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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  2. GettinSadda

    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

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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!!

  5. Maverick

    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)

    :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  8. Adam

    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?

  9. Geoff Johnson

    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)

  10. TLA

    What people don't understand...

    they will always fear.

  11. Stuart Harrison

    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 )

  12. Dave Murray

    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. ;)

  13. Giles Jones Gold badge

    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?

  14. Sergiu Panaite

    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)

  15. Barry

    Madness

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

  16. luke

    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?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  18. 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.

  19. kfkhotdog

    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

  20. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  22. gaz

    dont know

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

  23. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  25. GrahamT

    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.

  26. Peter

    Turn of the universe!

    All that background radiation is killing me....

  27. Nick Rutland

    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

  28. Gordon Ross 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)

  29. Richard Johnson

    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!

  30. Sean

    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

  31. Tim Schomer

    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'......

  32. Andrew Hoskin

    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?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  34. Dave Pearce

    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.

  35. Nick Palmer

    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...

  36. Gilbert Wham

    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?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Convection?

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

  39. Anonymous Coward
    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...

  40. lordasb

    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...

  41. DAN*tastik

    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.

  42. greg

    Radiators

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

  43. greg

    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.

  44. Vlad

    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?

  45. Alex

    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?

  46. Mike Richards Silver badge

    And just think...

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

  47. 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)

  48. Simon Greenwood

    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.

  49. Dave Pearce

    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 ;)

  50. Gavin

    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.

  51. Andrew McLachlan

    So they will be getting rid of the TV then? Crystal Palace is 4 million Joules

    Wow these people are so uninformed!!!!

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DON'T USE TIN FOIL HATS!!!!

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/

    Some grad students performed a study on the use of tinfoil hats... They concluded that wrapping your head with foil actually induces signal gain, rather than shielding your brain from harmful waves...

  53. Graham Dawson

    Creationism? Give it a rest...

    Mike, I'm all for teaching creationism in schools. If you only teach one side of the story people lose the ability to think critically, Exposing them to other ideas allows them to actually start weighing up evidence and take a critical look at what they're discussing. The evidence is quite conclusive in the end, so what does it matter?

    These people are getting hysterical over nothing because they never got exposed to any sort of critical thinking. They've probably never had to actually think about anything for their entire lives. Forcing people to actually reason their way through to a conclusion rather than simply saying 'this is how it is' makes them a hell of a lot smarter. Schools don't generally do this, though; they indoctrinate rather than educate. They present the facts without explaining why they're the facts. Never a good idea.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GOD and WiFi

    GOD regularly communicates to me via my WiFi link, telling me that I need more Viagra to keep my Catholic wife happy. Or take up with some Surreyside babes - I can't quite figure it out...

    I, too, *WAS* able to hear the switching power supply "whine" from various devices I had...but being over 50 has "put paid" to THAT problem. Pitty, I used to be able to debug a power supply problem for 2 meters by simply listening to the sounds.

    BTW, one "interesting" side effect of digital phones is that the old AMPS system has disappeared. In the "old days" there used to be a warning on cell phones (3 watt output) to keep the antenna at least 1 meter from any person. The new microwave phones only output 200mW or so, drasticly reducing the exposure to radiation.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wont lose sleep over it

    my Wifi router is in my bedroom, so its only a few feet away from my bed and on all the time I have no sleep problems,etc

    tbh if we followed everything people say about what's bad for you, we wouldn't be able to do/eat anything lol

    with all the warnings about whats bad these days it makes you wonder how the human race lasted this long with out them...

  56. Svein Skogen

    Audible Electronics & Al

    Only explanation I have of electronics having an audible whine, is insufficient shielding of high-frequency components.

    It's basically a net result of companies saving money by not doing things right when building electronics.

    //Svein

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Schools: Bring back the chalk...

    Get rid of that HiTech stuff and breathe some dust.

  58. Graham Bartlett

    High-pitched noise

    I can hear the high-pitched noise from TVs too. I don't usually get it from other stuff though. Some switch-modes *do* give off a high-pitched squeal, but the problem is mostly sorted now (mainly due to higher frequencies, I think). But much consumer electronics doesn't bother with switch-modes, using old-school linear regulators instead. They're cheaper (although they need bigger heatsinks), but they're a lot less efficient at any significant load, which is why some of this kit is still power-hungry - they've gone for cheap parts.

  59. Tyson Boellstorff

    stupid, gullible people make my head hurt

    Please remove them. It's For The Children (TM) It's reminiscent of that foul dihydrogen oxide poisoning episode.

    For the record, some router noise is bad design, and some is capacitor squeal. I look on it as a feature. I suppose I could hunt it down, and do something about it, but as my hearing's going anyway, figure problem should solve itself shortly.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Audible Electronics & Al

    As posted by Vlad, any electronics that uses a switch mode power supply tends to produce a high pitched whine. The volume of said whine depends on the design of the supply and components chosen.

    It's also quite normal for some people to hear this noise while others cannot, as the frequencies used in switch mode supplies (20kHz to 40KHz usually) tend to be at the upper limit of people's hearing range. TVs/Monitors with no active video signals tend to be particularly noisy in this respect.

  61. Morely Dotes

    Digital Darwinism?

    'According to The Independent, London-based Scooter Computer's call-out service has recently received "hundreds" of calls from concerned users in the wake of a chilling Panorama special last month which highlighted the possible risks of going wires-free'

    Mind you, that's out of millions of terrified Londoners; the rest were too dim to be able to dial a phone. Clearly, the "hundreds" were at the top end of the bell curve, in the sample of "Londoners with intelligence rated equal to or below a chimp with a brain injury."

    Bloody shame that *lack* of wi-fi doesn't cause retroactive sterility.

  62. {¯`·.¸_LÅMߤ¥_¸.·´¯}

    Hearing routers etc

    Any high pitched whine is probably from capacitors or voltage regulators - Ive heard them myself when debugging PCs.

  63. Robert Jenkins

    It's all headline grabbing and fear mongering...

    The people making all the fuss seem to have no idea at all of basic electromagnetic propagation or relative power.

    A typical cordless phone, with a power of 10mW and the antenna 25mm from your head, has the same effective field strength at the part of your head closest to it as a 160KW transmitter just 100m away (4000 times distance needs 16 Million times power to match the signal strength).

    The signal from a typical cellular mast is rather weedy in comparison.

    In terms of absolute power, a domestic WiFi access point with an output of about 50mW and an omnidirectional aerial would give a field strength of less than 1 microwatt per square centimeter at one meter distance. (The actual antenna is not perfectly omnidirectional, but the average over different directions and angles should work out about the same).

    The current 'safe' limit is considered to be 10mW / square cm, 10,000 times higher.

    In comparison to plain old full sunlight - which is of course electromagnetic radiation and generally taken as 1000 watts per square meter or higher (equivalent to 100mW per square centimeter) - the radio powers and field strengths being debated are weak to the point of insignificance.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad science and pressure groups

    It's not a new problem.

    First, start a pressure group or a lobby with a strong prejudice or hobby horse. Agitate and get noticed.

    Then another (or at least not quite the same) group of people do or buy some pretty dodgy research. Maybe a small scale pilot with poor methodology. This "proves" their preconceptions. With any luck it will catch lots of media attention and a few politicians that don't really understand but know they can make capital out of it. A celebrity or two will help.

    The first group (not quite the same people, remember) then cite the second group's research and get lots more publicity, because now they have some research to "prove" what they say.

    At this point the whole edifice can grow or die according to whether there is enough popular prejudice, media and or political support to feed it. In the best ( for them ) cases a snowball ensues, with a moral hue and cry that silences any opposition.

  65. George

    Counterpoint

    Wow. What a nice, open minded forum this comments section is today. Are any of you former cigarette company boardmembers?. Before mouthing off about the idiocy of overly naive parents, perhaps some studies are in order? Where's the real science, and not the studies sponsored by industry?

    Several posts above demonstrate an associatve fallacy. Just because TV, Cell Phone, and Radio signals are similar to Wi-Fi, that doesn't mean Wi-Fi is harmless. That line of 'reason' ignores the possibility that all of the electronic fog we live in could be harmful. Isn't it common sense to create technology that doesn't harm us? Asbestos ceiling tiles, Radium glow-in-the-dark paint, and leaded gasoline were once cutting edge tech (before someone took the naysayers seriously).

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DON'T USE TIN FOIL HATS!!!! - confirmed

    I can confirm this having studied what would happen with tin foil acting as a form

    of waveguide vaity when wrapped around the head. using a tin-foil hat is one of the WORST things you can do. PS I can hear CHEAP electronic goods - particularly cheap AC/DC convertors - which is where 95% of noise emissions come from from such goods.

    As for WiFi safety, far more nasty nasty leaks out of the average home microwave when used - and to allude to another post.. NO microwave oven is leak proof.

  67. Aubry Thonon

    Re: Counterpoint...

    "Asbestos ceiling tiles, Radium glow-in-the-dark paint, and leaded gasoline were once cutting edge tech"

    George, I am afraid that you chose poorly in your examples.

    Asbestos Ceiling tiles are perfectly harmless... if properly maintained. The problem comes when the tiles are damaged and left to "rot".

    Radium glow-in-the-dark paint was, again, perfectly harmless... in the recommended "for fun" quantities. And then idiots decided it'd be a good idea to go beyond the recommendations and paint their entire flat with it.

    As for leaded gasoline... funny... I never heard anyone claim it was "safe". The only claims I ever heard about Leaded Fuel was that it improved the performance of the vehicle. It's noxious effect were known, hence the catalytic converters fitted to car exhausts.

  68. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

    Too much information

    The reason WiFi is worse than TV / phones, is that its broadcasting information and filling their brains above capacity, thereby making their heads hurt.

    This never happens with TV.

  69. Simon Densley

    You're not fooling anyone

    I see the WiFi and mobile phone industry stooges have been monopolising the letters page with their blinkered and ignorant mocking of the health effects of wireless. I'm just glad the rest of us aren't stupid enough to be fooled by these twerps more concerned about sales of wireless products than people’s health. Keep the independent science coming.

  70. Dave Pearce

    Counter-counterpoint...

    George, opening your post with sarcasm then slating everyones contribution while contributing nothing uselful yourself is one of the reason noone takes naysayers like you seriously.

    Allow me to take your attitude for a second: are you a politician?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaded Petrol

    Catalytic converters aren't used to counteract the noxious effects of lead in petrol - indeed, lead stops them working. One reason for the switch to unleaded was to enable the use of catalytic converters.

    And of course its manufacturers did claim it was safe, despite widespread concern that it wasn't. (see, for instance, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20000320/kitman )

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is...

    the added effect of all these radiations. Lately I've been playing with a wireless power receiver that can be tuned to all frequencies, including vlf. Did you know that the 60 Hz used in the uss interferes with Earth's natural em waves? Nodays in a dense urban environment you can get a bit way too much power out of a tuned single coil air core transformer. (also called the Tesla wireless power receiver) The biggest problems are the grid's 50 Hz hum (constant but low power), the GSM 900/1800 bursts (rare but high powered) and lately the wifi's 2.4 Ghz. Everything is ok until there is a channel collision, then both base stations start and try to outshout the other one. 3 or more competing stations on the same frequency is even worse. Since i have 3 base stations within a 10 meter radius of my bedroom (my neighbours), the signal strength is a bit too much, especially when all 3 tries to use the channel at the same time and broadcast their junk traffic which keeps coming in from the cable network routers all the time. And we should not forget, that 2.4 Ghz was choosen for the microwave ovesns because this is the frequency that excites water the most in various materials and tissues. Using the same frequency for communications is somewhat stupid, regardless of the power.

    ps:

    However i found that my soviet designed high rise apartement bathroom is completly em shielded. It's built from steel reinforced concreate as a transportable container and some of the walls are covered with sheet metal service panels. (lately also covered by ceramic tiles because it was ugly) The only door is facing a wall built with a similar technique. The metal parts are welded together and safely grounded. I found that both fm radio and gsm connections fail inside and it completly blocks the waves of my old poorly shielded microwave oven from the other side of the wall.

  73. Ed Carter

    WiFi High Fi

    I bame global warming.

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