I’ve had a lot of friends sending me studies on masks and vaccines. I’m generally in favor of medical care and am of the opinion that whatever else may be true, a lack of polio and smallpox is a good thing. But as for whether this type of mask works at this level of effectiveness, I have no idea. As a practical matter, how could I? I have no expertise in any of this. I don’t know how to design a proper study, nor how to evaluate the results. I don’t know why the tests come back with different results.

I do know that a confirmation bias seems to underscore the results which I am shown. Those who think masks are magic send me one set of results. Those who think masks are fairy dust, send me a different set. Thus, the posting tells me something about the person who sent it, but perhaps it tells me nothing about the actual science.

Anyway, in my reading I came across this:

“There’s an ­unspoken rule in the pharmaceutical industry that half of all academic biomedical research will ultimately prove false, and in 2011 a group of researchers at Bayer decided to test it. Looking at sixty-seven recent drug discovery projects based on preclinical cancer biology research, they found that in more than 75 percent of cases the published data did not match up with their in-house attempts to replicate. These were not studies published in fly-by-night oncology journals, but blockbuster research featured in ScienceNatureCell, and the like.”