Apr 27

VISE — In defense of Frische Luft

I have written previously about VISE (Virus Insanity Syndrome Extremis) in previous posts, mostly related to hiking and backpacking. Outside and on the trail, I find it interesting how many hikers find the need to wear face masks when passing another person, and often when hiking alone. What are they accomplishing with their face mask? Is it not doing more harm than good? Why do they feel compelled to have something over their mouth and nose which is probably doing a very poor job of restricting the passage of viruses? Why is it that the closer the trail is to Seattle, the more people are noted to be wearing their face masks? Does urban society really have that great an influence on our behavior?

Benjamin Franklin has written on the spread of viruses that is worth paying attention to since it is so fitting to our current “epidemic”. Franklin first suggested that the common cold did not happen because people became cold. Rather, he felt that it was a communicable disease or at least something that is transmitted by air in a stagnant environment. Franklin would frequently take air-baths, seeking fresh air,  Frische Luft. His advice would have been for well-ventilated areas (he slept with his window open, even on cold nights), and for not compacting people together in a confined space without adequate airflow.

The current approach to airborne viruses is to make everybody wear a face mask. Is this a good idea? A recent study on face masks from Stanford concludes, “The existing scientific evidence[s] challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize [a] proper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.”

Benjamin Franklin might have suggested yet another reason why face masks are not a good idea, and probably increase one’s chances of acquiring the Wuhan virus. Face masks create one’s own personal stagnant air environment, the air that one will be breathing. I go outside for Frische Luft. Why bring my stagnant air environment with me? How long must we endure this insanity? There are many places that we go where face masks are mandatory, such as in government buildings and in stores. These buildings are well ventilated, and generally rarely ever sufficiently crowded to cause a health risk. I thank God that at least the church we are now going to does not require face masks. Isn’t it a pity that so many churches still demand serious social distancing as well as face masks? There is nothing so dehumanizing as a face cover. The next thing you know, we will all be wearing full burkas!

Until this “epidemic” hit, the response to communicable diseases was to quarantine the sick. Now, we are quarantining the healthy. When a rise in the incidence of the disease is noted, the conditions of the quarantine are enhanced. Is it perhaps possible that our responses to the Wuhan virus are actually making matters worse, rather than better? Is our response prolonging the “epidemic” and spreading it out over more months, and perhaps years?

How often have you heard the phrase “We can send men to the moon, but we still can’t cure the common cold!”? The Wuhan virus is a form of the common cold. How is it that we have searched for many years for a vaccination for the cold to no avail, and yet, suddenly three or more “vaccines” appear? The vaccines available do not prevent catching the virus, nor transmitting it, so that precautions such as face masks are still advised. Really? The vaccine supposedly does nothing except to decrease the severity of the illness if one acquires a bout of the Wuhan virus. Really now? Our government must think that the common man is dumber than blue mud. Why is it that if you’ve had a case of COVID-19, you are still asked to take the vaccine? Does that make any sense at all?

What are the dynamics behind the transmission of a virus from one person to another? Several issues need to be looked at. 1. Viral Load. If you received just one viral particle, would you contract the virus? The answer is, overwhelmingly not. 10? 100? Generally, it takes a substantial viral load to contract the disease. 2. Timing. If you encountered one viral particle an hour, over time that would be a substantial load, though insufficient to give you the viral illness. The rate at which you are exposed to a virus is most important. 3. Distance. Viral particles decay very quickly in air. Close proximity is absolutely necessary to transmit the virus from one person to another. Air temperature, humidity, etc. also have an effect on the duration of viability of a virus, though those factors are not controllable. Using this knowledge, imagine two people passing each other on the trail. The average walking speed is at approximately 2.5 miles/hour, for a combined speed of 5 miles/hour, or, a little more than 7 feet/second. The infected person would need to be exhaling and healthy person inhaling at the moment, which would be at most a two-second time period.  Considering the viral load and timing demands, mere dynamics explain why it would be near impossible to communicate the virus while hiking on the trail. If anything, a face mask would allow a portion of the exhaled air of the passerby to be trapped, and the risk increased for acquiring the virus.

Tucker Carlson addresses the face mask issue head-on and could not have said it better. This video used to be on YouTube but was quickly taken down. If you do a YouTube search you come up with a CNN talking head playing a short segment of Tucker and then offering a totally nonsensical explanation as to why he is wrong. Please watch this…   https://rumble.com/vg5tfh-tucker-carlson-drops-nuke-on-outdoor-mask-wearers-liberals-lose-their-minds.html?mref=64ogp&mc=8vvr9. The attitude needs to be that the face mask wearers are the crazy ones, which is true. So, take off your masks outside, and insult anybody that demands you put your mask back on! More and more studies are coming out demonstrating that face mask wearers actually are much more unhealthy than those that do not wear a mask at all. Don’t be stupid. Get rid of your mask!

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Apr 17

Prepare to Meet Your God, by Rich Hamlin ★★★★

This short book of 155 text pages is a compilation of sermons that Rich Hamlin preached on the book of Amos in the year 2011 at the Evangelical Reformed Church in Tacoma, Washington. These sermons are very characteristic of the style of Rich’s preaching. In this volume, you will find solid, substantial preaching with both explanations of the text as well as applications that the listener may take home with them. Amos was a shepherd from Judea, but whose ministry was to the northern ten tribes of Israel. The preaching was that of the judgment of the Israelites for being unfaithful to their God. Rich makes clear that the truths taught then are still most relevant in today’s world and must be heeded. Rich’s preaching is not flowery, it is not deeply expository, he doesn’t impress the hearer with his knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, or with his ability to quote the most obscure sources. Yet, it is preaching that always reaches the heart and soul of the listener. These are sermons most worthy of being read and taken to heart.

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Apr 11

Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost, by Michael Walsh ★★★★★

In this book, Michael Walsh details 18 battles where the battle was extremely lopsided and the battle was to the death. At times, an army was entirely wiped out, as in the Teutoburgerwald under Varus in the year AD 9, or at Khartoum. Other times, there are harrowing escapes of a few survivors that live to tell the tale, such as at Rorke’s  Drift, or at the Chosin Reservoir. The author (Walsh) has written a number of books, though most of them are fictional. He has acted as a movie reviewer for Time Magazine. He has also written under a pseudonym for National Review. One would imagine that Walsh is most interested in gory stories, stories with excitement and intrigue. Yet, Walsh makes it very clear from the opening prologue and introduction that that is not the case, and lays out his intentions for the book. War seems to be an inevitability, and peace an exception to the rule. Not that war is desired; the Romans were correct in stating “Si vis Pacem, para Bellum”. Even though the United States has been in nearly perpetual war since it was founded, we live in a society that has sanitized war, making war bloodless, an activity fought by gentlemen strickly standing by guiding rules and principles of engagement. The current US intention of making the war machine politically correct, balanced between the sexes and individual physical capabilities has lost sight of the true nature of war. Revenge, personal honor, patriotic pride, lust for power or wealth, and other emotions will cause one to sacrifice their lives on the battlefield, and not out of altruism, which is rarely noted among combatants. The leading introduction to this book is necessary in order to set the tone as to the author’s intentions. Walsh then marches through the chapters of this book providing synopses of various battles, including Thermopylae, Cannae, Teutoburg, Masada, Hastings, Szigetvár, the Alamo, Custer’s last stand, etc., and ending with the story of Walshes’ father fighting at Chosin Reservoir. The last battle ends on a personal note since Walsh was able to interrogate his father (who fought at Chosin) about his thoughts and reactions in the midst of battle when all seems to have been lost. Indeed, it is uncommon for the warrior to return to society eager to speak about their experience, and most often, will remain silent until coaxed to recount the battle details. A few of these battles were not taught in school, and were unfamiliar to me, such as the battle for Sigetvár. A few Amazon commentators noted that Walsh was not perfectly accurate in all of his historical comments, and such may be the case, though those inaccuracies do not distract from the main thesis of the book.

I enjoyed this book. Walsh provides excellent commentary on the nature of war, even though he does not seem to seek alternatives. Much of his diatribe seems directed at current US policy towards the military, where the sexes are confused and intermingled, where standards are lowered, where personal feelings ascend to trump the nastiness and reality of war. This is a great book to read for those who like war history. It is a light read and can be read within a week time period.

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