Adult life at MIT

Excerpts from today’s email from MIT Hillel (Jewish organization on campus):

One trend we have seen is students are still craving IRL (in-real-life) interactions and events, even if MIT rules say no food at events, at least for the first two weeks of the semester. As this new term begins, coffee meet-and-greets have involved in-person conversations and to-go gift cards. Students in some of our on-going weekly classes have voted to still meet at lunchtime, despite the fact they won’t be fed or eat together. We are exploring “wellness break rooms” for puppy petting, or even coloring books and doodling, that students can pop into.

Within the same email, but from a student….

… as COVID seized the globe in early 2020, it became increasingly apparent that I would spend (at least) my first semester of college at the same desk I used for my kindergarten English homework.

Let’s hope that the above-mentioned puppies don’t grab and run with the cloth masks that the #FollowersOfScience typically wear! Here’s Mindy the Crippler (September 2020; see What to do when a family member is an anti-masker?) sharing her opinion of the effectiveness of non-N95 masks….


10 thoughts on “Adult life at MIT

  1. What would one expect from this _adult_ students later in life when caring mother MIT is not doodling with them…..

  2. The dates of the notes make clear why the cynicism is not entirely justified – in 2020 it was believed that transmission by droplets and fomites was a major pathway. Understanding of COVID-19 has evolved as has the virus, and it’s not valid to argue as if both were static. Omicron is so contagious and less harmful that it is reasonable now to argue (paradoxically as was done erroneously at the beginning) that masks and similar mitigations should on be used by the vulnerable and their inner circle. But for prior variants, masks and less eating together was reasonably considered to be a mitigation to spread.

    • Masks worn and handled by general population is utter idiocy for 10 nm size airborne virus… nothing but plain physics. It Was obvious that masks will be useless from get go.

    • The coronavirus particle size had been known perhaps for decades, there was no “science” to evolve, and yet so-called infectious disease experts in an amazing display of utter ignorance and attendant hubris had continued to deny aerosol transmission. Likewise, the omicron particle is the same size as the “prior variants” therefore the protective power of the cloth mask remains the same.

      “The WHO’s position on prevention of COVID-19 is based largely on advice from its Infection Prevention and Control Research and Development Expert Group for COVID-19. Most of its members are clinicians with a background in hospital-based infectious diseases and training in EBM; they are experts in topics such as wound management—for which droplet spread is predominant and handwashing is an effective intervention [50]. Throughout 2020, this group appear to have engaged only to a limited extent with the considerable volume of mechanistic evidence available at the time that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is airborne and is spread significantly if not predominantly by tiny aerosols (particles between 5 and 100 µm in diameter which account mainly for short-range transmission but which can travel several metres—beyond the limits of physical distancing measures) [51,52]. Speaking and singing, which produce few droplets, generate large numbers of aerosols. These reviews also offered evidence that fomites are unlikely to be a major route of transmission because almost everyone who has attempted to culture the virus from surfaces has been unsuccessful and the virus can remain viable in air for several hours and that under certain environmental conditions (notably, cold, poorly ventilated and extremes of humidity) it can travel many metres and persist for hours. They also argued that airborne transmission is strongly suggested by well-documented super-spreader events (such as singing performances) and nosocomial outbreaks (within healthcare facilities). The conclusions of these early reviews have been affirmed and strengthened by more recent summaries of the evidence [53,54].

      Back in June 2020, over 200 aerosol scientists from around the world published an open letter addressed to international policymaking bodies summarizing studies undertaken by its signatories which had demonstrated ‘beyond any reasonable doubt’—so long, one might add, as one accepts the validity of mechanistic evidence—that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is released in tiny microdroplets small enough to be carried long distances in the air when people talk, cough and even just exhale [55]. Yet a few weeks later, WHO committee members published an article expressing the view that the virus ‘is not spread by the airborne route to any significant extent’ [56], a conclusion that was quickly challenged by post-publication peer review [57].

      That the cloth mask is hardly protective against a viral particle of that size is obvious to anyone who studied physics in a secondary school, and should have been much more so to MIT students.

    • Gill: The “no food” policy is current (2022), not from 2020. Also the mask requirements (with most MITers apparently choosing to wear stylish cloth masks rather than uncomfortable and uncool N95 masks) are current, not from 2020. The only part of the original post that is from 2020 is the confidently scientific discourse from MIT Medical on the effectiveness of cloth masks (in the best tradition of American medicine: “often in error; never in doubt”).

      The June 2021 article cited shows what MIT students were doing after Science told us that COVID-19 was spread via aerosols.

      “American Dream,” a mask designed by Diego Yañez-Laguna, a second-year undergraduate art and design major, addresses the plight of migrants held at borders. “The goal of this mask is to show how the immigrant experience in the United States is far from the American Dream,” explains Yañez-Laguna. “That message of opportunity and welcome is represented by visual references to the Statue of Liberty — but the corruption of these ideals is shown through the use of barbed wire, which represents a history of mistreatment, scare tactics against migrants, and an obsession with borders and division.”


      This reminds me to wonder why we never were able to purchase

      here in the U.S. Deprived of an MIT education, the LG engineers in Korea ignored migrants, borders, and divisions and instead put in HEPA filters and fans plus a UV to sterilize between uses. But I don’t think that it was ever officially imported to the U.S. In addition to the Hong Kong link (above), I found that it could be purchased in Jordan and Iraq (see ). These folks say that they ship to the U.S.: says you can buy it in Thailand (trigger warning: the author is a hater (“in my experience no mask is truly comfortable after a few hours”)).

      I wonder if LG is afraid of the U.S. court system.

  3. #Science has evolved since 2020. Democrats now think that for the leaders it is sufficient to hold a mask in their hands. Gavin Newsom, who was seen maskless right next to an immunocompromised person, explains:

    I was very judicious yesterday. Very judicious. And you’ll see in the photo that I did take, where Magic was kind enough, generous enough to ask me for a photograph, and in my left hand’s my mask and I took a photo.”

    Mindy was just ahead of the times!

    • “Rules for thee, not for me” is by now a recurring theme of the pandemic. The UK is going through a particularly interesting case (of hypocrisy, not covid) involving the Prime Minister himself.

      I’m sure we all remember the anxious time in April 2020 when Boris was so desperately ill with covid that he had to (had to, I tell you!) be admitted to intensive care. Fortunately his Brush with Death required only three days there, an unusually short and easy stay (no ventilator).

      How did Boris conduct himself after his terrifying near-death experience? The Gray report says there were twelve parties in Downing Street that may have violated lockdown rules. Maybe Boris didn’t attend all of them, perhaps only half a dozen? No cowering in a bunker for him!

      The furious reaction is a puzzle to me since the exact nature of it is never spelled out. As far as I can tell it isn’t from a public-spirited concern that Boris needlessly exposed himself and others to the risk of plague. I suspect it’s precisely because they know he didn’t that they’re so angry. He unwittingly exposed the sham for what it was and made fools of the gullible and obedient.

  4. @Philg:

    1) What would you estimate the average IQ of a student admitted to MIT is?
    2) How high does it have to be before those students are allowed to judge for themselves whether to meet in person and have food together as adults, even during a public health emergency?

    Note: Please tell me #2 even though it is obviously not high enough, which leads to the next one:

    3) How high is the average IQ of an MIT Administrator?

    • Average IQ can be like a directional antenna. High gain for math and physics. Everything else is subject to noise.

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