How much can surgical masks help with wildfire smoke?

Just to put some numbers on this, we can assume that burning wood has plenty of particles in the 0.2-0.3 micron range, which is commonly regarded as "the most penetrating particle size".

N95 masks meet the standard that they filter out 95% of these particles.

In the following study, the better of the surgical masks that was studied allowed 25% of the 0.3 micron particles through, which matches the 1/5th effectiveness you mentioned.

On p16 of this EPA handout, they absolutely do mention the hand-holding logic of having a false sense of security. But they also address the possibility that the mask can make breathing more difficult, contribute to heat stress, and that these masks:

do not filter out harmful irritant gases, such as acrolein or formaldehyde, or other toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide

They also specifically state:

Masks can also be used in conjunction with other methods of exposure reduction, including staying indoors, reducing activity, and using HEPA air cleaners to reduce overall smoke exposure.

So I think the serious answers to your final questions are: it would help by 25%, I sure as hell would, and maybe?

In Defense of Politics

Just about a year ago, Assange was arrested, and is no longer at the embassy.

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)

In case you care about editing/publishing, a couple spelling corrections:

"If the universe was, **at** this person claimed, made by rationality", probably should be "as".

"Thomas Acquinas" should be "Aquinas".

Now for an actual comment: how unshakeable are we talking here? Are you saying that you don't believe there is any amount of evidence that can sway you? Or just that you are extremely confident in the truth claims of your religious belief, and wish to test that confidence with a vigorous battery of discussion?

Act of Charity

Just a few possibilities (These are U.S. examples, because that's what I know):

  • Throwing away mail from a previous tenant - Fines up to $250,000 and 5 years in prison. (
  • Jaywalking - Municipal rules vary, but not hard to enforce if a cop sees you doing it.
  • Did you ever possess a marker while under the age of 18? Hopefully you were not in Oklahoma (
  • Driving too fast or slow - Rules seem to vary, as does enforcement, but both of these can get you pulled over.
  • Illegal sex practices - Unless you are married and doing it missionary-style with intent to make babies, it is possible you are violating a sodomy law, or perhaps an obscenity statute. These are obviously difficult to enforce if you care about privacy.
  • Until fairly recently, all public performances of the Happy Birthday song violated copyright.
  • File sharing has gotten many people in trouble, over the years.
  • Taking a Rx medication that was not specifically provided for you.
  • Gambling of any kind has been banned, though there have been exceptions over the years.
  • Public urination.
  • Logging into a wifi network without explicit permission - Federal ( and State laws ( apply to this one.
  • That Federal law, by the way, is vague enough to get you in trouble for making a facebook page placeholder for you boss (though there's more to it than just that, this is the law he ended up pleading guilty for violating.

Even if you have never personally violated any of those, "not doing anything wrong" is no defense against a motivated law enforcement official. The sheer volume of statutes, laws, and precedents basically puts all citizens in the position that they are probably violating SOME law all the time. There's a not-very-good book with the title Three Felonies A Day that tried to argue the title as the thesis, but really ended up as a case study for examples like that Shkreli guy. The only real defense seems to be don't stick out.

The Art of the Overbet

Fact check: it appears it was Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, who gambled $5000, won $27,000, and paid the fuel bill. Wiki pointed to this Huffpo article:

Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013

One of my best friends is a very high suicide risk. Has anybody dealt with this kind of situation; specifically trying to convince the friend to try psychiatry? I'll be happy to talk details, but I'm not sure the Open Thread is the best medium.

10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist

With coding, at least, I find that I can stay focused if I put console outputs in the program. Debug info, or progress updates.

For example, I had some encoded text to decipher in my crypto class, and I knew the method of encoding used, so all I had to do was check every character's input with the ciphertext to see the answer... so I made it print every character, and then delete the character if it was wrong (or move on to the next if right), so it looked a bit like Hollywood-style decoding. Definitely kept me interested.

Be a little bit more trusting than most people think sensible

I had a similar experience in an LA pub while waiting for my flight out. I asked a couple that was sitting nearby to watch my stuff, and they were kind enough to do so. Less risky than what you did, but still a calculated risk.

Post ridiculous munchkin ideas!

I'm curious as to how you went about identifying such a nootropic.

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