I’m trying to write shorter – more useful – columns. Because as Elaine’s mobility has “wound-down” prior to hip surgery, I’m been spending less time “in the chair” than usual. And more time playing lead in the local production of the “Odd Couple”. (Planned for release as “The Bunny and the Geek.”)
Masks Work Better than Thought
You should have figured by now that my son, George II, is heading up an Incident Management team in the PNW. He’s chief of the Operations end of things. It’s a group involving several fire departments and two county health departments.
This week, while suffering the most disappointing Wal-Mart pick-up EVER (involving a clocked 1-hour 15 minute delay in bringing my order out), there was more than ample time to catch up with “II” on how the Covid battle is going on the ground in the PNW.
Turns out? Really well.
I won’t go into what his field-evolved protocol is, but the us of N-95 masks is key.
Notice, I didn’t say KN-95. N-95’s are the right answer.
“So, G, how’s your protocol working?”
“Well, two weeks ago, we had 20 long-term healthcare facilities in crisis mode, this week we’re down to 15, and I expect to have it down to 10 next week. So, yeah, it’s going really, really well…”
“How’s it work?”
“When I was out on those Type 1 forest fires this summer (he was on major fires as the Covid guy this summer) I was able to prevent Covid cross contamination as fire teams changed out by requiring everyone wear N-95 marks all the time.”
“Why does that matter, so much?”
“People are really dumb on this mask shit, dad. You know “all about me, me, me…” But the reality is that when you wear N-95s both on the source and receiver, you’ve actually got TWO good air filters in place, not just the one people whine about on the Internet. And since masks are additive when two parties are wearing them…..”
Dad was impressed. “How’s the math on it roll?”
“Well, let’s say you’ve got an asymptomatic source. And a vulnerable receiver. And let’s say an N95 – NOT KN-95!! – knocks out 97% of the virus. Which means 3% gets through.
Say you’re the source and you breathe out, so your virus out is 3%. 0.03, right? Now, when you breathe in, there’s a SECOND MASK involved. And since I’ve got everyone wearing N-95s, everyone who is breathing in air is only getting 0.03 – or 3% – of whatever’s in ambient.
But here’s the magic: 0.03 TIMES 0.03 is 0.0009 between people. That’s less than 1-tenth of one percent. And since healthy lungs -especially with super nutrition- as somewhat resilient…see how it works?”
I was amazed. Media didn’t communicate that well.
Been wondering how my son could be exposed this year to hundreds upon hundreds of cases and be in facilities in a B-suit every day or two and not get the ‘Rona. Well, not I know and so do you.
“It works Dad, because I’m turning everyone into walking air filters, washing their hands with Hibi-clens for 20-seconds, and wiping everything in sight down with Clorox solution.”
The masks work, the bleach solution works. And with Moderna shot 1 onboarded, I’m feeling a little better about his latest chapter of “Living in the Hot Zones” IRL.
Shop Notes: Workflow
Second point this morning has to do with workflow.
I was out looking at my workbench (which I couldn’t see for all the shit on it) and I came in (with more coffee, because that’s how we think) and sorted through why this was happening and doesn’t for most people I know.
“George, how come your shop is so cluttered (desk, too) while none of your friends a)shops, b) electronics benches, and c) desks look like yours?” These mano y mano’s with myself are useful.
Defensively, the “voice in my head” (referring to Others) was overruled by the Rational George.
“The answer is I do probably 10-times what most 72-year olds do. Consider the projects that are eating bench space:
- Time-machine project.
- 3-D Printer projects (for https://Ultra-Make.com)
- Update to power center to handle additional solar source.
- Additional solar panel installation (both ends are kinda complicated)
- Radial arm-saw restoration
- Multiple ham radio projects
- Shouldering more over in the house to help Elaine along
- Addition to the shop (lean-to’s) and more…
The problem is these all have a bazillion moving parts each.
The key – personality fault on display here – is I tend not to spend a lot of time on the work-in-progress aspect of organization. It’s a throw-away when done, right?
Things land…wherever…and any flat horizontal surface is fair game. With a “photo memory” I just sort through my mental picture of things and…PRESTO! I know where something is to within a couple of inches.
Same on my desk. Everything is right in front of me.
So, be it resolved…
I’m going to spend 1 day per week working purely on organizing things. Got one of those Brother label printers (earlier version of the Brother QL-810W Ultra-Fast Label Printer with Wireless Networking, but before wireless was in it). Which I’ve only been able to use because keeping old prescription bottles full of intricate *(and some surface-mount) parts is impossible any other way. Well, except Hank out in Hawaii who uses envelopes for parts…which works, except paper is bad here…but you get the idea.
So one day a week I have sworn to live as “Organization Day.” No more check-runs on the fly, no more messy desk. All inbound parts will move from “File by Pile” to small shoe-box sized containers, labeled, so everything will at least look rational to an outsider. Ha!
Not sure if it will help workflow much, though. Still, the Wikipedia entry on workflow says there are related concepts to be aware of:
- Processes: A process is a more general notion than workflow and can apply to, for example, physical or biological processes, whereas a workflow is typically a process or collection of processes described in the context of work, such as all processes occurring in a machine shop.
- Planning and scheduling: A plan is a description of the logically necessary, partially ordered set of activities required to accomplish a specific goal given certain starting conditions. A plan, when augmented with a schedule and resource allocation calculations, completely defines a particular instance of systematic processing in pursuit of a goal. A workflow may be viewed as an often optimal or near-optimal realization of the mechanisms required to execute the same plan repeatedly.
- Flow control: This is a control concept applied to workflows, to distinguish from static control of buffers of material or orders, to mean a more dynamic control of flow speed and flow volumes in motion and in process. Such orientation to dynamic aspects is the basic foundation to prepare for more advanced job shop controls, such as just-in-time or just-in-sequence. (My bench is a buffering MF’er!)
- In-transit visibility: This monitoring concept applies to transported material as well as to work in process or work in progress, i.e., workflows.
Just yesterday, I got a small frequency counter kit from China. Lead time was 2+ months. And it seems like that on most projects. Always one (G*d-damned) part that is 12-year backordered so all the related parts for that project have to go somewhere. And that’s been the workbench.
I know you’re perfect, complete one task and one project at a time. But for me, life is a Symphony (*say, remember that software package?). The bench just happens to look to those, not steeped in Jazz, more like a cacophony.
(Ham radio notes) Meissner!
OMG, there was a Collins 75-S3B on eBay this morning for $649 in what looked like good condition.
IN a Herculean expenditure of self-control, I let it pass. Having 21-HF stations sitting on shelves is maybe enough… (Ya think?)
Still, I couldn’t resist when a fellow down in Brownsville sold me a Meissner Signal Shifter for $40 bucks, plus another $40 for shipping, and then tax…..
The Signal Shifter is a classic – one of the earliest stand-alone VFO’s. Since one of the (parts back-ordered) projects here is a Johnson Viking II (for 75-meter AM work), it was a gotta-have.
Well, having designed and built “Super-Antenna” I want to tinker around both with AM and also some low-band QRP (low power).
When I was growing up, a buddy of mine from back in the day (last part of call sign is BDK) had a signal shifter and it was amazing how well it worked into his twinlead/doublet antenna. Since there’s a “spare” Hallicrafters SX-101 in the inventory here (somewhere!), I ought to be able to replicate his station.
That’ll be #3 (and possibly the last) of my “early radio days” replicating stations. The first was the Gonset GSB-100/Drake 2B/ Johnson amplifier my Elmer had. The second (and I guess third) is the Heathkit HR-10, DX-60, and HG-10, then the SB-303/SB-401 combo – all owned by the Major. And now an SX-101 and Meissner loom.
One of these days, I will call an end to radio collecting. But been a hoot and not one item in the collection has gone down in value looking at eBay prices.
Which makes it one of the most enjoyable investments a feller can own.
Write when you get
done at least organized,