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Aerosol specialist shares which masks work best to protect kids as they head back to school

Aerosol specialist shares which masks work best to protect kids as they head back to school

As schools start up for the fall across the country, the question of kids and masks looms large. In some states, masks are mandated for all public schools, regardless of vaccination status. In other states, mask mandates are banned. In still others, the decision is left up to local leaders, with perspectives on what is right and safe falling across the spectrum.

Such uncertainty and inconsistency have left parents reeling, especially with the highly contagious Delta variant surging, millions of kids too young to be vaccinated yet, and drastically differing opinions on whether kids should mask up in the classroom.

The evidence for universal masking preventing viral spread is quite deep and wide at this point, but concerned parents may be looking for more specific guidance. Which masks are best for kids? And where do I even start trying to figure that out?

Thankfully, there's a guy who has answers to those questions.


Aaron Collins is a mechanical engineer who wrote his Master's thesis on the science of aerosols—tiny particles in the air from things like smoke or viruses—and worked for years developing instruments to measure and describe them. During the peak of the pandemic, he built an aerosol lab in his bathroom to test which masks are most effective at preventing aerosol spread and has been meticulously recording the results of his tests ever since.

He has collected his data in a Google doc that anyone can access and shares his findings in YouTube videos. According to his FAQ, this is the goal of the project:

  • Identify both highly protective masks, and suppliers that have quality controls in place so that there is a high confidence that products sold meet these requirements.
  • Test and identify as many high quality protective masks as possible.
  • Help explain the complex discussion about masks, provide context to the different types and test standards
  • Provide a transparent data collection and data analysis so people can see what is happening, the limitations of my test.
  • Be completely independent from a mask supplier or source. Independent reviews is the most important thing, I want no bias!

In one of his most recent videos, Collins shared what kid masks he recommends if you're looking for high filtration masks. (High filtration masks protect the wearer in addition to protecting those around them.) Check it out:

Current Top Mask Picks & Kids Maskswww.youtube.com

You can read his FAQ here for more information about how he analyses the masks. Also, check out the Google spreadsheet with all of his data and links to where you can find these masks here.

As COVID cases increase and kids start congregating in classrooms, the question of protection is only going to grow more important. Getting ahead of the spread with effective masks is one way families can ease some of the concern as well as (hopefully) protect us all from worsening variants in the coming months.

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

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Courtesy of Woodell Productions

This speech had all the things, and the Maid of Honor wasn't even there

May we all have a best friend like Ally Lothman.

Lothman had just given birth to her first child (according to Today.com) and was unable to make it to the wedding of her lifelong best friend Michelle Levenson. But Lothman’s Maid of Honor duties were still gloriously fulfilled.

A now-viral video, posted to TikTok by wedding photography and videography company Woodell Productions, shows that even though Lothman couldn’t celebrate in person, her FaceTimed wedding toast managed to bring everyone at the reception—along with everyone who watched online—to tears.
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Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

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Pop Culture

People think everyone should experience these things 'at least once in their lifetime'

Things like seeing an eclipse and having a true best friend make life worth living.

Representative Images from Canva

Here are some things everyone should experience once in their lifetime

If there’s one thing human beings all have in common, it’s our shared impermanence. No matter our race, gender, social class, wealth status, health regimen, moral code, political leaning, or any other divisive element, we all get one life. One life to hopefully fill with as many memorable, soul nourishing, expansive experiences as possible.

But let’s face it, there are more experiences available that there are days and hours in which to do them. Therefore, we have to use discernment. So, which experiences are truly must-haves in our all-too-limited time on this planet?

The answers to this question are undoubtedly personal, but perhaps some things, just like the inevitable exit of mortal coil, are universal.

According to a recent discussion on Ask Reddit, here are things one must absolutely “experience at least once in their lifetime”:
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Family

Helicopter's thermal imaging helps save a young autistic girl lost in a Florida swamp

“I just love how the deputy greeted her. What a beautiful ending. You guys are the best!”

A deputy locates a missing girl in a Florida swamp.

A 5-year-old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) wandered off into a swamp near Tampa, Florida, around 5:00 pm on Monday, February 26. The good news is that the girl was saved in about an hour thanks to the work of some brave sheriff’s officers and their incredible thermal technology.

The girl wandered from her home and was quickly reported missing by her family to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff quickly dispatched its aviation unit that used thermal imaging technology to scan the nearby swamplands to try to find the young girl before nightfall.

Thermal imaging technology captures images based on the heat emitted by objects, allowing us to see temperature differences even in the dark, making it super handy for night vision and heat detection. The thermal technology helped the officers quickly identify the girl from high above the trees.

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10 things kids get in trouble for that adults get away with all the time

Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Kids know when we're being hypocritical.

Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.

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