and go for canned salmon instead, anchovies, sardines—superb.

Tip: wipies (Huggies, etc) clean your ass as well as toilet paper, better actually! It’s stunning to see a full shelf of wipies and no toilet paper at all. It shows that a mass hysteria erases all rational thought.

Cold wet storm, hard-boiling eggs
f1.8 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 40; 2020-03-16 17:19:12
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/0 @ 28mm equiv (4mm) ENV: altitude 4804 ft / 1464 m

[low-res image for bot]
A joyful mountain bike ride, appreciating life and health
f1.8 @ 1/4400 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2020-03-11 12:56:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4200 ft / 1280 m, 60°F / 15°C

[low-res image for bot]


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How to Wash Your Hands Properly

Official CDC video seemingly created by someone who loves PowerPoint, very poor for educating someone quickly and effectively IMO.

YouTube videos on handwashing.

I don’t have time to go watch all sorts of videos and choose the best one, but IMO a video that covers it quickly and well and can be understood regardless of language is a winner.

This video below is quite good in that it gets right to it and is massively better than how most people wash hands. A few minor points to add:

  • Get soap and water under the fingernails also, as germs can hide there also.
  • Scrubbing with a little more force than shown.
  • Wash further up the arms if the arms may have been in contact with stuff.

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Coronavirus aka COVID-19 Symptoms, Duration of Onset, Hydration, Discouraging the Virus

Here are some links that will help in understanding COVID-19. It is unwise to trust information on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc—go to official sources.

Please double-check with your own doctor and other sources. Do NOT trust social media.

Key points

From WHO Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19) which I find the most complete and most readable and useful. Emphasis added.

Sadly even the WHO is UNETHICAL in misleading the public on the use of particular respirators, and shows ineffective surgical masks in its videos. It is a ridiculous contradiction to state that the virus spreads via droplets in the air but a mask is not useful when it is proven that suitable particulate respirators block viruses! How can you trust an organization that actively hides the truth?

See also WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.
[DIGLLOYD: obviously, a quality particulate respirator is of value, and the state of knowledge remains poor as to all the transmission vectors]

It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill

Even official sources have shortcomings

I’m not finding any of the official sources to be all that helpful for what I want to know.

Official sources are unhelpful as to whether things like gargling with warm salt water can help retard the onset of a viral infection, and some lack basic things like direct embedding of easyt to understrand videos of things like how to wash hands properly.

For example, at the CDC site, “wash your hands” and no direct link to a video showing how to do it properly, though there is a bullet-point list here on hand washing and they do have a too-complicated PowerPoint style video. This is poor communication.

How to wash your hands properly.

Masks / particulate respirators

Sometimes the official guidelines are misleading at best, such as “you do not need to wear a facemask... in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers” as stated on the CDC web site. That position is outrageously unethical in that it evades the question: do masks prevent infection or not, what kind of mask, how to wear, etc? Evasive non-answers erode trust.

Since many people already have appropriate masks, and particular respirators of the right type and worn correctly are effective against viruses, the CDC is doing many people a huge disservice. And by what moral standard do these officials decide that my (or your) right to life must be subsumed to some vague undefinable unmeasurable greater good? If there is a real shortage, the government can and will seize the supply anyway, so what good is it to actively mislead people who already have protective gear? Such misleading guidelines will surely lead to the death of some people.

When using a mask, always wash hands before putting it on and after taking it off, and assume the outer surface is contaminated. Do not touch the mask while wearing it. A fresh mask is always best, but I have only a handful of N100 masks for my whole family, so I cannot afford to use a new one each time, so this procedure is essential. Heating the mask to 110°F or so might kill the virus... I am also thinking that a good dose of sunlight in a closed space like a large glass jar might be a good virus-killing approach. You work with what you have so those are just ideas that are better than throwing away anotherwise good N100/P100/N95 mask.

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