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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.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Celebrity

U.S. Soccer star expertly handles an Iranian reporter’s loaded questions about race.

Tyler Adams’s response proves exactly why he’s the captain of the US soccer team.

Tyler Adams expertly handles Iranian reporter's question

Reporters are supposed to ask the right questions to get to the truth but sometimes it seems sports reporters ask questions to throw you off your game. There's no doubt that this Iranian reporter who was questioning Tyler Adams, the US soccer team captain at the press conference during the World Cup had an agenda that didn't involve getting to the truth.

It's not clear if the questions were designed to throw the young player off of his game or if the goal was embarrassment. It really is hard to tell, but Adams handled the unexpectedly harsh encounter with intelligence and poise when some may have found it justified for him to get angry.

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Pets

Idaho pet squirrel amazingly thwarts a would-be burglar in resurfaced viral video

The suspect was identified by the scratches the squirrel left.

Idaho pet squirrel thwarts a would-be burglar.

Ahhh, yes! The attack squirrel. Every home should have one, or at least, that's what an Idaho man whose home was protected by his rescue-squirrel-turned-pet might think. Adam Pearl found Joey, his pet squirrel, in his yard, abandoned as a baby and unable to fend for himself. Pearl took him in and bottle-fed him until he was big enough to eat on his own.

The unique pairing continued for 10 months until a man looking to burglarize Pearl's home got the surprise of a lifetime. He was attacked by the squirrel! The fluffy-tailed critter thwarted the man's plan to rummage through Pearl's belongings.

One can only imagine the confusion and terror of being attacked by something that would've gently eaten out of Snow White's hands. The burglar was apparently after the homeowner's guns and likely wasn't expecting a squirrel to go, well, nuts on him. It gets even better though.

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This article originally appeared on 07.22.21


As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.

Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.


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via Pexels

Three different types of blood donations.

The AIDS epidemic that began in the early '80s cast a stigma on all men who have sex with men, regardless of their HIV status. The idea that gay and bisexual men were somehow dangerous to the general public because of a health crisis in their community added to the stigmatization that already came with being LGBTQ.

In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned all men who have sex with men from donating blood. This rule stood until 2015 when the FDA lifted the lifetime ban for gay and bisexual males and limited it to men who had homosexual sex within the past year.

In 2020, the FDA eased restrictions on men who have sex with men again, due to a blood shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The abstinence period was shortened from a year to three months.

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