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back to article Killer Wi-Fi panics London's chattering classes

Recent revelations that Wi-Fi may provoke spontaneous abortions in cattle, raise storms and tempests, curdle milk and fry children's brains have had the desired effect among London's chattering classes, with panicked parents mobilising to contain the wireless menace. According to The Independent, London-based Scooter Computer's …

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Anonymous Coward

Wi-Fi

It begs the question about video senders for watching TV around the house, it uses the same frequencey band of 2.4Ghz.

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My fridge made me ill...

It's not just WiFi...

I had a new fridge delivered last week and ever since I have been coughing and sneezing!

It is obviously a potent effect because the guy who delivered the fridge was sneezing as well (he even sneezed on me!)

I think that it is obvious that these new fridges are giving out alien death rays to try and kill us all.

Unless someone can prove 100% that this is not the case we should write to our MPs and demand that fridges are banned!!

I even discovered that my childrens' school have one of these evil devices!!!

DIDN'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!

We have to mobilise now!!! Smash the fridges!!! And freezer's... there just bigger colder fridges.. smash them too!!! Argh... my cooker just went beep.. smash it... Oh my God look at the Microwave... oh, no, not the microwave I need my toasty hot microwave chips.... hang on... toast? Argh the toaster....

I think I need to go and lie down for a bit

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Anonymous Coward

No wonder the Queen Mum died.

Jesus. H, and indeed, Christ.

No wonder Bin Laden, The Australian Cricket Team, Saddam Hussein and that feller out of Die Hard feel confident in having a crack at us, if this is what they're up against. Never mind rucksacks stuffed with bombs, one Netgear Wireless Router with those little green flashing numbers could cause half of London to flee.

Hardly the Blitz Spirit, is it?

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Documentaries should carry responsibility

Given that documentaries are made by investigative journalists and not scientists, they are not subject to pier review for journals etc.

In this day and age where we even have a term "media frenzy" perhaps journalists having to present more than selective hearsay should be obligatory. There are far to many irrational extreme stories that create psychosomatic symptoms in people - particularly those prone to thinks the world is ending anyway (thanks to government spin).

I am keeping my wifi in my house because i am very afraid or a much more tangible danger - tripping over the wires!!

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better for all of us . . . ?

hmm

actually I think this is GOOD NEWS

clearly these people are too stupid to be allowed access to the internet - which anyway will generally be safer with these people disconnected (fewer bots etc)

:)

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Anonymous Coward

Funny

Maybe if no one linked radio waves with radiation there'd be less of a panic and people would ignore it, but because its radiation it has to be bad so hypochondriacs imagine symptoms. And if wifi's so bad maybe we should turn off the TV and radio signals too.

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Anonymous Coward

Yippee!!

Well, at least that potentially means that a large number of pretentious individuals will not be able to access the Internet (since I am sure they will not want to cable up their houses since it may damage the paintwork)! In all seriousness, you can guarantee that they will still be using their mobile phones, which use similar frequencies, but would be "impossible" for them to live without.... Oh well, lets see if Panorama can produce a programme that is just as silly about the damaging effects of four-wheel drive vehicles....... At least that would deliver real benefits.

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Audible routers?

I've always found that adsl routers and modems of any brand and model give off a constant high-pitched audible shriek, near the upper limit of my hearing. Speaking to others, I've learned that this is not that uncommon. One associate thought he was going mad as none of his family could hear it.

Now, this is rather irritating as it means I have to switch my router off at night or I sleep poorly, and only have it on when I'm using the internet. However, my neighbour's router, which he leaves on 24/7, is only a few metres from my bed but inaudible on my side of the wall. It causes no discernible problems. I have confirmed that I can get a decent signal from his network, the only variable is the shriek of my router's modem.

Could it be that people who suffer from issues attributed to wi-fi are ACTUALLY suffering from having a constant high-pitched shriek that may be just inside, or possibly outside, the frequency range of their ears?

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It's really bad - get rid of them all.

Everyone should switch off their wi-fi now. Especially in the Nottingham area. Don't wait to find out whether or not it's bad for you.

(Then at least I'll have a clear channel)

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TLA

What people don't understand...

they will always fear.

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Oh lordy.

The Panorama programme spent so much time harping on about the 'independence' of contributors, but neglected to mention that one of the prime contributors, one Alasdair Phillips, stands to make a lot of money from selling various gadgets and gizmos designed to 'protect' people from the menace of WiFi (See Ben Goldacre's blog entry at http://www.badscience.net/?p=418 )

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Silver badge

Cleaning the airwaves

The cattle turning off their WiFi is good news for the rest of us - less problems with reception in previously busy areas. Perhaps we should ask the BBC to show that edition of Panorama once a year. ;)

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Fear and stress is the cause

When you get paranoid, stressed and fear that something is damaging your health it will cause you harm.

Why do we fear wifi and mobiles? nobody ever mentions GPS or Sky TV which beamed across the whole of the UK (whole world in the case of GPS).

What about TV signals?

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While they're at it...

May I suggest they move away from any area which has TV or radio coverage, any satellite radiation, any history of volcanic eruptions, and live without electricity (which would also damage them because, funnily enough, involves EM fields), have no volcanic rocks nearby or as part of the house, and (why not) attempt to dodge all the cosmic radiation around too. No? Didn't think so.

(please do add to the non-exhaustive list)

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Madness

WiFi is the bad boy? Yet, parents equip their kids with mobile phones at birth. Madness.

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Placebo Effect?

Most of the people that complain about Wi-Fi having negative effects on their health teld to suffer from wishy-washy complaints like 'poor sleep & headaches'. Stress and worry are two things that are 100% proven to case such ailments. Could it be that it is people worrying about wifi, and in turn feeling the effects they attibutte to Wi-Fi?

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Anonymous Coward

Tinfoil hats are in order

The government needs to issue tinfoil hats so we not only avoids death rays from Wi-Fi but also the privacy intrusion from the government themselves.

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Jon

Killer wifi eats babies

I think this just about sums it up:

http://www.wellingtongrey.net/miscellanea/archive/2007-05-27--the-truth-about-wireless-devices.html

I reckon the people getting headaches and "pre-menopause" are the same people whose watches get fixed by Uri Geller... Maybe we could tell them that putting a 2" square bit of tinfoil under it will make the rays harmless. They'd probably buy that.

How about an experiment:

Try putting in fake, broken wires so they think they're wired again, but don't really switch off the wifi. Sort of a "placebo" cat-5 network. Then just wait until they report that their headaches have gone, their appetites are back, the crops are growing again and the evil presence seems to have lifted, before telling them that the wifi is still on.

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those bad waves man are killing me

Can't belive the sheer hysteria of theese people, they have removed there WIFI from the home, but I bet they still use cordless DECT phones, that brocast in the same frequecy range with the same signal strength, and I bet the still use, and have probably given there children mobile phones, that are much more dagerous, and they walk arround with them attached to there ears all the time........

STUPID PEOPLE

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Anonymous Coward

Despair

Despair at the state of an education system that can't defend the deployment of useful, harmless technology from the confused panic of luddite parents.

"...don't want to take any risks..." No wonder when you don't have the intellectual tools to assess them.

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Anonymous Coward

Arthur Pewtey

No offence - but after reading the bootnote I could not help but remember the following phrase...

"God: Arthur Pewtey - are you a man or a mouse"... Monty Pythons' "And now for something completely different"...

Which made me wonder if Wifi will interfere with our abilities to communicate with him / her / them upstairs? Will there be anywhere safe from Wifi? Can we clad places of worship with tin foil?

Perhaps when all the bees return we will learn the our true fate!

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gaz

dont know

I think this says more about the power of T.V. to influence than Wi-Fi's

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Anonymous Coward

Killer Wi-FI

It begs the question about Video senders on TV's as they use the same frequencey spectrum, are we removing those to from our homes.

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Anonymous Coward

How to clear congestion of the airwaves

Excellent. Now, if Panorama can do a program on how electronic emissions from engine management systems can fry the balls of drivers, bring on early menopause and give kids tumours the size of footballs in their heads (especially the ones travelling in 4x4's), we will solve the traffic congestion overnight.

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Switch off your routers

We should encourage more people to switch off their WiFi routers. We have to reduce network congestion somehow. I sometimes detect 3 or 4 different SIDs using the same 2 or 3 channels in my road. I want all that bandwidth to myself.

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Turn of the universe!

All that background radiation is killing me....

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Read the Guardian ...

... Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column, to be exact. He had a very funny rebuttal of the wifi panic on Saturday.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2093724,00.html

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Silver badge

Let's not forget..

...mobile phones, cordless phones, cordless headsets, remote doorbells, garage openers, remote central locking.. Need I go on ? Excluding mobiles, these all generally operate in the same 2.4GHz frequency band.

Oh, and let's not forget... The microwave ovens. My microwave oven at home is rated at 800 Watts - a somewhat higher figure than my access-point.

Yes, I know microwaves are shielded, but how many microwaves have perfect shielding ? (and why let the facts get in the way of a good scare story ? It's never stopped journalists in the past)

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what about the sun

Wait until someone tells these people that the sun pours out electro-magnetic radiation the whole time, flooding our planet with the stuff. Furthermore, exposure to the sun's radiation is known to cause burns and even cancer!

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Audible Router, continued

Yeah I get that too, I used to know when the computer room was open at lunchtimes at school by walking within a certain distance of it cos I could 'hear/feel' them. I don't know what causes this, if I walk down the street I can tell which houses have their TV switched on and which ones don't.

I've done similar experiments with colleagues and family to see who could hear the high pitched whine of electrical kit and feel. Even went as far as hooking myself and various colleagues up to a multimeter, from that it seemed my body had about 30x the electrical resistance of any of the people I checked (just by holding the metal ends of the multimeter in either hand).

Can anybody explain that to me?

Does it mean I'm a prime case for spontaneous human combustion and by having wifi in the office and at home i'm actually increasing my risk of SHC? :p

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Hypocrits..

I bet these people never have their Microwaves checked for leakage, they've probably been having their brains fried for a long time... (not to mention Mobile phones etc...

It annoys me when these third rate journalists abuse their positions to rant on about their pet hates and phobias. If I did that in my job I'd be very quickly made 'surplus to requirements'......

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Pier Review?

I'm very amused at Jeremys earlier comments... espcially his concept of "pier review"

"Given that documentaries are made by investigative journalists and not scientists, they are not subject to pier review for journals etc."

Visions of scientists having their work scrutinised at the end of a jetty, being lobbed into the North Sea should their abstract not truly reflect the findings, or should deeper analysis of employed methods uncover statistical shortcomings...

Perhaps it's something that should be applied to journalists after all?

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Anonymous Coward

I don't mean to be sexist but...

Every time I see one of these stories, I can't help noticing that it only seems to be women complaining about the "dangers" of WiFi, or claiming that they are "sensitive" to the radio waves emanating from their computer.

Anybody know why?

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Radiation?

Guess I'd better get rid of the hot metal pipe things in my house... they're commiting the sin known as "radiation" by radiating heat. It's their job, they're radiators.

That box in the corner that makes noise and goes crackly if u pull out the metal-wire-leading-to-the-roof? It's receiving radiation and pumping it back out as light, sound and Big Brother. Bin it. Ah, the other crackly box in the other corner that only has voices coming from it? You know, the one that kept so many people during WW2, allowed the world to communicate long distance and is so taken for granted? Get rid of it, more radiation.

Or just get rid of the common factor: idiot journalists with no facts preaching to even thicker peons who believe anything they're told. By the way, dogs now have 2 rear ends, grass is purple and it rains Opal Fruits.

I wonder how many people have stopped to consider that the nausea and headaches "caused by <insert electronic device> radiation" is actually due to self-induced stress, and the "lethargy" (ahem, more like apathy) is just an excuse for their lack of understanding.

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Oh good grief...

Predictable enough, I suppose, but I can just see all these silly bints calling all their friends with their mobile jammed to the side of their empty skulls mutually back-slapping each other about how "responsible" they've been. "Naturopath"? Ye gods - now there's someone who REALLY ought to be exposed to some dangerous microwave radiation; perhaps of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night%27s_Dawn_Trilogy#Maser_Cannon sort. Meanwhile, their kids' schools IT infrastructure gets crippled until some other pseudo-scientist gets around to sacrificing a chicken over it or whatever. Of course, the possibility that the "funny symptoms" might be down to the "victims" being a bunch of hypochondriac whackos doesn't even begin to impinge on whatever currently passes for a consciousness in the North London chatterati...

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Need any help?

I am more than happy to reinstall wired networks for Those Thinking Of The Children. Of course, I won't be using cheap generic CAT5, but rather specially treated CAT5 that has been left in a shaman's lodge for a full lunar cycle to discharge any dangerous vibrations it may have absorbed. Naturally (heh), this will be reflected in the price, but I always find it's better to err on the side of caution when thinking of the little ones don't you?

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Anonymous Coward

Crystals are the solution

Surround the dangerous WiFi box with special healing crystals. They'll make the bad radiation natural and pure. It may even take on special healing powers itself. This means it would be able to cure different types of illness. They crystals could also prevent bad content from the internet arriving on your computer.

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Anonymous Coward

Convection?

Radiators - unless you're talking about certain types, they generally convect more than radiate, no?

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Anonymous Coward

Title

I used to do IT in a school that had many outlying buildings that could not afford to have them cabled up - way too much wanted by the powers that be to do this, so only option was wi-fi.

Now all i can imagine is those lessons being brought back into the dark ages of chalk and blackboards, no more internet for johnnys history lessons...learn from books i tells ya...wonder when some journalist is gonna tell us that power supplies in pc's are bad too....out with technology, luddites R us here we come...

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the problem is ?

been working in a school with wireless now for 7 years.... and no ill effects, i have one at home for the last 6 years, still no ill effects... in fact most of the schools in the area have it as well, and not seen any change in the kids, well other than they are daft before they start school in sept for recpetion...

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We were here first

We can't give it all up because them kids have issues and stuff.

After all, we arrived first, if they don't like it, tough shit.

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Bronze badge

Radiators

Radiators radiate heat, which then creates a convection effect in the air.

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Audiable router, continued further

I used to suffer from something similar with TV's and the like.

I heard or read somewhere that we humans are able to hear a larger range of high-pitched sound when we are born. Normally most people's hearing will lose this ability at a young age, but it has been known to remain in some (perhaps those that aren't overexposed to high-pitched sounds).

Of course that could be a load of boll*cks!

The media scare tactics are quite shocking sometimes. Boils my blood when I see people believeing every word that comes from journalists mouths and not bothering to look up anything themselves.

"Lacking the intellecutal tools" as someone put it.

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High frequency audio causing headaches?

A possible explanation for the (slightly off-topic) discussion from Adam and Sean above would be high frequency audio emissions from switched-mode power supplies and CRT-only TV sets. I used to repair TVs and could hear the scan coils emitting sound at 15.625KHz. 15 years of listening to Dance music has put paid to that, though!

Maybe some people are susceptible to high frequency audio and are blaming radiation instead?

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RE: "I don't mean to be sexist but..." and "Audible routers"

Coincidentally, an (un)exhaustive search suggests that there's an estimated 5:1 female:male ratio of the incidence of somatoform disorders such as hypochondriasis...

Also, I hear live routers too. Off-topic but why DO they even make a noise?

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And just think...

...this is how stupid people are *BEFORE* they start teaching creationism in schools.

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M

Other subjects for the Dinner Party...

Maybe we could put an article in the Guardian that this new fangled Oxygen is evil and may (but don't sue us if it doesn't, because this is after all just idle speculation) damaged your kids!!

Then we could mobilize lots of crazed and concerned parents to make sure that schools exist in a complete vacuum for the saftey of their children....

FFS, we have had things running on 2.4Ghz for decades.... I wonder how many of these ludites are sat using their DECT cordless phones to complain about all the WiFi that is making them ill, their kids have 3 heads and (hopefully) their sperm count to fall >80)

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Yet more audible routers

You are not alone - I can hear TVs if they are switched on, and sometimes even on standby, and have had one WiFi base station (a cheap Belkin) that was incredibly noisy to me but inaudible to anyone else. Perhaps it's do with being a Yorkshireman. Have to go - someone's dropped 10p two streets away.

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Radiators...

Thanks for answering the radiator one, Greg.

You're right about human hearing: children can hear a wider range of sound frequencies than adults with the high and low frequencies gradually fading away with age. If you recall health checkups at school one involved wearing headphones and signalling when you can no longer hear a rising scale of notes... repeat the test 10 years later and you'll probably stop a few notes earlier. This range is around 20-20000Hz according to most sources I've seen so I'm not sure how wifi running at 2.4GHz would cause problems to people considering dogs' hearing goes up to 60000Hz and our eyeballs don't explode every time a farmer uses his doggy whistle ;)

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Its bigger

I'm witnessing the same thing, I work as a sys admin and netowrk engineer for a finanace company and i've been met with damn right hostility while upgrading a wireless bridge connection since that panorama, cus the old Accesspoint had one antenna this has 2, its obviously morw powerful and they want it removed not upgraded.

They even have people comming out to test it becasue they say illness has been up since they moved offices.

Yet they work next to the Microwave oven and have just invested in Wireless DECT phones.

to be honest what aspect of anything is 100% safe, is your car 100% safe, is the air we breath 100% safe, the best anyone can do is best guess.

I live with and accesspoint next to my bed and 2 next to my desk and i feel fine.

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