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Cell Phone Group Sues San Francisco Over Radiation Law

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-not-a-toomah dept.

Cellphones 242

crimeandpunishment writes "The wireless industry wants to put San Francisco's cell phone radiation law on hold. An industry trade group filed a lawsuit Friday trying to stop the law, which requires cell phone stores to display how much radio energy each phone emits. The group says the law, which is the first of its kind in the country, supersedes the authority of the Federal Communications Commission, and will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another."

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What science is behind this? (3, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013248)

At some point you stop and realize that some of these people are out after a power trip and have no interest the public welfare. I consider myself pretty pro-consumer, usually support class actions and that kind of thing, but I look at this and have to ask 'what science is behind this?'

Seriously, I want these cell phone fearing Luddites to fail in a public way, to be exposed to the world for the scam artists that they are. Why? Because Luddites like these make normal pro-consumer people look like nut-cases by association. Just like Greenpeace has done more environmental harm than any company in history with their self righteous and reckless actions.

Makes me wish the judge could pass the following sentence in court "Luddites be gone, back to your cave and never to see civilization again"

Re:What science is behind this? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013280)

Just like Greenpeace has done more environmental harm than any company in history with their self righteous and reckless actions.

Citation needed. If you can make me believe that they've done more damage than Monsanto, Union Carbide, or BP, then you can probably make me believe anything. I'm willing to believe they're a bunch of idiots for the most part, but that doesn't make them more damaging. Mostly they want people to not do stuff.

Re:What science is behind this? (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013366)

I don't have time to find a citation at the moment, but I'll lay out the math for you. Take the pre-nuclear scare rate of building nuclear power plants. That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

Now realize that instead of everyone singing kumbyah and living in caves they decided to be part of civilization instead. Now realize that their power came from coal burning power plants instead of the nuclear power plants that would have built in their place.

Realize that the average coal plant releases more radiation into the atmosphere every year than three mile island did in it's meltdown. Take the radiation, the sulfur and all the other pollutants that were put into our environment by coal power plants. Add those numbers up, add up the number of injuries, add up the wanton devastation caused by things like mountain top mining and the reclassification of streams to no longer be wetlands. The coal industry today would be dead and buried if it wasn't for Greenpeace.

Run the numbers for the last several decades, let the math speak for itself. Do the same for places like Germany where Greenpeace has done even more damage to the environment. I then challenge you to find any company anywhere in history that comes anywhere near that.

Re:What science is behind this? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013418)

I don't have time to find a citation at the moment, but I'll lay out the math for you. Take the pre-nuclear scare rate of building nuclear power plants. That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

False dichotomy. PV solar panels were known to repay the energy cost of their production in eight years or less in the 1970s, and vertical-axis wind turbines were used by ancient Romans to pump water uphill (with an Archimedes screw.) Meanwhile, the plants that they were railing against probably should NOT be built; they're all extremely antiquated designs which unnecessarily produce large amounts of waste. I am against building any plants that don't involve fuel reprocessing, myself. That doesn't mean I'm pro-coal. You're saying that since the evil fuckers who run the power monopolies will only consider building shitty nuke plants that it's Greenpeace's fault that we don't put any genuinely cleaner power production online and I just can't agree with you.

Run the numbers for the last several decades, let the math speak for itself.

Since your entire argument is based on a bogus premise, math isn't really the problem here.

Re:What science is behind this? (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013476)

The only false dichotomy here is the one you just presented. Solar panels were not viable for any widespread usage back in the 70's. They are only now starting to become viable, and even then only with significant government subsidies. Look at the public subsidies for solar power in places like Germany and Spain and you'll see that their solar panels have come at a very expensive cost. I say this as someone who likely put solar panels on my own house in the next couple of years.

Solar power in most environments only supplies spot power, much like wind power. They typically do very little when the sun is down (molten salt solutions that allow for night time use are just now coming into use). In case you haven't noticed society needs power outside of those times it is sunny or windy.

Certainly nuclear power plants should reprocess fuel. Your point about plants is moot though as greenpeace has consistently managed to kill funding for new and improved designs across different nations for decades. Greenpeace has never invested a single dollar into renewable energies, (you know trying to solve these problems) instead choosing that they prefer 'direct action' and political influence. You still haven't run the math, I think your afraid of the answers you'll get.

Re:What science is behind this? (4, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013896)

Solar panels were not viable for any widespread usage back in the 70's (sic). They are only now starting to become viable, and even then only with significant government subsidies

Photovoltaic solar panels for power generation? Sure... Solar panels to heat/cool your home and your water? That science has been around for hundreds of years...

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014040)

Could you point me to a solar cooling panel?
That's something I've been looking for.

tia

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

JDS13 (1236704) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014164)

PV panels don't work so well at temperate latitudes (where people live), and their output follows the diurnal pattern of solar radiation cycles. Throw in the solar constant and PV makes sense only for special applications off a power grid.

Re:What science is behind this? (1, Informative)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014138)

Since speculation seems to be the rule here, let's try to imagine how blackened the skies would be if we didn't have the environmentalists demanding that these industries clean up their act a little. Maybe if you lived fifty or a hundred years earlier you might understand... IOW "you had to be there". You had to see what Lake Michigan or the Chicago river used to look and smell like. And furthermore, the government subsidies towards alternative power is infinitesimal compared to what is given to oil and coal. Let's cut out that crap and see where the chips fall.

Telling the cell phone makers to print out some info they already have won't cost them anything. Me personally, I don't care to be holding a radio transmitter by its antenna, much less bridging it, reducing its performance... The RF is fairly concentrated at that spot, unlike ambient radiation.

Re:What science is behind this? (3, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013512)

Run the numbers for the last several decades of building, running and decommissioning the nuclear power plants too. As France found they are not 'free' or 'cheap'. As a state backed project they are a very neat national bragging right, but they are expensive.

Re:What science is behind this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013692)

[...] if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

Greenpeace never "killed nuclear power plants in the 70's".

The Three Mile Island accident however did so... in the US at least.

Re:What science is behind this? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014184)

"That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's."

Greenpeace? You're giving them way too much credit.

Greenpeace didn't kill nuclear plants in the 1970s, Three Mile Island did and Chernobyl after that. Yes, I'm well aware that Three Mile Island didn't release much radioactive material (the containment structure worked) and Chernobyl was an inherently unsafe design (and had precious little containment), but that doesn't change the public perception of these events: that despite assurances that nuclear power was safe it wasn't as safe as claimed. Furthermore, even the engineers involved with Three Mile Island were surprised with the extent of damage in the core once they started cutting it out. It was a partial meltdown, and it could have been a lot worse. It took, what, a few years to clean up after it? No, longer than that [inl.gov] . 30 and ongoing. A few years ago they took the core pieces out of water storage in Idaho and put them into dry storage now that they've cooled down enough. As per agreement between the State of Idaho and the federal government they still have to be moved out of Idaho to some permanent site that is yet to be determined (see below), so the ultimate costs of the accident still aren't fully accounted for. The accident is still costing money and will cost plenty more.

The other thing that stifled nuclear power was the construction costs for utilities (HUGE capital expenses and MASSIVE cost overruns), and the fact that there still isn't a permanent storage site for high-level waste even though the government has been collecting money from nuclear power utilities since at least the 1980s in order to build it (i.e. is Yucca Mountain dead as a site or not? And if dead where's the new site, and when is it going to be on line? By 2030 or so?).

I know that nuclear power is still a good option and I think it has a future if people get off their asses and A) solve some of the technical/political challenges, and B) either get over the NIMBY attitude and let nuclear power flourish, or C) invest HEAVILY in the other alternatives. Most people have no clue of the energy challenges we're going to face in the next few decades if nuclear power is left out of the choices to replace oil's eventual decline. People need to accept it now so that there is time to get building before things get to a crisis. This isn't something that will be solved with a few wind turbines. It would take thousands upon thousands, and people will gripe about where those are sited too!

However, despite all that I'd wager the public appetite for nuclear power wouldn't be any better if Greenpeace didn't exist. People have more than enough valid reasons to be skeptical of it. I mean, face it. If they couldn't site a geological repository at Yucca Mountain, in the middle of a desert area that already had hundreds of nuclear bomb tests, then where the heck are they going to put it? And without a solution for long-term storage nuclear power's future is uncertain in the USA.

Re:What science is behind this? (2, Interesting)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014232)

I don't have time to find a citation at the moment, but I'll lay out the math for you.

[...]

Now realize that instead [...] Now realize that their power [...]

Realize that the average [...]

Sir, your post is simply WILD SPECULATION, nothing else. Now realize that Greenpace has been traditionally quite strong in France for example (and still is). And look how they destroyed the nuclear industry in France...

Now lets look at Germany, that started investing in green technologies decades ago. They were one of the few countries with a long term vision of becoming world leaders in these technologies as demand for them grows. Today, along with Japan, they are there, and already started to reap the benefits.

The most aggravating part of your post is that you begin your sentences with "Realize that..." You sound like the githzeray in NWN2 (though she started with the annoying "Know that..." The point is, that you sound like a religious nutcase, with hating Greenpeace being at the center of your religion.

The parent asked for proof... now if you consider pulling wild stuff out of your ass as proof, than your signature is quite ironic indeed ("Wikipedia, the concept that persistent opinions represent facts").

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

shacky003 (1595307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014286)

I love reading posts where people refuse to back up their claims with these awesome new things called "facts" and "proof" - They are going to revolutionize the world!

Re:What science is behind this? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014536)

> Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

Uhh... I think that little party in Harrisburg had a little to do with the decline in new plant construction as well. There's new/safer designs and the price of fossil fuels might get them started.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

JohannesJ (952576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013962)

You want insightful?
What is the SAR law?
A totally political BS that says :
Give us a radio transceiver which a cellphone or handheld radio transceiver is , that has its antenna shielded that works like it wasn't,
but doesn't irradiate any person to an arbitrary level X ddefined by jackass liberal politicians
Period !!
It's a perfect liberal politicians Bullshit ploy , because One cant so it

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014264)

Find a friend who speaks English natively to rewrite this for you and repost it because I have no fucking clue what you're trying to say.

Re:What science is behind this? (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013328)

I agree wholeheartedly. These folks are exposed to electromagnetic radiation on all sides, every day of their lives. They get it from the power lines, their appliances, and every other powered device on the planet. Unless they live in a cave (cage), these folks are deluding themselves. Of course video's like these don't help the stupidity...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQr6SbYpTYM&feature=related [youtube.com]

These guys were even too dumb to use a hotplate. Looks like they used a lighter instead ;)

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013496)

I agree wholeheartedly. These folks are exposed to electromagnetic radiation on all sides, every day of their lives. They get it from the power lines, their appliances, and every other powered device on the planet. Unless they live in a cave (cage), these folks are deluding themselves.

A Faraday cage isn't good enough. The Earth's magnetic field will still get through. The only way to be properly protected is to live in a Faraday cage with superconducting walls.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013576)

Hah ;) Good point!

A Faraday cage isn't good enough. The Earth's magnetic field will still get through. The only way to be properly protected is to live in a Faraday cage with superconducting walls.

Re:What science is behind this? (2, Informative)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013742)

You're wrong. Shielding which is effective against high frequency electric fields can also be effective against high frequency magnetic fields. The changing magnetic field induces eddy currents in the shielding which creates opposing magnetic fields, shaping and directing the intruding magnetic field.

Lower magnetic fields can also be shaped with high permeability materials.

Here is a helpful link which explains the issues surrounding electric/magnetic shielding in more detail.

http://www.cvel.clemson.edu/emc/tutorials/Shielding02/Practical_Shielding.html [clemson.edu]

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013982)

You're wrong. Shielding which is effective against high frequency electric fields can also be effective against high frequency magnetic fields. The changing magnetic field induces eddy currents in the shielding which creates opposing magnetic fields, shaping and directing the intruding magnetic field.

Lower magnetic fields can also be shaped with high permeability materials.

Here is a helpful link which explains the issues surrounding electric/magnetic shielding in more detail.

http://www.cvel.clemson.edu/emc/tutorials/Shielding02/Practical_Shielding.html [clemson.edu]

That's neat. The Earth's magnetic field has a period on the order of tens of millions of years. Does that count as a high frequency magnetic field?

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014610)

Actually, that's a rather useless point as electromagnetic radiation and magnetic fields are two quite different things.

Re:What science is behind this? (4, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013342)

Science of the original law notwithstanding, the two arguments against are interesting. Having a state have more detailed regulations than the FCC is bad? Umm, that's how most laws/regulations should work.

I think it's true that it may cause people to choose one phone over another, but it's just a simple fact about the phone. The "hypocritical luddites" can have a phone that has less "radio radiation" and anyone that knows better can still buy whatever phone they like. It's the same argument used against putting GMO labels on food. If it's something the consumer wants to know about, even if misguided, who are we to tell them "it's not important". Yes it can be used to spread FUD and yes it has adverse effects, but in general giving the consumer more information about a product is a good thing for the market.

Re:What science is behind this? (5, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013400)

You raise an interesting point about making information available to the public to make their own choices. In general I have to concede that you have a good point. The only problem is where do you draw the line, how much science does there need to be to justify having it at all? I don't think I'll ever forget the warning label on a can of pure oxygen that stated the 'contents are known to be a possible cause of cancer in the state of California'.

Re:What science is behind this? (5, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013558)

The only problem is where do you draw the line, how much science does there need to be to justify having it at all?

None. If there's reason to believe that people would like to be able to discriminate between products containing or not containing ground up spiders then it's legitimate to require labels to let them make the choice, regardless of the health benefits or lack of health problems associated with ground up spiders. Same goes for any other aspect of a product. When there's enough interest to act is a political decision, not a scientific one.

Re:What science is behind this? (3, Insightful)

ildon (413912) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014326)

Think about your statement. If you have to list not only all the real, but additionally all the imagined hazards, or not just the contents, but the imagined non-contents, of a product, the packaging/labeling will have to be more mass than the product itself. At what point is this an unfair onus on the producer? Equal protection under the law implies that producers should have rights, too.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014006)

I think you point out where the science comes in, at least as a minimum. Saying that pure oxygen is a possible cause of cancer is an interpretation, and a questionable one at that, of science. Saying that cellphone Y emits a specific amount of radio energy is a scientific fact. If this label states something about the affects of the radio energy, then it quite likely will go over the line (since no studies currently have shown any solid evidence of negative affects of cellphone radio energy).

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014154)

If it's just facts about a product, why NOT give the information and let the consumer decide? If the facts can be used against one product over another, well that's what a company's PR and marketing department is for, no?

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

CrkHead (27176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014374)

That's exactly how a republic works. If we were to allow federal law to override state and local laws like this we may as well toss out the constitution, form a parliament, and join the commonwealth.

There's not enough evidence of harm to warrant a ban, but some people will have concern.

To touch on the related GMO food issue. I avoid where possible get buy GMO food because I think it leads to a healthier food ecosystem, not because I'm afraid that I'll turn into a mutant.

It is a disclosure requirement, let people (2, Informative)

eee_eff (1254240) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013452)

This is not a regulation that puts a limit or changes the market in any way, it just requires disclosure of the energy levels of telephones, and there isn't any reason a society cannot require disclosure.

Re:What science is behind this? (1, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013468)

Yes it can be used to spread FUD and yes it has adverse effects, but in general giving the consumer more information about a product is a good thing for the market.

So, you're suggesting we should have labels specifying the number of ponies killed in the manufacture of anything, eh? After all, more information is a good thing for the market.

Face it, the RF emissions of a cell phone aren't "more information", but rather just more FUD to herd the idiots...

Re:What science is behind this? (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013474)

This isn't more detailed, it's just more strict, but unlike the recent pollution spat in California, there is no proof that radiation from a cell phone is harmful (as opposed to auto emissions). There is a reason that the FCC has jurisdiction here. It would make things nearly impossible for a company to sell a product at a national level if every state had different standards. Imagine if USB devices had different standards for 50 states. It would be an absolute nightmare, and not only for the vendor.

If the radiation level is far below the 'dangerous' level, then how is it even relevant unless they are measuring every bit of EM they are receiving from every electronic device they are exposed to? If the science behind a municipal decision isn't sound, but it gives the impression that it is, it can create FUD just by it's existence. In some cases, it is necessary to have standards at a federal level.

http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/8047/ [ca.gov]

In the case of auto/pollution standards stink (no pun intended) raised in California, there is an obvious public benefit to stricter standards, which California felt wasn't being met at the federal level. There are obvious health risks to exposure to those emissions, and countless studies proving that. Cell phones, on the contrary, have zero proof that they are dangerous to the public health.

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013588)

The biggest issue with regulations isn't the number or detail. The biggest issue is that most regulators don't have a science background nor do they understand probabilistic risk analysis, thus regulations only help by luck. The number of regulators who actually analyze problems, determine the risks, and then propose regulations to mitigate those risks are very small. Most regulations are simply political tools: to look 'green', to look like you are protecting the children, to look like you are protecting public safety.

More regulations aren't automatically good. Intelligent regulations are, but those are almost never done by the States and are absolutely never done by California. The best type of regulations are suggested by independent research groups or based on international standards.

Re:What science is behind this? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013606)


It's the same argument used against putting GMO labels on food. If it's something the consumer wants to know about, even if misguided, who are we to tell them "it's not important". Yes it can be used to spread FUD and yes it has adverse effects, but in general giving the consumer more information about a product is a good thing for the market.

Only if the information is not misleading, or misrepresenting the facts. In this case it seems very clear to me that putting labels on cell phones that tell people the emissions levels of the phone is extremely misleading. It conveys the idea that radio emissions are somehow harmful, which they aren't. Consumers in general are very poorly informed, and DON'T know anything about the actual studies which have shown no even correlation between cell phones and disease. So this idea that's out their that people can "make their own decision!" is just plain wrong, since the vast vast majority of consumers don't have the required knowledge or background to start making those informed decisions.

Remember, information and labels exist in a context, not an information vacuum. How many products tell you about how they have "more fiber" or "less sodium" or simply the required nutrition labels? All those labels are regulated by the FDA and have to have some scientific backing for health effects. The point being, people have come to expect that labeling the product itself has backing, ESPECIALLY if it's a government mandate like in SF.

Bullocks! (2, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014242)

Bullocks! Customers do have a right to this information! Companies can use the label to educate by just showing a comparison of how much radiation a person gets from:

  • Being outside in the sun for 30 minutes
  • Doing a 5 minute phone call
  • A 1 hour trip on a plane
  • Getting an x-ray.

If Companies cannot spin this, it is their own damn fault. Not the consumers. Information wants to be FREEEEEEE and this is an excellent way to *start* educating the public. With the precedent that Phillip-Morris set of hiding information, if the cell phone manufacturers fight this too hard, things will be much worse for them. They will appear to be hiding something regardless of the truth of the situation.

Re:What science is behind this? (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013620)

Even worse, this is an area where there is a significant faction convinced that the truth is being covered up, much like the tobacco companies successfully did for years with the relationship between smoking and cancer. The prior success of this strategy by powerful corporate interests means that people have a justifiable lack of faith in the published science.

So give people the information, let them make their own decisions, and if they don't get cancer while the rest of us do, they can say I told you so, and the rest of us can feel like the idiot smokers with lung cancer did. Or not. Whichever outcome happens, the labeling seems like a minimally intrusive requirement.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014074)

An educated consumer might even use the amount of radiation output by a cell phone to buy one with higher output, because a stronger transmitter may mean fewer dropped calls.

Re:What science is behind this? (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014188)

Actually an educated consumer is bad for the market as it functions today. Just like it's bad for today's politician who depends on deceit and FUD to win the election. There's a reason they're making all those cutbacks in education.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013382)

Greenpeace was against underground nuclear weapon tests in the late 1960's and the French gov blow up their ship in 1985.
When a gov sends out agents with limpet mines and then the US and UK say very little to condemn the act ... Greenpeace has earned its place in history.
As for the SAR numbers, they are usually in the fine print or website, booklets ect.
If its a safe product and the numbers are in the open why not just allow consumers to select a phone after seeing a SAR value?
What other data could be airbrushed away? Your next car, computer, water heater, air conditioner, insulation, lcd - lots of confusing numbers again... any of it could mislead consumers.

Re:What science is behind this? (1, Troll)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013428)

They've earned their place in history all right, the coal industry would be dead and buried as a relic of history like whale oil if it weren't for Greenpeace. I have long wondered if the coal industry discreetly financially supports Greenpeace, much like some republicans spent a great deal of money on Ralph Naders 2004 campaign.

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013536)

Right. How much influence does Greenpeace have in China? Absolutely none. Now why exactly isn't the coal industry dead and buried there in favor of nuclear?

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013740)

If cheaper and simpler solutions had been worked on the for the last few decades instead of being stifled they would have been available to nations like China to use instead of coal. Look back at history, the US was once the world leader in nuclear energy. The plants the France has built up over the last few decades were a standardized design purchased from the Americans. There is ample precedent to say that we would have provided nuclear energy designs as a form of foreign aid.

Re:What science is behind this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013880)

How much influence does Greenpeace have in China? Absolutely none. Now why exactly isn't the coal industry dead and buried there in favor of nuclear?

China doesn't give a shit about the environment and coal is cheaper.

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013608)

the coal industry would be dead and buried as a relic of history like whale oil if it weren't for Greenpeace.

Let's ask Greenpeace what they think about the coal industry...

  http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/greenpeace-halts-coal-plant-ba/ [greenpeace.org]
  http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/climate-change/coal/ [greenpeace.org]

Looks like they do not like it too...

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013758)

They are the coal industries useful idiots and they don't even know it. Much like many gun stores have named obama national gun salesman of the year for their significant increase in gun sales. The coal industry owes it's very existance to Greenpeace whether Greenpeace likes it or not. It's time for Greenpeace to wake up and realize they've been playing to coal industries tool for the last few decades.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014120)

I absolutely agree with what you've written about Greenpeace. Coal and oil power plants should be a tiny minority by now: almost all of the electrical energy used throughout the world should come from nuclear power stations. But alas it is not so. Greenpeace could have lobbied for nuclear power, but it didn't. It did its damndest to stop it.

On a related matter, I was dismayed to discover that the UK's Green Party are still fanatically anti-nuclear, in a way that many environmentalists have ceased to be, since it's become clear that (1) renewable energy isn't always the right solution, and (2) everything else other than nuclear puts an unmanageable amount of pollution right into the atmosphere. Their arguments against this are, to be blunt, really stupid.

For example, the UK Green Party spent page 10 of their 2010 manifesto [greenparty.org.uk] arguing that nuclear power is bad because the number of people required to produce each watthour is much smaller than wind, coal and oil power stations. It didn't seem to have occured to them that this is a powerful argument for nuclear. Without even a hint of irony, this is immediately followed by a message about the benefits of energy efficiency.

You'd almost begin to think that they like pollution, since what would be the point of Greenpeace or a Green Party if there was no pollution?

Re:What science is behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013472)

What science is behind what? Disclosing basic information about a product to the public? That would be good public policy and the correct thing for our politicians to require of companies making money off us. But please, go back to your mindless bashing.

If you no likey the disclosure, please don't read it. But stop trying to interfere with the public's right to know. Some people might suspect you of being a lobbyist plant of the pro-corporate interests that bring such great monuments to civilization as Deepwater Horizon. Yay, corporations! Sell us more! w00t!

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013554)

except that location and direction of that RF is important as well. So while A may produce more, it's at a different frequency, and in a different direction than B. B is pointed at the users head and produces RF that actually makes it past the skin, making B more dangerous in real usage.

So you want to subvert democracy because... (0, Flamebait)

eee_eff (1254240) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013488)

There is no regulation that puts any limit on the energy level of the cell phones, it is just a disclosure requirement. All the "pro-market" folks always talk about how information makes markets more efficient, and here is a requirment that only requires one thing: disclosure. IF you are against this, you are against democratic process, and efficient markets. BTW, the science right now is somewhat equivocal. Certain is there is any health risk to using cell phones it is rather small, but who are to to decide what information people should have? Let them decide, and act accordingly. The attitude of witholding this information really is the same as those who advocate a 'nanny-state'--we know better then you, and we will decide what you need to know. Your attitude is very paternalistic and anti-freedom.

Re:So you want to subvert democracy because... (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013572)

sry but I don't know enough about directionality and frequency of that RF to know if it will or will not cause harm. Could you also link a study showing that RF like that from a cell phone at cell phone type levels causes harm? peer reviewed and collaborated would be preferred.

Re:So you want to subvert democracy because... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014108)

Could you also link a study showing that RF like that from a cell phone at cell phone type levels causes harm? peer reviewed and collaborated would be preferred.

No. He couldn't. There is none. There is, however, peer reviewed, collaborated, research disproving the hypothesis that radiation from cellphones causes cancer.

Re:So you want to subvert democracy because... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014458)

Certain is there is any health risk to using cell phones it is rather small, but who are to to decide what information people should have? Let them decide, and act accordingly.

Absolutely. Likewise, the risk that some god somewhere might find your cellphone personally offensive and condemn you to the pits of hell is rather small, but who are we to decide what information people should have? I demand that every cellphone carry a sticker stating "WARNING: This phone may cause third degree burns and eternal damnation."

Re:What science is behind this? (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013500)

There's really no science behind it at all. This isn't about science, it's about ignorance and fear. It's nothing new, really.

In a very real sense all these crazy "OMG CELL PHONES! POWER LINES! VACCINE!" hysterics reflects the high rate of change in our society and peoples inability to keep up with it all. The average person has NO idea what the electro-magnetic spectrum is or about the nature of knowledge. The cliche's tossed about are along the lines of "well.. they just don't know everything about these things! What if it turns out the thing DOES cause cancer! Better safe than sorry!" and then pull some random fact like how nobody knew smoking was bad for you 100 years ago (which isn't exactly true).

That's maybe a better attitude than we used to have that "oh it's all perfectly safe, that asbestos, agent orange, and DDT won't hurt anyone!", but not by much. People are very very bad at understanding the everyday risks around them and at understanding the nature of knowledge and the nature of scientific inquiry.

Re:What science is behind this? (1)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013666)

When the cell phone radiation turns your family and neighbors into flesh-eating zombies, those Luddites will be laughing their asses off in your face. Until you eat THEIR faces.

Makes sense (5, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013264)

Given that everything causes cancer in the state of California, it's natural that they are required to do this. I'm glad I live in a state where not everything causes cancer.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013548)

On the possible downside, living in a non-ca state means you might have as much as a 4 year reduced life expectancy.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa/california-life-expectancy [worldlifeexpectancy.com]

(and barring the likely genetically tainted state of Hawaii, you can do only 1.1 year better).

Re:Makes sense (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013930)

HuH? Not exactly sure what your point is. According to that eye bleeding site you linked, California is #10, just behind Rhode Island. To get to a life expectancy of 4 years LESS than California, you have to live in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or the District of Columbia. In other words, you have to live in a sweltering, mosquito and other politician infested Hell. If I lived in one of those places, I'd like to die early to see if the afterlife was any improvement. It could hardly be worse.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014290)

On the possible downside, living in a non-ca state means you might have as much as a 4 year reduced life expectancy.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa/california-life-expectancy [worldlifeexpectancy.com]

(and barring the likely genetically tainted state of Hawaii, you can do only 1.1 year better).

Read the about us on that site.

Re:Makes sense (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014430)

Did you even look at this graph before posting it?

How much *ENERGY* the phone radiate? (2, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013288)

They are trying to say the phones have to have a label about how much energy they radiate? What, are the stores supposed to have some magical ability to integrate over all time including the future the amount of POWER the phone puts out?

OR, can the phone sellers say the phone emits zero energy, arguing that at the time the sticker was applied, the phone was off and thus integrating over the time to apply the sticker the phone emitted no RF.

And are they defining the bandwidth over which this is being reported, or do they expect the sellers to compute blackbody radiation at some standard temperature.

I'd like to see somebody set up the demo that I saw once at the Very Large Array, where they had a sensitive receiver hooked up to an antenna, measuring the amount of 400MHz your body put out as blackbody radiation - can you imagine the sorts of morons that get excited about this stuff freaking out when they see they themselves are "radioactive"!

Folks, if RF scares you - DON'T USE A CELLPHONE!

Re:How much *ENERGY* the phone radiate? (1)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013356)

I'll answer in the form of three abbreviations.
FFS, RTFA: SAR [wikipedia.org] .

Re:How much *ENERGY* the phone radiate? (-1, Flamebait)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013614)

You might want to duck - I wouldn't want your self-righteous glow punctured by the point whizzing over your head.

I was criticizing the story submitter specifically, and more generally those who cannot differentiate POWER from ENERGY, with the first part of my statements.

Re:How much *ENERGY* the phone radiate? (2, Informative)

ntdesign (1229504) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013380)

They want to label the phones with their specific absorption rate, which is average power absorbed per kg of tissue. It's a measurement the FCC already takes, and they mandate a SAR of less than 1.6 W/kg. Of course, the effects of that amount of haven't been shown to be harmful.

Re:How much *ENERGY* the phone radiate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013680)

"Not using a cellphone" is not enough for these guys though. They want to make sure that you and everybody else is not permitted to use one. Or anything that might give off evil radio waves, like a microwave oven (OMG cancer!) or electricity (OMG more cancer!!!!). Just in case.

We may laugh at these idiots, but remember that some countries have smoking bans for the same reason, and on similarly thin evidence. Secondhand smoke was never proven to be harmful, and these days the big pharma-funded anti-smoking lobbyists are talking about "thirdhand smoke", as if (like homeopathy) the harm caused by tobacco increases with dilution.

Re:How much *ENERGY* the phone radiate? (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013874)

Folks, if RF scares you - DON'T USE A CELLPHONE!

Exactly what I do. I carry around one of those demo units from the store that has no electronics in it. I can open it in public and look cool and hip, and never have to recharge it or get exposed to artificial unnatural radiation (the natural kind can't hurt me, or so I've read on many reputable internet sites, for example that timecube one).

OK, I see their point (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013296)

...and will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another...

Then demand that the sentence "...levels of radiation indicated do not necessarily mean one phone is safer than the other" be placed somewhere in the shop.

I usually see something similar on TV where some statement to the effect that "the opinions expressed during the program are not necessarily the opinions of the broadcaster" feature prominently after each commercial break.

Re:OK, I see their point (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013350)

Yes, like the "no verified therapeutic claims" you see on quack-medicine advertisements.

You know the one written in dark gray on a black background in a 6 point font at the very bottom of the screen that flashes up for like 0.25 seconds ?

Re:OK, I see their point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013852)

If they have that label then why label how much radiation each emits in the first place? There is already a law limiting how much radiation cell phones can emit. Everyone, except for you and probably 5 other people, will think it means something. "If it wasn't dangerous, why would they warn us about it?"

Oh noes! Radiation! (5, Insightful)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013346)

I was at the Home Depot today and saw you can buy a device which emits TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY WATTS of ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION! Oooga boooga! The radiation is gonna git ya!

Link to the monstrosity in question: Home Depot Death Ray [homedepot.com]

It's worse than you think (2)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013466)

That monster emits "High Energy Photons". (Ok, higher energy photons than any cell phone.) Ban it Ban it Ban it :)

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013560)

OT:
Those HDDRs are pretty decent worklights. The body is made of aluminum (not some zinc-ish smegalloy), as we found out when we TIG welded a cracked one.

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013652)

I got something in my kitchen that puts out 1100 Watts of ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION. Most people know of it as a microwave oven.

Of course, most of it is contained in the metal box that it is dumping the radiation into. At least that is what is supposed to be happening.
Had it open a few weeks ago because one of the attachment points for the handle broke (cheep plastic, we just epoxied the plastic back in. No interlocks bypassed, door could open again. Purely mechanical failure). Got a chance to see the hardware interlocks keeping it from going on when the door was open. (Buttons that the door latch held that would disconnect the relays that carried power to the magnetron if they were opened. So in addition to the buttons opening that told the controls that the door was opened, it also disconnected the power from the magnetron so if the controls didn't notice, you should still be protected)

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (1, Flamebait)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013762)

*sigh*
I realize that you are making fun of the morons who believe that anything with the words "radiation" or "nuclear" in it is horrible and dangerous and should be banned - i.e. the kind of people who forced "NMR" to be changed to "MRI". Unfortunately, the other extreme, the "If it's not ionizing it's completely harmless!" brigade, is just as bad. There are plenty of ways of causing harm without messing with DNA directly. Would you be ok with looking into a 250 W laser? A 250 W UV light all day? Sticking your head in a microwave and turning it to 250 W? It's all just non-ionizing EM radiation! It's safe!

Now, do cellphones cause cancer? The best answer we have right now is "probably not" (getting definitive answers from epidemiological studies is notoriously difficult).
Am I personally concerned? No.
Is people's exposure to cellphone radiation a legitimate concern though? Definitely yes. Nobody studying this believes that cellphone radiation is ionizing, or even that it causes cancer by direct action. What people are concerned about are more subtle, indirect effects, like for example altered blood-brain barrier permeability [nih.gov] . EM fields and RF radiation can do funky stuff to your brain. Could some of those interactions be (indirectly) carcinogenic? It's a possibility, but epidemiological evidence so far suggests otherwise. Could there be other, non-carcinogenic health effects of concern? Quite possibly.
In any case, consumer choice and information is a good thing. If you think cellphone radiation is completely harmless, just ignore the SAR value. If you are concerned, you get our current best estimate on the possible danger level. Everyone wins.

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (3, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014528)

In any case, consumer choice and information is a good thing.

It's a good thing when the information is relevant, sure. It's a bad thing when you're misleading people. Next you'll be wanting warning about autism placed on all vaccines. Sorry, but when your "information" is only there as a way of furthering the agenda of insane conspiracy theorists, it's definitely not a "Good Thing".

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013904)

I was at the Home Depot today and saw you can buy a device which emits [homedepot.com] TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY WATTS of ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION! Oooga boooga! The radiation is gonna git ya!

If only they were that efficient. Most of that power is given off as heat [wikipedia.org] , which isn't electromagnetic in nature.

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014288)

Exquise me? (yeah, not excuse, exquise). Heat in vacuum of space can only be really dissipated through electromagnetic radiation.

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014048)

yes, but it's label says so, the phones don't

Re:Oh noes! Radiation! (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014114)

I was at the Home Depot today and saw you can buy a device which emits TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY WATTS of ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION! Oooga boooga! The radiation is gonna git ya!

Link to the monstrosity in question: Home Depot Death Ray [homedepot.com]

And right now some sales analyst is looking at the logs trying to figure out why the page with this lamp is getting so much traffic... *giggles*

I just want to watch the video (4, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013364)

Where someone tries to explain the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and specific absorption rate to the city council. Probably a lot like trying to explain the internets in my phone to my 88 year old grandmother.

Why isn't there an App for that? (4, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013388)

Geiger Counter app... measures cumulative REM, reminds you to switch ears to minimize overexposure of one ear, etc... it can pay for itself with built-in advertisement for treatment clinics...

Re:Why isn't there an App for that? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014478)

Geiger Counter app... measures cumulative REM, reminds you to switch ears to minimize overexposure of one ear, etc... it can pay for itself with built-in advertisement for treatment clinics...

"Geiger Counter App: one day you'll finally be 'toast...' but thanks to us, your brains will NOT be unevenly cooked." :-)

cellphone laws (4, Interesting)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013412)

A law requiring all cellphones to have a warning label:

  "use of this device while driving a motor vehicle is dangerous, and against the law in most states"

Or something, since cellphones have killed more people that way than by the radiation they emit.

States rights? Local rights? ppphhhtttt! (0, Troll)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013424)

There are only *corporate* rights (and by extension, those of the shareholders).

Move along now, nothing to see here.

more power more power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33013506)

In the world of radios most people want as high a transmit power as they can get, to increase their range. Many consumers "know" that bigger numbers are better (watts of audio, megapixels of image, gigabytes of memory). Maybe these labels will start a new rush to show higher numbers on the phones. Of course the actual power output is regulated by the FCC.

It's non-ionizing and harmless (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013556)

Do we really have to keep beating this product liability drum? Product liability lawyers have been beating this drum for years because the cell phone industry is such a cash cow. There is absolutely no danger from cell phones. None at all. The idiots who think cell phones can ignite fuel vapors at a gas station are the same idiots who think cell phones can cause cancer - at least they want it to be true sooooo badly so they can sue everyone in sight and make a killer living at it.

Re:It's non-ionizing and harmless (5, Interesting)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013690)

There's some evidence that high frequency noise or high frequency RF has biological effects even if it's non-ionizing. For example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_pest_control [wikipedia.org]

"A 2002 study by Genesis Laboratories Inc. does lend some credence to the ability of electronic repellent devices to repel certain pests in controlled environments. Preliminary study of white-footed mice behavior in the test apparatus demonstrated a significant preference for the non-activated chamber among both sexes."

Also, how do you think your microwave oven works? It uses dielectric heating to rapidly vibrate (and thereby heat) the water molecules in food. Guess what - dielectric heating works on you too, and there is no cut-off range; even low frequency RF has some dielectric heating effect on the water and some body tissues.

And dielectric heating can cause cataracts.

Just throwing some actual facts into this discussion.

Re:It's non-ionizing and harmless (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014588)

You know what is going to heat up the tissue in your head a hell of a lot more than a cellphone? Stepping outside on a hot summer day.

OMG CANCER

Total energy, hmm? (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013562)

Sounds as if this might have a good correlation with transmitter power (yeah, yeah, assuming similar antennas and distance to skin etc). In that case, wouldn't there be some benefit to choosing a phone with a *higher* number, with the idea that the one with the lower number probably uses less transmit power (and could potentially drop more calls in marginal areas)?

Re:Total energy, hmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33014100)

I was just willing to bet that most Slashdot users with any sort of electrical or electronics background will be actively looking for the phones with the highest 'radiation' to get the best signal.

bring it on (4, Funny)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013744)

i'm eager to hear hipsters arguing over who has fewer bars.

If I were selling sell phones (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013764)

I would have no problem putting the power output rating on the phone. I would then tweak the phones to crank up the power output to the highest limits allowed. Once I had everything ready, I'd start advertising about how higher power = fewer dropped calls (which isn't entirely untrue) and how much more powerful my phones are than my competition's.

Doing that would drive away the small percentage of idiots who are most likely to be problem customers. Beyond that, it would be a huge selling people to more knowledgeable people and it would help capture the "must buy the biggest numbered thing" market segment as well.

We've seen this before with electric blankets (1)

timholman (71886) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013828)

The cell phone radiation scare reminds me so much of the AC power line scare of 15 years ago, which got to the point where people were seriously questioning whether electric blankets would give them cancer. Back at the height of that scare, my friends and I half-jokingly came up with the idea of marketing an electric blanket AC-to-DC rectifier. We had the TV commercial all figured out; the late night TV salesman would pass a field strength meter tuned to 60 Hz over a blanket, and show how the evil cancer-causing electromagnetic RADIATION was making the needle deflect. Then he would plug the blanket into the rectifier, and show how the needle barely budged. Yes, for only $39.95, you and your family would be safe!

Today, of course, we see exactly the same pseudoscientific scare tactics being applied to cell phones. The funny thing is that electric blankets haven't changed a bit, but no one worries about them any more. People pick a target of fear to fixate on, and completely ignore everything else with equal or greater risk, even the "old" hazards that used to frighten them. The psychology of risk assessment never ceases to fascinate me.

misleading? (2, Interesting)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 4 years ago | (#33013840)

and will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another
Well, it would be misleiding if it wasn't true, but lower radiation also means safer to use... The real effect of cellphones has yet to be determined, it will take at least 2 decades before the real consequences will be known... And let's not forget, we already know from the past that a test that was said there is no harm, later revealed to be disasterous..

Re:misleading? (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014202)

but lower radiation also means safer to use

Is is wetter under water, if you're there when it rains?
Is it shorter to New York, than it is by a plane?
Between myself and I, I wonder who's the dumber
Is it hotter down south, than it is in the summer?

I'm a nut, I'm a nut
My live don't ever get in a rut, whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop
The head on my shoulders is sorta loose
And I ain't got the sense God gave a goose
Lord, I ain't crazy, but ... I'm a nut

etc. etc.

As there is no scientific evidence that the radiation emitted from cellphones is in any way dangerous, lower OR higher radiation is no more OR less safer.

Your statement makes as much sense as saying a refrigerator set at 4oC is "safer" than one set at 3oC, in terms of potential frostbite injuries.

Re:misleading? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014530)

And let's not forget, we already know from the past that a test that was said there is no harm, later revealed to be disasterous..

Could you clarify for me exactly what that sentence is trying to say?

Backwards. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014052)

> ...will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another.

No, it will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is more dangerous than another when there is, in fact, no danger at all from any of them.

Why the lawsuit? (5, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014158)

Why exactly is telling people MORE about the product they are buying a bad thing?

Sure just writing how many watts each phone emits might not reveal the whole picture, but the manufacturer can always include the frequency of the emissions and any other relevant information in the product description. It's not like the law prevents you from revealing anything except the power.

The manufacturer could also try to *gasp* educate the public - You have a study that shows the frequency of your phones emissions is not harmful while another phone will cause you to grow an extra ear within the next 2 years? Publish it, include it in your add campaign,... It might actually give you a bigger market share.

I don't see why any court should limit the amount of information customers have about products they are buying.

Why fight it? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33014488)

Why fight it? People just might seek out the phones with the strongest transmission numbers in effort to get better connections. :)

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