back to article Glastonbury new-agers protest WiFi

The new-age residents of Glastonbury are up in arms about the council's deployment of WiFi, claiming the wireless networks are interfering with their chakras and generally getting them down. The news comes courtesy of The Telegraph, which reports local hippies are up in arms (well, placidly protesting) about the already- …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    I don't know what's worse.

    Pot-heads or marketing departments.

    Wait ... one's a sub-set of the other, right?

  2. goggyturk
    Black Helicopters

    I get those symptoms too

    "local new-agers are complaining of the usual headaches and hard-to-pin-down symptoms that are endemic where wireless technologies have received sufficient publicity..."

    Funny, I get the same symptoms whenever I read about ignorant, luddite asshats like this too. Sometimes I get feelings of intense nausea too, akin to the well-recorded variety when exposed to radiations from terrestrial ITV1.

    Does this entitle me to start a protest movement based on pseudo-science and unfounded, deep feelings of paranoia as well?

  3. gollux

    Bummer man....

    We won't be able to get laid along the ley lines anymore.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    What about private WiFi ?

    Funny how when I stood outside a trinket shop opposite the church on Christmas eve, proudly brandishing the "No Wi-Fry" sticker, that I detected with my N95 at least 5 secured WiFis in addition to the Glasto mesh. Will they be campaigning to shut these down too?

  5. Martin Silver badge

    Ley line interference

    So it's their ley lines that have been giving me headaches and a slipped karma.

    I demand that they are turned off until they have received proper testing.

  6. Dave Gregory

    New Age

    I feel the urge to rant at length and in unstructured, run-on sentences. Fortunately I'm too well brought up. People like this go around almost wilfully misinterpreting the universe around them. Ley lines? Orgone energy? Peer reviewed science? One of these is worth a belief in.

    Strange how the "radiation expert" who allegedly scanned the near-hysterical yogic's house found the highest levels in - shock! horror! - her young son's bedroom. Just where she can be depended upon for the maximal creation of outrage! How unexpected! Or possibly cynical?

    (Also, why doesn't she just put her son in a different bedroom if she's that worried?)

    The Torygraph used to be a quite good newspaper, but it's slipping further and further nowadays. One recent "health" story is about the so-called "genotype diet". It defies belief.

    (Thanks to Dr Ben Goldacre for sticking both these stories onto his bad science miniblog.)

  7. AGirlFromVenus

    orgone accumulators

    bring on hawkwind

    omg ... is that 30 yr old tab still good?

    yours, wow the colours,...


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're killing them

    The blockade didn't get reported, the 400+ killings this year didn't get reported and now the massacre isn't getting reported, instead you're protesting Wifi signals..


  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    Tin foil hats for all?


    Oh wow man, like that's so heavy man!

    These fascist radio beams are doing me in, ok?

    It's getting me down, yeah?

    I'm on a bummer of a trip man.


    Maybe they just need to save up all their old tin foil and make chakra-saving head gear!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Glastonbury Council...

    ...Negative Vibe Merchants.

  11. Captain DaFt

    Oh Noes!!*

    Teh real life laws of physics is trampling our imaginary powerz and makes us looks foolish! Make it stops pleez, We feels ill!!

    Bunch of midget-minded mental masturbators, pick up a first grade science book and get a clue about how Life, the Universe, and Everything really works instead of wanking off to an antique version of "The Force".

    Flames because these people think that dancing around them chanting does something besides making them hot and tired.

    *Stupidity of this magnitude can best be expressed in LoL Speak, sorry about that.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What they don't know

    I have a couple of clients who insist on not having wireless networks anywhere near them, trouble is they haven't noticed that Airport is on all the time on their laptops and I haven't bothered to alert them - they haven't grown extra heads yet.

    One of them has a scientific background too, except he seems unaware of the inverse square law, when discussing emissions from transmitters and their relative strengths.

  13. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Simple solution

    Why not provide the hippies with complimentary tinfoil-lined Guatemalan knit hats? They should keep the radiation out and, hopefully, the stupid in.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bad karma

    I mean this is like a bad trip man. Being ripped off by plastic people is so uncool.

  15. Thomas Swann

    I hate hippies.

    Clearly the one thing Glastonbury does need is a public broadcast system in the streets pumping out Slayer round the clock.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    That would be Millom as in just 6 miles north across the bay from the BAE/ex-VSEL nuclear submarine yard then?

  17. Seán


    Hippys are disgusting.

  18. Suburban Inmate

    Almost a valid complaint

    I can understand the possibility of human heads being affected: the brain and its electrochemical functions are inherently delicate.

    But I can't help feeling that most, if not all, of these complainers are jumping on the bandwagon, while convincing themselves that they are "intelligent" cos they have worked out the secrets of life, the universe, and everything. And therefore are right about life, the universe, and everything.

    Most people are unaffected. For the rest, there's tin foil.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    New age?

    The new-age travelling bods who go for the music always have the option to stay away.

    The new-age residents have a better chance for some 'compy' by complaining about the noise from 'the farm'.

    Best to get in quick though, the 'compy' fund is dwindling away, fast.

    Icon : Good luck to the 'compy culture', you are surely bugg**ed.

  20. Alan Fisher

    Just as i expected

    I knew you lot would immediately pan this and so too, I suspect, did the author (maybe they've got a 'Most commented' commission structure?).....

    however I do have to throw my 5 cents into the ring. When i first started using bluetooth many years ago I always knew when a call was coming in because I did get a curious headachey feeling just as it sucked the radiation down from the sky or whatever. It was such that i actually stopped using bluetooth for some time and only use bluetooth headphones now, never for in my opinion hippy imagination only it is not. We're quite happy to have radio signals in the magnitude of zag (I copyright the word now) whizzing around our heads 24/7, how can that not be having some effect?

  21. Francis Begbie
    Paris Hilton

    Reminds me of my old physics tutor...

    "New Age? Rhymes with sewage."

    Paris, 'cos she knows all about "lay" lines.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Tom Maddox

    An excellent solution indeed since a (not earthed) tinfoil hat would really focus RF energy (Think of a satellite dish) right about where the hypothalamus is, but we don't need to tell them that. Instant hippy brain melting barbeque!

  23. JBR
    Thumb Up


    Brilliant! The comments on this sort of story always give me a warm fuzzy glow with my coffee (although that may be from the access point on the floor next to me...)

    Thank god the world has got el reg readers

  24. Bassey

    Reminds me

    Reminds me of a routine Dara O'Brien did in this years tour concerning Alternative Medicine. "People say to me 'But some of these things have been around for thousands of years so there must be something in it' and that's true. We tested them. The ones that worked became "Science" and the rest are called 'soup'".

  25. kissingthecarpet

    The worst sort of hippie

    is the sort who never takes any drugs - they just bullshit a lot about chakras, crystals etc., while complaining about the many mild illnesses they seem to suffer from....

    Oh I know, they're called 'neurotics'

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @Alan Fisher


    When you first started using Bluetooth (short range radio) on your mobile phone, you could tell when a call (long range radio, different frequency) was coming in because you got a headache...

    Now that you only use bluetooth for things other than calls you don't get the problem? The reason this makes no sense at all is that the bluetooth isn't doing anything with radiation "from the sky" (let's not even go anywhere near the "sucking it down from the sky" bit)... The bluetooth radiation goes from your phone to whatever other bluetooth devices (headset, laptop, whatever) you have nearby and back again. The signals between your phone and the nearest base station are, as you put it, transmitted through the sky. But they were there before you started using bluetooth...

    There have been radio signals of all sorts of magnitudes and frequencies flying through you since the day you were born (unless you're quite old), and yet only now are you somehow bothered by it?

    I am willing to venture that you know approximately sod-all about science and are in fact talking out of your arse. The word we are looking for is "psychosomatic".

    Or "arsehole". Your call.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @ Alan Fisher

    "I did get a curious headachey feeling just as it sucked the radiation down from the sky or whatever. "

    You fail at Bluetooth, there is no difference between the Bluetooth connection between your headset, and your headphones. In fact, if anything I'd expect there to be more activity with the headphones as they're stereo, and there is sound being recieved the whole time.

    Coupled with the fact your Bluetooth transmitter in your phone is probably only capable of poking a Bluetooth signal 10m at best, rather than "the radiation down from the sky or whatever" I'd suggest you are either a very good troll, or the sort of person who believes that Homeopathy works and Gillian McKeith has a Phd.

  28. Not That Andrew

    @ Alan Fisher

    You, sir, are a troll and I claim my 5 quid. BTW it was the second half that let you down, a true Muesli-muncher woul'd be so crass as to want to copyright something.

  29. joe K
    Paris Hilton

    Fishing in the dark Alan ...

    @ Alan fisher - The trouble with people drawing scientific conclusions on their own is that they start to use words like 'always' which you just did, when inevitably what they mean is twice in a row in a year they received over 4000 phone calls. If you'd said that you stopped using cell phones and you felt better I might have forced myself to pay some attention to your hypothesis, but you say that you still use cellphones but not bluetooth. Your bluetooth headset was probably outputting around 1mW, while your phone churns out on average 100 times that at pretty much similar frequencies, but your body reacted just to the bluetooth?

    And as to your question concerning how all this background radiation can not be having an effect, in all truth, it probably does, but at present there is any evidence to show the effect is anything considerable. If electromagnetic radiation bothers you that much, you're going to have to go and live in a dark cave deep underground wearing tin foil to keep away from it all, including light.

    Paris, coz I don't think she lets such things bother her pretty little head.

  30. David Pollard


    Andy Burnham appears to have triggered an outbreak of "they ought to ban it".

  31. Mike

    @Alan Fisher

    >We're quite happy to have radio signals in the magnitude of zag (I copyright the word now) whizzing around our heads 24/7, how can that not be having some effect?

    We're also happy to have millions of nutrinos ripping through our bodies at the speed of light every second 24x7 and it makes me angry, perhaps we should stop it?

    Although, treating your comment seriously, there have been over the years many, many EMR/EMF doubts (power lines, WiFi, mobile masts, power stations, x-rays, CT scanners etc.) any I completely accept that all of these things can have physical effects (being 60%+ water with impurities makes us a nice conductor) but the quesion has to be asked, why do you feel effects when somebody else doesn't? the answer is simple, you are not as geneticaly suited for the environment, as the environment changes so does physiology (survival of the fittest, "best fit" etc.), I personally can't wait for the day that our cockroach overloads are in charge (or those little water-bear things, ooooh... celebrity deathmatch).

    The phenomenon you appear to suffer from is officially known as EMF sensitivity, by the sound of it you could have some typical c-fibre nerve sensitivity, although it would be wise to check for the repeatability of this, sometimes when people have symptoms they incorrectly attribute this to something external, for example one patient complained of headaches that he attributed to eye strain due to working long hours on a PC , so to counter this he took more regular breaks away fro his PC, and hey presto the headaches went away, as it turned out he was actually dehydrated and during his "eye strain" breaks he got a cup of water, we only got to the bottom of this after the urine tests came back (although you could visibly see the difference, no diabeties but high ketones), now he works normally (but has a bottle of water on his desk).

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > Pot-heads or marketing departments.

    > Wait ... one's a sub-set of the other, right?

    MARKETING DEPARTMENTS?? Speaking as a lifelong pot-head, I've never been so insulted...

  33. Robert Mack

    Mobile Masts & Wifi

    The Scientific Evidence section of the Stewart Report contains results of tests done on rats, mice, monkeys, rabbits and even humans. These results detail numerous instances of reduced fertility, abnormal births altered brain waves, DNA breakdown and reduced concentration, to name but a few. Some of the results are horrific. Some of the tests were carried out using a microwave oven to simulate the effect of increased EMF!

    The Stewart Report provides evidence that mobile phone transmitters DO CAUSE SERIOUS HARM to humans, small animals, birds and whatever else we are not being told about. The Stewart Report recommends further studies on the subject and also, that masts should NOT be installed near schools as it could adversely affect children!

    Wifi / WiMax is worse.. I had a Wifi/Max Mast on my roof. As an internet connection between Bracknell and my ISP in Reading (TELE2).

    After a few years I could not remember what I had typed on an A4 page. My Typing became erratic, my spelling was terrible.

    My new born son son came up with spots under the skin on his face within 2 days of him arriving home... The spots dissapeared within days of switching the transmitter OFF.

    Birds would not come into my garden oin front of the mast.... Even to eat bread or a Bird Feeder.. WHen the mast was off, they came and ate the food within an hour.

    After switching the mast off, I had a massive build up of pressure in my head and collapsed in bed for the weekend. On Monday, I blew my nose and water (not mucus) poured out, enough to fill both hands and spill onto the floor.

    In Bracknel, and around the UK, the incidence of Birth defects has sky-rocketed over the past 6 years.

    When was the last time you seen a sparrow????

    They put up 600 nest boxes in London.. Only 2% were used the following year.

    It was found that the young Sparrows were starving to death. Why?

    When did you ever see details of tests done on a Mobile Operators web site? There are None! Why?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    nutrinos - sound yummy, sure I saw an advert for them somewhere.

  35. alphaxion


    And here I was thinking that our lack of sparrows was because of the increased popularity of paved back gardens and the rapid encroachment of larger birds such as crows and magpies muscling them out of the food chain.

    All this time it was due to the uptake of wifi, who'd have thunk it!

    Strange that TV, broadcast at a far higher rate of energy, has never had an effect on this.

  36. joe K
    Paris Hilton

    Mack my words Robert...

    @ Robert Mack - I still can't figure out whether you're trying to be sarcastic or are for real, but in case you genuinely are worried about comms purpose radiowaves, I suggest you do some actual research into the field, you might win a Nobel prize if you discover some concrete links.

    Could I suggest as possible reasons :

    1. "After a few years I could not remember what I had typed on an A4 page. My Typing became erratic, my spelling was terrible." - Perhaps after a few years you experienced a thing called ageing with all its side effects such as memory and dexterity loss?

    2. Birds would not come into my garden oin front of the mast.... Even to eat bread or a Bird Feeder.. WHen the mast was off, they came and ate the food within an hour." - Perhaps the mast emitted an ultrasonic hum that disconcerted the birds?

    3."On Monday, I blew my nose and water (not mucus) poured out, enough to fill both hands and spill onto the floor." - That's just plain nasty, however if your stated quantities are genuine , you probably experienced plain old vomiting ?

    4."They put up 600 nest boxes in London.. Only 2% were used the following year." - maybe sparrows don't like new builds ( I don't ), but anyway, that sparrow argument has already been copyrighted by the global warming crowd.

    5. "In Bracknel, and around the UK, the incidence of Birth defects has sky-rocketed over the past 6 years." - Again, the global warming folks claimed that one first , but how about either a bug in microsoft excel, figures like 2 per thousand to 4 per thousand being quoted as a 200% rise, or another case of baldness in babies being called a birth defect?

    6. "My new born son son came up with spots under the skin on his face within 2 days of him arriving home... The spots dissapeared within days of switching the transmitter OFF." - Have you discounted acrocyanosis, epstein's pearls, erythema toxicum,forceps marks,miliaria crystalline, milia, neonatal acne, sebaceous gland hyperplasia, seborrheic dermatitis and transient neonatal pustular melanosis?

    In case its none of them , kindly share your nobel prize with me .

    Yours truly,


  37. Anonymous Coward

    They should protest the Sun

    Which is still the largest generator of RF radiation.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Robert Mack

    Boy, it sounds serious. You should see a doctor.

  39. Alan Fisher

    well we're all f***ed anyway

    we're doing, eating, soaking up and osmocising so much stuff we never evolved to cope with over recent years that we're pretty much doomed anyway, deal with one and another will get us.

    Switch off the RF and it'll be excessive hygiene that'll kill us off like the aliens in War of the Worlds!!

    trust humans eh, we are determined to find an effective way to do ourselves damage and we won't stop until we crack it (note nuclear war is too quick and painless for the majority so we discarded that one)!!

  40. Mike


    >nutrinos - sound yummy, sure I saw an advert for them somewhere.

    hehe.... OK neutrinos, nutrinos are yummy, full of energy but they never fill you up.

  41. Big_Boomer

    Hippies are immune

    Yup, they're immune to all forms of nasty radiation.

    It comes about due to them having their heads stuck up their arses.

    All that extra flesh attenuates the signal and thus it cannot affect their tender synapses.

    I have to admit that they might have a point though.

    WiFi = 2.45Ghz

    Microwave Ovens = 2.45Ghz


  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    No great surprise !

    Having spent 8 years selling client management systems to yoga studios and other alternative bods first as software and then as a SAAS product I have heard it all, from the "cant have wifi it will disturb the feng shui" through to "I have a spiritual business plan you wouldnt understand it" (yeah right, that will get you an e commerce merchant account every day!)

    Quite possibly some people are affected by RF in ways others arent but what about the fields given off by wires and powerlines, or the RF from the alternator on there camper van?

    And thats the fundamental problem with the new agers, if they did live there lives in caves wearing leaves they would have a point but its the selective nature of there angst that's laughable.

    Paris, like the hippies she is into free love

  43. John B

    I like hippies

    ...because when civilisation collapses they'll be an excellent source of uncontaminated meat.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Wow man, pass the tin foil and the giggle twigs...

    There's no *impartial* evidence that wifi has any ill effects at all.

    These crazy hippies would have us all living back in the dark ages given half a chance.

    Perhaps they should rather concentrate their efforts on more challenging issues, such as the destruction of natural habitats, fly tipping in the countryside, water and air pollution etc.

    Hmm, then again, that would be far too much like hard work...

  45. Jemma Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    ...Jim Henson is in the building...


    And ye the science muppets walketh across the earth scratching their groins, and pronounced the antidepressants good..

    Funny that they all cause MORE suicides than they stop and the only one that I know actually works is Hypericum - from a sodding herb.

    Please dont rattle on about things you have no understanding of... I have done energy workings and other things that I dont want to talk about here ... and saved lives as a result of dreams I have had.

    Not everything can be explained...

    And before you all howl - If I can be allergic to a pill and broadcast level microwave transmissions can do the same cook out to your eyeballs as the 800W cooker in your kitchen... why can people not be allergic to radio?

    Science is great... but please be aware - it can not explain everything.

    /Paris ... cos shes one hella hot sister of the dark ones...

  46. jake Silver badge

    @Jemma & @AC

    "Science is great... but please be aware - it can not explain everything."

    No, science can't explain everything. But at least it makes a reasonable attempt.

    You, and others like you, do not explain anything. You merely gripe about things that you don't understand, refuse to understand the concepts of causality and method, and wring your hands at the rest while steadfastly refusing to become educated. That's what we are giggling at. Cheap humor at the expense of the witless, to be sure, but somewhat humorous nonetheless.

    No icon, because icons are for idiots and children.

    To the AC who was offended: Sorry, I apologize. That was mean of me :-)

  47. Armus Squelprom

    Hey, Robert Mack ...

    Sounds to me like you're unfitted for life in a modern environment. So either we all go back to the stone age to soothe your superstitions, or else you bugger off to a remote hillside safely away from all the nasty modern electrickery. Do you need any help with packing?

  48. Pete "oranges" B.


    "Wifi / WiMax is worse.. I had a Wifi/Max Mast on my roof. As an internet connection between Bracknell and my ISP in Reading (TELE2).

    After a few years I could not remember what I had typed on an A4 page. My Typing became erratic, my spelling was terrible."

    Yes, yes. These are all common side effects of having an internet connection. Seen it a million times.

    But that's not the worst of it. Soon you will have uncontrolable urges to seek out cat pictures with funny captions, become embroiled in long pointless arguments in comments sections, and spend hours on end editing Wikipedia pages about Battlestar Galactica!

    Trust me, I too suffer from this dreadful illness. I speel liek carp, and mae grammer r totuly unwel! Ceiling Cat halp us all!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Energy Workings?

    >>I have done energy workings and other things that I dont want to talk about here

    And you really think that you deserve to be taken seriously after having admitted to this?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Such stories are simply bread and circus for the unwashed masses, blown out of proportion by the media for their agenda.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FUD's not here, maaaaaan.

    "If I can be allergic to a pill and broadcast level microwave transmissions can do the same cook out to your eyeballs as the 800W cooker in your kitchen... why can people not be allergic to radio?"

    Let's break that down:

    "If I can be allergic to a pill..."

    Pills are a chemical compound which is absorbed through the lining of your stomach, and enter your bloodstream. Chemicals in one's blood can cause all kinds of reactions, due to it *being in your blood* which suffuses your organs. If you're allergic to the chemical in the pill, of course there will be a reaction. Just ask someone with a penicillin allergy.

    "...and broadcast level microwave transmissions can do the same cook out to your eyeballs as the 800W cooker in your kitchen...."

    This makes no sense. It's like comparing a match to a burning building. Most Wifi equipment is limited to less than 1W of power. Your microwave oven is 800W, as you say. The "W" indicator actually means something, as do the difference in values of the number which precedes it. Kind of like temperatures. Would you agree that a 37 degree bath is okay, but a 29,000 degree bath might be dangerous?

    "....why can people not be allergic to radio?"

    Because if they were, they wouldn't survive infancy. There are so many thousands of sources of radio energy, both natural and man made, that being allergic to radio would be much like being allergic to sunlight, or oxygen. It's not outside the realm of possibility, but such an allergy would be universally fatal at very young ages.

    Here's a question-- did you grow up in the 80s? 70s? Guess what-- the world was drenched in radio transmissions then, too. Notice any ill effects as a kid? Constant sickness, hair falling out, throat closing up? No? Didn't think so.

  52. Wolf

    Well... :)

    Assuming ley lines are electromagnetic (which seems to be the basis of the claim--which is *REALLY* an odd basis) then the New Agers have a point. (Let's ignore the question of how a ley line could conduct current of any kind for the moment).

    Whatever natural field strength the ley line (presumably) possesses is likely to be in the sub-milliwatt range. A wide-area Wifi network would simply swamp the ley-line.

    Which, of course, brings up a couple of awkward questions. First, how can a human detect the ley line in the first place? Second, why would the ley line's microscopic field stregth have any positive health effects at all, as opposed to a 0 strength field? And lastly, given the whole double the distance/quarter the strength aspect of electromagnetic radation if you moved 10 feet from the ley line the the already miniscule field would become ultra-miniscule, yes?

    On the other hand, if ley line energies are not electromagnetic you face an even more awkward question. How can electromagnetism affect ley line energies not based on it?

    Having said all that it *is* possible for humans to detect sufficiently powerful magnetic fields from induced electrical currents, even in natural setting.

    I've climbed Bell Rock near Sedona and felt the hairs on my arms raised, and felt the induced currents running through metal wires in the cages used to keep tourists from taking souvenirs from the rock piles. Never felt the "vortex" though. Guess I'm not as susceptible to EM effects as some.

    But the important part was it was *repeatable*. It happened a set distance from the rock and not further away. I tried it several times, and could always feel the border when I crossed it.

    I can see why Bell Rock was considered a sacred place by the Amerind peoples. Beautiful setting, really odd sensations, isolated area. And desert quiet.

    But a ley line it isn't.

    While I don't object to the existence of magic qua magic, I'm a firm believer in falsifiability and repeatibility as proof. Something new age followers are short of. Of course the same can be said of other religions as well... (chuckle)

  53. Dane Pack


    "they all cause MORE suicides than they stop"

    What is your source for this?

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Yes, @Jemma

    Sounds like you might be a part-time Cruise-o-matic!

    How's that Scientology tripe working out for you?

    LOL @ U

  55. Alan Fisher

    the refuge of the ignorant

    is insults, didn't your mother ever teach you that when you were getting bullied at school?

    Who is worse a radical Christian who says that all homosexuals are evil because the bible might possible mention something along those lines or a close minded fool who shuts out all opinions which are contrary to their own and do not fit into their very limited dogma....oh wait....

    science, like everything else and any other form of investigaton is just that, another torch shined into the dark to see what's there. Just because something cannot be explained, does not mean it cannot exist; ask a scientist that eh? Dark matter anyone? Dark energy? Photon scattering? Quantum gravitational effects? Can't be explained but may exist.....who said science precludes faith?

  56. alphaxion

    @alan fisher

    Except everything you mentioned isn't just them coming up with technicolour unicorns that give birth to existence after a heavy curry. They're based on observations and testing.

    How do you think they might exist? because evidence points to them and they have to craft them within the current understanding of how physics would allow it to exist.

    But the really crucial factor of science is that when their understanding is challenged, science changes and updates itself regardless the outcome - as it would either correllate with current knowledge or surpasses it to enhance our understanding with a clearer picture.

    This isn't faith, this is comprehension and a fundamental component of humanity - the questions why and how.

  57. Mike

    @the refuge of the ignorant

    Religion needs faith, faith depends on the absence of proof.

    Science needs hypothesis, hypothesis needs evidence to become a theory, theories need to be refutable;

    >Dark energy? Photon scattering? Quantum gravitational effects? Can't be explained but may exist......

    These all have related hypothesis, these have spawned theories, evidence is being gathered, if the LHC doesn't find Higgs then maybe the theory is wrong, if it does then another piece of the puzzle has been found, Science will grow exponentially large as every new fact spawns new things to find, religion otoh says "it's magic, that's all you need to know, don't ask any more questions".

    If there is genuinely some relationship between EMF and ley lines, if they can affect each other then surely this effect can be used to measure, detect and identify ley lines, the beardy weirdies should embrace this to prove their belief (oh, wait, proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing, and with that god vanishes in a puff of logic*).

    *couldn't be arsed to look up the exact quote, apologies DA rip.

  58. Alan Fisher


    Well said and, to the most part I agree with you but, and here is a the big but(t), science must also admit what it does not know in order to progress, you see. To say something is a definate work of the imagination of a sub-set of persons is to do what monothesistic religions have done for millenia, surely? We already know that there elements of the human mind we do not yet understand (I think we never will, one cannot figure out what a hammer does by using another hammer) and there is the possibility that the mind can do things as yet unclassified? I'm not going to go into all the particulars and possibilities themselves now because this is neither the time nor the place but why can they not exist? Other forms of energy we have not yet measured, quantum effects and influences? Who knows what the mind if capable of percieving? The issue here is that there have been plenty of observations of phenomena science cannot explain but these observations have been largely ignored because not enough maths is involved or because there are no machines which can measure said things.

    Now the scientific brain does tend to reject that which occurs beyond the sphere of science or anything which sounds 'fanciful' which strikes me as odd because the foundations of science were built by people who were, in their time, considered to be, to say the least, a bit wierd. Now I am not trying to convince anyone or change the opinions of anyone, merely to see if people can accept that there are things they do no know. No wild-haired prophet am I, giving you answers. No, I'm just asking questions, just like everyone else. If you reject these or choose to insult those who ask them, more fool you really.

    Personally i feel that one day things such as ghosts, psychic phenomenon and other 'paranormal' activity will be scientifically explainable and the whitecoats will triumphantly tell the world what many of us have suspected for some time already but such is the way of the world; nothing exists until science proves it does.

  59. Roger Pearse

    More stone age than new age

    When these benefit-sucking bastards have finished demanding that the rest of us live in mut huts, perhaps the government would round them up, put them in uniform and make them build roads.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ley lines! splutter!

    They were invented by an historian. He studied ancient sites, and joined them up on a map with a pencil. He did it to invesitgate how closely roads and towns etc corresponded to the shortest distance between the ancient sites. Ley lines are what you get when you select "shortest route" on your satnav.

    Paris because she looks after her hair and has the shortest roots in Christendom.

  61. Mage Silver badge

    Radio sensitivity

    In double blind tests no "supposed sensitive" scored any better than a coin flip in correct perception about WiFi being on or off.

    Note that in a short isolated trial a coin toss can appear to be a good guide as to if the WiFi is on or off.

    However on a large number of trials an RF field detector gadget is 100% correct and a coin toss correct 50% of times.

    Due to the < shape pattern of radiation from a mobile phone mast or outdoor phone mast (to improve range for a given power and improve reception), you will find almost no signal directly under it.

  62. Rachel

    magic nonsense ( a rebuttal)

    Magic and religion are not the same thing. They have related elements of ritualisation.

    Unicorns and other fabulous beasts have very little discussion in any modern day discussion of magic. Although it seems more and more likely that even the most fantastic creations of man may have had a precedent in reality (witness Lakshmi the Indian girl).

    As Arthur C Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. JG Frazer in the Golden Bough describes science as next of kin to magic. Those who cling to the utter and blinkered belief in science may like to consider the idea of Solomon the wise, of Roger Bacon and Isaac Newton, all as famed for their science as their magic. The circulation of the blood was 'discovered' not 400 years ago. In the nineteenth century, the discoveries of Darwin, and the curious 'fossils' which began turning up in railway sidings prompted scientists to ponder the idea that if God did make us, he probably didn't do it quite as it says in the first Genesis creation tale. We are getting up to speed, but as someone said, you are shining a light in the darkness and not everything is known yet.

    As for so-called ley-lines, it seems almost certain that they are based on some kind of electro-magnetism. It also seems obvious that humans (and probably all life) are sensitive to electro magnetism. Whilst some claim (and I wouldn't like to disagree with them) that they are affected by Wi-Fi, most people are probably not - we are as used to it as we are to refined sugar or estrogen in the water supply. Some people are affected strongly by things which other people never even notice.

    Those who actually have any scientific interest in the possibilities of what is currently called 'magic' (which includes, by all accounts, the US and UK militaries, who are not fools enough to lose wars for neglecting to explore possibilities) read with interest of unexplained facts and events, correlations between the various anecdotal evidence which has been amassed. Those people are not looking to 'disprove' science, only to stop being so bloody pig-headed about what is 'possible' and what is 'impossible', what merits scientific thought and what is dismissed summarily, out of hand, just because it seems wacky to a bunch of nerds.

  63. A J Stiles


    Last time I was down that neck of the woods, tinfoil was being used for ..... well, let's just say "other purposes than making anti-radio-wave hats" and leave it at that.

  64. jake Silver badge

    @Alan Fisher

    "Personally i feel that one day things such as ghosts, psychic phenomenon and other 'paranormal' activity will be scientifically explainable"

    And I think that you are deluded. Why? I'm glad you asked.

    Some people have believed in paranormal activity throughout human history. It has NEVER been shown to actually exist. That's NEVER. As in not ever. This is after tens, or perhaps hundreds of thousands of years of looking for such proof.

    On the other hand, when scientific theory predicts something might exist, people go looking for that thing and nearly always find that thing (see background radiation, for example). Not surprisingly, learning about this new bit of science often opens other doors of knowledge, and we continue to learn about the universe.

    As the proverbial thinking man, which avenue would you pursue?

    On the other hand, James Randi is still offering US$1,000,000 to anyone who can demonstrate actual paranormal activity. You have until March of next year to collect it. Come back when you have the loot, m'kay?

  65. alphaxion


    hey, I don't discount everything (my family has a history of ghostly encounters, I myself spent about an hour talking to one when I was about 6 or 7... but that's not to say I believe in duallism) but I also won't believe in something when it is as spurious as "wifi is making me ill and scaring away my great tits" either.

    I certainly have my own wild ideas about things (such as everything in this universe having a quantum signiture/vibration that keeps it here, crack that and dimensional travel will work), it's just I won't proclaim them as truth until evidence turns up that actually suggests it, until then it remains a sci-fi fantasy of mine. :P

    Just because we pour scorn on the notion that wifi is making them ill doesn't mean our minds are closed, hell the mind has a massive control over the body and if they think it's causing them to be ill they can end up being ill.. it's called the placebo effect!

    Doesn't mean it's the wifi doing it, rather their own fears and irrationality. Or do you think that heights have an energy field that causes certain people to become violently ill?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CE Testing

    "Unlike the food and drink industry whose products have to go through extensive pre-market trials and testing, there is no safety net for wireless devices," which comes as a shock to those of us who've crouched down salt mines trying to get electrical equipment though CE testing."

    Last time I came into contact with CE testing/marking was back in the mid 1990's, and it wasn't about safety testing, certainly not safety for human beings anyway, not directly.

    It was about testing for emissions of RF radiation from a device and testing it's susceptibility to RF emissions, and also electrostatic discharge tests to determine if the unit continued to function and the level of severity of the malfunction when an ESD was applied.

    It wasn't directly about safety to human beings, so I think the article is somewhat invalid in the statement "which comes as a shock to us who've crouched down salt mines trying to get electrical equipment through CE marking".

    But there's so much bollox about RF, did anyone see the episode of Casualty on tele the other day where they had this nutter patient going on about electromagnetic fields and refusing to be treated in an operating theatre surrounded by medical equipment. Ok, it was fictional, but you can just imagine the hippies acting like that.

    Scientists have conducted blind tests on individuals that have claimed to have severe headaches and nausea when in the present of EM fields, WiFi, and who claim they can detect them when walking into a room. The results of the tests were that the hippies were talking bollox, they couldn't detect when the WiFi was turned on or off.

    It's all psychosomatic, it's all in the their heads.

    It's like the astrologers and new-age muppets that claim that quantum mechanics is the basis of their clairvoyance. They just like the terminology 'cos it sounds good, "Quantum Mechanics" but I bet not a single one as even an O level in Physics, let alone studied it at degree level.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's Glastonbury FFS! It's the West Country, what the f**k do they know about anything?

    West Country folk aren't known for being the brightest of people, the opposite in fact.

    And before the criticism starts flying in at me, I'm an ex-Devonian and I have first hand experience of what they're really like.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "read with interest of unexplained facts and events, correlations between the various anecdotal evidence which has been amassed."

    I couldn't give a monkey's about anecdotal evidence and correlations. Anecdotal evidence is not proof of anything. As my earlier post has said (if it is accepted and I have little reason to believe it won't), studies have been conducted with *those* people that have actually claimed to be adversely affected in the presence of WiFi / RF fields, that claim to have become physically ill, but when taking part in a blind test, they suffered no ill effects and were unable to identify when the WiFI was present or not.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Rachel - Electromagnetism as the basis of Ley Lines

    "Some kind of electromagnetism" wtf is this? There is only one kind!

    That based on Farday's and Maxwells equations. A magnetic field is just that, a magnetic field and we can detect it. An electric field is an electric field and we can easily detect that.

    EM fields, are either one or the other, combinations of both, either static or time varying (giving rise to electromagnetic radiation).

    If the LeyLines are based on "some kind" of electromagnetism, and I admit I don't know the first thing about Ley Lines - but I do know about electromagnetism - can't you tell? - then we sure as well will already know about it, we would be able to detect either the electric and/or magnetic field components easily.

    The theory that Ley lines are based on electromagnetism can be proved or disproved very easily by experiment.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC, Powerlines

    "Quite possibly some people are affected by RF in ways others arent but what about the fields given off by wires and powerlines, or the RF from the alternator on there camper van?"

    There is evidence to suggest that the field from high voltage over head power lines can cause medical problems in humans. There has even been a case where a boy ( think it was in the North of England some years ago) developed a brain cancer, interestingly his head whilst asleep was situated right next to the electricty meter feeding power to the house. Co-incidence or causality? (I'm doubtful: the voltage at the electricty meter is 240Vrms

    More research needs to be done.

    High voltage cables, by definition create a strong electric field, but will also have a magnetic field component of reasonable magnitude. If memory serves me right, the concern is over the electric field component.

    Electric fields act on charged particles, ions. And so do magnetic fields, a charged particle in the presence of either field will move.

    Mains power operates at a frequency of 50Hz, which means there will be an EM field associated with it - in fact,the magnetic and electric fields I mentioned earlier, but these will be changing with time. The frequency is just way too low to have any effect on the human body by absorbtion of a photon of the EM radiation (unlike X rays which actually rely on absorption to be useful).

    So, any adverse effect on the human body created by overhead power lines is likely to be the interaction of the electric or magnetic field components with ions in the body. Ok, we need a biochemist at this point! But I believe there are many processes in the body which rely on ions being present.

    So, could the E (electric) and H (magnetic) fields be disrupting chemical processes taking place in the body and causing a harmful effect?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC, Powerlines

    "People say to me 'But some of these things have been around for thousands of years so there must be something in it' and that's true. We tested them. The ones that worked became "Science" and the rest are called 'soup'".

    No, the rest are called "Alternative". It's well know that most alternative therapies are complete bollox. There's only a few that work, including accupunture - though we can't really explain why they work.

    The alternative brigade refute all the medical experts, but then they have to don't they: otherwise they'd all be out of a job!

    No self respecting man would fall for the alternative therapy con, you'll find that most people that believe in it are, am I going to get shot for that, but it's true.

    My sister's got in on the act to some degree, and she's grown up surrounded by engineers and scientists in the family. Suffice to say, she's the black sheep in the family.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Restricted Membership?

    When I read the post by Jemma I thought "F**k, I thought The Register was read by high calibre, educated IT professionals!".

    by the way, what is an energy working?

    I'm now beginning to think readership/ability to post should be restricted to IT professionals.

    Sorry, Jemma if you really are an IT professional, but somehow I just don't think you are.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jemma, antidepressants

    "Funny that they all cause MORE suicides than they stop and the only one that I know actually "

    What planet are you on?So if 1000 people take an antidepressant, and perhaps 50 were feeling suicidal, even less would actually commit suicide, you're saying that more than 50 would kill themselves because of the side effects?

    It is known that a side effect of some antidepressants is suicidal thoughts, but those effects are extremely rare.

    If there was any truth in the statement you made, the drug would not even be on the market!

    Please think before you speak such rubbish. The drugs undergo testing and records are kept, the side effects and their frequency of occurrence are identified. They have to be!

  74. jake Silver badge

    Power lines & cancer clusters.

    "Mains power operates at a frequency of 50Hz"

    In some countries. Here in the US it's 60Hz.

    As far as I know, the incidence of so-called "cancer clusters" has never been shown to be more related to power lines than a handful of coffee beans thrown at a map, with the beans final resting position representing the statistical probability of a cancer cluster. In other words, it's randomly distributed[1]. A coincidence by any other name is still a coincidence.

    [1] Yes, I know, there ARE cases where there were pollution problems leading to a cancer cluster with a known carcinogen, but the vast majority are statistically random.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50/60 Hz

    50Hz, 60Hz, - frequency is still way too for RF to have any direct impact on the body.

    The website is in the UK, and so am I, that's why I quoted the 50Hz figure.

    Further, the voltage in the USA is 120V, and almost certainly your overhead transmission line voltages are different to ours, and that determines the strength of the E field, and also the H field ( with other factors also present, not just the voltage)

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ley Lines

    What's all the fuss about Ley lines? The original definition by the guy that 'discovered' them, which has since been hijacked by the New Age hippies to suit their own ends, is of straight lines connecting features/objects on the ground.

    Now whilst some guy has claimed that theres an increased magnetic flux density at the intersection of two ley lines, so what? That's possible. Would be worth while checking the geological composition of the rock/bedrock to see what's there.

    Some others have proposed that there's an increased field strength along the entire length of the ley line, which I very much doubt: for that to happen, there must be a very straight geological feature such as high concentration of haematite, iron based rock and nature doesn't work in dead straight lines.

    It's easy enough, as I've indicated in an earlier post, to prove or disprove the mag field theory behind ley lines.

    But so what if there is an increased H field at ley line intersection points? How does this affect anything (other than a compass sitting there? or the voltage across a hall effect device)

    Why so much interest in ley lines from the hippies?

  77. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    private wifi?

    So will they be campaigning to take that down too? I have a pretty serious amp on my setup ;-)

    Perhaps the council should give out free foil hats!

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foil Hats

    Foil Hats.. I think this is a great idea, and then the hippies can wear them out in the rain and thunderstorms, think of it as another form of population control, survival of the fittest, or rather survival of the intelligent.

    Then they'll learn a lot about electromagnetic radiation in the form of a massive electrical discharge, there's nothing like first hand experience

    (Do you think someone can set up a business selling WiFi protection hats containing an inner layer of aluminium foil? Put a waterproof coating on the outside and sell them as as suitable for use in the rain too..........oh, well, wishful thinking :)

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cheap Laughs on a Serious Issue

    This story is bouncing around the world, with every newspaper very happy to have something silly to publish. The fact is, there are health issues with low-level RF and microwave radiation, which is slowly increasing globally as our technology expands to use it more widely. There are biologists and physicians who document these health reactions to low-level EMF, but they are ignored in favor of the physics and engineering types to pooh-pooh any such problems. Governments are mostly on their side, as this is Big Business with billions at stake. So when they can find one or two nutters who -- by the way -- abuse the name and work of Wilhelm Reich, whose orgone energy discovery (see, for example) is not much different from the modern-day idea of the invisible but powerful "Dark Matter" of astrophysics, well, they cannot restrain themselves, but will try to make a big ridicule and go for the cheap laugh. Your health is not of concern to them, nor to any newspaper that reports on serious issues with this kind of phoney (calculated) jocularity. Remember your Shakespeare: "Their buffonery is not innocent. They are the Kings jesters."

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