ABC suspends Catalyst host after “inaccurate” Wi-Fi show

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news The ABC has suspended a TV host and accepted there were errors in the “preparation and ultimate approval” of a February episode of the popular science show Catalyst, which discussed the health risks of wireless devices such as mobile phones.

The broadcaster made the announcement with the release of a report (pdf) detailing an investigation into the episode, called Wi-Fried, by its independent Audience and Consumer Affairs (A&CA) unit.

The investigation was ordered after the ABC received a number of complaints about the episode.

The A&CA report found “a number of inaccuracies” within the program that had favoured the “unorthodox view” that mobile phones and Wi-Fi cause health impacts such as brain tumours.

“ABC TV takes responsibility for the broader decision-making process that resulted in the program going to air and acknowledges this is the second significant breach for the program in two years,” the ABC said.

ABC has indicated it is reviewing the strategy and direction for Catalyst with the aim of “strengthening” the popular program.

Additionally, the public service broadcaster is addressing the issues raised “directly with the program makers” and has said that the on-air editorial assignments of the show’s reporter, Dr Maryanne Demasi (pictured), will be on hold until the review is completed in September.

While acknowledging the importance of investigating public health issues relating to the safety of technology, the A&CA report concluded that the episode “breached the ABC’s editorial policies standards on accuracy and impartiality”.

The ABC said it accepts the report’s findings and acknowledges that “errors were made in the preparation and ultimate approval of the program”.

In response to the report, it said it will take the following steps going forwards:

  • An announcement about the findings will be broadcast directly following the Catalyst program on 5 July 2016
  • The Wi-Fried programme will be removed from the ABC’s Catalyst website
  • Information relating the A&CA’s findings will be added to the Catalyst website
  • Information regarding the A&CA’s investigation and findings will be published on the ABC Corrections page.

Richard Finlayson, the ABC’s Director of Television, said the A&CA investigation had been “thorough, involving complex issues and a wide range of material”.

Catalyst is a highly successful and respected science program that explores issues of enormous interest to many Australians. There is no doubt the investigation of risks posed by widespread wireless devices is an important story but we believe greater care should have been taken in presenting complex and multiple points of view,” he said.

The half-hour show, presented by Demasi, featured experts and researchers from across a number of fields, but focused in particular on the work of US cancer epidemiologist Dr Devra Davis.

Experts called some of the claims presented by Davis in the episode “incorrect” or “misleading”.

One such claim Davis made in the program was that it is still too early to see any rise in
brain cancer, arguing that brain cancers after the WWII A-bombs in Japan did not appear until 40 years later.

“This is simply incorrect,” Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, told the SBS.

He cited published scientific evidence that a sudden rise 40 years later is not the observed pattern with cancers. Instead studies have observed gradual rises, moving toward a peak incidence, which may be as late as 30 to 40 years.

Dr Darren Saunders, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at University of New South Wales, called the program’s approach “scaremongering” and also told the SBS there is an “absence of a plausible biological mechanism for how this kind of radiation can cause cancer.”

Image credit: Screenshot of ABC broadcast, believed to be OK to use under fair dealing

61 COMMENTS

  1. Yet the Murdoch rags can trash everything possible and get away with it too. They run fraud campaigns for the Liberals and even control the press council it seems.

    Sounds like fascism to me if they are being silenced.

    Murdoch has fully taken over the ABC so is it any wonder ?
    I cannot keep AC wifi on. Not only is it faulty noisy trash junk that falls over after a few meters.

    It will give me throbbing headaches almost instantly. I have a mobile tower across the road that prevents me sleeping properly. I can sleep better at another home. Turn the Wifi off at night.

    Ethernet works and if I can ever afford a home or land at these prices, the entire house will be networked up.

    Wifi is noisy faulty junk, and AC and whatever they try and cook up is just marketing scams. Want fast LAN ? use ethernet !!!

    The scammers are even going as far as cheating people into buying into the Liberals faulty ADSL NBN and telling them their AC insecure wifi router will speed boost the also noisy faulty copper.

    It’s not bullshit it just needs healthy debate.

    Where profit is involved especially in white elephant trash mobile you find so much stuff ends up needing to be banned. Logics. They have an investment to defend in their white elephant scammy crap.

    I hope some day LiFi takes over this faulty abomination radio crap. LiFi is where it’s at people. It’s optical and wireless.

    • I have a friend with a technology based health issue.
      It seems to be an issue with red leds as their issue only appears when there is one glowing near him and becomes much more pronounced when it flashes.
      I came to this conclusion after ruthlessly testing them with my wifi device with settings controlling the indication LEDs. I started by placing my router in the lounge where they could always see it and showed them how to tell when the wifi was on. I then configured the “wifi light” to be on, flashing, or off and waited for the results.

      • They have already done a test like that. The result, symptoms correlated directly with the persons believe that there was active wifi with no correlation with when there was an actual wifi signal.

    • Hi Daniel :)

      ** Didn’t notice your headache section before I wrote the below, but if sensitive, it might only be on the 5GHz side of the routers wifi; So try 2.4GHz only,(cordless home landline phone frequency) **

      If your wifi router device can do 2.4GHz, then disable the 5GHz frequency & just use the 2.4GHz. Also it’s good to lock down to “g”, “n” or “ac” instead of the router auto-probing all the time. All my stuff will do “n”, so that’s locked in.

      Example, my tablets when used a few rooms away on “n” @ 5GHz would connect at 150Mb/s+ but soon enough drop to stable-ish 53Mb/s,(would still get odd quick to reconnect period dropouts)

      My tablets in the same locations locked onto 2.4GHz would connect at 72Mb/s, be rock stable & stay locked to that number.

      BTW., While but a few rooms away, I am going through 3 walls, a wall chocked up with big 40+ year old metal standing fridge & Freezer, another wall with a metal bookcase,(full of thick juicy text & reference books) & also a big 3 tier metal shelf choccas with stuff right near where I sit with my tablets.

      My download/upload to local devices & wan is topshelf & consistantly smooth,(especially locally,[LAN] where no-one else is competing on transfering/receiving data).

      Hope this helps :)

      Later, RIPP.

    • Hey again Daniel :)

      “It will give me throbbing headaches almost instantly. I have a mobile tower across the road that prevents me sleeping properly. I can sleep better at another home. Turn the Wifi off at night.”

      For the tower accross the road issue etc. & getting some sleep, maybe you could build a modified faraday cage in your bedroom, to keep radio signals out.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

      http://science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm

      I’m sure you can search for any extra information now, like cheap build howtos etc..

      Hope this helps :)

      Later, RIPP.

      • To avoid stray RF ensure you also turn off all power to your house too, or see a doctor and or psychologist to find out what is really wrong.

        • Why you replying to me?

          I just gave some links to help the guy, whether it’s pyschological, or real; If either, the above may help them sleep better.

          Later, RIPP.

  2. Yea i just wonder who it was that complained.
    I have the exact same thing Daniel.

    We must be the only 2 unlucky people in the world to suffer headaches from wi-fi. /sarcasm
    Heard people can suffer similar issues from the smart power meters.

  3. Dear Mike and Daniel. If you haven’t already I recommend you talk to a doctor about your headaches. If we look at a population level or when double blind studies are done there is no evidence radio transmissions cause any ill effects on people. It’s through these kind of studies that science moves forward not through the kind of crap catalyst presented in this episode. Your symptoms may be serious and worth investigating. But it is more likely caused by anxiety than radio waves.

    • Or they could do a blind test to see if they really can detect when WiFi is on. If they can, it’s a groundbreaking scientific result. If they can’t, then they know to look elsewhere for their health problems.

      But they probably won’t do a proper blind test because they are already certain that they are able to detect it. It’s extraordinarily difficult to convince someone that they are mistaken about this kind of thing.

      I once did a blind test of a water diviner, asking them to find a bucket of water hidden under one of two boxes. They did one trial, and got it right. They treated this as proof that they could do it. So we did a second trial, which they got wrong. At this point, they decided they were too busy to have another go. To this day, this person is convinced that they can do water divining.

    • “If we look at a population level or when double blind studies are done there is no evidence radio transmissions cause any ill effects on people.”

      – That’s the debatable part. Especially since the varying effects can be vague and hard to quantify since each person doesn’t have the exact same effect as the next, and it can vary based on the overall stress the body is currently under (as in other sicknesses/stress at work/allergies/injury etc…). To dismiss it outright since science hasn’t been able to prove it goes against the idea of science. Lots of things in science have an effect (even if it’s intermittent), but no solid evidence of why it happens until the complex reason of how is understood. When you bring the human body into the equation — a significantly complex variable that can be hard to understand — the reasons are not as simple as examining cells and saying that they only heat above a certain power output, or trying “lab” condition double blind tests (which could miss the subtle effects over long periods of time). Who knows, maybe RF conditions are an accumulate effect and other things get blamed due to their subtle nature — hence not everyone complaining. Also, the science hasn’t said there are no ill effects, it just says it can’t detect it reliably, and attributes all the results to other causes — effectively dismissing it. Maybe it’s a combination of many things that cause the issues and what they are testing only has one, just the RF component. I could imagine people 300 years ago complaining about sickness near certain high radioactive areas and having no idea why people were having the symptoms. Or the proliferation use of lead in ancient civilisations and the effects that caused — how could the metal be causing people to go mad — it’s just in their mind. Obviously now that we understand the interaction, it’s easy to see that both can cause problems.

      Also, with full disclosure, I tend to get muscle ache from 3G (UMTS) transmission above a certain power output (eg: distant towers in low single strength areas) when being actively used in high data throughput uses (eg: streaming youtube or downloading a large file). 2G (GSM) doesn’t seem to have this issue as much, neither does 4G (LTE). Not entirely sure why. The only theory I have come up with is the transmission method. GSM sticks to a frequence, UMTS chops and changes a lot (so the spectrum is utilised better). The actual frequency of transmissions doesn’t matter — as in 850Mhz vs 1800Mhz vs 2100Mhz. Why it effects me, I’m not sure (though our bodies generally don’t like fluctuating stimulus), and it has actually reduced from the issues it causes 5 years ago (trains were nightmares). The reduced annoyance could be purely due to the fact that the train line is now littered with towers which means the required power output from the phones has effectively been reduced, or the now more prevalent LTE (I’m unsure why a derivative of UMTS has less issues though). Or my body has just learnt to ignore most of it — it can detect it, it just doesn’t send the message to my conscious brain anymore. Who knows.

      Anyway, you don’t have to believe it, but do remember that there are a lot of vested interested (in the trillions) in RF transmissions (specifically the microwave type) that makes the likelihood of any damning evidence coming to light unlikely in the short term. Plus the abundance of RF is only a relatively young phenomenon. Sometimes it takes a generation before the full issues come to light.

      P.S. I tried to contact a relevant scientific body when I first started being annoyed by UMTS, in the end I gave up because it got too hard. It takes a lot of effort to find the right person who actually wants to know/is actively studying it at the time in any place close to where you live. Oh, and my doctor said that medical conferences are starting to raise whether there is a connection between persistent microwave frequency exposure and chronic fatigue (eg: those 3G backed smart power meters near places people sleep).

      • How on earth did you come to such a specific conclusion as “I tend to get muscle ache from 3G (UMTS) transmission above a certain power output (eg: distant towers in low single strength areas) when being actively used in high data throughput uses (eg: streaming youtube or downloading a large file).”?

        I agree, however, that because no correlation was found it doesn’t mean there is none. It does, however, make the likelihood of a correlation decrease with each study that finds no correlation. That’s just the way science works, percentages, likelihoods. Anyone saying more or less than that is trying to sell something.

        • Over around 6 or 7 years of noting when a particular muscle ache happens — usually daily due to my commute (obviously there are many types of muscle ache, from stretching/over use/tearing etc…, and UMTS gives a very distinct uncomfortable ache). I first noticed weirdness in my muscles after a 1 hour train ride when coming home from UNI (circa 2005 — don’t remember the date exactly) , after a while I noticed it was when I sat next to the business men who were using some type of internet dongle (before the iPhone came out and it was expensive for mobile data plans). So I decided to stop sitting next to them, and the issues went away (usually the effects drop off pretty quickly after 1.5 – 2 meters, so it was easy to avoid). At that time I didn’t know what mobile spec the dongles were using, but later worked it out.

          Fast forward to the iPhone 4 (circa 2010). I decided to buy one (since I was moving out of home and Telstra at the time had a really good deal of 6GB of data which would tie me over until ADSL or something was hooked up at the new place). I hadn’t really revisited the issue I had years previous (still avoided, but didn’t give much thought since they weren’t abundant where I was traveling). I was hoping things had changed, and even asked the Telstra sales rep if I could return the phone the next day if it was causing issues. Unfortunately there were issues, so I returned it (with a bit of annoyance as the Telstra rep wasn’t quite telling the truth about the return policy, but that’s another matter). It was somewhat like a hot plate effect. When you touch a hot plate once, you don’t really want to touch it again since it burnt. The iPhone 4 became like that. Didn’t want to be near it — even though I wanted the phone and the mobile data!

          As the years went on from 2010 to 2014 the issue became more apparent and my opportunities to test the annoyance that is 3G increased significantly. The trains were the most annoying since it went from a couple of phones per carriage to almost the whole carriage using them. I ended up sitting in the corner seat where the two carriages connected. That way I only had a potential 90 degree exposure instead of 180 or even 360 degree if I was unlucky and got a middle seat in the main seating areas. That and it was mostly standing room for people who weren’t traveling far so they didn’t usually use their mobile phones.

          During the period above I noticed that the effect was most pronounced when someone was watching YouTube, as appose to reading a website. The proximity was also a huge factor. If it was 1cm from my skin, then the effect was quicker and more annoying. If it was 2 meters away I usually wouldn’t notice (hurrah for the inverse square law). After using dongles and phones myself (due to necessity a few times), I noticed that in weak signal areas the issue was more pronounced. Not scientific, but was reproducible for me. One of my friends even started streaming YouTube once to see if I noticed. After about 10 minutes I turned around and complained — after that he didn’t both trying to annoy me with it. Duration of exposure is also a big factor. The longer it’s around, the longer the effect will last after the device was removed.

          I currently use a 2G mobile phone (a trusty Nokia 5310) that I can use without the same effect as above. It’s fine and I forget it’s around — though I will have to replace it at the end of the year when Telstra switches off their 2G network. So knowing that one mobile phone spec was pretty much fine, and another not, that’s how I narrowed it down to UMTS (and why I researched the different transmission styles). I don’t think it’s limited to UMTS, but that was the most pronounced. It could be selective data as no one on 2G GSM uses the internet, so that spec wouldn’t actively be used as much (everyone on the train doesn’t talk on there phones constantly for 40 minutes, though they do use the internet like that on 3G).

          Thankfully though, most of the above has subsided in the last year. Not entirely sure why, but at least it makes the train rides home better. I tend to now forget people are using their phones which gives me hope that when I’m forced to upgrade to 3G/4G it won’t be as big an issue as it was before. Maybe, as I said before, I’ve desensitised. It never really had any long term effects I could gauge, just the annoying uncomfortableness when it was around. So maybe the nerves in my muscles were somehow being triggered and since I’ve been exposed for long enough, my brain suppresses the stimulus from conscious thought, much like knotted muscles don’t always complain (aka cause pain). Or it could be the combination of desensitising, closer and more towers causing lower signal power and more people using LTE instead of UMTS.

          Anyway, that’s just my experience. I would have liked to not go through the above. I like the idea of having internet access everywhere!

          • There is a lot of evidence that :
            – People are unable to detect RF radiation at the power levels you claim; and
            – People can talk themselves into feeling sick.
            But no-one wants to believe that their symptoms are psychological; we want to believe that there is an external cause for our ills.

            Have you ever tried a blind test ? You don’t need a “relevant scientific body”, just a few spare hours and a friend to turn a device on and off without your knowledge (or you can write some software to this, if you’re a capable programmer). Considering how much this is troubling you, it would be a worthwhile investment of your time.

          • “I sat next to the business men who were using some type of internet dongle (before the iPhone came out and it was expensive for mobile data plans). So I decided to stop sitting next to them, and the issues went away (usually the effects drop off pretty quickly after 1.5 – 2 meters, so it was easy to avoid). At that time I didn’t know what mobile spec the dongles were using, but later worked it out”

            Do you realise how unscientific that is?

          • “Do you realise how unscientific that is?”
            – It is very unscientific (I wasn’t trying to imply it was). I’m not trying to prove the issue, just raise the idea that science isn’t always clear cut, even if people are so sure of it at the time. Throw in some vested interests and everything can be muddied. Heck, Isaac Newton was theorising about the aether to explain the medium EMR propagated through — which was obviously wrong through further discovery and testing.

            At the moment in our limited understanding of pervasive EMR saturation (I say limited since this level of saturation hasn’t been around long to study), we say there is no harmful or detectable effect by humans. But that is from a limited time period of the current use. Take for instance what’s bad and good to eat from 30 or 40 years ago, saying Eggs and Avocado were bad for you, and you shouldn’t eat too many due to the cholesterol and fats (respectively). We later discovered it was more nuanced, and in fact these two food items weren’t bad at all. It’s complex — because the human body is complex. I’ve gone through a bunch of the studies about EMR, and found people who didn’t pass the double blind test, that could not substantiate a link between EMR and cancer, and that generally just said that there is not enough evidence. Though most of them were limited studies over a short period of time. I haven’t re-looked in the past few years since I gave up. I knew it affected me, it didn’t seem to matter what I did (as in mentally wishing it away), so I decided to just live with it and work around it via physical proximity — which worked.

            Maybe it is/was all in my head, but there’s no reason for me to not like mobile internet from a usage stand point. I work in IT (hence being here), and mobile internet is amazing. I’m not a tin foil guy saying everything EMR is bad, or even that it leads to cancer. I just know the casual connection I made over almost a decade of “why do my muscles feel weird during certain periods”. In retrospect I should have organised a proper double blind test, but I didn’t bother since I thought the effect was going to be with me the whole time and I’d just have to deal with it (and I would have an opportunity to test it anytime). Plus when is one persons condition going to change the mass that is Apple/Google, and the sometime border line addiction we have with phones and always being connected. Even if I was the one person that passed a double blind test. The science would be ignored, discredited, labeled an anomaly etc, etc… It happens all the time in public discourse. Just look at how long smoking took — around 200 years from the first casual connections of lip cancer on pipe smokers.

            “People can talk themselves into feeling sick. But no-one wants to believe that their symptoms are psychological; we want to believe that there is an external cause for our ills.”
            – The brain is very powerful, and I agree with what you say. For a few years I toyed with this notion that it might be just in my head, though I could never figure out why it would be as I had no aversion to EMR per say, and I even went about wanting to use the devices that I attributed with the feeling. Eventually there were enough examples of me not knowing a phone was around and then asking the person behind me if they were using a phone — and they were. Not a scientific double blind, but was enough for me to know it wasn’t purely in my head. Now I forget phones are around, so my resolve to prove the issue isn’t high. I probably couldn’t even (yes, I know, convenient). I just know that history is littered with many instances of public discourse of “it could never be an issue”, and then 100 years later the science says otherwise. Combine that with my experience, and I have a healthy wariness and a little more compassion with people who think/do have issues with EMR.

          • The problem with experiencing a headache and then finding a nearby wireless device is that it only goes one way. There may have been numerous instances of being exposed to RF radiation and not getting a headache, but you don’t remember any of those because nothing happened to remember. Over many years you can build up what seems like a conclusive body of evidence simply because the counter-case is, by its nature, never recorded.

          • Mark, when you mention that “though I could never figure out why it would be as I had no aversion to EMR per say” I think it may be important to mention something (perhaps useful, I hope so anyway) but the psychological mechanisms by which you can make the association between these type of things doesn’t rely on you having an aversion.
            In fact, the aversion is caused by the association, not the other way around. I.e. by associating the wireless with the awful feeling, you start to feel aversion to the wireless.
            Assuming that this is the mechanism in play (basically classical conditioning) then it is easy to reverse. But it would probably require the kind of blind studies being proposed.
            Either way, I am sorry to hear that you experience these bad feelings and hope that you don’t suffer them too much or too often.

    • Surely you’re not implying that some of the people pushing this “WiFi is bad for you” idea might be slightly less than honest?

      We see it with the anti-vaccine campaigners, we see it with the anti-GMO campaigners, we see it with the anti-EMF campaigners (and, dare I say it, the anti-nuke campaigners too) – lots of emotive language, lots of assertions, and precious little in the way of actual evidence. So little that in most cases you can’t find it even if you go digging, or, even better, if you *do* dig into the references provided, you find they either don’t support the assertions being made, or even state the exact opposite.

      Unfortunately, lots of innocent people are persuaded by these plausible sounding yet fundamentally misleading arguments, and sometimes (as in the case of vaccines and some ‘alternate therapies’ stuff) put themselves and their families at risk of real harm that would otherwise be avoided.

      • Bias and commercial interest can work both ways. I watched a program on channel 31 about 5 years ago. The bias from a nuclear love in crowd was sickening. There was this “professor of environmental science” from South Australia [ Flinder Uni?] and he said that nuclear power only produces “as much waste as a coke can”. Then he said that all protesters should be banned from nuclear sites.

        I’ve seen academic papers on bit torrent that claim to be independent and then village roadshow is a sponsor in the fine print and surprise, surprise, the conclusion is thta bit torrent is evil.

  4. I have to say, I actually preferred the old Quantum program to Catalyst, it was a sad sad day when Quantum disappeared and Catalyst appeared (in my opinion anyway), but then, I don’t watch FTA, haven’t watched it in a decade.

    • Thanks …That reminded me to check the spaghetti sauce on the stove isn’t getting too hot 👍

  5. It would be the most beautiful thing for ppl to acquire some BASIC scientific knowledge about the world they’re living in. That would reliably shut down all that annoying palaver about mysterious forces causing cancer, aliens probing the buttholes of north american chattle, and whatnot.

    Take radiation as one of many examples. People are afraid of ~radiaaashawwn~ because they’re completely ignorant to the fact that radiation is simply everywhere, by nature, and that our bodies are bombarded by it 24/7. Why don’t we all get cancer from it? Because most radiation, even accumulated with other daily sources, does not pack the required amount of energy to damage DNA molecules. No damaged DNA, no cancer. That’s why. And since we know exactly how much energy it takes to break the bonds in DNA molecules, we also know how much energy WiFi or any other signal (radio, mobile phones,whatever) would have to pack, if it were to accomplish that goal. Long story short, it doesn’t even come close.

    Case closed? Nooo, that would be much too simple.

    There’s a legion of unwell-feelers out there, pointing their nutella buttered fingers at radio antennas or wifi routers, claiming with certainty these devices cause them unrest, headaches, and whatnot. How that would work? They haven’t got the slightest clue (see a pattern emerge?), but they’re sure it’s about “energy”. Never mind that these same individuals, when put to a proper test, will always fail to even detect the presence of such signals, let alone experience its allegedly devastating effects on their well-being, but hey – “energy” is mysterious, amirite folks? And surely, there’s always room for assuming yet-to-be-discovered accumulated effects with other types of..”energy”. Or stuff. A bottomless well of ignorance.

    And what does it say about a “science show” when this voodoo-esque attitude determines what is presented to the audience as factual? What kind of science advisors do these shows employ when they can’t tell apart “unorthodox” opinions (scientific enthusiasm for crackpot theories) from mainstream research? It tells you that our education system is in the sh*ts. Deep. And that’s the only takeaway here.

    • “Why don’t we all get cancer from it?”
      I don’t know if you’ve ever bothered to look outside your own tiny universe, but a shitload of people get cancer. Who are you to say what caused each and every case?

      • *I swear I didn’t plant the guy*
        If you knew what cancer is, you wouldn’t have typed what you typed. No surprise you’re “open” to all kind of mysterizing waffle.

    • I agree.

      Alert! On Today Tonight Mike Munro shows how your microwave oven is dangerous for your health.
      Mike Munro: It’s dangerous. People should wear a protective suit near their microwaves.
      Joe the anti-microwave shield salesman: I agree. Want to buy a shield?

      I’ve seen these scares time and time again. Anyone still got an anti-radioactivity screen for their computer? There was a scare in the 90’s/early zeroes that your computer monitor could give you cancer by releasing radioactive rays.

  6. I would need to do more testing.

    But my router is 2.4ghz and i run it at 20mhz and whatever channel no-one else is is using, But the effects i would get are just a mild dull headache after a number of hours.

    I can literally turn off the wi-fi and within 30mins or so that headache is gone.
    Only ever enable wi-fi is a device needs to use it, Everything else uses ethernet.

    Interesting nonetheless. But the human brain does operate at a number of frequencies no?

    • Now it would be more interesting if it wasn’t you turning on the Wi-Fi. Have someone else turn it on without your knowledge, then your anecdote might carry a bit more weight.

    • If wifi is causing you headaches you should definitely seek medical attention.

      From a psychologist.

    • Wifi does not cause headaches.

      The brain does not work “at frequencies” in a way modifiable by wifi.

    • WiFi is incapable of penetrating the outer layers of your skin (the epidermis). It is fully absorbed, it doesn’t even get to living tissue, let alone through your skull and into your brain. Your mobile phone is capable of transmitting significantly stronger if it is out of range, and that can’t penetrate the epidermis either. There have been hundreds of millions poured into health risks from various forms of radio frequency, and so far no causal evidence has been even remotely found. Hundreds of studies, zero evidence. Somewhat more compelling than your entirely unscientific anecdotes, don’t you think?

      • Wifi in the 2.4GHz band has a wavelength of 12cm. 12cm is a rough measure for the penetration depth. In fact there are people working on ways to image the inside of the body using these frequencies.
        This is easy to test, by the way. Jam a phone between two (friendly) people (so there is skin all around it) and see if it still gets WiFi reception.

        • And if solo; Hope it’s a small phone; Shove it up your clacker & try phoning it from the exension… lol XD

          Sorry, hadz-too :P

        • Nonsense. Wavelength has almost zero relationship to penetration in respect to the relative length of the waveform. While wavelength does have a relationship to penetration, it is far more dependant on the material you’re attempting to penetrate and its density, and the power of the transmission. Materials also do not have uniform relationships to wavelength, so some absorb better in some frequency ranges but worse in others.

          The relationship between human tissue and 2.4 to 5ghz bands is mostly absorptive, but because of the extremely low power used by these devices the waveform fails to penetrate deeper than a fraction of a millimetre. This can be measured by thermal difference – radio waves absorbed by a material will cause excitation of the atoms, which produces heat. Skin warming even from a mobile phone out of range (ie outputting at maximum power) is miniscule – almost all the heat experienced by mobile phone users comes from the phone’s processors producing heat due to computational work performed (just like the CPU in your PC producing heat and requiring cooling). If you up the transmission power then you can definitely penetrate deeper – 2.4ghz is microwave, so push 2,000W at organic (or any water based) matter and that’s a microwave oven. But how effective do you think the microwave oven in your kitchen would be if you fed it 100 milliwatts (a tenth of a Watt)? You literally couldn’t warm a pea if you tried for an hour. And that’s inside a container designed to direct focused energy – the energy from your WiFi devices is dispersed like a mushroom cloud so every additional centimeter of distance has a measurable reduction in energy (power) so by the time it actually reaches your body it is too weak to measurably excite even the most direct molecules at the very surface of your skin.

          If you want to get excited about radiation that has a measurable effect on your body thousands of times stronger than WiFi or mobile phones, look to the dirty great exposed nuclear fusion hydrogen reactor hanging in the sky – you’ll absorb more radiation standing for an hour in the summer sun than a whole lifetime of WiFi exposure.

          • Yes, the exposure from WiFi is tiny. No, it is not going to cause noticeable heating of your body. Yes, the sun is vastly more powerful (and vastly more dangerous – e.g. skin cancer) than WiFi.

            But your claim that a WiFi signal does not penetrate more than a fraction of a millimeter is – in your words – nonsense. RF penetration depth as a function of material properties and wavelength is textbook stuff. For a relatively poor conductor like the human body, wavelength is a good first approximation to penetration depth. Look it up. Or test it.

            Here’s an example of someone taking a serious look at RF penetration. At 2.4 GHz, they have whole of body attenuation in the range 10 to 20 dB.
            http://essay.utwente.nl/66071/1/Dove_MA_TE.pdf

  7. Once knew somebody who swore off flouride, bought an expensive filtration system, after using it for years and talking about how much better their life/health was, I took a look at the system… the damn thing was hooked up backwards and hadn’t been working from day one.

    Instead of you know… realising their error, they screamed denial and doubled down, switched to buying water tanks/bottles, went out and bought some kind of ‘natural’ toothpaste, put a big filter in their showerhead… Continued to yell and scream anytime I tried to raise the fact that the entire condition had been in their head… I gave up.

    • Fact is, lots of people believe it. It’s more plausible than homeopathy, and that’s a multi-billion dollar industry.

      • Lots of people believe in a magical man living in the sky controlling everything. Doesn’t make it fact.

    • It’s amazing they never complained about the AM and FM radio towers pumping out a signal at 1MW rather than the signal that is literally a million times weaker.
      What I want to know is who is installing the antennas in these guys brains? That’s the real conspiracy. Very MK Ultra.

      • There are numerous sources of RF radiation that can be substantially more powerful (for people close to them) than a mobile phone tower – Power tools, kitchen appliances, weather radar, fluorescent lights, poorly shielded desktop computers… I guess what you don’t know can’t hurt you…

      • It’s not the strength of the signal (though it does play a part), but how the signal is modulated, it’s frequency and whether there is a constant change to that frequency. And do remember the inverse square law. A phone 1 cm away could potentially have a similar power exposure to a 1MW tower taking normal operating distance into consideration.

        If people can have seizures from looking at light (eg: Photosensitive epilepsy), then why is it hard to believe that people may be effected by RF in certain forms? Photosensitive epilepsy was only really noticed in the last 60 years, I’m sure it maybe have happened in certain circumstances previously, but people probably wouldn’t have believed the cause. Do people discount the effect because only 3% of the population experience it? And it’s not always a permanent condition? And at the time of discover, probably hard to test for?

        Have a read of the causes here (I assume these would be far fetch to most people in the 60s):

        http://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/3/shedding-light-photosensitivity-one-epilepsys-most-complex-conditions

        • – Numerous studies show that people are unable to detect RF at the power levels they might plausibly be exposed to.
          – There is no known mechanism for the human body to detect RF beyond heating (as opposed to visible light for which the body has exquisitely sensitive detectors).
          – The heating from RF in any normal setting is tiny, because the power levels are extremely low. eg. exercise results in more heating of the brain than mobile phone use.
          – Numerous studies on animals, cells in petri dishes and people show at most very, very minor effects, for a wide variety of RF modulation schemes and power levels much higher than are encountered in normal life.

    • Mobile phone towers won’t be giving me headaches anytime soon!
      *adjusts his tin foil hat*
      Damn right

      • At least wind turbines have a known vector to modifying the experiences of a human being.
        Because you can hear them.

        I’d believe people that wifi was causing them harm if they said it was the noise of the power pack (god those high pitch whines can get bad).

        But the wifi signal?

        Sigh.

        • Wind turbine noise is similar in spectral content to waves crashing on a beach, and has similar or lower power levels given the noise regulations wind farms must satisfy.
          But no-one complains of getting sick because they live within earshot of the ocean.

          • Don’t forget that the average city-dweller is exposed to *far* higher levels of infrasound than you get near a wind farm, and suffer no ill effects whatsoever (apart from some of us being effing annoyed at the constant background hum of traffic noise, anyway).

            Oh, wait, the anti-wind-farm brigade (likely sponsored by ExxonMobil or Koch Industries) are now complaining about shadow flicker… or EMF… or, well, *something*…

    • Yeah I was gobsmacked to read some of the nonsense being posted, in particular because this is Delimiter. I guess in that way muppets are like radiation – exposure is inevitable.

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