Categories
Phillosoph

In Praise of Shemagh and Keffiyeh.

Previously, I wrote about the fallacy that most face masks would protect you from infection. Inevitably, most of humanity has ignored the facts and taken comfort in superstition. Somewhere along the way members of our kleptocracies have realized just how much money can be made selling ineffective protective measures to the gullible.
Wearing face covering has become a requirement on public transport and in certain buildings. The stated purpose is to prevent carriers infecting other people, which admittedly has some merit. My objection here is in the lack of enforcement. As a microbiologist and a scientist I believe any safety equipment should be used properly. Masks serve no purpose if they do not cover the nostrils or are worn on your chin! I also, unreasonably, believe that laws and rules should apply to everyone. Being overweight and being unable to stop stuffiing your face on the bus is not a legitimate reason to go unmasked.
I have taken to wearing a shemagh/ keffiyeh when I travel on public transport. Looking like a pissed-off Palestinian shows my contempt for the farcical handling of the situation. Does it look intimidating? Probably, but I don’t really want people getting close anyway. Perhaps I should carry a rucksac too; I might get the whole carriage to my self!
On a more practical note, I have discovered a new respect for the shemagh. I had been thinking of it as a large banana, (or possibly a tea-towel!). The weave of my shemaghs is very loose, allowing the easy passage of breath or perspiration. On one particularly sunny day I kept my shemagh on when back on the street. It successfully kept the sun off my bald dome, and I was not bothered by perspiration running down into my eyes. It also helped keep my earphones in. Being cotton, dunking the shemagh in water may be a good way to keep cool in hot weather.
I have discussed the need for facial camouflage on other pages. I believe I have also mentioned one of the purposes of the ninja ensemble is to muffle the sound of breathing. The shemagh can meet these needs. In cold weather the shemagh may help prevent your condensed breath revealing your position. Something to experiment once it gets colder.
A brightly coloured shemagh might be used for signalling. One of mine is red and black, although in honesty this a bit dull in colour for signalling or location. Might be good in snow. Most shemaghs are white and have little virtue as camouflage save in snow. Dying them more tactical colours may be possible. Most “tactical” shemaghs are green/ olive drab, but except in jungle this is not as versatile and useful a practical colour as brown. I have one of brown and black, but ideally brown and sand or brown and grey would be most useful.
You will find a number of videos on how to tie a shemagh on-line. My usual method is to take the short, right end up near my left temple. Take the long end round the front, round the back and tie the ends together. I have been using a reef knot, but may experiment with a simpler overhand (half a reef!). This may be easier to untie when necessary. Tied correctly, the shemagh forms a hood and face-covering that can easily be lowered or raised. Down, it makes a useful neck gaiter. Position the part over your head so it does not expose a large area of forehead.
Another simple tying method can be used if you just need to cover your lower face, such as in the event of a dust storm. Fold your shemagh diagonally and place the widest/ tallest part over your mouth and nose. Take the ends behind your head and bring them around the front and tie them together under your chin. This gives your lower face area an irregular texture that contributes to shape disruption.
You should always have a bandanna or two on your person. A shemagh is a very worthy addition to a coat pocket or rucksac.
I am prone to migraine attacks, and one of the remedies is to breath in carbon dioxide-rich air. Carbon dioxide is a vasodilator so this increased blood flow to the brain. Note that this is not the same as re-breathing from a paper bag. You need to take in fresh oxygen as well as an increased CO2 level. One way to achieve this is to cover your mouth and nose with your hands. This is a little inconvenient, and my fingers get in the way of my glasses. Last night I grabbed my shemagh and knotted it around by lower face. As the migraine attack eased off, I was amused to note that I was wearing the two garments that pretty much summed up my lockdown: a dressing gown and a shemagh.
Categories
Phillosoph

Cleaning Up Blood.

My first post on the relocated blog, and in truth, I wish it left me under happier circumstances. Both the girlfriend and myself are experiencing considerable health problems, compounded with some insidious behavior from several sources. I will spare you the details, but will note that one of the “lighter” incidences in the last week was a cat giving birth, then rejecting and trying to kill its kittens! Luckily one of the other cats stepped up and the kittens are now safe and doing well.
The other cat had decided it wanted to give birth while wandering around the house, often trailing a kitten still attached by its umbilical cord. Blood and other secretions were left around the house, which was not conducive to finding new tenants for vacant rooms.
This situation reminded me of a piece of knowledge that is not as widely known as it deserves. In the past I have been called upon to clean clotted blood from scientific equipment. Often these clots were within very narrow tubing. Anything that would fit down the tubing had insufficient strength to break up the dried blood.
The movie “Carrie” was on last night, so the fates seem to be telling me it was time I passed this knowledge on.
The solution (literally!) is 0.9% (isotonic) saline. Nine grams of common table salt/ sodium chloride dissolved in a litre of tap water. Or 0.9g in 100mls, 4.5g in 500mls or any variation of such.
One advantage of using isotonic saline is that it will dissolve clotted blood without causing further lysis of the blood cells, and releasing the pigment.
A friend of mine once got blood on his jeans and asked on facebook how he should remove it. Luckily for him I responded first and told him about isotonic saline. There then followed numerous other suggestions, many of them exotic or expensive, several of which that would have marked or destroyed his jeans. This was a nice example of what is so often bad about social media. My friend used saline, and his jeans survived.