Computer magazines, being monthly, are often behind the curve of the news. This is a shame as the internet must be hammering them but still, for some reason, they seem unwilling to adapt and offer much in the way of unique selling points (other than you can read them sitting on the toilet, which is hard to do with a website…). But I digress.
For reasons which will become apparent soon (in a different post), I
am was still subscribed to PCW today and, with the wonders of the Royal SnailMail, I got the August 2007 issue in the post. Now for the last few months I have been more and more dissatisfied with PCW, but out of some weird mindset I always hope the next issue will be better. So far it hasn’t failed to disappoint me… Anyway, on to this issue.
Turning to the news pages and wow – there on page 11 is the news “WiFi in ‘fried brains’ scare.” Well, cutting edge news, isn’t it, I mean it isn’t as if even this blog has mentioned it once or twice in the past … The news item briefly mentions the Panorama woo-ish nonsense and, as you can imagine with a PC magazine, PCW falls in the “Use WiFi” camp.
What is odd though, is how they defend WiFi. The main claim of Panononsense seems to be that radiation 1m from a WiFi point was greated than 100m from a mobile (cell) phone mast. PCW does not go to any lengths to dismiss this as such, nor does it comment on the massive “so what” that this carries. All PCW does to defend WiFi is say:
It did not spell out that the maximum WiFi power radiated is of the order of a thousand times less than that from the mast and a tenth that of a phone handset held right next to the head.
All well and good you may think, it is even probably factually correct (I don’t know off hand and can not be bothered to google it). This response has been echoed elsewhere on TV tech programs and in the computer press. Basically they are saying the WiFi danger is less than holding a phone to your head over and over to justify all manner of WiFi networks being put in everything from your PC to your underwear.
Amazingly, this is a sign the electro-woo cults have managed at least the divide bit of a divide and conquer. If the phone companies respond with saying their phones are less dangerous than WiFi, it will all be over…
Seriously, saying WiFi is “Ok because it is less dangerous than XYZ” is nonsense, especially as the danger from XYZ is almost comical. The downside, though, is it reinforces the idea in the listeners mind that XYZ is bad, and is almost certain to lead to “research” (or at least calls for a stupid “public enquiry”) which hypes up the dangers even more. It happens in almost every industry (GM is a good example) and often gets to the point at which people are confused over what is Woo and what is research. At this point, the “alternative practitioners” with their beads, EM-proof curtains and the like have truly won.
More than anything else, for me, this highlights that “Computer Science” is not a science…
[tags]computer science, computer magazines, computers, culture, electrosensitivity, em, idiocy, mobile phones, nonsense, pcw, personal computer world, philosophy, scaremongering, science, society, wifi, woo[/tags]