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Ontario School Bans Wi-Fi

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the balance-the-humors dept.

Canada 287

St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school in Meaford, Ont. is the latest Canadian school to decide to save its students from the harmful effects of Wi-Fi by banning it. Schools from universities on down have a history of banning Wi-Fi in Ontario. As usual, health officials and know-it-all scientists have called the move ridiculous. Health Canada has released a statement saying, "Wi-Fi is the second most prevalent form of wireless technology next to cell phones. It is widely used across Canada in schools, offices, coffee shops, personal dwellings, as well as countless other locations. Health Canada continues to reassure Canadians that the radiofrequency energy emitted from Wi-Fi equipment is extremely low and is not associated with any health problems."

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fuck me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33936942)

fuck you

Re:fuck me (1)

HaKKa (1273700) | about 4 years ago | (#33937154)

fuck you

back@u This again makes no sense as the minute the students get home they are surrounded by Wi-Fi all around them from their neighbors. I myself when looking for open points sitting on my couch will get between 20 - 30 and 10 of them are at least 60% strong. We're swimmin in it everyday so who cares.

Wait a minute... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 years ago | (#33936994)

This makes sense now! [slashdot.org] It's a preemptive action in preparation for the time when these people discover the largest source of radiation near Earth!

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | about 4 years ago | (#33937058)

I can only imagine the casualties we'll suffer launching our invasion and occupation of the sun for possessing WMD's.

Re:Wait a minute... (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 4 years ago | (#33937252)

Well, we should not simply block the sun. We should switch it off.
* It runs on nuclear (fusion) power.
* It generates radioactivity.
* It is responsible for many cases of skin cancer.
* It is the power source for hurricanes, which cause lots of damage.
* Its radiation plays a major role in the chemical processes which cause the ozone hole.
* It is already known that one day it will destroy the Earth.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 4 years ago | (#33937596)

Thing is, even if we did we wouldn't see the effects for the best part of a million years. The reactions at the heart of the sun take a long time to make their way to the surface, what with there being lots of density and that. It's going to be a long running battle, it'd probably be quicker to evolve wide spectrum shielding skin...

Breaking News: (3, Insightful)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | about 4 years ago | (#33937014)

People refuse to do things that their doctors say are safe!
For our next story people insist that the things doctors say are bad for you are actually the best things to do ever!

Re:Breaking News: (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33937104)

If my doctor was that stupid I wouldn't listen to them either.

Walking in the sun for a few minutes send more radiation into your body than spending 8 hours at a computer. Should they ban playing in sunlight for the kids, too?

Re:Breaking News: (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 years ago | (#33937262)

Should they ban playing in sunlight for the kids, too?

We've got that covered. [healthguidance.org]

Re:Breaking News: (1)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#33937524)

Uh... it's a bit unclear if you're understanding the situation here.

"If my doctor was that stupid I wouldn't listen to them either."

If your doctor were how stupid? The only mention of doctors here is that the doctors say there is no medical basis for a ban. Based on the rest of your post, surely you mean to criticize the people who ignore the doctors' advice and ban WiFi anyway - which is exactly what GP said - right?

Oh, and for the record, doctors do advise strict limits on sun exposure now. That's what sunscreen is for.

Re:Breaking News: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937108)

I'm a Doctor (Doctor of Chiropractic)
 
Honest truth: the Medical Industry wants to make a society of dependant sheep. Sheep that go for their regular checkups (ca-ching) and buy the Big Pharma meds (ca-ching)
 
Eat well, exercise and get regular chiropractic adjustments to keep your nervous system functioning at peak efficiency. You'll never get heart disease or cancer.

Re:Breaking News: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937156)

Honest truth: the Medical Industry wants to make a society of dependant sheep. Sheep that go for their regular checkups (ca-ching) and buy the Big Pharma meds (ca-ching)

A chiropractor wants to complain about people becoming dependent? That's the pot calling the kettle black if I've ever heard it.

Re:Breaking News: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937204)

Eat well, exercise and get regular chiropractic adjustments (ca-ching) to keep your nervous system functioning at peak efficiency. FTFY

Re:Breaking News: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937284)

-Doctor of Chiropractic- Is that like an oxymoron? The only thing a chiropractor knows how to do is release nitrogen bubbles from between vertebrae without seriously injuring his subject.

Re:Breaking News: (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 years ago | (#33937314)

I'm a Doctor (Doctor of Chiropractic) ... You'll never get heart disease or cancer.

Two names:

  • British Chiropractic Association
  • Simon Singh

Anyway, my uncle was all into health food, exercise, acupuncture, etc and died of cancer in his 50s.

Re:Breaking News: (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33937608)

Chiropractic health professionals either deal with the skeletal system or with bullshit. Some of them you walk into the office, they know everything about all ligaments, tendons, joints, bone structure, etc; and they can throw you under an X-ray and point out all the stress points from your posture and all long-term damage done from you always sitting wrong. They can also supply physical therapy, nudging the joints here and there to straighten things out that have gone a bit awry.

The bullshit artists are the ones that want you to believe all ailments are cured by chiropractic practice, which the parent seems to be.

Re:Breaking News: (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | about 4 years ago | (#33937984)

they are ALL bullshit artists. pushing bones and joints around will accomplish NOTHING for any disorder, except a dislocated joint..and I'd really recommend going to a REAL doctor for one of those.

Re:Breaking News: (3, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937616)

That's why he posted as AC, of course.

The last thing you want is a bunch of angry chiropractors after you. Those guys can snap your neck like THAT.

Re:Breaking News: (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#33937902)

I beg to differ with you. I've been to a few chiropractors over the years on strong suggestions of my friends. I did it mostly to shut them up.

    Apparently my back is invincible (except for the chronic pain). They can bang, jump, and pound on my upper back, and nothing happened. Well, after a while it ends up with me saying "If you don't stop that, I'm going to get up and kick your ass."

    My neck is pretty close to the same.

    I don't think I'm that much of a tough guy, but I think I'd hold my own with a bunch of doctor wannabe's.

    I shouldn't talk too much shit about them. I considered doing it. 6 months of night school, and then you get to call yourself "Doctor" and horribly overcharge patients *AND* get them to come back twice a week after that. :)

Re:Breaking News: (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 years ago | (#33937394)

Chiropractors are not doctors. They're phonies with made-up degrees. You might as well call a gardener a doctor. Actually, a gardener probably has a greater degree of knowledge of biology than a chiropractor.

Re:Breaking News: (4, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#33937458)

Skeletal engineer then? :p

Re:Breaking News: (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 years ago | (#33937508)

Skeletal engineer then? :p

No... crackpot.

Re:Breaking News: (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937646)

He he. Whoosh.

Yeah, the AC's post was pretty well done. It took me to the end to decide he wasn't serious. The rest of the way through I was picturing Alan from "Two and a Half Men."

Re:Breaking News: (1)

schon (31600) | about 4 years ago | (#33937536)

Eat well, exercise and get regular chiropractic adjustments [...] You'll never get heart disease or cancer.

And how much of that will be due to the last, rather than the first two items?

Jesus, you sound like the adverts for sugar-laden cardboard which claim their product is "part of this healthy breakfast"..

Re:Breaking News: (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33937550)

>>>Eat well, exercise and get regular chiropractic adjustments to keep your nervous system functioning

Look. There goes a duck:
"Quack"

Re:Breaking News: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937668)

In the words of Merlin Mann... "Doctor of Chiropractic." Is that kind of like "President of Family Room?"

Good call... (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | about 4 years ago | (#33937086)

Good call... might also have to ban them from cell phones, radios, microwaves, and just about anything else that requires electricity.

Summary wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937088)

As usual, health officials and know-it-all scientists have called the move ridiculous.

What's even more ridiculous is the loaded wording of the summary.

Re:Summary wording (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 years ago | (#33937210)

What's even more ridiculous is the loaded wording of the summary.

I think he was being sarcastic...

Re:Summary wording (1)

Tragek (772040) | about 4 years ago | (#33937362)

At least we'd like to hope so.

This right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937164)

I put on my robe and tin-foil hat.

Rational decision by school administration? (4, Interesting)

jddimarco (1754954) | about 4 years ago | (#33937186)

This may, in fact, be a rational decision by the school's administration. While the health dangers due to wifi may not be real, the (often irrational) fear that some people (e.g. parents) have of wifi is, unfortunately, very real. If enough people are sufficiently afraid, and their fear is causing a great deal of difficulty, banning wifi may be the most straightforward solution, especially if wifi isn't mission-critical for that particular school.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (3, Insightful)

Wizzo1138 (769692) | about 4 years ago | (#33937348)

Then you would have them ban immunizations for children based on the same logic?

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1, Flamebait)

Altus (1034) | about 4 years ago | (#33937512)

There are plenty of things we should be immunizing children against, such as HPV, but we aren't because of politics.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33937772)

There's an HPV vaccine?

Also that's not something we need to worry about. (No sex.)

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (4, Informative)

Altus (1034) | about 4 years ago | (#33938034)

Indeed there is, in fact I believe there are 2 of them. Mind you they only protect against a few varieties of HPV (with some overlap between the two I believe) but the ones covered include the ones that have the greatest chance of causing cervical cancer.

These vaccines have only been tested on women (no reason to believe they don't work on men, but last I checked that was off label) and your insurance generally wont cover the vaccine if you are over a certain age.

Sure, no reason to give the vaccine to 2 year olds, but kids get sexually active fairly early in life and cervical cancer is pretty bad, so why not vaccinate. I know if I had daughters I would have them vaccinated.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33938084)

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

And yes, despite the fact that it can prevent cancer we still have opposition to it.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#33937598)

You think school WiFi is as important to the childrens' well-being (and/or that of their society) as immunications?

If not, find a better argument.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (4, Insightful)

Wizzo1138 (769692) | about 4 years ago | (#33937824)

Obviously not, and there's a certain level of sarcasm there. But the underlying point is valid - you don't want to make decisions just because the irrational minority makes a lot of noise.

In this case it's probably not worth dealing with them over something as insignificant as WiFi, but figuring out when something is important enough to fight for is the difficult question.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

jddimarco (1754954) | about 4 years ago | (#33937730)

The comparison doesn't hold. Wifi isn't necessarily mission-critical for an elementary school. Keeping your students alive (which is what immunizations do) is.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (4, Insightful)

Sprouticus (1503545) | about 4 years ago | (#33937372)

or you could tell them they are being stupid and ignore their hysterics. That is more straight forward and takes less time. Not to mention you can still use WiFi.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 4 years ago | (#33937412)

I agree. "Parents at St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school in Meaford, Ont., voted to ban Wi-Fi transmitters, after some students reported feeling ill after they were installed."

Of course banning wifi is silly but I applaud the school for listening to the majority of the parents. I just wish local schools allowed parents so much control over what the schools do, pretty sure parents wouldn't have voted to allow the school to spy on students through webcams [slashdot.org]

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937546)

"pretty sure parents wouldn't have voted to allow the school to spy on students through webcams"

Are you sure? Based on the overprotectiveness of the average parent these days, I suspect a good portion of them would probably be interested in getting a copy of the surveillance software for themselves. You know, just in case.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33937732)

Was it a true majority or the parents, or just a majority of the Nutcases that bothered to appear at the meeting?

I prefer not to live under a "tyranny of the majority", thank you very much.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33937846)

I agree. "Parents at St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school in Meaford, Ont., voted to ban Wi-Fi transmitters, after some students reported feeling ill after they were installed." Of course banning wifi is silly but I applaud the school for listening to the majority of the parents.

I have to question that article. I spent quite a bit of time in the Meaford area, and while the locals might not be the smartest folk in Canada, they're not a pack of knuckle-dragging troglodytes, either. As a gut-reaction, I'd say it's much more likely that the PTA is either lying through their teeth, or when they talk about "voting" they're referring to the 5 or 6 yokels who happen to show up for PTA meetings rather than the populace as a whole. Either way, I'd love to see more detail on how exactly this decision was reached.

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33937614)

Right. Given the choice between educating people and giving in to their irrational fears ..... give in, every time! Oh noes, here comes another solar eclipse! Duck and cover!

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33937680)

>>>the (often irrational) fear that some people (e.g. parents) have of wifi is real

I thought the purpose of Educators was to erase irrational fears through endorsing/sharing of knowledge, NOT to kowtow to those fears. - It appears to me the administration is as dumb as the parents - i.e. embracing superstitious nonsense ("Wifi is bad - it must be banned").

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33937882)

Yes, the most important lesson a school could teach is the proper response when ignorant of something, is fear, and the ignorant fearmongers position makes them morally superior to all others thus we must subject everyone to the tyranny of the (ignorant) minority.

What could possibly go wrong when our childrens role models, model that behavior?

Re:Rational decision by school administration? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 4 years ago | (#33937982)

    Anxiety disorders and phobia of technology is not a reason to ban something. Should we cater to all the folks with agoraphobia, and ban the outdoors?

Wired FAIL? (1)

sarkeizen (106737) | about 4 years ago | (#33937198)

I like this quote: "Parents voted to protect their children's health and plug the computers back in with hardwires" however the picture from ctv.ca shows a bunch of students with iPads. [www.ctv.ca]

Re:Wired FAIL? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 years ago | (#33937466)

This is because the average person is an uneducated half-wit, who can be scaremongered by cranks and crooks (look at the whole MMR vaccine-autism "controversy").

If people are that concerned about radiation, then I suggest they move into salt mines and pray to whatever deity they hold dearest that neutrinos do indeed only interact weakly with other matter.

Fucking stupid rubes. What a pack of retards.

Re:Wired FAIL? (3, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937674)

Don't tell them the rock is radioactive.

Re:Wired FAIL? (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937492)

That's okay, but this quote is WAY better:

"A group of Ontario parents dubbed the Simcoe County Safe School Committee believes Wi-Fi transmitters in schools may be responsible for a host of symptoms their kids show -- from headaches to an inability to concentrate -- all of which disappear on weekends."

In grade eight my mother noticed that I tended to be sick on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rather than blaming the t-ness of those days, she correctly deduced that those were the days I had health class with the evil principal.

I wonder how many of those kids have wifi at home?

Re:Wired FAIL? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33937862)

>>>"plug the computers back in with hardwires"

Hardwires emit radiation Mr. and Mrs. Dumb Parent.

Ontario must have the stupidest people! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937232)

This must be the lowest intelligence population in the northern hemisphere.

Re:Ontario must have the stupidest people! (0, Troll)

countSudoku() (1047544) | about 4 years ago | (#33937290)

How DARE you, Sir! Do not forget the New Tea Party of US and A. Now those are some stupid fucks!

Where there's blame, there's a claim (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 4 years ago | (#33937566)

I can see it now, parents suing for past 'damage' caused by wifi.

Re:Ontario must have the stupidest people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937684)

This must be the lowest intelligence population in the northern hemisphere.

I would say that goes to people with "creation museums" and those who have voted Pi to be three ... all Americans. Now go fuck yourself.

What? (-1, Flamebait)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33937238)

"Know it all" scientists? Come to think of it, collectively we probably do know a great deal more than you do, dipshit. Get the fuck off my slashdot and stop trying to turn this site into yet another fucking tabloid.

Re:What? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | about 4 years ago | (#33937332)

Whoa. Don't have an aneurysm or something dude. You got really mad there

Microwaves (1)

Mark Atwood (19301) | about 4 years ago | (#33937354)

I have to wonder if they are also banning microwave ovens. The ISM frequency range used by WiFi is unlicensed because it is the same frequency used by microwave ovens, and so is full of junk and interference.

Re:Microwaves (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937806)

I have to wonder if they are also banning microwave ovens. The ISM frequency range used by WiFi is unlicensed because it is the same frequency used by microwave ovens, and so is full of junk and interference.

Not from microwave ovens, it isn't.

It may have escaped your attention, but microwave ovens contain all microwave radiation in what is known as a Faraday cage [wikipedia.org] . And it's a damn good thing that it does, lest you learn what it really means to have your blood boil.

problem (1)

British (51765) | about 4 years ago | (#33937358)

So they want someone to prove that it ISN'T harmful.

But is there any proof that it IS harmful?

Sure, it's normal to ban something if it's been proven to be harmful, but I can't think of anything that hasn't been banned because there's no proof that it isn't harmful.

Why is this edit box so god dang narrow?

Re:problem (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33937582)

Sure, it's normal to ban something if it's been proven to be harmful, but I can't think of anything that hasn't been banned because there's no proof that it isn't harmful.

Part of the problem with that is that everybody seems to want to start with the position that "this is safe unless you can irrefutably prove otherwise", and they go ahead and load everything up with chemicals/whatever and assume it's safe. Which does lead to stuff that you might expect to be dangerous being used until someone can prove it is dangerous. Pharma companies do it all the time, and, have been proven to have lied about risks they knew were there. Think Thalidamide, for instance.

I don't always trust people when they say "oh, sure, this radioactive corn with spiders-silk genes must be perfectly healthy there's no proof to the contrary". The companies introducing these things want us to believe that their chemicals are safe, but it's all discovered after-the-fact.

Assuming everything is safe generally leads to companies pursuing profit with absolutely no regard for if their product is safe. Then they get the rules changed so they're not actually required to tell you about what's actually in it because it hasn't yet been proven to be a possible risk. I wouldn't trust Monsanto on any claims they make about product safety, and I think that to a certain extent, companies should be doing more testing before they release it to the market.

You can go ahead and eat the experimental green goo -- personally, I'd rather they had to put it on the label so I could choose, instead of just saying that it hasn't been proven harmful. It's too damned late by the time they 'discover' that a something we've never tested is, in fact, dangerous.

Re:problem (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 years ago | (#33937952)

Though even thalidomide has valid uses. It came up in the news again in the past few years. (The capsules have a circle-slash over an icon of a pregnant woman.)

Re:problem (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33937830)

>>>Why is this edit box so god dang narrow?

To test the intelligence
of posters to see which
ones is Hard Return
every line and which
ones are smart enough
to use Slashdot's built-
in word-wrap system.
.

>>>But is there any proof that it IS harmful?

Unfortunately there is a lot of proof that WiFi is harmful, but it's mostly manufactured evidence by the same crackpots that want to see it get banned. The same crackpots who claim they've "proved" an engine can run forever, or that cars can roll uphill in some parts of the US.

Safety first (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 4 years ago | (#33937424)

Everyone knows that we are running out of IPV4 addresses, and as this address space fills up, the killer rays built into the WiFi routers becomes ever more dangerous. Sooner they will be even more dangerous than cell phones. We need to kill off as many IPV4 addresses as possible, in order to save the children!

It's not the energy (3, Interesting)

thethibs (882667) | about 4 years ago | (#33937446)

As usual, Health Canada gets it wrong.

It's not that the signal is low energy, it's that the radiation is not at a frequency that can do any damage.

They could boost the power to the point where it boiled the water in your cells. That's what it would take to do damage, because the wavelength is too long to break chemical bonds. That's the neat thing about quantum mechanics; if one photon can't do any damage, neither can a thousand photons.

Re:It's not the energy (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | about 4 years ago | (#33937710)

that's not quantum mechanics, that's just physics (or biology depending on your point of view)

Re:It's not the energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937872)

"Einstein postulated that light itself consists of individual quanta of energy, later called photons"

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

Re:It's not the energy (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33937724)

That's the neat thing about quantum mechanics; if one photon can't do any damage, neither can a thousand photons.

Well then theres quantum tunneling

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

The good news is that ten to the negative 99th and the billion times more likely ten to the negative 90th are, for all practical purposes, both zero. You got yer heart in the right place but simplified the details a bit.

Re:It's not the energy (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937740)

They didn't get it wrong. Their statement is perfectly correct. It's also more relevant than your reason.

Ionizing radiation doesn't give you headaches and inability to concentrate that goes away on weekends. Exposure to RF at microwave oven, heating-up-your-brain levels could do so a lot more plausibly than ionizing radiation.

Re:It's not the energy (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33938066)

Ionizing radiation doesn't give you headaches and inability to concentrate that goes away on weekends. Exposure to RF at microwave oven, heating-up-your-brain levels could do so a lot more plausibly than ionizing radiation.

Hmmm, not really. Most peoples brains are very well provided with blood vessels. Good luck cooking a living mammal brain.

On the other hand, your eyes cornea has very little cooling capacity. Its not difference of a few percent, its a difference of a couple orders of magnitude. Cooked corneas are not transparent, as a generation or two of radar repairmen accidents have unfortunately proven.

Blasting enough RF to cause heatstroke like effects to the brain over a long term period, are almost certainly high enough to cause instantaneous permanent blindness.

Suddenly blind people don't really pay attention to a slight headache.

Re:It's not the energy (0, Redundant)

Trelane (16124) | about 4 years ago | (#33937768)

E = h \nu "It's not that the signal is low energy, it's that the radiation is not at a frequency that can do any damage" Given that you say "boost the power to the point where it boiled the water in your cells" I think you're confusing power, i.e. energy per second (and power density at that, i.e. energy per square meter per second) You get it right, though with "if one photon can't do any damage, neither can a thousand photons." You can heat with it, though, by exciting motion in e.g. polar molecules (and these are dependent upon frequency as well, since molecules "like to" move (i.e. are resonant) in different ways (different modes) and at different frequencies, hence the FCC power recommendations for ham radio even for wavelengths that are large compared to parts of your body). So you can make up for a lack of efficacy (i.e. by being off-resonance) by throwing more power at it (unless, of course, the molecule is completely non-reacting).

Re:It's not the energy (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 4 years ago | (#33937930)

Urgh. \. was unresponsive so sorry for the semi-double-post.

Re:It's not the energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937798)

To be fair, their goal is not necessarily to get it right, but to reassure the populace that it is safe and keep them from panicking. Now, whether this is a laudable goal is questionable, but I think that's what they're doing, and an accurate explanation might actually detract from that.

Re:It's not the energy (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 4 years ago | (#33937888)

E = h \nu

"It's not that the signal is low energy, it's that the radiation is not at a frequency that can do any damage"

Given that you say "boost the power to the point where it boiled the water in your cells" I think you're confusing energy (h \nu where nu is the frequency) and power, i.e. energy per second (and power density at that, i.e. energy per square meter per second)

You get it mostly right, though with "if one photon can't do any damage, neither can a thousand photons." You mean breaking bonds, not heating damage. I.e. it's not "ionizing radiation".

Even if it doesn't break molecular bonds by being off-resonance, you can heat with it by exciting motion across the whole molecule in e.g. polar molecules like water (and these are dependent upon frequency as well, since molecules "like to" move (i.e. are resonant) in different ways (different modes) and at different frequencies, hence the FCC power recommendations for ham radio even for wavelengths that are large compared to parts of your body). So you can make up for a lack of efficacy (i.e. by being off-resonance) by throwing more power at it (unless, of course, the molecule is completely non-reacting). So you won't get cancer from it, but you can burn yourself by handling an antenna while it's transmitting or by being too close to one (power density falls off as 1/r^2, so being sufficiently far away is perfectly acceptable and thus why hams can be required to put up fencing to keep people away from antennas).

Of course, wifi transmitters are under 100mW (I think that's the upper limit I've seen) so you can calculate the number of photons being emitted per second, and thus how many photons are being received per second per square meter at some distance from the transmitter, using E=h \nu and the various formulas introduced implicitly above).

Re:It's not the energy (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33938006)

>>>the wavelength is too long to break chemical bonds

So how long are WiFi's waves? And how "short" do they need to be to cause damage?

Aside - It's somewhat ironic that Shortwave Radio is called "shortwave" when the waves are actually much longer than the waves used by AM, FM, or TV.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937476)

won't somebody please think of the children! That is, how will they get their porn in school?

So in case it's not clear... (3, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 4 years ago | (#33937486)

The Canadian government is saying "Whoa, seriously, people, wi-fi won't kill you."

It's the crazy admin folk in charge of these specific schools that are making the rest of us look bad.

health effects. no. education effects, definitely (2, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 4 years ago | (#33937522)

While the health argument is nonsense, there are a lot of very good reasons to ban wifi in public schools. If the school doesn't have a laptop policy then the students probably shouldn't use them, too much to go wrong, both on a support end and on the student effectively using the tools side of things. I went to both public and highschool in ontario, admittedly, quite a few years ago, but there wasn't really any time except maybe lunch that we would have had anywhere suitable to want a wifi connection anyway. You were either in class, and supposed to be paying attention to the front of the room, or on your way home. And if you actually needed internet access for something legitimate, well there were lots of computers around you had access to. Installing and running a wifi network if it doesn't fit with how the school operates seems unnecessary.

This school in question only goes to grade 6 it looks like. I sort of think that 10-11 year olds probably shouldn't have laptops at school, or smartphones or any of the other modern wifi connected gadgets which sap attention and productivity from the rest of us. They aren't really ready for that responsibility, both in value of stuff or in time management. Highschool might be different, but in public school you get a couple of 15 minute breaks, and some time at lunch, otherwise you aren't supposed to be there. In grade six they're still learning to measure angles with protractors and learning to guess the meanings of words they don't know (source: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/grade6.html) . Looking up angle on wikipedia and finding formal definitions using trig functions seems like it's probably going to do more harm than good. Even if you want to argue a grade 6 kid might be ok with a laptop, grade 4 and 5 are pretty young to be using wireless devices on their own initiative.

On top of all that you get into issues of what has access to the network, and how do you enforce that policy, and if you're going to provide access how do you make it fair for students without the financial means to get laptops etc.

Like I say, in a school that only goes to grade 6 it's a bit different than the usual primary schools that go to grade 8 or a highschool or the like. 8 and 9 year old kids are still learning to write on lined paper, they aren't really ready for constant internet access, and by the time they are, they aren't at this school anyway.

Re:health effects. no. education effects, definite (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about 4 years ago | (#33937726)

You don't think kids should be allowed to use laptops and the best way to accomplish that is to ban wifi?

Re:health effects. no. education effects, definite (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937848)

It sounds like they're using wifi as a shortcut to hook up the lab computers. No need to run a zillion cables, just drop a wireless router in the lab somewhere.

Having once wired my high school with ethernet, it actually sounds like an excellent idea. Even better when you consider that the ceiling tiles in my high school were made with asbestos.

Re:health effects. no. education effects, definite (1)

Altus (1034) | about 4 years ago | (#33937914)

lets say you want to give every classroom in a school a computer. You can either run cable to every classroom and set up multiple drops so the computer can be in different places, or you can blanket the entire school in a wifi network.

Now sure, some schools had wires in place from before wifi was common, but if you were trying to retrofit an old school wifi would probably look pretty appealing.

Did they run out of tin foil? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 4 years ago | (#33937558)

I think the fear of wifi and just anything generating signals or god forbid magnetism is worse than the actual effects of it.

What about all the satellites beaming down radio waves at GHz frequencies? surely that does some harm? who's for a tinfoil umbrella?

Re:Did they run out of tin foil? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937906)

Wait, I thought magnetism was good for us? Isn't that how Q-Ray turns industrial waste into attractive and healthful ionizing bracelets?

Not sure this belongs in 'idle' (2, Insightful)

Jinker (133372) | about 4 years ago | (#33937590)

Anti-scientific 'ban everything' movements are the flipside of the pro-CO^2 believers. People who think they intuitively know more than those who study that field in particular who have research to back up their claims.

It's a failing of our education system that more people don't understand science, the concept. You don't need to understand all the branches of science. You just need to know that 'my kid complains of headaches at school' does not mean you can pin the blame on WiFi without any further tests.

Just some background (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 4 years ago | (#33937624)

This was probably caused by the same idiots that are trying to push non fluoridated water on us (http://www.waterloowatch.com/). Ontario for some reason seems inundated with quacks and people that think they know whats best for us recently regardless of their education.

Re:Just some background (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33937728)

Ontario for some reason seems inundated with quacks and people that think they know whats best for us recently regardless of their education.

Yeah, it's called Parliament. :-P

But, seriously, I'm sure that all of the other provinces have groups that try to push equally stupid things.

Re:Just some background (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | about 4 years ago | (#33937828)

This was probably caused by the same idiots that are trying to push non fluoridated water on us (http://www.waterloowatch.com/). Ontario for some reason seems inundated with quacks and people that think they know whats best for us recently regardless of their education.

Ok, at risk of defending jackassery, I gotta respond to that. "push non flouridated water on us"? Water isn't naturally flouridated to any reasonable level, the flouridation is added. It's flouridated water that is being "pushed" on people because they're not give the choice. It may be well below the level of toxicity, but asking to not be exposed to a toxic chemical just because some people refuse to brush their goddamn teeth isn't exactly a radical position.

Re:Just some background (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33937924)

Must be the nuclear reactors. ;)

Can't expect common sense from a Catholic school.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937694)

Why start now with regards to wi-fi?

Is Ontario Canadian for Califronia? (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#33937722)

Really it sounds like something you would hear about in some super "liberal" area of California or Santa Fe New Mexico. Some child has a miss aligned aura and Wifi is to blame. Poor kid had to get aromatherapy for a week to get back to normal.
Sorry Canada just glad it isn't us this time.

In other News (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 4 years ago | (#33937754)

In other news, schoolitis has reached record infection rates; experts recommend an immediate quarantine for the infected.

Irrational beliefs (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33937778)

OK /. help me match the list of irrational beliefs with the county.

Canadians think RF affects the body in a non-thermal way, which is hilarious.

South Koreans believe in fan death

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

(North Koreans don't have the electricity to run the fans...)

USA has all kinds of irrational beliefs vaguely revolving around religion, abstinence education works, creation science etc.

Any other "funny" ones?

ignorance is too common (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937904)

To all the people who doubt there are people sentive to radio frenquencies, you would feel different if you could barely go outside without being bombarded with headaches. Its beyond me why there are idiots out there that think that if it dosent affect them, its perfectly safe.

If this was any other tech, one which has been thrown around with no real research for health effect like wifi, there would be a public outcry. But since the people whos lives it ruins are a small number, people dont care.

As far as I am concerned, if you dont know how these things affect people you need to pull your head out of your ass.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33937950)

I'm from Meaford... There are many highly educated level headed people in the community.. unfortunately most no longer have children in the system. This school, i suspect, is now populated by the spawn of the "government mind control in flu shot, Illuminati, Capricorn one" crowd...

Oh yes, town is also full of retired hippies.. which is not a bad thing.

Laptops give off major EM radiation (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 4 years ago | (#33937974)

Try holding your AM radio close to your laptop (or desktop computer for that matter).

Right now the health effects of various kinds of EM fields or various kinds of modulations of fields,
if those health effects exist, appear to be below the threshold at which
our current population health studies can reliably detect the correlations or
causal effects.

So we are left in the uncomfortable position of saying "we don't know", and we don't even
have any well-founded probabilistic guesses.

When you are in a "we don't know" state about some purported causal connection, you either
have to study it more, with better and larger, and more expensive studies, or you have to just
live with a "we don't know" state.

The problem with "we don't know" states is that literally, your guess is as good as mine.

So here we have a case where there are clear benefits to a technology, and no proven health impacts,
but some people have concerns. If I were those parents, I would be much more concerned about
sugar & simple-carbohydrate poisoning effects of the kind of food and drinks the students are probably
consuming in and around school. That's something we can prove is going to kill a lot of them before
ripe old age.

A proposal (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 4 years ago | (#33938056)

I say lets do an experiment. We'd have to be somewhat deceitful but lets get these people who are 'allergic' to RF into what we tell them is a RF quiet room. We could even employ props to make it seem as though it were. But the reality, we can bombard the room with RF while we have them fill out a questionaire on how they feel vis a vis RF illness. Betcha that they'd be hollering for joy that they're in an RF free space.
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