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UK Schools Bans WiFi Due To Health Concerns 535

Posted by Zonk
from the no-bad-teeth-jokes dept.
Mantrid42 writes "Schools in the UK are getting rid of their WiFi network, citing health concerns from parents and teachers. The wireless emanations, parents fear, may be the root cause of a host of problems from simple fatigue to the possibility of cancer. A few scientists think younger humans may be more vulnerable to the transmissions, because of thinner skulls. From the article: "Vivienne Baron, who is bringing up Sebastian, her ten-year-old grandson, said: 'I did not want Sebastian exposed to a wireless computer network at school. No real evidence has been produced to prove that this new technology is safe in the long term. Until it is, I think we should take a precautionary approach and use cabled systems.'"
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UK Schools Bans WiFi Due To Health Concerns

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  • Come on.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:40PM (#16980178)
    What doesn't cause cancer?
  • by adam (1231) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:41PM (#16980182)
    " No real evidence has been produced to prove that this new technology is safe in the long term."

    I'm sorry, but we're not talking about kryptonite or magical dark matter here.. these are devices operating with known technology in a known spectrum-- and let me add, not the only devices in this spectrum. WiFi isn't the only technology to operate at 2.4ghz (and I think some of the standards.. 802.11a? operate at 5.8ghz) -- are these parents seking to ban microwaves and cordless telephones? Even cellphones (and I'm sure many of them at least use cellular phones around their kids, iand some no doubt actually provide their kids with mobile phones) operate on similar 900mhz / 1800mhz / etc frequencies.

    Someone with more of a science background, please reply (and correct me if necessary), but whether or not wireless internet has been studied over the "long term" have not several other devices that operate in the same (or very close) sprectrums? How is this anything but FUD?
    • by elysiuan (762931) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:48PM (#16980254) Homepage
      I hope these kids don't have televisions, wireless phones, or god forbid cellphones. I also, for the sake of the CHILDREN, hope they don't go outside ever where they will be bombarded by RADIATION from a gigantic nuclear furnace! The horror!

      I would say they should stay indoors but then they are still susceptible to all those cosmic rays!

      Obviously, the only solution is to move everybody to New Zion right above the Earth's core.

      Give me a break, this kind of thinking is why 3 year olds die from food posioning every year because its a political impossibility to get irradiated meat on shelves sans a gigantic radiation symbol.

      Its ill-informed knee-jerk thinking of the most insipid kind.
      • by Robber Baron (112304) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:49PM (#16980722) Homepage
        I hope these kids don't have televisions, wireless phones, or god forbid cellphones. I also, for the sake of the CHILDREN, hope they don't go outside ever where they will be bombarded by RADIATION from a gigantic nuclear furnace! The horror!
        Why do you think I'm down here in the basement where it's cool and dark?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bob65 (590395)
        Give me a break, this kind of thinking is why 3 year olds die from food posioning every year because its a political impossibility to get irradiated meat on shelves sans a gigantic radiation symbol.

        Is that the real problem though? The gigantic radiation symbol isn't saying anything that's untrue - if people know that the meat is irradiated, then they're gonna react in a certain way, symbol or not.

        And certainly hiding the fact that it's irradiated would not help matters at all.

        • by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Friday November 24, 2006 @11:50PM (#16981162)
          The solution is to try to teach people exactly what radiation is, what its effects are, and what causes it. People also need to understand that we are *constantly* exposed to radiation from any number of different natural background sources. People also need to understand that exposing something (aka meat) to radiation does not make it radioactive or dangerous in any way (well, unless it gets contaminated by a radioactive material, but that's about as likely to happen in a meat plant as getting contamination from a smoke detector in your house). If they understood that irradiating meat isn't much different from putting it in a microwave, then maybe the irrational fear would go away...people just fear what they don't understand. Understanding the difference between particle and electromagnetic radiation would be a start. Oh noes, light is electromagnetic radiation, it's just like gamma rays only lower frequency! The horror! *runs and hides in the dark basement* Wait, as another poster pointed out, that's not even safe, there might be radon there!
          • Tommy Boy (Score:4, Insightful)

            by DragonHawk (21256) on Saturday November 25, 2006 @03:50PM (#16985838) Homepage Journal
            "The solution is to try to teach people exactly what radiation is..."

            That will never work. It depends on people being able to think for themselves. To paraphrase Dan Akroyd as Ray Zalinsky in the movie Tommy Boy: What the average person doesn't know is what makes them an average person. Look at how many people buy lottery tickets every day.

            (Yes, I know the article is about a school in the UK while the original quote was about the American public. Hence "paraphrase". Same principle still applies.)
        • by sirwired (27582) on Saturday November 25, 2006 @08:47AM (#16983408)
          Is that the real problem though? The gigantic radiation symbol isn't saying anything that's untrue - if people know that the meat is irradiated, then they're gonna react in a certain way, symbol or not.

          The problem with labeling irradiated food with a radura (sp?) is that that symbol is more often used to denote dangerous radiation, in the same way that the similar biohazard symbol is used for biomedical waste. Personally, I don't see any need to label irradiated food in any special way at all.

          SirWired
          • by jabber (13196)
            Absolutely. People seem to confuse "irradiated" and "radioactive". The "radioactive" symbol means just that, that whatever it is on is a source of radioactivity. Irradiated food merely had radiation passed through it - it does not remain radioactive.

            The assassination of Litvinenko in London a few days ago is a case in point. He consumed radioactive material. That his unagi was irradiated in the process is irrelevant.

            The difference between eating irradiated food and ingesting radioactive material is like tha
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arivanov (12034)
        This is the exact f*** problem. Technology has nothing to do with it. Cretinous parents (and grandpatents like in this case) do at least in the UK.

        If you ferry your child around till the age of 4 in a buggy he will quite obviously be fatigued in school. Children are children, they will always try to run and play in every free moment. If they have been ferried till the age of 4 like a disabled or retarded even that little play will make them fatigued and absolutely knackered.

        In fact the primary school teach
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mvdwege (243851)

        Give me a break, this kind of thinking is why 3 year olds die from food posioning every year because its a political impossibility to get irradiated meat on shelves sans a gigantic radiation symbol.

        No, your 3 year olds die because your food industry uses unsanitary methods, and has a powerful lobby to stop any and all legislation trying to get them to clean up.

        Sure, irradiating your meat will kill the bacteria, but that is like taking a painkiller instead of seeing a doctor to inquire why you're in pain

    • Fundamental (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:57PM (#16980326) Journal
      Such fundamental confusion about the nature of science is everywhere. How can one, even in principle, prove that anything is safe?

      No matter how many studies one has that fail to detect a hazard, there is always a chance that the hazard was too subtle to be statistically detectable, or was of a type of hazard that wasn't investigated (e.g., hearing loss or arthritis).

      It's the old saying - you can't prove a negative. Actually, you can't prove anything in science. You can only present evidence.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zCyl (14362)
      If you were to rig up your microwave to operate with the door open, then sit a few meters away from the front of it and run it for 7 or 8 hours (the length of a school day), you'd probably feel like complete crap. If you were close enough you'd probably die, but farther away you would probably feel various levels of discomfort, ranging from migraines down to the minimal level which would probably be a deep fatigue due to interactions between the microwave radiation and the blood-brain barrier.

      (You probably
      • by goddidit (988396) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:03PM (#16980364)
        We are talking about very different power levels, microwave oven 800 watts and the wifi transmitter/receiver that is measured in milliwatts. Your brain won't be heating up very much.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zCyl (14362)

          Your brain won't be heating up very much.

          Whole-brain heating is not the only biological mechanism of interaction with radiation. The bulk of relevant research in this area for the last few years seems to be focused on sub-thermal interactions.

          Microwave radiation passing through a sample of polar molecules which are aligned can produce directionally correlated rotation in the entire collection. Any interaction for which all of the molecules rotate in the same direction is not a thermal interaction, as the

          • by micheas (231635) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:45PM (#16980682) Homepage Journal
            If you do a lot of research you will find that studies that claim that there is a relationship between EMF forces and cancer are almost all fatally flawed, (the infamous 1972 Colorodo Powerline study that started the scare had the flaw of all the group with elevated cancer rates having being exposed to herbicides that are known carcinogens) to the studies funded by the manufacturer of low emf electric blankets after the product was on the market.

            There is no evidence to support the parents beliefs that withstands scrutiny, despite 35 years of research. (there does seem to be a statistically insignificant negative corralation between cell phone use and brain cancers, but nothing that is not accounted for by socioeconomic variables.)

          • by trewornan (608722) on Friday November 24, 2006 @11:25PM (#16980984)

            sub-thermal interactions

            What's one of them then?

            Any interaction for which all of the molecules rotate in the same direction is not a thermal interaction

            Why not - rotational energy *is* themal energy.

            the thermodynamic limit

            How is the thermodynamic limit relevant?

            you can't even use the language of "heat" to describe the interaction at this scale

            I can use the language of heat to describe interactions from the level of individual particles to the level of supermassive black holes, what scale is this at?

            lipid bilayers are polar molecules which are aligned

            Actually close to true - they are *roughly* aligned.

            the effects of such rotations on the function of lipid bilayers is very poorly understood

            At this level of heating it's quite well understood - there is zero effect.

            It seems quite naive for the people in this forum to be dismissing the concerns of those parents as uneducated and unscientific

            No it's the parents who are naive and their concerns *are* uneducated and unscientific.

            There are serious unanswered scientific questions about the interactions and effects

            There are serious unanswered scientific questions about almost everything.

            you can't just wish or scoff them away

            I wouldn't try to scoff away a serious unanswered scientific question - perhaps you can find one.

            You try to sound like somebody using a scientific approach to the problem, but you just use "scientific " words in meaningless combinations.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by coastwalker (307620)
            Oh yes there are interesting lines of research to follow on the subject of electromagnetic radiation interaction with biological systems. Meanwhile the risks have not shown up as any measureable health hazard to people - unless the radiation is causing mass outbreaks of stupidity in the population.

            Its all a question of relative risk. I live in the south west of the UK, the bedrock is granite and houses built on these rocks tend to fill up with genuine radioactive radon gas. I dont see any sign of a Parents
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If you were to turn your regular oven on to 450 and then open the door and sit right in front of it for 7-8 hours you'd feel like crap too. If you sat Close enough to it you'd get cooked. So what?

        Microwaves make things heat up. It's not magic voodoo radiation. Your wifi router over there in the corner of your room isn't hurting you anymore than your light bulb over in the corner lighting up your room is.
      • by modecx (130548) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:58PM (#16980780)
        So yes, there are other technologies which operate right around 2.4 GHz, but wireless networks are one of the only technologies which operate at that precise wavelength (which interacts strongly with water and lipids), with those power levels, without shielding, and with long durations of exposure.

        First of all, the idea that 2.45Ghz is the resonant frequency of water (or fats or sugars), and that 2.45Ghz was chosen because it was particularly effective at heating water is a complete myth. This frequency was chosen because it penetrates into food well enough that it can cook the interior of meats reasonably well, and yet it oscillates molecule dipoles fast enough to make heating, well, fast. This frequency is a compromise between a) heating evenly b) heating effectively and quickly

        Huge industrial microwaves used for various purposes operate from the low 400Mhz range to 2.5Ghz (corresponding wavelengths between ~24-4 inches), and they can be doing anything from drying lumber to baking saltine crackers, and yet they're doing the same basic job--heating water. The advantage is that lower frequencies penetrate much better, and that magnetrons operating at low frequency are easier to build to put out MUCH higher powers, and industrial magnetrons can put out as much as 100KW per unit.

        I'll concede that sitting in front of a household microwave might be bad for you. I'm not particularly willing to test it out. Nor am I particularly willing to sprawl my naked body out on the desert sand for a comparable length of time*.

        *Hint: average total body surface area for an adult male is about 2m^2, solar power density near the equator at sea level is around 400W/M^2, average microwave output is about 1000W. Do the math.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by malsdavis (542216) *
      I'm sorry, but we're not talking about kryptonite or magical dark matter here..


      We are not talking about actual research suggesting most people are actually seriously concerned about the matter either. A semi-tabloid newspaper publishes a single article about some freaks' concerns and slashdot takes it seriously. Please, it's not like even the Times gave the story much credit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ignis Flatus (689403)
      I'm really not edumacated enough with radio frequencies to even make an educated guess beyond the fact that certain frequencies of microwaves are pretty good at heating anything with water molecules inside.

      But oddly enough, people rarely get upset about AC power anymore. Did you know that when you are electrocuted, the frequency of the electric current can determine whether or not your heart goes into fibrillation? And it just so happens that 50 to 60 Hertz (the line voltage frequencies in UK and America)
    • by denebian devil (944045) on Saturday November 25, 2006 @12:28AM (#16981436)
      But how can you argue with this kind of logic??

      From a teacher:
      "I felt a steadily widening range of unpleasant effects whenever I was in the classroom," he said. "First came a thick headache, then pains throughout the body, sudden flushes, pressure behind the eyes, sudden skin pains and burning sensations, along with bouts of nausea. Over the weekend, away from the classroom, I felt completely normal."

      Funny, I had the same reaction. But I don't recall there being wifi in my classrooms.
  • Idiocy (Score:5, Funny)

    by mclaincausey (777353) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:44PM (#16980208) Homepage
    Glad to see we don't have a monopoly on idiocy here in the States...
  • ID-10-T Error (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordKazan (558383) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:45PM (#16980222) Homepage Journal
    Exception: Argument from Ignorance

    there is no *evidence* that these devices CAUSE problems...
    • Re:ID-10-T Error (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283) on Saturday November 25, 2006 @01:17AM (#16981658)
      My favorite one is from many years ago. A ham radio operator moved into a new neighborhood and put up a tower and antenna in his back yard. The complaints came pouring in regarding to TV reception interferance problems, strange voices on the phone lines, voices on the intercom, etc. He replied to all complaints that he was sure his transmitter was not causing any of the problems and invited anyone to send a certified tech out to check for any out of band or excessive power transmission that could cause the problem.

      Nobody sent a technician to check his station. This did not settle the complaints and the FCC was called out due to the number of complaints. The FCC sent him a letter in response to the complaints and they required of him to have his transmitter certified by the manufacture.

      He wrote back and stated the transmitter was lost in shipping and he was waiting for the insurance to settle so he could purchase a replacement.

      Meanwhile he documented and filed all the complaints as existing conditions to the new location prior to beginning operation.
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:46PM (#16980228)
    Stands a greater risk of injury from tripping over the cables of a wired network than from the RF emitted from a wireless network. Our poor, ignorant UK friends...
  • I didn't read the article however I have seen an increasing technophobia with no basis in fact.

    The amount of energy pushed out bu 802.11a/b/g networks is miniscule and it's almost background level when you consider cell phones, TW transmissions, RADAR and a whole host of other technologies that have been in use for much much longer.

    Many of the environmentalist policies and acts legislated by governments provide little or no real benefits.

    As one friend of mine said - it's like putting a bandage on a woode

    • I'm sorry, but what the hell does this have to do with "environmentalists"? You seem to have picked a group you don't like and ascribed some entirely irrelevant stupid belief to them.
    • even listen to this:

      Michael Bevington, a classics teacher for 28 years at the school, said that he had such a violent reaction to the network that he was too ill to teach. "I felt a steadily widening range of unpleasant effects whenever I was in the classroom," he said. "First came a thick headache, then pains throughout the body, sudden flushes, pressure behind the eyes, sudden skin pains and burning sensations, along with bouts of nausea. Over the weekend, away from the classroom, I felt completely normal."

      no my friend its not the network, you have just become allergic to school....

      like the rest of us....

      join the club....

    • I'm reminded of a story from when I was at my British school in the eighties. We had a day trip to British Aerospace as they sponsored the technology course I was doing. At BA they had an enormous experimental radar system that the guy explained emitted MW radiation to work. To show us how much power there was in front of us he *threw* a raw sausage past the front of the thing and with much glee retrieved it and let us feel how hot it was!!

      Pretty sure I was exposed to more radiation that day than in my whol
  • wanna bet ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Duckz (147715) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:47PM (#16980240) Homepage
    $5 bucks says she's talking on her cell phone with her little Sebastian within a few feet of her.
  • Trouble (Score:4, Funny)

    by twebb72 (903169) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:48PM (#16980246)
    I haven't been able to pee since I installed my new linksys. This solves it.
  • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:48PM (#16980256)
    ...to chase away idiot teachers like this one. And they wonder why science scores are declining in England?

    "Stowe School, the Buckinghamshire public school, also removed part of its wireless network after a teacher became ill. Michael Bevington, a classics teacher for 28 years at the school, said that he had such a violent reaction to the network that he was too ill to teach.

    "I felt a steadily widening range of unpleasant effects whenever I was in the classroom," he said. "First came a thick headache, then pains throughout the body, sudden flushes, pressure behind the eyes, sudden skin pains and burning sensations, along with bouts of nausea. Over the weekend, away from the classroom, I felt completely normal.""
  • with concise clinical studies that give evidence that exposure for approx. one decade (with effects probably showing up 50 years later) is safe around?

    So let us take the risk, we will see later. Yes, this is the scientific method.

    CC.
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:51PM (#16980282) Homepage
    Sounds like the grandmother needs the schooling at least as much as the kids. I suggest starting with a list of RF-producing devices, then move on to the inverse square law...
  • Here in my apartment complex, I pick up at least a dozen other wireless networks from my neighbors. At this point, I keep my cell phone with a headset, and I prefer to be cabled for big downloads. Otherwise, it's just too much of a good thing.
  • by kalislashdot (229144) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:55PM (#16980314) Homepage
    Too bad the cables are covered in asbestos!!! Muhahahhaa.

    I don't get it, are we not bombarded with radio waves. AM/FM Radio, cell phones, cordless phones. Natural occurring radio waves? I though it was just something in the environment we learned to harness.
  • skeptical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArbitraryConstant (763964) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:58PM (#16980338) Homepage
    Cellphones output many times the power of a wifi network (since wifi is in an unregulated band the power is limited) and you hold the transmitter right up to your ear. If the link between cancer and cellphones is tenuous, how are we to believe that wifi is terrible?
    • by Vegeta99 (219501)
      The limit on a handheld is 500mW, 3W on a bag phone (In the US, anyway).

      My wireless runs at 200mW, but I think that's out of legal parameters.
  • by Perseid (660451)
    Looks like these people need tin foil hats on more levels than one.
  • He's not nuts. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:59PM (#16980348) Homepage
    "First came a thick headache, then pains throughout the body, sudden flushes, pressure behind the eyes, sudden skin pains and burning sensations, along with bouts of nausea. Over the weekend, away from the classroom, I felt completely normal."

    It's the HVAC. Classic infrasound symptoms.

    He's not nuts at least.
  • Wireless is minimal (Score:5, Informative)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:00PM (#16980350) Journal

    Wireless is minimal compared to everything else. We live in an electromagnetic world, with electromagnetic waves everywhere.

    802.11-b/g operate on the same frequency as microwaves (i.e. in the microwave spectrum); a microwave is shielded by physical means (no, no magical force fields when you power it up), and if you toss a laptop inside (don't turn the microwave on!) you can still connect to it over wifi with good signal. The shielding lets more through than wifi.

    We have TV stations and radio stations broadcasting electromagnetic signals everywhere. There's electromagnetic waves from these and the earth's magnetic field all through the air. There's even electromagnetic radiation from space penetrating the atmosphere, although in very very tiny quantities; without the atmosphere, direct exposure to the level of electromagnetism out there would cook you, kind of like direct exposure to the 1200 watt microwave in the kitchen...

    Many cordless phones operate on the 2.4GHz range (some in the 5.0GHz range to avoid colliding with 802.11-a/b/g Wifi) and are everywhere. Cell phones operate in that range too. The police band, tower-to-air radio, and Ham radio wade around high frequency EM as well. Aside from simple cordless phones, these are all a lot stronger than a Wifi AP.

    Any device with electricity running through it produces an electromagnetic field in some abstract frequency. You get 60Hz EMI coming out of power lines and power cables; once it hits a transformer you might get more, such as the 15MHz that comes out of a flyback transformer in a TV. You won't get the gigahertz range or anything, but you'll get some sort of electromagnetic field just the same.

    You can't escape it. You can hide under a rock 500 meters in the ground but you'll still have enough of the earth's magnetic field to use a compass. What kind of idiot thinks Wifi is magically special?

    • There's even electromagnetic radiation from space penetrating the atmosphere, although in very very tiny quantities...

      Let's not forget that light is EM radiation, and last I checked there was quite a bit of light coming from the Sun.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by biftek (145375)
      802.11-b/g operate on the same frequency as microwaves (i.e. in the microwave spectrum); a microwave is shielded by physical means (no, no magical force fields when you power it up), and if you toss a laptop inside (don't turn the microwave on!) you can still connect to it over wifi with good signal. The shielding lets more through than wifi.

      I just tried this, it didn't work. Full signal outside the microwave, absolutely none inside. Maybe you should check yours?...
  • FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by malsdavis (542216) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:02PM (#16980360)
    What fud!

    This is not a concern of pretty much all UK schools, their pupils or their parents.

    The reason behind the story is simply that newspapers sell papers based on how sensational the issues are. If they could convince people to believe parents won't sending their children to school because of fears of radioactive textbooks, they would print that also.
  • I was downloading Ubuntu's kurdish version (see Wikinews) to take screenshots when I read this item. And I started to think: I am downloading this file, and the data is basically going thru my brain. And according to this article, my brain picks up data as it goes thru my thin skull... So here's the question: Will Ubuntu run on my brain? And if it doesn't, is it because the data is corrupted while being picked up by my brain?

    Another question is: what is the real reason behind banning wifi in schools? You

  • Do these people go outside in the daytime ? Do they not realize that they are being bombarded with radiation if they do ? Radiation that, unlike wifi transmissions, has been proven to cause cancer in humans! This has been your irrational minute.
  • A few scientists think younger humans may be more vulnerable to the transmissions, because of thinner skulls.

    Hmmm....I wonder if there is some truth in this because unfortunately there seem to be a lot of extremely thick skulled people left to make the decisions nowadays.
  • by Ant P. (974313)
    They'd better ban TV and radio broadcast antennas while they're at it. Hey, why not go the whole nine yards and ban mains electricity? After all, you don't know yet that a 50Hz oscillating magnetic field isn't bad for you!
    • by Kamineko (851857)
      > They'd better ban TV and radio broadcast antennas while they're at it.


      I still don't believe they're safe, y'know.

      Shut 'em down. We wont miss much anyway.

  • While I am not convinced either that wifi, cellphones, etc is 100% safe (mind you, I use all of these things, the odd of it being significantly dangerous are low enough that I'll take the gamble any day), this is seriously double standard, as usual.

    In the same breath that these people claim they don't want kids exposed to harmful radiations, they'll scream at their kid to stop playing in door and go do some sport or whatever, under the sun, which is exponentialy more harmful.

    Its just another case of "
  • quite troubling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drDugan (219551) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:41PM (#16980650) Homepage
    any argument taken seriously that prevents young minds from communication is very troubling

    the real issue here is NOT health - it is being driven by the idea that young minds have access to a world of ideas not under control from those in power. the Internet has a global set of ideas - empowering, liberating, libralizing, and educating ideasl this is quite contrary to the mentality in most lower schools which are follow the rules, learn/do what you're told, and tow the line.

    the idea that kids the age of 8 or 9 or 10 (ish) are educated and empowered is deathly frightening to small minded parents, who are so childish themselves they can't deal with strong people. So instead, they cite some completely absurd health scare to keep kids from easy, broad access to online content.

    it is sadly ironic that by applying an argument to protect their health, they will actually harm these children by limiting their access to the Internet

  • by Robber Baron (112304) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:47PM (#16980702) Homepage
    Why in hell can't they just wear tinfoil hats like the rest of us?
  • Physics, anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arceliar (895609) on Friday November 24, 2006 @11:15PM (#16980918)
    The 2.4ghz segment of the microwave spectrum used for wireless devices is essentially harmless. E = hc/w where w = wavelength (normally he symbol lambda is used). The wavelength in this section of the spectrum is very large, comparatively speaking. You know those little holes in the screen of the microwave? Simply put, even those are too small for a microwave to fit through. And the amplitude of wireless lan devices is rather small--ban cellular phones long before you ban a wifi network. The most that particular set of frequencies can do is warm the human body up, and to do that it would need to be far more intense of a signal to have any noticeable effect. Those florescent bulbs used for lighting are more harmful--that white coating on the inside is all that's keeping ultraviolet light, which is harmful, inside the bulb.

    There's no evidence that it isn't harmful, I'll give you that. But find evidence that the easter bunny doesn't exist while you're at it. Just because some mammals grow so large, or just because some electromagnetic waves have the potential of being harmful, doesn't mean they all do.
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@SLACK ... com minus distro> on Saturday November 25, 2006 @12:54AM (#16981558) Homepage
    Hours of staring at a screen without proper exercise or diet leading to fatigue?

    Besides, CRTs blast more energy into your skull than wifi. We should ban old monitors and TVs :-)

    Tom

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