back to article 'Hypersensitive' Wi-Fi hater loses case against fiendish DEVICES

Veteran Campaigner Against Stuff Arthur Firstenberg won a case last week, and lost one too, but there won't be much celebrating as even the victory was a false one. The case he lost started in 2010, when Firstenberg claimed his neighbour's Wi-Fi was sneaking through the mains wires into his house to keep him awake at night. …

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  1. FartingHippo
    Trollface

    Let's make everyone happy

    Put him in a Faraday cage at the bottom of a mineshaft. With some candles.

    1. Battsman
      Terminator

      Re: Let's make everyone happy

      Why bother with the candles?

      Or the Faraday cage?

      By "put" did you actually mean "push?"

      1. Great Bu

        Re: Let's make everyone happy

        ....and by "Mineshaft" did you actually mean "Scorpion Pit" ?

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Let's make everyone happy

      I have a new policy of not mocking people for curious and strange beliefs, as I feel that someday I will be an angry old man moaning about the wifi-leakage from the blasted tablets.

      Anyhow, he could have saved some time and simply moved if it really affected him that much. There is a lovely part of West Virginia near Green Bank that should suit him.

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: Let's make everyone happy

        @Tom 38:

        I was thinking of that too. Because of the radio telescope at Green Bank, the FCC prohibits all radio signals in the area. No TV, no radio, nothing. I've been there. It is a beautiful and fascinating place. But it does have the problems common in Appalachia of poverty and long drives for life's basics. As a bonus, there is a small ski resort not too far away.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let's make everyone happy

          >>Because of the radio telescope at Green Bank, the FCC prohibits all radio signals in the area

          Go look up NIOC Sugar Grove. Lets just say that the telescope isn't the only (or even the main) reason that the area's under permanent radio silence.

      2. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Let's make everyone happy

        ``I have a new policy of not mocking people for curious and strange beliefs, as I feel that someday I will be an angry old man moaning about the wifi-leakage from the blasted tablets.''

        Yes, but as long as they are harmless. What would you think if you were the poor girl next door who just wanted to use her iPhone and had the anguish of several years of litigation hanging over her ? He has harassed others round him for his baseless beliefs. We should be able to insult others who harm others.

      3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        @Tom 38

        I, on the other hand, have a policy of actively mocking those who choose to believe things which are contrary to the established laws of Physics and which lack any supporting material evidence.

        I beleive that this will gently encourage them back into reality where they can base their world view on a view of the actual world.

        In this case, of cource, the person in question is probably more in need of psychiatric treatment than mockery.

    3. S4qFBxkFFg
      Trollface

      Re: Let's make everyone happy

      I'm also feeling evil here - but in a little bit more of a realistic way...

      I'm imagining if someone was to arrange a flashmob outside Mr. Firstenberg's house, during which every participant would be making a call on their mobile.

      If his head explodes, more research is required.

      1. cortland
        Boffin

        Re: Let's make everyone happy

        I’ve found a suitable deterrent to RF-imaginers is putting up an antenna that doesn’t connect to anything, and indeed, doesn't even contain wire or metal. When they complain, the ridicule is enough to put them off complaining even when my 22 femto-Megawatt Illudium Sideband Phoralyzer goes on the air for real. I'm working on a Dithyrambic Synthesized Modulieder to keep 'em awake of nights, too.

        Where's the Earth-shattering kaboom?

  2. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
    Boffin

    Inquiring minds...

    Has anyone actually done a double blind study to see if sensitivity ti Wi-Fi (or any otehr radio frequency) is even real?

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Facepalm

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      Or 'other' radio frequencies, as the case may be...

      <--- Wishes he could actually type.

    2. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      What?

      Actually expose a sensitive person for unhealthy radiation, even for a short while?

      Nope. I have never seen an actual double-blind test done. I know that a lot of people have offered to organise one, but so far, no one with the 'sensitivity problem' has been willing to participate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Some did participate in the UK study back in 2006/7, but became so ill from the emissions they were exposed to they dropped out.

        which the evil scientists then declared their participation as void and removed the extreme results out of the study.

        there are records in the Russian and US military archives(from military tests on animals and personal), but these are so well buried that very few original copies still exist.

        there is a project to digitise those that still exist and have posted on cloud servers at some future date. (the Telecoms and Intelligence services are very keen that they never see the light of day again, as it will destroy the intelligence and telecoms industries overnight, as well as undermine the finances on many countries.)

        currently in the US there is a lot of low level noise about the PG&E rollout of Smart meters which are dividing many communities about adverse health effects they are suffering after the rollout.

      2. Wade Burchette

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        "I have never seen an actual double-blind test done. I know that a lot of people have offered to organise one, but so far, no one with the 'sensitivity problem' has been willing to participate."

        Reminds me of a story I read about where a new mobile phone tower was put up and people in the community where complaining about headaches. The local news investigated and found out the tower didn't have the electricity connected yet.

    3. HMB

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      There have been a metric 'funk tonne' of studies done on any health effects from radio comms and the only thing proven were slight thermal effects for when you're holding a 4W transceiver to your head (using a mobile phone).

      The problem is that people who want to find something just say that 10 years of research isn't enough. They'd like the scientific community to keep putting 2 + 2 together in the vain hope that they get 5 one day and prove them right.

      1. Aqua Marina
        Joke

        Re: 10 years of research isn't enough

        I remember the BSE causes CJD people saying the same thing for a decade or two.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: 10 years of research isn't enough

          "I remember the BSE causes CJD people saying the same thing for a decade or two."

          I seem to recall that the people saying that ther was no risk to human health from BSE were politicans, not scientists. politicians are not known for basing their decisions on sound science; in fact they usually seem to deliberately ignore it.

          What the actual qualified human beings with the appropriate training (as opposed to John Selwyn Gummer) at the time were saying is that there was no known link between BSE and human health, not that there was no risk. Radio Frqeuncy radiation is a diffent beast entirely. The effects are very well defined, are well known and have been studied for a long time. Comparing this to the complex biological actions of a prion protein, at a time when the idea of prions was only just coming to light, and no experiments had even been done, not to mention that they would likely not get past an ethics committee anyway, is a little disingenious to say the least.

      2. Infernoz Bronze badge
        Boffin

        Re: Inquiring minds... look harder and stop falling for corporate propaganda via the MSM

        Apparently the thermal effects are NOT the problem; the problem is _pulsing_ Microwave radiation which penetrates the body and interferes with DNA use by cells and bio-electrical signalling; recent studies have shown a clear link between pulsing Microwave radiation and cell mutation, cancer and cell death!

        Covert state organisations have known about the effects of pulsing Microwave radiation for years; you will notice that ex-soviet and Nordic countries are especially strict on exposure to pulsing Microwave radiation because their military did a lot of research on it.

        The field strength, exposure and effects are especially strong for mobile phones and DECT phones; long term use has shown cases of cancer in the areas of the body where a mobile phone is most used/kept e.g. the right hand side of the head and in one case between a women's breasts, because she kept her phone there! You want to see the reports about mobile phone cells located on or near to populated buildings, the effects on multiple people show why this should never be allowed!

        You will see little of this in the (corporate owned) Mainstream Media, and even some states (e.g. USA) suppress research in this area, because if the facts became widely know, the mobile phone industry would tank overnight, and state employees would not want to use their Microwave work radios either!

        I have WiFi (but have a router scheduled task to switch the WiFi radio off over night, to give me a break), and refuse to have a mobile phone because I noticed discomfort when I used one, and chucked my DECT phone when this also caused discomfort.

        1. Vic

          Re: Inquiring minds... look harder and stop falling for corporate propaganda via the MSM

          > recent studies have shown a clear link

          [Citation needed]

          Vic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inquiring minds... look harder and stop falling for corporate propaganda via the MSM

          > clear link between pulsing Microwave radiation and cell mutation

          It's non-ionizing. It *can't* cause cell mutation. Go back to school.

          1. Grikath
            Devil

            Re: Inquiring minds... @ AC 2012-10-17 09:40

            "It's non-ionizing. It *can't* cause cell mutation. Go back to school."

            Yet the *non-ionising* UV part of the spectrum manages to do a mighty fine job at causing skin cancer.

            You do not need ionising radiation to cause mutations. For quite a few pathways you simply need to exite the right electron, either directly on the DNA or to create free radicals in situ, which takes *far* less energy than even the lowest threshold for radiation to be classified as "ionising" ( ~10 eV).

            Which you would have known if you'd taken the course and done the practical bits.

            Front row seat for you tomorrow, I guess.

            For those who want citations.. Google "mutagenic effects of ultraviolet/microwave radiation" and do the leg-work. The wikipedia article on ultraviolet radiation is also enlightening, as it has a nice table incorporating the H Lyman-α particle so that people get an idea where ionising radiation actually begins.

            Spawn-icon for all my loyal downvoters.

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      My pet budgie lived his nine years within two metres of a WAP and no intervening wall to reduce the signal. When I was using my laptop I was often within a metre of his cage (although he spent most of his time outside the cage). Nine years is a respectable life span for a budgie so I feel confident in saying that the idea that wifi signals are dangerous to humans is a load of old cods wallop.

      And I shall downvote anyone who makes any silly jokes about him using 'tweeter'.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Grikath
        Boffin

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        There is plenty of evidence that the vertebrate body is sensitive to various forms of EM emissions, and not necessarily through specially adapted organs like the eye. After all, our nervous system is a very dense two-way network bathing in an electrolytic solution. However, like background noise and "familiar routine", the brain is adapted to filter out any ordinary background input, aka. "noise" so that we all can pay attention to the really important things, like spotting the large and decidely more dangerous black-striped yellowish feline in the tall grass. Most people do spot stuff like lightning building up, and "static" EM fields in stressed geographical faults if they pass through them, though.

        There is also pretty conclusive evidence that living directly in a high-power EM field is decidedly unhealthy over prolongued periods and during the formative phases of the nervous system. Which makes sense, since you're adding a lot of inductive stress on a rather delicate system that besides motor function also controls your body chemistry feedback. And once you're mucking around with hormones eleoctrolyte balance in a vertrebate body for a bit , it's bound to throw a wobble or two.

        Could you be troubled by radiation from cell towers? Possibly, if you hug them, or are stupid enough to stand directly in front of them in the beam path. The key is power. An ordinary GSM phone does not have the power to do that. Not even a boosted 27MC rig has it, and *those* shed enough parasitic power that they can drown out nearby bands.

        Could someone with brain damage/other physiological imbalance be more sensitive to EM radiation? Possibly. Stranger things have been recorded. Could it be through the electric net? Not unless you want to break some pretty elementary laws of physics regarding propagation of signals.

        But hey.. it's the United States of Litigation and Extortion... If you find a unscrupulous enough lawyer and a pick-of-the-mindless-crop judge. Nothing is stopping you except the limit of your own wallet.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Boffin

          @Grikath

          There is plenty of evidence that the vertebrate body is sensitive to various forms of EM emissions, and not necessarily through specially adapted organs like the eye.

          Plenty of evidence eh? Not just an internet feedback machine? Share some..

          There is also pretty conclusive evidence that living directly in a high-power EM field is decidedly unhealthy over prolongued periods and during the formative phases of the nervous system.

          Getting better - we now have conclusive evidence.

          Could you be troubled by radiation from cell towers? Possibly, if you hug them, or are stupid enough to stand directly in front of them in the beam path.

          Citation? I've seen plenty of studies that say the 'electromagnetically sensitive' are no better at detecting EM fields than flipping a coin.

          mucking around with hormones eleoctrolyte balance in a vertrebate body

          Please stop abusing the scientist icon.

          1. Grikath
            Boffin

            Re: @Grikath, @ Tom 38

            > Plenty of evidence eh? Not just an internet feedback machine? Share some..

            let's see ... specifically for mobile phones:

            http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/salford_mammalian_brain_2008.pdf

            http://www.emrpolicy.org/science/forum/adey_encneuro_mp.pdf

            How about some RL therapeutic research, with the associated theory ?

            http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0896627307004606/1-s2.0-S0896627307004606-main.pdf?_tid=e37e8da6-17cd-11e2-9b5c-00000aab0f26&acdnat=1350418562_11ba8316608ec843e9deaf9802af9609

            http://www.bem.fi/book/22/22.htm

            http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1002022

            http://www.cns.atr.jp/~kmtn/pdf/kamitaniEtAl01Neurocomp.pdf

            There also plenty of stuff in the more "reputable" publications, but I endeavour to avoid paywalls, so that people are not limited to an abstract.

            >Citation? I've seen plenty of studies that say the 'electromagnetically sensitive' are no better at detecting EM fields than flipping a coin.

            I never stated that.. I stated that you could get seriously hurt when you get too close to cell towers, because you're placing yourself in direct vicinity of a high-powered microwave transmitter. If you don't believe in that particular bit of common sense, check with people who service them. Or google service and safety practices for them. *shrug*

            >Please stop abusing the scientist icon.

            you've got your quotes, and a bit of reading to do... see you tomorrow..

          2. veti Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: @Grikath

            @Tom 38: you challenge Grikath to share his "plenty of evidence", but you don't cite any of your own "plenty of studies that say the 'electromagnetically sensitive' are no better at detecting EM fields than flipping a coin".

            "The body is sensitive to various forms of EM emissions" - seriously, are you disputing that? Why do you think the microwave shuts off when you open the door? Ever hear of 'bioelectromagnetism'? Heck, ever hear of 'sunburn'? That alone establishes the point you're disputing.

            (Yes yes, ionising v non-ionising, I know. But the time to make that distinction was before wading in with your broad-brushed scoffing.)

            I'm not saying this 'hypersensitivity' is a real thing. I'm just fed up with armchair scientists loudly demanding that the other side "cite or GTFO", while vaguely claiming to have mountains of uncited studies on their side.

        2. Nigel 11
          Boffin

          Re: Inquiring minds...

          Actually an ordinary GSM phone *does* have enough power to have biologic effects. At maximum power output (one bar reception condition, 2 watts) it does actually raise the temperature of your ear. It's also slightly raising the temperature of your brain. I'd be unwilling to say that this is *categorically* harmless, though a simple epidemeological approach shows that it must be pretty close thereto.

          Anyway, using a mobile for a long time in minimal reception conditions is unusual. More normal conditions have an RF output 100 to 1000 times less. As for domestic Wi-fi, the output is lower than a phone on minimum power AND it's not pressed to the side of your skull. Inverse squares: 2m instead of 2cm means your exposure is down by a further factor of 10,000.

          And "leakage down mains cables" tells you that the complainant is a fruitcake. The last place GHz RF goes is down a directly or indirectly earthed conductor!

          1. jonfr
            Boffin

            Re: Inquiring minds...

            >"Actually an ordinary GSM phone *does* have enough power to have biologic effects. At maximum power output (one bar reception condition, 2 watts) it does actually raise the temperature of your ear. It's also slightly raising the temperature of your brain. I'd be unwilling to say that this is *categorically* harmless, though a simple epidemeological approach shows that it must be pretty close thereto. [...]"

            You forgot this. At 2W it is working on 900Mhz. It is at 33,33cm. So the radio wave it self is too big to harm you, your cells and your DNA. It just does not happen. It is also non-ionizing radiation. So no harm there.

            What you are feeling is not the radio waves warming up your ear when the phone is at full power. What you are feeling is the phone it self warming up. Along with battery at maximum output and that is also warming up because of full strength.

            There is no harm from radio waves from 1Khz to 400Thz (light).

            1. Nigel 11
              Thumb Down

              Re: Inquiring minds...

              You forgot this. At 2W it is working on 900Mhz. It is at 33,33cm. So the radio wave it self is too big to harm you, your cells and your DNA. It just does not happen. It is also non-ionizing radiation. So no harm there.

              Your physics is wrong. The wavelength being bigger than your head doesn't mean it cannot interact. It just means you need to use different mathematics to properly model it. (Were you right, holding a nail and sticking it into the live hole in a plug would be harmless ... a mere 50 Hertz! )

              It is absorbtion of EM radiation that makes your ear get hot, at least in part. And the calculation is that the nearest parts of your brain may be warmed by a small fraction of a degree celsius by the same radiation.

              Harmless? Almost certainly. Your normal body temperature fluctuates daily by more than this amount, and it rises by much more and at a greater rate in response to a mild infection. Nevertheless, "no biologic effects" is provably untrue.

              There's also a putative mechanism whereby HF radiation could cause Zeeman splitting of energy levels in free radicals causing more of them to escape destruction by the body's anti-oxidants at the site where they are generated. They could then be free to cause damage to less-well-protected tissue further afield. Experimental proof of the effect would be VERY hard to come by, the effect would be small, the epidemeology proves mobiles are mostly harmless, but the physics is impeccable.

              1. Alister
                Facepalm

                Re: Inquiring minds...

                @nigel 11

                "Your physics is wrong. The wavelength being bigger than your head doesn't mean it cannot interact. It just means you need to use different mathematics to properly model it. (Were you right, holding a nail and sticking it into the live hole in a plug would be harmless ... a mere 50 Hertz! )"

                What absolute rubbish!

                Sticking a nail in a power outlet has got nothing whatsoever to do with wireless or frequencies, it's a direct electrical connection.

                Idiot!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Inquiring minds...

              Funny that!

              The PharmaTek Industry uses Pulsed Microwave Radiation to Shred DNA in Test Tubes.

              Most Labs have a ban on mobile communications devices in or near them.

              Have a good dig through Nature, Science, the Launcet and you should find corroborating published information.

              Does the NHS or Gov.uk give out information on the various Cancers by home or work postcodes (along with if the sufferers used Mobile phones or similar devices) of those who have had brain Cancers, most of which are incurable. they have the info, but are unwilling to publish such data.

            3. veti Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: Inquiring minds...

              At 2W it is working on 900Mhz. It is at 33,33cm. So the radio wave it self is too big to harm you, your cells and your DNA.

              Non sequitur. My radio antenna is considerably less than 1500 metres long, but it can still receive Radio 4 on longwave.

      3. mrmond
        Joke

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Aha, maybe he could have lived to double that if you'd kept the wifi away !

      4. Measurer
        Go

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Yeah, but haven't wifi signals been proved to reduce a Cod's wallop? Hence inflated fish supper prices! WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE FISH!

      5. Calum Morrison
        Facepalm

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        It's obvious; your budgie was living in a Faraday cage and was thus protected!

      6. Captain Hogwash

        Re: Nine years is a respectable life span for a budgie

        Maybe so in the time of mass wireless electronic communications devices. In the time before such devices budgies used to make it to thirteen years. Not that correlation equals causation of course.

      7. zb

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        But that does not prove that the WAP did not kill him. Maybe without it he would have reached a massive 12 years.

        The headline does mention evidence-based science :)

      8. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Did Faraday make budgie cages?

        (Don't downvote, AndrueC, I didn't mention the t-word)

      9. Bif
        Trollface

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Sure, but to be fair, he did start out life as a hamster.

    5. Deebster
      Boffin

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      Lazy research ahead:

      According to Wikipedia, there have been at least <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_hypersensitivity#Studies">31 experiments</a>; a systematic review concluded:

      "The symptoms described by 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' sufferers can be severe and are sometimes disabling. However, it has proved difficult to show under blind conditions that exposure to electromagnetic fields can trigger these symptoms. This suggests that 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' is unrelated to the presence of electromagnetic fields, although more research into this phenomenon is required."

      1. James Micallef Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Re "This suggests that 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' is unrelated to the presence of electromagnetic fields", I would suggest that the KNOWLEDGE about the presence of an electromagnetic field is enough. The guy BELIEVES he feels bad around E-M radiation, and he 'knows' it's there, so he feels bad - nocebo effect = opposite of Placebo effect.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        No you are wrong.

        Its easy to do a doublre blind. Its called a faraday cage. .

      2. Red_Wolf_2
        Trollface

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        Somehow I doubt this... I've worked with some pretty high powered RF gear in the past, including 2.4ghz gear, and it takes more power than that to cook an egg in any realistic timeframe (and even longer if you're trying to hold an antenna that large still). In any case, hooking a 1W 2.4ghz source to a 24dbi antenna as you are suggesting would be in breach of FCC regulations specifying a maximum 4W EIRP for point to multi-point networks.

        Just saying...

    7. pk123

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      Yes, people have studied it. Here's an extract from an abstract of a meta-study of papers on "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)".

      "Basically, literature from established databases was systematically searched for. For each study, the design and quality were evaluated by means of a criteria list in order to judge evidence for causality of exposures on effects. Finally, 13 studies of sufficient quality were considered for this review.

      In only one provocation study, individuals with self-reported electromagnetichypersensitivity were exposed to EMF. Their perception of field status was no better than would have been expected by chance."

      Full abstract here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969705003694

      I file EHS in same folder as Homeopathy.

    8. Mage Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      Yes, it's been done and the "electro-sensitive" people would score as well tossing a coin to answer if the transmitter is on or off.

      Lucille Ball may have started the fad with her probably fictitious account of receiving radio on fillings. Also tested negative.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        "Lucille Ball may have started the fad with her probably fictitious account of receiving radio on fillings."

        Given that oxides can act as rectifiers - then any metal to metal contact is potentially an AM receiver. Not sure what could make the rectified envelope audible though. Old timers used to say that the Droitwich 1500 metre transmissions had been heard on nearby long rusty barbed wire fences.

        My parents reminisced about listening on a pre-war crystal set* - with the headphones in a bucket for amplification so several people could hear it.

        *a true crystal set was an early AM receiver which had no power. Just the diode effect of a "cat's whisker" wire on a sensitive spot of a crystal with rectification properties.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: Inquiring minds...

          Teeth and bone contain piezo-crystals. They change shape depending on electric field. (Also vice versa, which is why evolution made it happen. A stress concentration in a tooth or bone, such as an incipient crack, generates an electric field that probably signals to osteocytes that a local repair job is urgently needed, and precisely where).

          Anyway, this makes radio detection by a filling in the upper jaw very plausible, and I believed that it had been reported at least once. If it's an urban legend, it's several cuts above the average.

        2. AlbertH

          Re: Inquiring minds...

          I worked at Droitwich. We used to have to weld the seams on nearby refrigerators, cookers and other "white goods" to prevent them "sounding off". We could hear the audio on a gas fire in a house across the road from the site!

          The eeriest effect was walking across the site on a misty night, hearing the audio demodulated by the tiny arcs across the antenna insulators - there were ethereal voices all around!

        3. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Inquiring minds...

          No-one has ever been able to replicate Tooth reception.

          I know not entirely serious, but Myth busters tried too.

          I bet the barbed wire fence is long and near the transmitter. I've built "crystal" sets with better diodes than galena or oxide (copper oxide can be quite good) and you need large aerial (loop or long wire + earth) and very sensitive earpiece.

    9. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      There have been enough cases where complaints were made about new mobile masts...

      Only to then discover that they hadn't been powered up yet.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        >There have been enough cases where complaints were made about new mobile masts...

        >Only to then discover that they hadn't been powered up yet.

        So that's premature hyper-sensitivity disorder ?

        1. Alan Esworthy
          Coat

          Re: Inquiring minds...

          "So that's premature hyper-sensitivity disorder?"

          Yes, and there's also a related disorder known as electrile dysfunction.

      2. Tom 35

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        A friend who is IT for a school had a teacher who was moaning about them setting up Wifi in the school so he took a dead router and removed all the guts. Jammed a red LED in the power light hole with a resistor to the power brick so it would light up.

        Stuck it up on the wall of the classroom with a cat 5 cable stuck through the hole in the back.

        The teacher had new problems every day, and had some of the students blaming failed test marks on the wifi.

        When shown that the router had no guts she quit and filed a complaint that she was being persecuted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inquiring minds...Bwahahaha

          Nice to see the placebo effect in action.

          I might try this with a dead mobile phone, but put a Geiger counter in it so it periodically lights up when it counts a particle and logs to intermal memory.

          Functional AND useful :-)

    10. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      Double blind test- poke out both eyes and see if he can tell when the wifi is on...

    11. petur
      Joke

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      @Zaphod.Beeblebrox: Seeing YOU actually suggest a double blind test gave me a chuckle.... Yes, you need BOTH heads blindfolded!

      1. Isendel Steel
        Joke

        Re: Inquiring minds...

        I guess the Joo-Janta 2000 Peril Sensitive Sunglasses would prove the point. Would stop you seeing the wireless effect.

        1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Inquiring minds... And I hate

          ... it when everyone makes Hitchhikers jokes. How can I maintain the pretence that my spotty friends and I were the only ones who got Douglas Adams when we were in our teens.

          OT but I had to get that off my now unspotty chest.

    12. AlbertH
      Flame

      Re: Inquiring minds... and total idiots

      Yes.

      Extensive tests were done back in the 80s when mobile phones were first becoming common. I was involved with medical testing carried out by the British Government. "Electrosensitivity" was shown conclusively to be complete nonsense.

      Unfortunately, there are too many ignorant fools who work on the "no smoke without fire" principle. This has led to schools being equipped with inconvenient and expensive wired networks, idiots refusing to have mobile phone bases in their neighbourhoods (and then complaining of poor coverage!), and stupid bans on use of mobile phones in aircraft and hospitals (if their electronics is sensitive enough to be upset by the use of a mobile phone, I don't want to trust it with my life!!!).

      The clueless don't understand that they more irradiated by going outside on a sunny day than they ever will by mobile phones, wi-fi networks and all the rest!

    13. Adrian Midgley 1

      Re: Inquiring minds...

      Yes.

  3. dotdavid
    Trollface

    ""It seems that Mr Firstenberg has decided to put more effort into litigation than into determining the actual cause of his symptoms, and that’s unfortunate." "

    So is he an Apple employee or a RIAA employee?

    *Ducks*

  4. HMB

    Think of the Children!

    "Oh no! Not a wireless network! Think of the Children!!"

    "Alright Ma'am, well if you'd just like to hand over your mobile phones including the ones from all of your family, cancel your ADSL, return your BT HomeHub, ditch your cordless phone, hand over your Microwave, bin your baby monitor, remove your CCTV and junk your christmas lights and we'll take it from there...."

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Think of the Children!

      Don't forget any FM radios around the house, too.

      Many 'leak' 500KHz from one of the early stages.

      Same with TVs. That's how broadcasters can tell how many different TVs there are in a building when they're doing a raid, looking for people watching TV without a license...

      (In those parts of the world where broadcast is still (partially) financed by licensing)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaVMO4t_D8c

      1. DJ Smiley
        FAIL

        Re: Think of the Children!

        Except they don't.

        When you buy any device capable of receiving over the air transmissions your required by law to fill in a form stating your details; address, etc.

        Then when they compare this to the list of license holders, they bust in, to find you've actually used it to build a robot, or something similarly sinister!

      2. Andy 115

        Re: Think of the Children!

        "Same with TVs. That's how broadcasters can tell how many different TVs there are in a building when they're doing a raid, looking for people watching TV without a license..."

        Oh dear! You have fallen victim to the TVL propoganda machine my friend…

        IF this were true, many thousands of people would have been prosecuted for TV license evasion based on the evidence provided by "detector" vans. As it stands though, not one person has ever been prosecuted based on such eveidence (HINT: it is too unreliable)

        1. Dapprman

          Re: Think of the Children!

          In suppot of Andy115's comments

          I remember when they came clean over the old white Commerce (?) detector vans, that they were just ordinary vans with a wooden structure on top. All they really did was look for tell tale signs in windows of a TV being present/on and check against their list of licence holders to see if the address in question was covered.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Think of the Children!

            > All they really did was look for tell tale signs in windows of a TV being present/on and check against their list of licence holders to see if the address in question was covered.

            Not even as complex as that. They just correlated addresses. If 95% of people in a street had (i.e. could afford) a TV it was statistically likely that everyone had, so they sent letters to the other 5%. Of course these days almost everyone has a TV, and it sometimes seems that the lower the household income, the bigger the TV will be...

            1. Nigel 11
              Flame

              Re: Think of the Children!

              Of course these days almost everyone has a TV, and it sometimes seems that the lower the household income, the bigger the TV will be...

              Leading to another self-perpetuating bureaucracy that ought to be hit on the head.

              Scrap the TV license. Reduce the income tax personal allowance by sufficient to generate the same income. People too poor to pay income tax get to watch TV for free without having to break the law. There is no collection cost. There might be a few esoteric religions that feel offended.

              OK, put an "I do not watch TV" box on the income tax form, to claim back your allowance. Telling lies to HMRC is a really bad idea, especially since they now have a much shorter list of people claiming not to have TVs, and the ability to collect the fine when they catch you through your next year's PAYE.

              Next for the chop, NHS prescription charges: a tax on the chronically ill to subsidize the acutely ill, that probably costs more to administer than it actually raises. You couldn't make it up ....

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                Stop

                Re: Think of the Children!

                > Reduce the income tax personal allowance by sufficient to generate the same income.

                I really don't want to start a TV licence flamewar, but if we stick to discussing how to collect the money rather than whether it should be done, I do have one reservation about using general taxation.

                At the moment, the amount of the license comes from a separate parliamentary discussion. There is little opportunity for the government of the day to send a not-so-subtle hint to the BBC to say "hey guys, we'd really like to give you an increase, but that program on corruption you're planning, well, know what I mean?". Parliament as a whole (not just the government) gets to decide, and MPs can vote according to their consciences.

                Make it a line item in the budget, such as a personal allowance, and the situation changes. The budget vote tends to get whipped along party lines, and few MPs are going to vote down the whole budget (which could be seen a confidence measure) just because they're uncomfortable with an increase/decrease in the TV charge.

                IMO it would give government too much control over the public TV stations.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Vic

            Re: Think of the Children!

            > they were just ordinary vans with a wooden structure on top.

            Bah. Next, you'll be telling me the Cat Detector Van isn't real either.

            Vic.

          4. A J Stiles

            Re: Think of the Children!

            Commer. Some were real, but they were expensive and unreliable. Many were dummies, and hardly less effective at producing queues in post offices near where they were deployed.

            Since the real detector vans were based around superhet receivers, they had their own local oscillators which leaked out. So you could build a TV detector van detector, and use it to switch off your TV set when it detected a TV detector van. And if you used a TRF front-end for your TV detector van detector, then this would even prevent the TV detector vans from being fitted with a TV detector van detector detector.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Think of the Children!

          Erm - isn't it just that the evidence isn't needed - after all, once you've detected the telly you then knock at the door and ask what's on.

          So easy it's not worth reporting what gave you reasonable suspicion.

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Think of the Children!

          The principle behind TV detector vans (picking up local oscillator radiation that leaks out via the aerial) is perfectly valid, and detection by such means is entirely possible. How many of the vans were "real", as opposed to "dummy" (like speed cameras) is another matter.

          1. Dagg
            Boffin

            Re: Think of the Children!

            Actually it wasn't the Local oscillator it was 15,625khz from the EHT oscillator they looked for. These was considerably easier to detect.

            1. Ed_UK

              Re: Think of the Children!

              "Actually it wasn't the Local oscillator it was 15,625khz from the EHT oscillator they looked for. "

              15625kHz is the line rate (625*25) and I think you're right that the same oscillator was also used to drive the EHT, probably to save components. However, I recall watching Blue Peter around mid-1970s when they showed a "TV detector van" in action. As a special challenge, they even went after a TV known to be tuned to BBC2, which was "particularly" hard to detect. My understanding was that they looked for LO leakage, radiating from the coax, as others have mentioned. Memory could be wonky after 35 years.

              My evil thought was to make a TV Detector Van detector (by detecting _their_ LO). Or, just power up a FOAD transmitter in LO band to splatter them. Might do odd things to neighbourhood tellies, though.

            2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: Think of the Children!

              > Actually it wasn't the Local oscillator it was 15,625khz from the EHT oscillator they looked for. These was considerably easier to detect.

              No, it wasn't. That would be very hard to detect, since such an ELF signal would not travel far, and it would be well-nigh impossible to get a directional fix on it. Harmonics of that frequency might be detectable, but they would be very weak. Put a long-wave radio beside a TV and you'll hear them, but they fade with only a few metres distance. You may be thinking of the US "TEMPEST" experiments, where they looked for the RF generated at video frequencies, to try and decode on-screen text.

              The tuner LO signal is stronger, and since it was carried back up the co-ax to the aerial it was easier to pick up. It's also far easier to do direction-finding on a signal at VHF and UHF.

        4. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Think of the Children!

          IF this were true, many thousands of people would have been prosecuted for TV license evasion based on the evidence provided by "detector" vans.

          What about cat license evasion?

          1. hplasm
            Thumb Up

            Re: Think of the Children!

            I need a licence for my fish, Eric.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Think of the Children!

        If they leak 500KHz, does that mean (former) users of Morse Code don't like them?

        1. AlbertH

          Re: Think of the Children!

          They don't. The frequencies in question are actually 10.7 MHz, 455 kHz, and 45 MHz (the three most common intermediate frequencies in receivers), and there are small amounts of the "local oscillator" that are radiated - this will be 455 kHz, 10.7 MHz or 45 MHz away from the frequency that the receiver is tuned to....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Think of the Children!

            "They don't. The frequencies in question are actually 10.7 MHz, 455 kHz, and 45 MHz (the three most common intermediate frequencies in receivers), and there are small amounts of the "local oscillator" that are radiated "

            I have a faint memory of knowing what TV channel a neighbour was watching due to hearing the AM audio IF on shortwave. Was it also 45mhz for the old UK 405 line TVs? That would have been outside my general receiver's frequency ranges. How about something between 2mhz to 30mhz? My memory prompts 19mhz - but that's only a gut feeling.

            1. Mage Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Think of the Children!

              You can get audio at the difference frequency between Video and Audio carriers, and harmonics, so 6MHz, 12MHz, 18MHz etc for 625 TV. About 4.x something MHz on 405, long time ago, I don't remember.

              The Audio IF strip if on carrier rather than "intercarrier" is 6MHz below video IF usually, so about 33MHz approx for 625 line.

              USA used 44MHz Video IF and Europe usually 39MHz approx for 625 line. Earlier 405 sets used various frequencies from about 12MHz to 44MHz. Earliest 405 sets simply tuned one 42MHz approx channel directly with NO IF, later in 1955 the first set boxes sold for Band I only sets to get ITV on Band III

    2. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Think of the Children!

      Sadly, if ever "proven" (being that plenty of research fails to prove) or simply accepted as reality, this could very well become another child welfare issue. We're already seeing how parents are inadequate at raising their children: not providing the proper nutrition, not providing a proper learning environment, not providing proper supervision and locked entries around pools so other unsupervised children don't break into your property and drown, not providing proper warnings to children to not question the missives of so-called authority and eat competitive foods like (gasp) sour cream and onion crisps at lunch.

      Soon we'll add not providing a electromagnetic-free environment for the child.

      Paris, mutated by bag phones while in the womb.

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I would imagine that regularly attending court would bring out in me the symptoms he claims to suffer from!

    Having an adversarial attitude doesn't promote restful nights.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Curable by shock treatment?

    David Blaine-style?

  7. HMB

    Severe Real Risk from Ionizing Radiation...

    ...but nothing to do with wireless comms.

    This radiation risk is far more intense than any other on the planet.

    Get protected people.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cause Of His Symptoms

    "It seems that Mr Firstenberg has decided to put more effort into litigation than into determining the actual cause of his symptoms, and that’s unfortunate."

    The cause of his symptoms is easily ascertained: it is psychosis.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The Cause Of His Symptoms

      what if his neighbour hadn't been able to afford a lawyer, or hadn't looked sympathetic in court, or was a gender/skin colour/race that the jury didn't like - then he would have won and the laws of physics would have been determined by the precedence of a case in some backward US state.

  9. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wikipedia: Firstenberg was a Westinghouse scholar

    and yet he's against electromagnetic fields. Sigh.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I think he must be mentally ill and needs to be treated.

    1. Alister

      ...and needs to be treated.

      With electrotherapy?

  11. Mondo the Magnificent
    Coat

    Taking his paranoia and hatred of all things RF into consideration...

    ..I reckon this poor chap must be wired.....

  12. RainForestGuppy
    Alien

    Waiting For...

    Firstenberg vs Big Bang**.

    Damn you Creation of the Universe and your background eltromagnetic radiation!!

    ** or Firstenberg vs God. if you believe in those sort of things.

    1. Oninoshiko
      Devil

      Re: Waiting For...

      YES! I think he needs to sue the church!

  13. Piloti
    Thumb Down

    In princinple, what is the difference.....

    .... between wi-fi and, say, FM / MW / LW radio ?

    I was wondering about this before I put [virtual] pen to [online] paper, and can think of only range / power [wifi may be 'stronger'] and the two way nature of wifi, for the up link, down link side.

    I found a UK version of the Americans page, and it's here : http://www.es-uk.info/index.asp I mention is because Dr Erica Mallery-Blythe is associated with both camps.

    When one looks at the " Recognising ES and EHS" section, any sympathy I [I]may[i/] have had with these people just vanished: the list of symptoms could be caused by, a bottle of good wine, a bottle of bad wine, a looming deadline or, frankly, as Marvin would say, it's just life......

    Na, tin foil fools.

    1. pierce
      Pint

      Re: In princinple, what is the difference.....

      wifi is 2.4GHz (or 5.7Ghz for some flavors of N). FM radio is 87-108Mhz, about 20 times lower frequency. Wifi is much lower power, I believe the allowable transmiitter power is around 20mW (0.02 watts), while an FM radio transmitter might be 20,000 watts.

      (beer, because everything goes better with beer)

      1. Nigel 11
        Pint

        Re: In princinple, what is the difference.....

        And Voice of America, so I'm told, was once transmitting 10MW of short-wave AM aimed at the USSR.

        Let's see. Inverse squares ... one mobile on max = 2W at 2cm = 10MW at a shade over 400m.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: In princinple, what is the difference.....

      Higher frequencies/shorter wavelengths make it easier to concentrate RF in any given volume to dangerous levels as the photons become smaller relative to the size of the structures they're passing through.

      (At very low frequencies/high currents the magnetic component becomes more of an issue and FWIW the brain does seem to be sensitive to high level magnetic fields, so keep your head out of the middle of large transformers when they're running)

      On a typical HF comms transmitting farm (5-15kW TXes), the only place you'll expose yourself to inadvisably high levels of RF is if you happen to stand in the middle of an antenna array - but the sheep never seemed to notice.

      OTOH on a Rooftop, standing in front of a typical 800MHz base station TX panel can result in your ears becoming noticeably warmer.

      Then again, if you attach yourself to the end of a 5kW transmitter transmitting at 7MHz - as one of my co-workers managed to do - a few W/kg is the least of your worries. There's a reason for the sage advice to keep one hand in your pocket whilst tuning high power gear.

      Thanks to the Inverse square law, if living under/near a HT line was dangerous for any other reason than "it might fall on you/might arc to ground near you", people who use electric blankets would have exhibited symptoms a long time ago. Similar issues apply to RF - a 10W transmitter 10 metres away is exposing you to far lower RF fields than the 300mW phone clamped to your ear.

      Given that Wifi is 100mW maximum, this guy should have been doing the st victus dance everytime one of his neighbours used a microwave oven.

      Ionising radiation is a completely different kettle of fish - more precisely it's the fact that the size of the photons makes them able to directly damage cellular structures means things can happen. Day-to-day RF exposure is more likely to make you feel odd because of the content of the radio/program you're watching, rather than the EM field of the broadcast itself.

      The problem is that the placebo effect works both ways. People given water and told it's vodka will act drunk, it's perfectly possible for people to "think" themselves into illness and it's also perfectly possible for theraputic drugs to not work very well if the patient believes they're getting a placebo.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In princinple, what is the difference.....Anon! have to do this for obvious reasons

        However, you have failed to comment on a focused radio wave, eg micro wave link. I do however agree that the less than milliwatts of juice from a wifi source is not causing the problem and I am concerned by the fact that the mains wiring was brought into the equation. However, does the signal that he states affect him actually come from her WiFi, or in fact another source, how can the brain differentiate between digital signals from different sources. I have been out to many properties with speech or buzzing on land lines that BT and others have failed to find and fixed them!

        A packet of information from a WiFi on radio will sound exactly the same as a packet of information from a micro wave transmitter, (in excess of 100Mw, could cook a turkey at a mile! the most likely culprit!) or for that matter an RF welder (50 kW on about 27Mhz).or a spark eroder (just broadband rubbish)

        Is the person therefore, actually getting say, government micro wave signals causing the problem!

        I have researched this quite extensively, right back to when the AA had problems with said TX an insurance company and the then new electronic ignitions, to today, where people suspect a phone mast whilst in actuality there is a sprogging from a micro wave link. Lets be honest, if YOU were the government agency responsible for the problem would you a/ spread the rumour its from a 5w telephone mast, or that b/ its from your 100MW microwave link that can fry your brain that has a small problem and there is a bit hitting your houses!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be cheaper

    Just to send this guy, and any others like him, a tin foil helmet?

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    I think we all know the cause of his symptoms

    Raging insanity.

    If he wants to convince anyone that he can actually detect wifi or other radio signals he can start by proving that claim. e.g. answering "on" or "off" after volunteers in the next room flip a coin and turn a device on or off according to heads or tails. All recorded and observed by neutral observers to prevent cheating.

    He should even apply to win a million dollars from James Randi for his talent. Providing it is considered a supernatural claim and he wins he'd get far more money that he would through litigation.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I think we all know the cause of his symptoms

      >He should even apply to win a million dollars from James Randi for his talent.

      Everybody who can do this is presumably already working for the NSA

      If you can detect a wifi being on in another house you should be able to detect a Russian nuke sub

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I think we all know the cause of his symptoms

      There are scientific flaws in what you propose. The effects might be cumulative rather than instant - only after being exposed for an hour is detection possible for instance.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: I think we all know the cause of his symptoms

        "There are scientific flaws in what you propose. The effects might be cumulative rather than instant - only after being exposed for an hour is detection possible for instance."

        The million dollar challenge isn't just a bunch of test templates - the idea is the person would say what their power is, how it might be tested and then a fair and obvious test protocol would be agreed upon to measure the outcome against chance. I simply suggested one way to test someone who claims to be sensitive. If the claim / excuse was actually to say it was culmulative then the test would be required to incorporate that.

        Regardless of what the test was, if a person can sue a neighbour, blaming them for their sensitivity they sure as hell should be capable of demonstrating it in a controlled environment.

        1. Nigel 11
          Alert

          Re: I think we all know the cause of his symptoms

          There was a reported case of a man whose mercury-amalgam dental filling created a resonant cavity and piezo-crystal detector in one of his teeth. (Teeth and bones are natural piezo-crystals). He ended up talking to a psychiatrist about being able to hear a local radio station playing inside his head 24 hours/day. When he said "if you put your ear on my jaw you'll hear it too" the psychiatrist did ... and did!

          A visit to a dentist fixed his problem.

          Never say flat-out impossible. You'll probably be wrong. (My head says a FTL star-drive is a rare exception, my heart still hopes otherwise).

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            Re: I think we all know the cause of his symptoms

            Well I did say "Providing it is considered a supernatural claim". I don't rule out the possibility that wifi sensitivity exists. Randi himself relates one time when he met a person who could actually read music from the grooves in a record as a demonstration that sometimes unlikely claims are still possible.

            However as more and more tests are conducted and don't show any such evidence, one begins to wonder if it exists at all. Then it might qualify as a paranormal claim. Even if it didn't, suing someone for millions of dollars is certainly easier if the person presents strong evidence to support their claim rather than going into the courtroom looking like a kook.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    very quick to assume he is wrong

    Everyone here is very quick to assume the guy is wrong and crazy. WIFI signals by definition cause an effect because otherwise they would be no use for transmitting a signal. His description of it may sound daft but it is not at all beyond the realms of possibility that he could detect those somehow.

    I am a technologist, I'm not about to be scared out of using my own WIFI without reason but it doesn't hurt to keep an open mind. Look back at science history - lead lined baths were theraputic, people thought that radioactive paint was safe, asbestos a great insulator, they honestly did not realise that smoking was bad for you, and so on. We can say that there are no short term effects at a given power level but it has not been long enough to determine long term effects yet. For example you can't rule out that the increase in the use of radio waves in general is causing rises in cancer, etc.

    So while there is no cause to be paranoid, we shouldn't be so sure of new technologies that we ignore new evidence or ridicule and dismiss complaints out of hand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: very quick to assume he is wrong

      "lead lined baths were theraputic" - you're confusing scientists with quacks!

      "people thought that radioactive paint was safe" - which people?

      "asbestos a great insulator" - it is, but it has toxic effects that science proved.

      These are examples that pre-date modern (last 50 years) regulation and some of the reasons we have such stringent product testing today.

      We have been awash with EM since the middle of the 20th century, with transmitters like Crystal Palace and Sutton Coldfield pumping out 200kW of radio energy 24x7x365; if there was a statistically detectable problem then it would be obvious by now.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: very quick to assume he is wrong

      "I am a technologist, I'm not about to be scared out of using my own WIFI without reason but it doesn't hurt to keep an open mind."

      As the saying goes, its good to have an open mind but not so open your brains fall out. If people are genuinely sensitive to wifi or other common forms of radio it should be possible to measure this sensitivity. And if this sensitivity cannot be measured, e.g. claimed sufferers can't even tell when wifi is on more than chance, one has to question if its all in their minds.

    3. peter 45
      Headmaster

      Re: very quick to assume he is wrong

      A technologist. wow. is that like some kind of braniac rocket scientist or what?

    4. Roger Mew

      Re: very quick to assume he is wrong

      Thing is is it wifi he is detecting, does not one load of digital signals sound like another in AM as that is all the body can detect!.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aluminium futures anyone?

    Half a million buys a lot of Bacofoil...

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: Aluminium futures anyone?

      Aluminium needs a hell of a lot of electricity to extract. Think of all the interference from those high-voltage lines!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It's all about the power of the signal" - no it's not, you lot are completely ignorant. It's about the frequency of the signal, how it is pulsed, the power and a number of other factors. Not one of you is an expert on microwave warfare so your opinion on how safe it is should best be kept to yourselves. The Russians killed a number of staff at the American embassy in Moscow in the 50's and 60's with microwave weaponry and the Americans let them do it so they could measure the results.

    If you study the work of Dr Royal Raymond Rife you will get an idea how a pulsed magnetic field can be used to destroy biological organisms, in his case microscopic virii and suchlike. Pulsed microwave may be used instead and indeed is used in the medical field in a few devices. Resonance is used to break apart the organism like an opera singer smashing a glass.

    "It's all about the power..." of the communications companies and their ability to hire armies of scientists who will tell you how safe all of this stuff is. There I fixed it for you.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Perhaps a directed pulse of microwave energy cauterized his brain. It would certainly explain his behaviour. But a more likely explanation is he's a kook.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ladies Day at Tin-Foil Ascot!

      This is just "tin-foil hat" at its best; completely raving!

      Google "microwave warfare" and you get loads of sites related to self-proclaimed "expert" Barrie Trower.

      Check out "Dr" Royal Raymond Rife, and the Wikipedia article shows he's a discredited inventor commonly cited by health fraudsters.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Rife

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      WTF?

      > pulsed magnetic field can be used to destroy biological organisms

      No wonder iPhone batteries catch fire if they're running at those sort of power levels!

      And as far as opera singers smashing glasses go, yes it's possible, but only with a LOT of power. Just hitting the right frequency isn't enough.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "And as far as opera singers smashing glasses go, yes it's possible, but only with a LOT of power. Just hitting the right frequency isn't enough."

        The MythBusters proved it to be possible using just a voice (using a MAN, no less), but he was a trained singer able to belt out the right note loud enough for long enough to pull it off. They also showed that power helps, as an untrained voice could break the glass if his note was amplified through a speaker and some acoustic channels.

    4. nation of stupid

      "The Russians killed a number of staff at the American embassy in Moscow in the 50's and 60's with microwave weaponry and the Americans let them do it so they could measure the results."

      Maybe in the minds of conspiracy theorists they did, but official reports found no measurable differences, most likely due to the fact that the occupants would only suffer an increase in exposure if they stood at an open window all day every day.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        On the other hand most of the senior people at the Moscow embassy in the 50s are now dead!

        It's the same as the dangers of classical music, Almost all classical composers are dead yet most heavy metal band members (except drummers) are still alive and well.

        Remember kids, if somebody offers you a harpsichord - just say no!

    5. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Black Helicopters

      This Dr. Royal Ramond Rife?

      Rife's claims could not be independently replicated, and were ultimately discredited by the medical profession in the 1950s. Rife blamed the scientific rejection of his claims on a conspiracy involving the American Medical Association (AMA), the Department of Public Health, and other elements of "organized medicine", which had "brainwashed" potential supporters of his devices.

      Right then, sorted.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You have NO idea how close you are to the truth

      What is digital, oh yes pulsed, what are microwave links, oh yes very high power.

      Yes the government techies know, do you think they are going to say its not the wifi, its our micro wave link.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Move to Virginia, or ...

    This person needs to move to Green Bank VA (as has been pointed out by others - for those that don't know, Green Bank is a federally mandated RF quite zone, due to some "spooky" facilities there. The RF enforcers even drive old diesels, to avoid noise from spark plugs), or work one of these places:

    http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm

    http://www.undergroundmuseum.org/

    http://www.gccaverns.com/

  20. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    A magnet gave me a headache once.....

    But it was an University research one with a field strength measured in whole Teslas......

    This beast could wipe the magnetic stripe on bank cards at 10 yards....

    So yes some people are probably sensitive to em fields, but at wifi signal strengths? I doubt they would feel anything.

  21. mark 63 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    me too

    The girl who just moved in next door to me must be parking her phone just the other side of the wall to my clock radio - its keeps freaking out with that " imminent call / text " interference noise!

    do i got a case?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: me too

      > do i got a case?

      Maybe. Is she good looking? "Your phone makes my radio chatter" is at least more original than "do you come here often"

      1. John H Woods

        Re: me too

        The girl next door to me reflects EM in about the 400-700nm range, and it certainly has physiological effects.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: me too

      And an opportunity to invite her into your bedroom without getting your face slapped...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microwave thought control

    A local health food shop got a microwave to heat snacks despite threats from various customers they would no longer visit.

    Once the hard decision was made and the "terrible machine" installed they had a much easier day as most of the proper nutters went elsewhere.

    "Wish we'd done it earlier" was the conclusion.

    ===

    That said not sure I'd like to live next door to John Hutchison

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would

    Imagine the conversations we'd have. you never know I might be able to perfect his "poltergeist machine" and then publish a paper on it.

    AC/DC

  24. bruceld

    Title

    It sounds more likely that this individual has a mental disorder of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Spectrum kind.

    I would hate to break the news to this individual, but the Earth itself projects an EM field. The EM field is what is keeping everything on this planet alive as without it the solar winds would blow our atmosphere into space.

    This OCD spectrum individual should be thankful to the EM-Gods.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Empirical proof

    Some humans are *definitely* sensitive to EM fields.

    At least judging by my friend who got struck by lightning. He reckons he felt it alright.

  26. Alan Brown Silver badge
    Devil

    Um? 2 watts? Seriously?

    Old style analog bag phones were 2 watts.

    Dedicated car GSM kits can be 8 watts.

    The legal maximum output for heldheld portables is 300mW and they're only going to be cranking that out when you're in the shittiest of conditions. At anything above 1 bar signal it's more likely to be 50mW (and with 5 bars the transmit power is usually less than 1mW)

    One of my neighbours was absolutely convinced that the "satellite dish" sitting in my back yard was "radiating" her and it was cooking her brain - it was an old silverpainted 2 metre microwave linking dish, with no feedhorn, leaning against a wall. It was only dangerous if you happened to be at the focal point when it was facing towards the sun (which is why I had it. It's fun to see a 4x2 spontaneously catch fire.)

    I did offer to demonstrate brain cookery in action, but she declined. Sometime after that the thing ended up as a raised flowerbed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um? 2 watts? Seriously?

      "One of my neighbours was absolutely convinced that the "satellite dish" sitting in my back yard was "radiating" her and it was cooking her brain"

      It was not unusual for some people, raised before household electricity was common, to treat it like gas. They were afraid of it leaking out of the sockets.

      I repaired our old TV one day - with my mother nervously watching. Just as I plugged in back into the mains there was a rumble - and a large cloud of smoke went up from the large 132kv substation in the next street. She was never completely convinced that it wasn't my doing that a substation transformer had blown..

  27. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    'Firstenberg' is an anagram of:

    http://anagram-solver.net/Firstenberg

    Anagram to solve:

    Answers

    'Firstenberg' is an anagram of:

    Firstenberg

  28. jon 72
    Black Helicopters

    never mind the science..

    does the dude wear tinfoil?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My anecdotal evidence

    Some years ago, we set up the first WiFi at work.

    The access points were fixed to the ceilings around the site. They had a number of coloured lights the most active of which was an orange one indicating traffic.

    One of our secretaries complained that the WiFi was giving her headaches and other symptoms that sounded like what I had once read of M.E. One day when she was not there, we swopped the point with another with a failed orange LED. The rest of the unit worked fine.

    The headaches and other problems stopped immediately. The wireless traffic did not stop, In fact it increased.

  30. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Boffin

    RE: My anecdotal evidence

    You've just discovered orange LED sensitivity.

    Actually, the flickering of the activity light in her peripheral field of view may have been distracting and induced the symptoms.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: RE: My anecdotal evidence

      No - he just proved both wifi sensitivity AND homeopathy in one experiment

      The wifi router case simply retained a memory of the Wifi emission

  31. Radiodoc
    Alien

    Bullsh1t not baffling MY brains.

    I sit - almost every day - within no more than 3 feet of a Belkin router beaming out radiation on Channels 4 & 44 (Chosen solely 'cos "4" in Cantonese is "Dead/Death [My "in" joke] ) also a Dlink beating out its signal on Channel 10, *&* TWO "FON" access points each one radiating TWO Wi-Fi signals on Channels 1 & 7, and with an occasionally powered up PCCW router on Channel 5 to feed my NOW-TV converter. Likewise seldom used Dlink mini router for when hotels only provide a LAN cable - when as a family, we need at least 2 Wifi connections.

    I'd transplant one router to Channel 13 - but Yankee Hegemony would then stop me using that channel for my Asus TF101 *&* my (admittedly) long in the tooth IBM T60P's - Damn the Yanks!

    Yes, I know people here will say of my saturated Wi-Fi - "It's OVERKILL" - but at home I need to Wi-Fi service my wife, my daughter & my maid, and even - occasionally - my neighbors & myself too from our 100Mbps "fibre to the computer" set-up.

    I'm 72 years old, and this plethora of radiation has not done me a scrap of discomfort or verifiable disease, even with a low cost dual SIM phone strapped to my waist for much of the day - every day!!!

    1. DavidRa
      Go

      Re: Bullsh1t not baffling MY brains.

      Slightly OT I know, but try installing drivers for the laptops from other download sites (e.g. Aus or UK), or set the driver properties to a foreign country (again, Aus is a reasonable choice). Or tell the AP it's in Aus.

      You should get the full range of 2.4GHz channels then.

  32. Christian Berger

    If he was actually sensitive....

    He'd have gone to one of the many sceptics associations to raise awareness of his talent. Then he could have gone to the James Randi foundation and gotten his $1m there.

  33. virhunter

    Wouldn't they be allergic to themselves?

    Humans emit infrared radiation, which is on the same side of the electromagnetic spectrum from light.

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Wouldn't they be allergic to themselves?

      Yes, but that's natural radiation and unpulsed. That's why longwave radio stations or analogue TV transmitters are completely harmless, and it's only digital stuff that's dangerous. (according to their deranged minds)

      Some even argue that it's just a certain specific range of intensity which is dangerous, and once the intensity is stronger or weaker it's harmless.

  34. Greg D
    Childcatcher

    Heat from phones

    This is primarily the battery getting warm due to increased drain (use). Same thing happens when I'm just using it to play games with airplane mode on.

    Standard Li-Ion physics. Power drain = heat output.

    Disclaimer: I dont claim to be a scientist of have any in depth knowledge on this subject (or anything beyond very basic Lithium Ion battery physics). Just sayin it as I sees it.

  35. Wombling_Free
    Megaphone

    Okay, now try to sue THUNDERSTORMS and JUPITER

    since those also make radio waves that pass through you.

    People like this should be sealed inside large blocks of stone to prevent them from coming to any harm.

  36. Ian 5
    Joke

    I have this sensitivity myself!

    I feel for this man, as I also frequently experience a crippling headache, an inability to think properly and a difficult to articulate - much lower level - nauseous gut feeling whenever I am exposed to my ex-wifey too.

    Dealing with this has been so expensive that I am now practically destitute... Won't someone think of the children?!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hyper-sensitivity to electromagnetic fields?

    I read somewhere where an individual reported the nearest cellphone tower as causing his symptoms. The thing is - the tower wasn't even switch on. The mans problems are obviously psychological ...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Radio The reason for anonimity will become obvious!

    Hi, I along with others am a radio amateur. I chonk out loads of power, mobile and from the house, however thats not the story.

    I actually live in France and have put up loads of satellite dishes for expats. Now I started getting interference on a SHF frequency, thats lots and lots of MHz or Megacycles, so much so it blocked the satellites signals in many locations!

    Now one a lady had one installed and after 3+ weeks she lost the signal. The reason a Gendarme transmitter was sprogging, (thats a signal that is not going where it should due probably a bent dish). What was the gendarme response to the loss of signal, yes, push up the power! (The sudden reason for loss of signal). That made a bad situation worse.

    This lady AT THE SAME TIME as loss of signal got a severe head ache. Funny, it went after she got a mile up the road. Another guy on the same line had similar problems and suddenly died with no real reason.

    Nobody will do anything about it.

    Now further (if I was in the UK I could be arrested as there is a "D" notice on the following), a person had problems with his Panasonic toaster, he lived on a very high hill in Wales!, cutting a long story short, after lots of things he put up a VERY large screen about 50 feet x 50 of chicken wire, in a short period of time loads of persons turned up. He was given cash, a very large amount, and his house knocked down and the property taken over by the military!

    For the record, this action, the writing of this was done in France, there is no UK "D" notice here in France, consequently I have committed no offense. Neither here in France, nor the UK.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously?

    D-Notices are evil.

    Rumour has it that there's one that covers the Rendlesham forest incident, aka Britain's Roswell.

    Even now if you go to some parts if you take a Geiger counter with you it could get confiscated.

    My theory is that what happened was a crash or near miss involving a nuclear powered aircraft using a criticality assembly (a big lump of Pu with a beryllium shield and control plates) so that the superheated steam drove the turbines.

    Something went wrong with the power plant and it hit the ground, causing serious local contamination.

    The subsequent clear-up operation involving lots of large spotlights and people in Hazmat suits digging up the contaminated soil was mistaken for a flying saucer when people saw the lights through the trees.

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