I dont have much time online, so I have pick and choose my ranting carefully now… The Will of Toutatis seems to have decreed that while I am mostly offline, the news is full of things which almost make my blood boil over. Bah. Humbug.
There is a long list of things which are stupid beyond belief in the media this week. I picked the post headline based on the furore from the BBC’s Panorama program which claims Wifi is three times more “dangerous” than mobile phone masts.Â I didn’t watch the program myself, so my comments about it are based on the (mostly radio) news which picked it up.
For years there have been minor scare stories about mobile phone masts (cellphones for you colonials) causing all maner of problems to the people who live in their footprints. There has even been a considerable amount of rigourous scientific investigation into this. Sadly, for both the frightened and the media causing the scares, there is little to support the claims. Now, call me old fashioned but if you have 99 studies which show no ill effects and 1 which does, it probably means there are no ill effects.
Why in Odin’s Name do people focus on the outlier and demand that be considered as the “real evidence?” It is insane. It really is madness, and the BBC radio news about it was a cringeworthy example of it. There were “concerned citizens” calling on the Government to carry out an “inquiry” (as is the case today, if a dog craps on the pavement there needs to be a government inquiry into how and why it happened) and, predictably, there were “scientists” who wanted 15 mins of fame, demanding the same. All based on the same lack of evidence.
When I see things like this, I like to remember a pop-science programme I saw on television a few years ago (it was something like Brainiac but it wasnt brainiac), in which a group of “electrosensitives” were put in a house for two weeks. Outside was a broadcast tower. The subjects were told the tower would be on for the first week and off for the second week.
All subjects reported the “electrosensitivity” problems during the first week, which miraculously cleared up in the second. As they predicted. The kicker of it all was, the experiment was reversed. The tower was off when they thought it was on, and on when they thought it was off.
Now, I am not for one second saying that is the sort of thing which should be published in the Journal of EM Woo or whatever, but it goes a long way to showing how people convince themselves about something – and once they do it manifests itself in other effects.
This recent nonsense about WiFi is prime example, but pure comedy value can be gained from the “three times as dangerous” phrase. Radio towers are not dangerous, so what is three times zero.
I think I can agree with that.