Even if it’s napkin please!

by Lilia M. Fiallo


Being in New York waiting for the train, in a clear season open sky that allowed to enjoy a fresh dawn of summer with the rising sun and a delicious temperature, absolute silence reigned among the passengers who anxiously awaited but it was abruptly interrupted by a loud and unexpected noise. It remains like a short film in my memory that moment when countless particles came out of the mouth of the character that was in front of me, to the left sheltered in the shadow of a column, without flinching and as if he were alone and in an open field, he broke the peace with his discharge that echoed in the place by the loudness of his sneeze. Alarming I remember the liquid atoms of various sizes that came out and flooded the environment to disappear apparently, but the truth is that all of his absorption we absorbed. So I thought, it will be good that we think about applying certain rules of urbanity when we’re in public!.

I found the perfect complement that was missing from my appreciation, in the Magazine Selections of January 2018 and here I transcribe it:

Anatomy of a Sneeze
by Brandon Specktor

Solid structure, liquid and sag at the same time, common sneezing is one of the most disgusting miracles that exist in nature. Lydia Bourouiba, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called them differently: violent respiratory events. In fact, that is the title of a recent study in which her team analyzes sneezing. Milliseconds to milliseconds with a high-speed camera and sophisticated computer models. Their findings? Sneezing is much more than dirtying a handkerchief, if could even influence the vision we have about the spread of diseases. Here are the details of what scientists see when you say: “iaaaa-chu”.

1. Just like the detonation of a firearm, the initial phase of expulsion lasts only a few milliseconds, but that’s enough for 40,000 drops of various sizes to go at the speed of a car on the road.

2. The larger droplet (in green) burst from the mouth and collapse by their own weigh in a matter of seconds. Average distance traveled: 0.91 to 1.98 meters.

3. In the “snorting” phase (in red), a turbulent puff of warm, moist air plows through the air in a swirling pattern with small sneeze droplets inside.

4. The cloud grows and loses speed absorbing air from the environment, but manages to drive the smallest drops, which will move away up to 7.92 meters from it’s point of origin.

5. Thanks to the cloud, the drops float enough to reach the ventilation grilles (and therefore, anywhere in a building).

Big problem! But the solution is at hand, when you sneeze, cover your mouth with your arm or a tissue: wash your hands and keep your germs to yourself.”

Lilia M. Fiallo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where, between tasks and free time, she found a place to write about subjects, somehow forgotten by others. With gold letters engraved in her memory, she began her working life, in the heart of the technical part, of the air traffic control of her native country. In the midst of aeronautical phraseology and codes, the world of aviation gave her one of the highest experiences, because of the precision required by this craft, where a single mistake could cost many lives. It is there, where in her concern to communicate her ideas, she begins to write with dedication, themes a little relegated by society, the Church and the State. Discovering a truth that nobody wants to talk about, but much more real and everyday, than it seems. It is thus, as it appears, her first work, “Parir por parir”. You can find her book at for sale in Amazon.