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November 23, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Breath of death. Mouthwash discouraged.

woman blowing through straw (Image A&M/The Eagle)

Take that! No, it’s not spitball wars. (Image A&M/The Eagle)

And you thought there was no earthly reason for disposable straws.

Might need to reconsider.

What if a combo of AI, badly maligned straws, and a deep breath could mean a slight return to “normal” in this grim COVID era?

They’ve been working on it since March – using AI with standard existing chemical/petroleum industry gas analysis techniques (advanced mass spectrometry technology) – to create a rapid test with low enough costs for large organizations – that is easy, doesn’t cause discomfort or nasal pain, and would give a solid dependable readout in minutes.

The data is promising. 

“Results from the approximately 800 people who have been tested with Worlds Protect at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Brigham Young University and other locations across Texas show that the prototype has an accuracy similar to polymerase chain reaction (PCR/nose swab) tests.”

Man with straw approaching COVID-19 test kiosk (Image: A&M/The Eagle)

Man with straw approaching COVID-19 test kiosk (Image: A&M/The Eagle)

Coming soon to a place near you? Hopeful.

“…sees the breath test as a product that could be used to ensure environments are free of COVID-19 within a matter of minutes, opening the door for places to sometimes relax their safety precautions so that some gatherings can resemble times before the pandemic.

“It’s going to bring humanity back in a very complex and complicated environment of this global pandemic that we’re all having to face and deal with…”

We could all use a bit of return to close to normal.

Article (device video below):  “Texas A & M partnership develops COVID-19 breath test.”

Something to happily sniff about.

This wasn’t the planned post, but over the weekend a young neighbor hit the wall – this lock down, hyper-terrified existence has to stop.

She, a single mom – quite lovely – with a elementary school age son – crashed: She had a good job, traveled for business, a supportive family, the most well behaved Australian Shepherd dog you can imagine, a home she purchased, an old El Camino pickup truck she bought to restore (a gear head), and a large group of pretty, party friends for weekends….

All ripped apart as this virus appeared. And on top of that she very badly injured her shoulder during a river rafting outing (It’s outside! And she has those party friends). The physical pain (and prescribed pills and alcohol easily available from “essential business”, of course) was the last thing she needed with all the jarrings of work and school closings, the worry over Covid.

It became too much. Despite her sister trying to be here as much as possible, it was too much to handle. We saw the ambulance out the window at about midnight Sat. night. She called for help and is safe now. The neighborhood is taking care of Jack, the dog. Family has her kid.

She will recover.

 But there are those who will not be as brave as she and will not being caught safe.

It has to stop. Lockdowns and isolation are killing and damaging. We have to learn to exist with COVID. 

Breathe. And learn how to live.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.



Leave a Comment
  1. disperser / Nov 23 2020 12:09 pm

    Now I’m glad I stocked up on disposable straws . . .

    And sad to read about the woman. I think it’s more difficult if alone, and probably why so many people insist on gatherings.

    Nothing wrong with that, but precautions, please, at least until we get a handle on all this.

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 23 2020 1:06 pm

      Ditto. This is probably most difficult for the 15-40 year olds. Their lives unfairly whacked by this thing – they feel like they haven;’t had a chance to meet and greet and live.
      Each has to evaluate their risk and vulnerability – in all aspects. As cold miserable weather sets in, it will get more difficult for many.
      Necessity is the mother of invention. The original idea can to 2 good old boys talking about how dogs can sniff out cancer and other diseases…so why not? And went from there.
      I love open-ended creative thinkers. And dogs. Both society’s best friends.
      Thanks for thinking short pain and long term gain.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Beth / Nov 23 2020 12:45 pm

    Absolutely fascinating about the straw, and it also just makes sense – if our biggest point of contamination is breath, then having something that could read those particles rapidly would be huge. Plus, like you mentioned, we could avoid examining the back of my brain with a long Q-tip.

    Also, I agree – while we should be safe, for some this is coming at a high cost to their mental well-being- and in some cases it’s simply too high a cost. I will be driving to see my Dad and Step-mom for Thanksgiving and being extra cautious. I absolutely could stay home, but I’m at the point that I’m genuinely worried about the two of them and I need to get my eyes on the scene. And as you know, with my more recent history, they need to see me – even if it’s behind a mask. We’ve had long talks about risks and what they find acceptable. It’s a very precarious balancing act – but we’re talking about their mental health and right now that’s taking precedence in “our” decision – not just theirs.

    Not fun stuff.

    Hope you and yours are doing well! Hope Staff is doing much much better! Sending lots of love and thanks to the Realm! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 23 2020 1:00 pm

      I keep hearing the words of an 85 year old woman: “Geesch, I’m 85. What are you saving me for? I want to see my daughter and grandkids!”
      To give mandates is to say a person is incapable of making decisions for themselves. Insulting at this point.
      One size doesn’t fit all – and people must take command and evaluated things for themselves – know what is important and how to calculated risks.
      Yea for your family decision. I know seeing you even with a gold fish bowl over your hear will be what they are most thankful for.
      Onward with determination that the human species will not be defeated by tiny cooties.
      Have a great Thanksgiving!!!!!
      And thanks for serving up a great comment

      Liked by 3 people

  3. sustainabilitea / Nov 23 2020 4:01 pm

    The straw test sounds promising. So sorry for that young woman. Balance is so difficult to achieve these days. I’m in Southern California right now and on Wednesday when I leave, huge restrictions again go into force in most of the state. Restaurants that put lots of money into outdoor dining are not going to be allowed to have outdoor dining but I think there’s going to be a lack of enforcement as police don’t want to get involved or be diverted from more important work. Maybe Gov. Newsome can put his mask on and enforce it himself. 🤪😷


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Curt Mekemson / Nov 23 2020 5:52 pm

    Vaccines are coming. It has to be the ultimate answer. In the meantime, if we wear masks and practice social distancing, much of our life can go on. This has been the case from the beginning. But we also have to take care of each other. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 23 2020 6:19 pm

      Yep commonsense and just outsmarting the darn assassin until we outlive it. Take that (insert snapped elastic mask band here HAHA) Thinning of the herd maybe, but I suggest best not to be one of the ones chased down, tripped and clobbered.
      Thanks for wafting a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson / Dec 3 2020 5:57 pm

        Ouch! I wonder if we could shoot our masks across the room liked we used to shoot rubber bands, Karen? Maybe there is a game here.
        Herd immunity is fine to the degree it works. Best not to participate when you are over 70, however! 🙂 –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 4 2020 8:05 am

          First it was ice flows, now it’s COVID and nursing homes. Attention general public: 70 is not old for some – and many of us are still working paying your bills. HAHA
          Length of exposure and concentration during exposure (and general good health) seems to be the key at any age…and standing up wind from people at a distance …to the mountains, fields, and woods ( and don’t breath on the locals..of any species HAHA) take care up there!


          • Curt Mekemson / Dec 5 2020 7:56 am

            We are Karen. Nor is 77 old. At least I hope that is the case. Grin.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. easyweimaraner / Nov 23 2020 11:41 pm

    we are glad that the family and the hood are there to help… and maybe they will be there when she is back at home… to look for others can really rescue lives…

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2020 11:17 am

      So far so good. She’s home but a bit fragile – with family keeping close with her. We can take trash out and entertain the dog as needed. The neighborhood took down and boxed the Halloween yard decorations and quietly wondering if she can let others do her Christmas lights for her this year – she always has a lot for her son’s delight…but we’re all cautious not to intrude and give her some space. She tries so hard and has taken on so much. Her dog knows he’s got a lot to take care of and keep watch over right now. The sun is going to come out. Paw waves and stay smilie to all!


  6. cat9984 / Nov 24 2020 12:47 am

    That poor woman. Hopefully, things will Change for the better soon

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2020 11:21 am

      She’s back and doing better. I think she’s decided to stay with parents for a bit so they can help – and that will make the holidays easier. Strong kid, but life can get so hard for anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Spinster / Nov 24 2020 9:53 am

    Glad to hear that she reached out for help. There are so many out there who struggle with this, even though they know the importance and reasons behind the restrictions. Things might be easier were it not for the lack of agreement, cohesion, motivation and unity amongst… let me keep quiet…

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 25 2020 6:36 am

      Actually COVID had little to do with her breakdown – Oxytocin’s a bad drug. As much an epidemic as the virus…and getting little useful/productive attention. Somehow she and her age bracket is bullet proof against COVID even if they live life as usual. But pain’s “relief” is the danger.
      One thing about the realistic response to COVID is that one size mandates do not fit all: high density areas with lots of high rise/closed corridors living is apparently risky. Outdoors especially in warm humid climates appears safer…maybe…It appears the critical thing is length of exposure/concentration of virus in a closed area. Recent data yesterday said the most likely place to be infected is grocery stores and government buildings. Realistically the “science” is fluid: it’s all hypothesis and guessing at this point as data is collected and time passes. People need to realize that; evaluate and take precautions they think best. CDC states that if you are under 65 (and without any health issues), there’s a 99+% survival rate. Even so, we know 3 who have died: one older with many preexisting conditions, 2 in mid 40’s with no medical issues (family history of diabetes, but not diagnosed in these individuals)- and one social security aged woman who was dingy, but the virus scrambled her brain completely now: lights are on but nobody home. Sad. Yet we also know a young couple with 4 kids who had a family gathering with 2 sets of grandparents and aunts – and all tested positive ( the boy’s speech pathologist at his school got sick…and spread it to kids at 4 schools) The family all tested positive and quarantined at their homes, but they only had snuffles, headaches, a couple had fever, and a couple had body aches – that’s it.
      This is certainly one virus that’s certainly got people scratching their heads.
      Until it’s figured out, you know what’s the best choices for taking care of yourself – probably more sensible and dependable than much of the “information, advise and recommendations (and hysteria)” out there.
      It’s just too exhausting…and people get weary and decide “who cares”. Stay safe and find interesting things to amuse until this gets under control (and darn it better – I want to travel unperson again! )
      Thanks for checking in here!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ally Bean / Nov 24 2020 10:57 am

    I’m pleased to read about the possible test, I’m sad to read about the neighbor who hit her limit. I’m glad there’s progress about testing, but am unclear as to what the lasting emotional effects of this lockdown is going to do to all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 25 2020 6:14 am

      These kiosks could be a game changer – might offer some hope of normal gatherings without excessive fear. The resulting effects of this virus, the lockdown, the hyper-panicking, and dealing with the fluid/ever changing/unknown (which many have never had to do) will be quite far reaching I fear. Few realized how much work and routines stabilized people and society in general.
      Our neighbor is smart and tough ( as well as pretty) and will fight through this. If it hadn’t been for the accident – and the pain pills- I think she would have brewed through this whole year’s mess. In any case, a heads up that everyone needs to watch out for each other. Thanks for breathing some life into a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  9. shoreacres / Nov 26 2020 6:22 am

    We were headed for this the day the college kids decided they were too fragile to deal with such traumas as dorm life, and started demanding their “safe spaces.” Once so-called leaders began figuring out that they could use reasonable fear as a weapon, it was all over. In truth, the world isn’t a safe place. It never has been. I learned that back in the days when we were waiting for the polio vaccine, if not earlier.

    I am sick to death of being nagged to death about mask-wearing, etc. It’s not the wearing of a mask to go into a store that bothers me: it’s the self-righteousness of the people who seem to get their jollies from going on and on and on about it. One of these days, rationality is going to take hold, the adults will rise up, and people like Denver’s mayor and California’s governor may face the reckoning they deserve. If there’s anything that can unite Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens, it’s contempt for the hypocrisy of elected leaders.


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