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Education The Media Science

BBC Kicked out of School Over Wi-Fi Scaremongering 279

Posted by Zonk
from the i-thought-the-beeb-was-one-of-the-good-guys dept.
h2g2bob writes "Ben Goldacre reports that the BBC Panorama team, while scaremongering over the dangers of Wi-fi, were told to leave the school because even the kids could see it was dumb: 'When the children saw Alasdair's Powerwatch website, and the excellent picture of the insulating mesh beekeeper hat that he sells (£27) to protect your head from excess microwave exposure, they were astonished and outraged. Panorama were calmly expelled from the school.' Should we be pleased that the kids can out-think TV producers?"
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BBC Kicked out of School Over Wi-Fi Scaremongering

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  • Re:While the BBC (Score:2, Informative)

    by foobat (954034) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:44PM (#19286653)
    god, you should of seen the program, they were going around with "radiation testers" comparing it to the level of phone masts and then saying

    "So what about near this laptop then"
    "OMG IT IS SO HIGH HERE"
    "And this would be about the height of a child's head wouldn't it?"
    "OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN"

    Then they went around talking to random people who were "sensitive to wi-fi" and got headaches and crap. It was exactly the same as the people who go around claiming to be psychic, the woman had actually TIN FOILED HER ENTIRE APARTMENT because she couldn't take it. Yet she was only accurate in detecting the precsence of wi-fi 60% of the time

  • by oh_bugger (906574) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:06PM (#19286859)
    The BBC's not all bad. I think the biggest benefit is the pushing forward of standards such as producing most programs in widescreen and now in HD. Also they're supporting a new free satellite system and attempting to defend Freeview from the government who'd rather sell off bandwidth and force high definition transmissions into existing bandwidth.
  • Re:Prove it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Confuse Ed (59383) <edmund@greenius.ltd . u k> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:11PM (#19286895) Homepage
    A much more noticable effect is the horizontal scan frequency (15.625 KHz for PAL) - this is in the range that younger people can hear, but older people can't (your hearing gets worse as you age - but at different rates for different people).
    So as a teeneger / mid-20s, at some point you'll find yourself in the company of other people of the same age where some of you can hear the (annoying) noise, and some can't.

    I think a lot of switched mode power supplies also tend to operate in the same frequency at their standard load (their frequency can change depending on how much current is drawn) leading to a similar effect with all sorts of electronics : including perhaps the circuitry for the 30KV(ish) high voltage part of the CRT (which LCDs don't require)

    From your description of the noise as a "whine", it seems more likely to be one of these two effects rather than the 50Hz or 60Hz vertical scan frequency (which most people would describe as a low "buzzing" sound rather than a "whining sound")
  • by compro01 (777531) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:53PM (#19287239)
    I also wonder why they put up huge fences, and warning signs around transmission towers?

    it's a matter of the power level. the most powerful consumer wi-fi access point I've seen puts out 500 milliwatts. the local FM radio station puts out about 100,000 Megawatts. that's a scale difference of 2,000,000,000,000 to 1.

    that's the difference between 1 milliliter of water and 80 Olympic swimming pools.

    i find it quite plausible that a big transmission tower would pack enough energy to cause adverse effects, but a wi-fi access point? i doubt it.
  • by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:04AM (#19288691)
    it's a matter of the power level. the most powerful consumer wi-fi access point I've seen puts out 500 milliwatts. the local FM radio station puts out about 100,000 Megawatts.

    I would assume that you actually mean 100K WATTS because at 100,000 Megawatts you should be able to pick that station up on the other side of the planet.

    As for the 100K WATTS, that is reasonable, ONE of the local stations here broadcasts at approximately that and has roughly a 3 state radius ( wisconsin upper michigan and minnesota, and parts of upper illinois)
  • Re:Ermmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Monday May 28, 2007 @12:09AM (#19297297)
    Read a book or something, poser. Ya can't PROVE anything is "safe" - but a few EVENTS can prove concrete risk. See the difference ??

    Poser? Posing as what? Or was he simply posing a question you are offended by?

    Interestingly, you are right; he should read a book or two. There have been several publications by many people performing hard science which do indeed cite EVENTS which demonstrate peculiar biological effects which suggest that there is a great deal more about the relationship between EM and human biology than most people are aware of. The book which stands out in particular is Robert O. Becker's work [amazon.com].


    -FL

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