[PLUG-TALK] Men/geeks do your part

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Sun Jul 19 13:54:08 PDT 2020

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 07:47:16PM -0700, Tomas Kuchta wrote:
> As I go about my rare visits of public places, I could not have noticed
> that it is rare to see men wearing mask compared to almost all women.

Excellent point, though sampling error and lingering
societal sexism may creep into the observations.

My wife and I both wear masks when we leave the house.  But
she leaves the house more often, as she still drives and
I don't.  Something like that may be true of MANY couples,
so the smart masked women are overrepresented in a sample,
because they still do a lot of the fetching and carrying.

Meanwhile, it's sad but true that a subset of male idiots
spend a LOT of time outdoors and do not wear masks; that is
the "hold my beer and watch THIS" effect, which fills many
graveyards with teenage male drivers. 

If no guys were stupid, there would be few wars.  

But most men are smart.  And staying at home, where we don't
see them.  My friend NK, a retired professor at Georgia Tech,
goes out only once a week at 7AM to a nearby grocery store. 
Masked, of course. 

The stupid guys spend many hours per day on the streets,
flaunting their macho pride, so a random sampling of men on
the street will weight their probability a hundred times
higher than REAL men like NK.

This also depends on where you do the sampling.  The New
York Times recently published this graphic map of where
mask use is highest in the US, down to the precinct level:


The survey DOES show a significant difference between men
and women, though not as large as the behaviorally-biased
sample we see when we are out.

Mask compliance in most Portland precincts rank very high. 
So does the City of Beaverton, just west of the West Slope
neighborhood where we live (among richer, whiter, sloppier

Very fortunately, the ranking is high in Severna Park
Maryland, where my 102 year old father in law lives.
That community held a parade past his house to honor his
birthday, and everyone in the parade wore masks. 

They listen to a lot of Fox News out there, but they also
listen to each other, and heed the advice of the community's
most educated.  There are reckless young men out there, too,
but they don't parade for honored citizens.

One of the strongest inducements to wear a mask is to know
someone who died of COVID.  That includes many hispanics
and other economically disadvantaged people.  That may
explain central Beaverton's high mask usage, where the
older/cheaper houses are. 

That inducement also includes us; Doctor Shara has lost at
least one patient to COVID.  Perhaps others among her
recently deceased patients; testing and sampling is still
woefully inadequate.  Bad information still crowds out
good information.  

Masklessness is a criminal assault on the poor and the 
weak.  Life is hard.  But life is harder if you are stupid,
and COVID will preferentially kill and cripple the stupider
members of most demographics.  After ten more pandemics,
the human race will have fewer stupidity genes.
Evolution in action.

So yes, Tomas, we are still awash in idiots.  I ignore
them, and salute or bow to the smart masked ones, sharing 
respect and camaraderie.  If maskless morons back me into
a corner, I carry Mace, with 911 on speed dial.  

Mostly, we celebrate and appreciate our limited time 
outdoors, focusing on what is beautiful.  When the COVID
Tsunami hits this fall, we will huddle in the basement,
eating cold beans out of cans.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com

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