Dyson Snot Cannon

Dyson Snot Cannon Wearable SuperSpreader Event: (Unrolled.)

Ok here's a technical breakdown of why the "@Dyson Zone™ Air-Purifying Headphones" aka. the Snot Cannon aka. the Wearable SuperSpreader Event is such a staggeringly bad idea and a significant danger to public health if it is allowed to be sold. [...]

The Snot Cannon is based on a pre-2020 understanding of public health. Prior to 2020 there was limited attention paid to the concept of "source control". The source of the "bad air" was pollution- not us. The bad air had to be filtered coming in, surely not the other way?

During the last two years, we've learned the hard way that's exactly what has to happen. The air has to be filtered in both directions- even if we feel ok. Because we know that the asymptomatic spread of SARS-CoV-2 accounts for about half of all cases.

The problem is the Snot Cannon is worse than no-source control, it's far worse than no mask at all- because it uses high-powered fans directed at the wearer's nose & mouth which project exhaled aerosols outward. If you wanted to weaponize a virus host it would be perfect.

When we see someone hock a fat loogie onto the sidewalk we are understandably disgusted even by the 1-2ml of potentially infectious fluid produced. Yet, the average person expels 300-500ml of this fluid a day in the form of a fine mist- an aerosol. You can see it in cold weather.

Imagine spitting into a bottle for a day- and the next day, putting a spray nozzle on and casually spritzing it about wherever you go. This is terribly unsanitary, and the distance that aerosol-cloud travels is obviously something we want to minimize- not power assist.

See also her earlier takedown of the similarly stylish-yet-worse-than-useless Razer Zephyr mask.

Though, with the CDC now telling us that masks are optional and are only for protecting ourselves and not for reducing community transmission, these sorts of masks are well aligned with the zeitgeist of "fuck everybody who isn't me".

I'd buy a god damned space suit if I thought it would let me safely go to shows.

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20 Responses:

  1. CSL3 says:

    Just finished reading Naomi's thread thinking, "What the fuck...? What the actual fucking fuck?!" It's like Dyson saw the Razor mask, picked up the "Hold my beer" guantlet, and ran with it... over a cliff.

    This thing is like the dream tech of every right-wing Karen who insists that they'll go into Safeway and purposefully breathe on you because you're wearing an N95; the sort of Karen that would - both pre-pandemic and now - stick their head under the sneeze guard at a salad bar.

    Naomi quotes I love from the thread:

    "But COVID/Mask mandates are over"
    It's really not, we are not post-pandemic- not by a long shot. But let's say tomorrow we had a PERFECT 100% COVID vaccine, based on what we now know about airborne transmission this device should still be banned as a risk to public health.
    Lastly, once again. Med-Tech is not an area where it is acceptable to "move fast and break things". Credulously publishing every tech company press release that comes across your desk makes for easy clicks and short workdays- but is wildly irresponsible with this kind of product."

    And thank you again, Jamie, for making the Lounge safe for those of us in functional masks.

  2. Eric TF Bat says:

    Woah woah woah WOAH! Hang on a second here! You mean to say you DON'T already wear a spacesuit to gigs?

    Mind = blown. I don't know what to believe any more.

  3. MattyJ says:

    Holding out hope that Dyson accidentally pushed out their April 1st version of Dyson.com early.

  4. phuzz says:

    James Dyson backed Brexit, so I can totally imagine him being a covid denier as well.

  5. david konerding says:

    This is the same company that made the hand-dryer my biologist friends called the "shit spritzer" (dyson airblade): if you test for fecal bacteria, you'll see a huge halo of it around the dryer.

  6. Ian says:

    I'd buy a god damned space suit if I thought it would let me safely go to shows.

    I went to a party in a PAPR recently. It was really nice. The trick is to use a hood that keeps your ears out, so you can hear stuff.

    • jwz says:

      It is so hard to tell whether doing something goofy like that would actually be safer than an N95, or would just be me doing my own ignorant Security Theatre. Like, my intuition tells me that wearing a $40 half-face plastic respirator with filter cartridges would be safer than wearing a $2 N95 -- I mean it's more expensive, right? -- but the CDC pages seem to say, "Nah, they're basically the same and you're not going to get higher than 95% whatever you do."

      • David Hoover says:

        A while back, I swapped to the half-face respirator (3M 7502) and if nothing else I like:

        * I can get a provably good seal (normal instructions even have you do this since it's intended as real PPE!)
        * It's a crown + back-of neck strap instead of tugging at my ears

        I had to have a friend 3d print an adapter so I can filter my exhalation too, but after jumping that hurdle, it's all been smooth sailing. It's comfortable, the proper seal means I don't fog my glasses, etc. Looking and sounding like Bane can be a pro or con.

        Anecdotally, it really blocks the french fry smell when I pick up fast food, but the smell particles for that are probably orders of magnitude larger than covid.

        So IMHO, even if it's no better & it's just ignorant security theatre, the other aspects made it worth it.

        YMMV given your personal threshold for looking like a dork.

      • Ian says:

        From what I can tell, the main difference isn't so much the filtration spec as how well whatever you're wearing seals. This is testable. My housemates and I chipped into get a mask fit test kit, where you put a hood on your head and spray stuff into it (IIRC, the Allegro one is cheapest). If you can taste the solution, the mask fails. We ran the procedure on a bunch of masks we thought worked well for us. It was surprising how wrong we were!

        The PAPR was mostly because it made for a good costume. I think the positive pressure and P100 filters kept me a little safer than a properly-sealed N95, but the difference is marginal. On the other hand, it was very comfortable! People could see my whole face, it wasn't sweaty at all, and the effort required to breathe was much lower. Great for dancing. I think greater comfort and reduced fatigue are the main reasons they're used in industry, where people need filtered air all day every day.

        The downsides are: makes a noise (not noticeable in a loud club, but annoying in an elevator), has weight (there's a belt with battery, filters, and a blower), isn't free (but I hacked mine together with parts from eBay, so it was cheap). Oh, and I had to modify the hood to filter the outgoing air, otherwise it would have had approximately the same issue as the Dyson.

        • Zygo says:

          I think if you went back in time to 2019, and told me that I'd be randomly stumbling across some of the best pandemic-related health information through the blog of the guy who wrote my computer's screen saver, I'd have said "wait, did you say pandemic?"

          Last week I learned from an Allegro training video that I've been wearing masks wrong for two years.

          • jwz says:

            Back in the early days, like April 2020, someone posted this gag on Twitter [citation needed] which just isn't that funny any more:

            A time traveller runs up to me and says, "Quick! What year is it??"
            "Ahhhhh, the first year of the pandemic."
            "The fuck you say???"

    • CSL3 says:

      I have press access to live events (many of which I've turned down flat because their COVID policies are complete shite), and even in a room full of (mostly) masked faces, everyone knows me because I'm the one wearing this (3-lyr surgical over an FFP2 behind a face shield). It doesn't impede my mobility and it makes me feel better.

      The only time I "cut back" is when I go to the DNA Lounge because they have the world's strictest vax check (bless 'em for it).

  7. Zach Fine says:

    "I'd buy a god damned space suit if I thought it would let me safely go to shows.”

    As someone else noted, a PAPR would do. A big reason to get a PAPR is because the positive pressure and the fit makes it more comfortable to use for very long periods of time. You’re not using your own lungs to power the filtration, and making the seal isn’t putting pressure on your ears or other sensitive spots. Depending on the model you might still need an exhalation valve filter to avoid being a Dyson Snot Cannon.

    Get one at your local mining supply — or if you wanted a DIY project, there are a few out there that look intriguing and don’t cost $1300.

    The Steve Zissou:

    The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen:

    • Elusis says:

      All of these are nightmares for me because I'm hard of hearing and wear a hearing aid. The addition of the noise of rushing air to my environment makes it even HARDER to hear people, when I've already lost the aid of the bit of lipreading all of us hearing/part-hearing folks do without realizing it. On the one hand, I'm grateful for all the places that have added a bunch of HVAC filtration etc. etc. to their venues; on the other hand, just from a couple of experiences I've had trying out the "back to campus!" protocols my university wants us to be using, the fatigue from the extra cognitive load straining to listen is relatively equivalent to what happens if I don't wear my hearing aid at all. I'd seriously consider wearing a PAPR to go to live music/theatre/etc. but what's the point if I'm not going to be able to hear enough to communicate with anyone/enjoy the quiet bits/whatever and then I'm going to have a stress meltdown at some point from the mental fatigue?

      I hate everybody.

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