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back to article 'Hypersensitive' Wi-Fi hater loses case against fiendish DEVICES

Veteran Campaigner Against Stuff Arthur Firstenberg won a case last week, and lost one too, but there won't be much celebrating as even the victory was a false one. The case he lost started in 2010, when Firstenberg claimed his neighbour's Wi-Fi was sneaking through the mains wires into his house to keep him awake at night. The …

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Trollface

Let's make everyone happy

Put him in a Faraday cage at the bottom of a mineshaft. With some candles.

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Terminator

Re: Let's make everyone happy

Why bother with the candles?

Or the Faraday cage?

By "put" did you actually mean "push?"

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Re: Let's make everyone happy

I have a new policy of not mocking people for curious and strange beliefs, as I feel that someday I will be an angry old man moaning about the wifi-leakage from the blasted tablets.

Anyhow, he could have saved some time and simply moved if it really affected him that much. There is a lovely part of West Virginia near Green Bank that should suit him.

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Trollface

Re: Let's make everyone happy

I'm also feeling evil here - but in a little bit more of a realistic way...

I'm imagining if someone was to arrange a flashmob outside Mr. Firstenberg's house, during which every participant would be making a call on their mobile.

If his head explodes, more research is required.

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Re: Let's make everyone happy

@Tom 38:

I was thinking of that too. Because of the radio telescope at Green Bank, the FCC prohibits all radio signals in the area. No TV, no radio, nothing. I've been there. It is a beautiful and fascinating place. But it does have the problems common in Appalachia of poverty and long drives for life's basics. As a bonus, there is a small ski resort not too far away.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's make everyone happy

>>Because of the radio telescope at Green Bank, the FCC prohibits all radio signals in the area

Go look up NIOC Sugar Grove. Lets just say that the telescope isn't the only (or even the main) reason that the area's under permanent radio silence.

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Re: Let's make everyone happy

....and by "Mineshaft" did you actually mean "Scorpion Pit" ?

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Re: Let's make everyone happy

``I have a new policy of not mocking people for curious and strange beliefs, as I feel that someday I will be an angry old man moaning about the wifi-leakage from the blasted tablets.''

Yes, but as long as they are harmless. What would you think if you were the poor girl next door who just wanted to use her iPhone and had the anguish of several years of litigation hanging over her ? He has harassed others round him for his baseless beliefs. We should be able to insult others who harm others.

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@Tom 38

I, on the other hand, have a policy of actively mocking those who choose to believe things which are contrary to the established laws of Physics and which lack any supporting material evidence.

I beleive that this will gently encourage them back into reality where they can base their world view on a view of the actual world.

In this case, of cource, the person in question is probably more in need of psychiatric treatment than mockery.

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Boffin

Re: Let's make everyone happy

I’ve found a suitable deterrent to RF-imaginers is putting up an antenna that doesn’t connect to anything, and indeed, doesn't even contain wire or metal. When they complain, the ridicule is enough to put them off complaining even when my 22 femto-Megawatt Illudium Sideband Phoralyzer goes on the air for real. I'm working on a Dithyrambic Synthesized Modulieder to keep 'em awake of nights, too.

Where's the Earth-shattering kaboom?

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Boffin

Inquiring minds...

Has anyone actually done a double blind study to see if sensitivity ti Wi-Fi (or any otehr radio frequency) is even real?

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Facepalm

Re: Inquiring minds...

Or 'other' radio frequencies, as the case may be...

<--- Wishes he could actually type.

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Re: Inquiring minds...

What?

Actually expose a sensitive person for unhealthy radiation, even for a short while?

Nope. I have never seen an actual double-blind test done. I know that a lot of people have offered to organise one, but so far, no one with the 'sensitivity problem' has been willing to participate.

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HMB

Re: Inquiring minds...

There have been a metric 'funk tonne' of studies done on any health effects from radio comms and the only thing proven were slight thermal effects for when you're holding a 4W transceiver to your head (using a mobile phone).

The problem is that people who want to find something just say that 10 years of research isn't enough. They'd like the scientific community to keep putting 2 + 2 together in the vain hope that they get 5 one day and prove them right.

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Boffin

Re: Inquiring minds...

My pet budgie lived his nine years within two metres of a WAP and no intervening wall to reduce the signal. When I was using my laptop I was often within a metre of his cage (although he spent most of his time outside the cage). Nine years is a respectable life span for a budgie so I feel confident in saying that the idea that wifi signals are dangerous to humans is a load of old cods wallop.

And I shall downvote anyone who makes any silly jokes about him using 'tweeter'.

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Joke

Re: 10 years of research isn't enough

I remember the BSE causes CJD people saying the same thing for a decade or two.

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Boffin

Re: Inquiring minds...

Lazy research ahead:

According to Wikipedia, there have been at least <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_hypersensitivity#Studies">31 experiments</a>; a systematic review concluded:

"The symptoms described by 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' sufferers can be severe and are sometimes disabling. However, it has proved difficult to show under blind conditions that exposure to electromagnetic fields can trigger these symptoms. This suggests that 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' is unrelated to the presence of electromagnetic fields, although more research into this phenomenon is required."

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Re: Inquiring minds...

Yes, people have studied it. Here's an extract from an abstract of a meta-study of papers on "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)".

"Basically, literature from established databases was systematically searched for. For each study, the design and quality were evaluated by means of a criteria list in order to judge evidence for causality of exposures on effects. Finally, 13 studies of sufficient quality were considered for this review.

In only one provocation study, individuals with self-reported electromagnetichypersensitivity were exposed to EMF. Their perception of field status was no better than would have been expected by chance."

Full abstract here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969705003694

I file EHS in same folder as Homeopathy.

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Boffin

Re: Inquiring minds...

There is plenty of evidence that the vertebrate body is sensitive to various forms of EM emissions, and not necessarily through specially adapted organs like the eye. After all, our nervous system is a very dense two-way network bathing in an electrolytic solution. However, like background noise and "familiar routine", the brain is adapted to filter out any ordinary background input, aka. "noise" so that we all can pay attention to the really important things, like spotting the large and decidely more dangerous black-striped yellowish feline in the tall grass. Most people do spot stuff like lightning building up, and "static" EM fields in stressed geographical faults if they pass through them, though.

There is also pretty conclusive evidence that living directly in a high-power EM field is decidedly unhealthy over prolongued periods and during the formative phases of the nervous system. Which makes sense, since you're adding a lot of inductive stress on a rather delicate system that besides motor function also controls your body chemistry feedback. And once you're mucking around with hormones eleoctrolyte balance in a vertrebate body for a bit , it's bound to throw a wobble or two.

Could you be troubled by radiation from cell towers? Possibly, if you hug them, or are stupid enough to stand directly in front of them in the beam path. The key is power. An ordinary GSM phone does not have the power to do that. Not even a boosted 27MC rig has it, and *those* shed enough parasitic power that they can drown out nearby bands.

Could someone with brain damage/other physiological imbalance be more sensitive to EM radiation? Possibly. Stranger things have been recorded. Could it be through the electric net? Not unless you want to break some pretty elementary laws of physics regarding propagation of signals.

But hey.. it's the United States of Litigation and Extortion... If you find a unscrupulous enough lawyer and a pick-of-the-mindless-crop judge. Nothing is stopping you except the limit of your own wallet.

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Joke

Re: Inquiring minds...

Aha, maybe he could have lived to double that if you'd kept the wifi away !

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Black Helicopters

Re: Inquiring minds...

Yes, it's been done and the "electro-sensitive" people would score as well tossing a coin to answer if the transmitter is on or off.

Lucille Ball may have started the fad with her probably fictitious account of receiving radio on fillings. Also tested negative.

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Re: Inquiring minds...

There have been enough cases where complaints were made about new mobile masts...

Only to then discover that they hadn't been powered up yet.

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Devil

Re: Inquiring minds...

Double blind test- poke out both eyes and see if he can tell when the wifi is on...

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Go

Re: Inquiring minds...

Yeah, but haven't wifi signals been proved to reduce a Cod's wallop? Hence inflated fish supper prices! WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE FISH!

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Facepalm

Re: Inquiring minds...

It's obvious; your budgie was living in a Faraday cage and was thus protected!

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Boffin

@Grikath

There is plenty of evidence that the vertebrate body is sensitive to various forms of EM emissions, and not necessarily through specially adapted organs like the eye.

Plenty of evidence eh? Not just an internet feedback machine? Share some..

There is also pretty conclusive evidence that living directly in a high-power EM field is decidedly unhealthy over prolongued periods and during the formative phases of the nervous system.

Getting better - we now have conclusive evidence.

Could you be troubled by radiation from cell towers? Possibly, if you hug them, or are stupid enough to stand directly in front of them in the beam path.

Citation? I've seen plenty of studies that say the 'electromagnetically sensitive' are no better at detecting EM fields than flipping a coin.

mucking around with hormones eleoctrolyte balance in a vertrebate body

Please stop abusing the scientist icon.

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Re: Inquiring minds...

>There have been enough cases where complaints were made about new mobile masts...

>Only to then discover that they hadn't been powered up yet.

So that's premature hyper-sensitivity disorder ?

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Re: Nine years is a respectable life span for a budgie

Maybe so in the time of mass wireless electronic communications devices. In the time before such devices budgies used to make it to thirteen years. Not that correlation equals causation of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inquiring minds...

No you are wrong.

Its easy to do a doublre blind. Its called a faraday cage. .

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Joke

Re: Inquiring minds...

@Zaphod.Beeblebrox: Seeing YOU actually suggest a double blind test gave me a chuckle.... Yes, you need BOTH heads blindfolded!

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Coat

Re: Inquiring minds...

"So that's premature hyper-sensitivity disorder?"

Yes, and there's also a related disorder known as electrile dysfunction.

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zb

Re: Inquiring minds...

But that does not prove that the WAP did not kill him. Maybe without it he would have reached a massive 12 years.

The headline does mention evidence-based science :)

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Boffin

Re: Inquiring minds...

Actually an ordinary GSM phone *does* have enough power to have biologic effects. At maximum power output (one bar reception condition, 2 watts) it does actually raise the temperature of your ear. It's also slightly raising the temperature of your brain. I'd be unwilling to say that this is *categorically* harmless, though a simple epidemeological approach shows that it must be pretty close thereto.

Anyway, using a mobile for a long time in minimal reception conditions is unusual. More normal conditions have an RF output 100 to 1000 times less. As for domestic Wi-fi, the output is lower than a phone on minimum power AND it's not pressed to the side of your skull. Inverse squares: 2m instead of 2cm means your exposure is down by a further factor of 10,000.

And "leakage down mains cables" tells you that the complainant is a fruitcake. The last place GHz RF goes is down a directly or indirectly earthed conductor!

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Joke

Re: Inquiring minds...

I guess the Joo-Janta 2000 Peril Sensitive Sunglasses would prove the point. Would stop you seeing the wireless effect.

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Windows

Re: Inquiring minds...

"Lucille Ball may have started the fad with her probably fictitious account of receiving radio on fillings."

Given that oxides can act as rectifiers - then any metal to metal contact is potentially an AM receiver. Not sure what could make the rectified envelope audible though. Old timers used to say that the Droitwich 1500 metre transmissions had been heard on nearby long rusty barbed wire fences.

My parents reminisced about listening on a pre-war crystal set* - with the headphones in a bucket for amplification so several people could hear it.

*a true crystal set was an early AM receiver which had no power. Just the diode effect of a "cat's whisker" wire on a sensitive spot of a crystal with rectification properties.

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Boffin

Re: Inquiring minds...

Re "This suggests that 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' is unrelated to the presence of electromagnetic fields", I would suggest that the KNOWLEDGE about the presence of an electromagnetic field is enough. The guy BELIEVES he feels bad around E-M radiation, and he 'knows' it's there, so he feels bad - nocebo effect = opposite of Placebo effect.

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Boffin

Re: Inquiring minds...

>"Actually an ordinary GSM phone *does* have enough power to have biologic effects. At maximum power output (one bar reception condition, 2 watts) it does actually raise the temperature of your ear. It's also slightly raising the temperature of your brain. I'd be unwilling to say that this is *categorically* harmless, though a simple epidemeological approach shows that it must be pretty close thereto. [...]"

You forgot this. At 2W it is working on 900Mhz. It is at 33,33cm. So the radio wave it self is too big to harm you, your cells and your DNA. It just does not happen. It is also non-ionizing radiation. So no harm there.

What you are feeling is not the radio waves warming up your ear when the phone is at full power. What you are feeling is the phone it self warming up. Along with battery at maximum output and that is also warming up because of full strength.

There is no harm from radio waves from 1Khz to 400Thz (light).

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Silver badge

Re: Inquiring minds...

Teeth and bone contain piezo-crystals. They change shape depending on electric field. (Also vice versa, which is why evolution made it happen. A stress concentration in a tooth or bone, such as an incipient crack, generates an electric field that probably signals to osteocytes that a local repair job is urgently needed, and precisely where).

Anyway, this makes radio detection by a filling in the upper jaw very plausible, and I believed that it had been reported at least once. If it's an urban legend, it's several cuts above the average.

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Thumb Down

Re: Inquiring minds...

You forgot this. At 2W it is working on 900Mhz. It is at 33,33cm. So the radio wave it self is too big to harm you, your cells and your DNA. It just does not happen. It is also non-ionizing radiation. So no harm there.

Your physics is wrong. The wavelength being bigger than your head doesn't mean it cannot interact. It just means you need to use different mathematics to properly model it. (Were you right, holding a nail and sticking it into the live hole in a plug would be harmless ... a mere 50 Hertz! )

It is absorbtion of EM radiation that makes your ear get hot, at least in part. And the calculation is that the nearest parts of your brain may be warmed by a small fraction of a degree celsius by the same radiation.

Harmless? Almost certainly. Your normal body temperature fluctuates daily by more than this amount, and it rises by much more and at a greater rate in response to a mild infection. Nevertheless, "no biologic effects" is provably untrue.

There's also a putative mechanism whereby HF radiation could cause Zeeman splitting of energy levels in free radicals causing more of them to escape destruction by the body's anti-oxidants at the site where they are generated. They could then be free to cause damage to less-well-protected tissue further afield. Experimental proof of the effect would be VERY hard to come by, the effect would be small, the epidemeology proves mobiles are mostly harmless, but the physics is impeccable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inquiring minds...

Some did participate in the UK study back in 2006/7, but became so ill from the emissions they were exposed to they dropped out.

which the evil scientists then declared their participation as void and removed the extreme results out of the study.

there are records in the Russian and US military archives(from military tests on animals and personal), but these are so well buried that very few original copies still exist.

there is a project to digitise those that still exist and have posted on cloud servers at some future date. (the Telecoms and Intelligence services are very keen that they never see the light of day again, as it will destroy the intelligence and telecoms industries overnight, as well as undermine the finances on many countries.)

currently in the US there is a lot of low level noise about the PG&E rollout of Smart meters which are dividing many communities about adverse health effects they are suffering after the rollout.

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Re: Inquiring minds...

A friend who is IT for a school had a teacher who was moaning about them setting up Wifi in the school so he took a dead router and removed all the guts. Jammed a red LED in the power light hole with a resistor to the power brick so it would light up.

Stuck it up on the wall of the classroom with a cat 5 cable stuck through the hole in the back.

The teacher had new problems every day, and had some of the students blaming failed test marks on the wifi.

When shown that the router had no guts she quit and filed a complaint that she was being persecuted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inquiring minds...Bwahahaha

Nice to see the placebo effect in action.

I might try this with a dead mobile phone, but put a Geiger counter in it so it periodically lights up when it counts a particle and logs to intermal memory.

Functional AND useful :-)

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Flame

Re: Inquiring minds... and total idiots

Yes.

Extensive tests were done back in the 80s when mobile phones were first becoming common. I was involved with medical testing carried out by the British Government. "Electrosensitivity" was shown conclusively to be complete nonsense.

Unfortunately, there are too many ignorant fools who work on the "no smoke without fire" principle. This has led to schools being equipped with inconvenient and expensive wired networks, idiots refusing to have mobile phone bases in their neighbourhoods (and then complaining of poor coverage!), and stupid bans on use of mobile phones in aircraft and hospitals (if their electronics is sensitive enough to be upset by the use of a mobile phone, I don't want to trust it with my life!!!).

The clueless don't understand that they more irradiated by going outside on a sunny day than they ever will by mobile phones, wi-fi networks and all the rest!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inquiring minds...

Funny that!

The PharmaTek Industry uses Pulsed Microwave Radiation to Shred DNA in Test Tubes.

Most Labs have a ban on mobile communications devices in or near them.

Have a good dig through Nature, Science, the Launcet and you should find corroborating published information.

Does the NHS or Gov.uk give out information on the various Cancers by home or work postcodes (along with if the sufferers used Mobile phones or similar devices) of those who have had brain Cancers, most of which are incurable. they have the info, but are unwilling to publish such data.

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Re: Inquiring minds...

I worked at Droitwich. We used to have to weld the seams on nearby refrigerators, cookers and other "white goods" to prevent them "sounding off". We could hear the audio on a gas fire in a house across the road from the site!

The eeriest effect was walking across the site on a misty night, hearing the audio demodulated by the tiny arcs across the antenna insulators - there were ethereal voices all around!

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Re: Inquiring minds...

"I have never seen an actual double-blind test done. I know that a lot of people have offered to organise one, but so far, no one with the 'sensitivity problem' has been willing to participate."

Reminds me of a story I read about where a new mobile phone tower was put up and people in the community where complaining about headaches. The local news investigated and found out the tower didn't have the electricity connected yet.

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Facepalm

Re: Inquiring minds...

@nigel 11

"Your physics is wrong. The wavelength being bigger than your head doesn't mean it cannot interact. It just means you need to use different mathematics to properly model it. (Were you right, holding a nail and sticking it into the live hole in a plug would be harmless ... a mere 50 Hertz! )"

What absolute rubbish!

Sticking a nail in a power outlet has got nothing whatsoever to do with wireless or frequencies, it's a direct electrical connection.

Idiot!

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Boffin

Re: @Grikath, @ Tom 38

> Plenty of evidence eh? Not just an internet feedback machine? Share some..

let's see ... specifically for mobile phones:

http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/salford_mammalian_brain_2008.pdf

http://www.emrpolicy.org/science/forum/adey_encneuro_mp.pdf

How about some RL therapeutic research, with the associated theory ?

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0896627307004606/1-s2.0-S0896627307004606-main.pdf?_tid=e37e8da6-17cd-11e2-9b5c-00000aab0f26&acdnat=1350418562_11ba8316608ec843e9deaf9802af9609

http://www.bem.fi/book/22/22.htm

http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1002022

http://www.cns.atr.jp/~kmtn/pdf/kamitaniEtAl01Neurocomp.pdf

There also plenty of stuff in the more "reputable" publications, but I endeavour to avoid paywalls, so that people are not limited to an abstract.

>Citation? I've seen plenty of studies that say the 'electromagnetically sensitive' are no better at detecting EM fields than flipping a coin.

I never stated that.. I stated that you could get seriously hurt when you get too close to cell towers, because you're placing yourself in direct vicinity of a high-powered microwave transmitter. If you don't believe in that particular bit of common sense, check with people who service them. Or google service and safety practices for them. *shrug*

>Please stop abusing the scientist icon.

you've got your quotes, and a bit of reading to do... see you tomorrow..

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