Friday, 20 August 2010


Having travelled a few weeks through Norway there are some stories I wish to share that circumstances prevented me to write about before. Well known is the fearmongering surrounding mobile phones. New to me is the danger WiFi poses. Of course, whether the claim makes any sense is another matter. There is a school in Ontario where parents want the school to turn of the signal in response to, in essence vague and nonspecific, symptoms among the students. Quoth Steven Novella:
From a basic science perspective, there is little plausibility to the notion that Wi-Fi radiation would have any health effects. The amount of energy that is absorbed by a person living in a Wi-Fi field is negligible - less than 1% of exposure from a typical cell phone and well below current safety levels.
But he advances a different explanation for children getting ill during school hours:
Stress alone is a sufficient explanation, but there may be others. For example, many students go to school sleep-deprived because they are staying up too late. This is not an issue on weekends and over the summer. Sleep deprivation is a good explanation for most of the symptoms being reported.
He concludes this is another example of lack of critical thinking skills being at the basis of a "controversy." While Orac notes:
Did it ever occur to them that complaining of feeling sick is a good way to get out of school for the day?
Also, he stresses the always ignored maxim "correlation is not causation." Something invariably absent from the anti-science movement.

Update: Dutch trees appear unaware of the above:
A study by some Dutch scientists claims to have shown that WiFi kills trees [Study Says Wi-Fi Makes Trees Sick].
Note the important advise on how to protect against this evil.

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