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Windfarm Sickness Spreads By Word of Mouth

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the people-who-are-allergic-to-ideas dept.

Australia 482

eldavojohn writes "Just like the many stories surrounding alleged 'Wi-Fi sickness,' research is now showing that windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth instead of applying universally to windfarms. Areas that had never had any noise or health complaints were suddenly experiencing them after 2009 when anti-wind groups targeted populations surrounding windfarms. From the article, 'Eighteen reviews of the research literature on wind turbines and health published since 2003 had all reached the broad conclusion that there was very little evidence they were directly harmful to health.' While there's unfortunately no way to prove that someone is lying about how they feel, it's likely a mixture of confirmation bias, psychosomatic response, hypochondria, greed and hatred of seeing windmills on the horizon that drives this phenomenon."

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In other news (5, Insightful)

eagee (1308589) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183347)

People are still just as stupid as they've always been...

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183647)

I dont know... there seems to be evidence that they're stupider.

Re:In other news (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183701)

That's not really substantiated. People used to think you could get sick from drinking from the same water fountain as a person with different skin color. Segregation wasn't just something they did without imagined moronic reason. If anything, this kinda stuff is tame compared to the levels of human stupidity we've achieved in the past.

By any real metric, people are getting smarter.

Re:In other news (4, Insightful)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183929)

Smarter? No, just more educated. They still buy the lines of bullshit politicians sell and reality TV keeps growing in popularity. Their stupidity just migrated.

Re:In other news (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183969)

I dont know... there seems to be evidence that they're stupider.

I'd be surprised if they were either notably smarter or notably dumber individually(Probably a few points of extra credit for nutrient abundance, a few demerits for all the mercury we've liberated since the industrial revolution); but as a system the effect might be a lot more dramatic.

If you live in some teeny tribal kin-group, the 'believe whatever crazy shit the people around you believe, especially if they told you about it when you were a dumb kid and they were a responsible adult' heuristic is probably a pretty good one, unless you've been provided with demigod-level intelligence and unlimited time to experiment.

In a modern, mass-media saturated environment, where you are being fed a steady stream of what feels just like social input; but is produced by people who have nothing in common with you or your situation, nor occupy the same boat as you, it's hard not to be pessimistic about the possibilities.

If you talk only to your neighbors, feeling more or less safe based on how often crime is mentioned probably works out OK. If you sit down and tune in to the 24/7 National Sensationalist Violence Channel, you are still applying the same heuristic; but to every photogenic crime in a population north of 200million. That's going to work real well...

No, they're actually sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183681)

They have too much wind in their head.

Re:In other news (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183775)

People are still just as stupid as they've always been...

Switch off the mind and let the heart decide who you were meant to be (Windpower)

Re:In other news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183839)

What's stupid is this ignorant notion that wind power is sustainable.

Re:In other news (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183861)

People are still just as gullible as they've always been...

FTFY

Back in the late 1970's (showing my fossilage here) Sixty Minutes (I sat about 20 feet from Ed Bradley) and other news orgs came to Midland, Michigan, after a Jack Anderson Confidential claimed Midland was awash with Carcinogenic Dioxins, spewed into the air and dumped into the Tittabawasee River by Dow Chemical.

People suddenly queued up to claim they were suffering many ills as brought on by these dioxins. The nation's media swarmed to the small midwestern city prepared for the worst (and to tell it all in gory detail.) Midland was alleged to have people with open sores and massive turmors lurching down the streets like some Dawn of the Dead scene. The reality was the concentrations of these compounds were in like 5 ppb (parts per billion), when checked on by DNR and others. Put into perspective it was like a football field, a mile high and one marble sitting in the end zone. Pretty mild and not the Love Canal the media were looking for. Within days it was all gone, nothing mentioned on Sixty Minutes or any other national news.

Power of suggestion can be a powerful thing.

Someone should do this coal power (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183365)

I suggest someone spread around the idea that coal power plants endager the health those nearby. A bonus is that this might actually be true.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Informative)

uncle slacky (1125953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183411)

IIRC coal plants release more radiation into the environment than nuclear plants do, so you're quite probably correct.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183509)

Not to mention all the mercury that's currently poisoning the sea, etc.

I love it when the greenies insist on Sea Salt because it's more 'organic' than the other stuff (which they seem to believe is made in one of the dreaded 'refineries' or something...)

Me? I want my salt to be as refined and inorganic as possible. Na and Cl in equal proportions, nothing more.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (-1, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183585)

Na and Cl in equal proportions would be way too much Cl.

You want the ratio 22.99 to 35.45.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (3)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183725)

I was counting atoms, not weighing sacks.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183731)

Only in mass, they clearly meant molarity.

Here's a rule: if there's an interpretation of something someone else said that is 100% accurate, don't correct them because you chose to misinterpret it.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Funny)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183947)

HEY HEY HEY!
Get that common sense out of here!

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183743)

Na and Cl in equal proportions would be way too much Cl.

You want the ratio 22.99 to 35.45.

Re-Read his post. You don't actually thing he knows anything about science do you?

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43184015)

He already proved he knows more than you and everyone else who didn't understand the referral to molar proportions and got their panties all in a knot.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183765)

Equal molar proportions.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183943)

Hey look everyone! I'm a cunt pretending I know more about stuff than someone else!

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183723)

I guess you like your beef well-done with no sauce, and your salad with no dressing? Fancy salts are delicious *because* of their impurities. Sometimes (not always, natch) more flavors = better. Food science is fascinating, don't get stuck in 5th-grade chemistry.

(...And you drink only distilled water or pure grain alcohol, and deny women your essence?)

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183747)

Beef should never be well-done and does not need a sauce.

If you cook it correctly, no more than medium-rare, it will makes it own sauce.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

Meyaht (2729603) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184055)

As a matter of fact yes, I do indeed always pull out.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Informative)

satsuke (263225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183813)

Small point, but the main reason for preferring sea salt is that it tastes different than "normal" table salt.

Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to the individual

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

djdanlib (732853) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183991)

You know what's really funny, is that some people use sea salt because they think it contains less sodium. I'm not even kidding.

Of course since this is Slashdot, I have to say that technically, due to the detritus in the sea salt, they may be correct on such a microscopic level that it doesn't matter unless you consume tons and tons of the stuff.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183845)

Well, the iodine that is often added to table salt is an important nutrient too. It is more likely than not that your diet doesn't have quite enough, so if you aren't getting a suplement in your salt then you will want to supplement it a different way.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183913)

You could use the same chemicals that are dissolved in artificial seawater [wikipedia.org]

I think the appeal of sea salt is that it's not just NaCl. There are a lot of trace elements, perhaps even a little harmless algae. If there's anything organic in there you'd have a heck of a time duplicating that.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183925)

I love it when the greenies insist on Sea Salt because it's more 'organic' than the other stuff (which they seem to believe is made in one of the dreaded 'refineries' or something...)

I don't know much about your imaginary greenies. I've never met one. Are the the same as the greenies Rush Limbaugh is so scared of? The ones that want every one to live in caves? Creepy!!!

I'm a foodie and a scientist. Did you know that sea water and blood contain the same ratios of electrolytes? Your blood is just more diluted. Sodium chloride isn't the only salt. Rock salt doesn't have the same ratios. Some of it is poisonous. The crappy stuff is used on roads. The better stuff is fed to animals, and the best is refined and fed to people, but it's still not the same ratios as sea water or your blood.

Sea salt tastes better. I can tell it apart blind. Specialty salts have all sorts of flavors. I've have this black Hawaiian sea salt that is awesome on a margareta.

Me? I want my salt to be as refined and inorganic as possible. Na and Cl in equal proportions, nothing more.

Bland and boring like most conservative bigots. I bet you drink light beer too.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184009)

It's usually the foodies who go for esoteric salts, and they do so precisely for the impurities, some of which have interesting flavors.

Also, for whatever reason, manufacturers tend to sell differently shaped salt crystals depending on what the salt is being sold as. If you want larger granules(food grade, not the stuff sold for your driveway) or flake, you often end up with something labelled 'sea salt', even though refined mined salt could be produced in those shapes, rather than in the little teeny cubes.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184053)

Me? I want my salt to be as refined and inorganic as possible. Na and Cl in equal proportions, nothing more.

Different ions have different flavors. Sea salt tastes better than kosher salt.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183561)

They release more radiation than nuclear plants that haven't had an accident. Unfortunately, nuclear accidents have released [slashdot.org] orders of magnitude more radiation than the entire history of operating coal plants.

Note: I'm actually very pro-nuclear, but I think this is a fact that needs to be discussed. The coal plant radiation myth is unfounded and makes pro-nuclear people look stupid when they use it. The danger from coal plants is the stuff that doesn't have a half-life, like mercury, arsenic, and soot. The uranium they release is mostly harmless.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (2, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183935)

Only if you include non-US nuclear power plants. Because Japan and Russia are the two big sinners, mainly because they have made bad choices when it comes to nuclear safety.

Honestly, the new molten salt reactors are safer than any anything we have thought of. When everyone panics and runs away, leaving the machines alone, they automatically and safely shut down. No fear of radiation leaks, just safely.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183797)

IIRC coal plants release more radiation into the environment than nuclear plants do

This is something that is often said, but it is questionable if it is really true. When I have tried to find the sources, they all point to a single study [sciencemag.org] done in 1978 by a scientist at Oak Ridge National Labratory [wikipedia.org] . There are several problems with this claim:

1. It only looked at radiation released during "normal" operation. It didn't consider accidents at nuclear plants, which in reality account for nearly all the radiation they have released.
2. Coal plants today release far less fly ash than they did in 1978.
3. This study was done by ORNL, which has a vested interest in pushing nukes.

Disclaimer: I am pro-nuke, pro-windmill, and anti-coal, but I am also pro-truth, and this "factoid" about radioactive coal needs to die. There are plenty of real reasons to oppose burning coal.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (2)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183809)

They do, but only because nuclear plants release essentially zero. While this is a good argument in favor of nuclear power, it's not exactly a resounding blow to coal, either.

That said: people don't seem to care about the (very strong) arguments against coal power regarding climate change and the environmental damage on both the mining and burning ends. Once upon a time I was idealistic and believed in rhetorical rigor, and would have criticized saying "Coal is a radiation hazard! RUN AWAY!" to the voters. Now? I'm not so sure.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183467)

I'm pretty sure everyone already knows that and they just don't care...

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183579)

It's a known fact, so it's factored into the property values, therefore people who live near coal plants are poor and cloutless, therefore nothing need be done. And if the windmill haters succeed in their FUD, it will be the same story -- without an actual cancer/emphysema cluster to back it up, but whatever, a home with a view of a windmill will no longer be suitable for people wealthy enough to have their whines heard.

Or maybe traffic related deaths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183739)

1,23 million world deaths traffic related, 2007 data shows.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

Re:Someone should do this coal power (0, Redundant)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183733)

The bonus, if you can call it that, is that it IS actually true. It's also raising the mercury levels in fish all over... we eat the fish... it used to be healthy and now it's a health risk. Burning things to heat water to turn things to create electric power is just bad.

Nuclear power, when managed properly and strictly, is the only way to go right now. Wind is kind of good, but it can't stand alone and neither can solar. Geothermal isn't available everywhere. So what else is there?

People do need to take their heads out of their asses.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183831)

Why can't nuclear power stand alone, out of curiosity?

Re:Someone should do this coal power (2)

djdanlib (732853) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184005)

It gets lonely.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184061)

Read it again...

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Informative)

Strider- (39683) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184063)

Why can't nuclear power stand alone, out of curiosity?

Nuclear power can't stand alone, at least with current reactor designs, because their output can't be ramped up or down very quickly. Many areas of North America (California is an example I know best) exhibit extreme daytime load peaks, followed by deep night-time lulls, due to the air conditioning load.

Years ago, during the California power crisis, BC Hydro made a killing due to this effect. During the daytime, they would run their hydro-electric plants flat out, at completely unsustainable levels, and sell the power to California utilities at almost usurious rates. At night, they would shut the hydro plants down, allow the water to pool up again behind the dam, and buy dirt cheap nuclear power from California.

The real point is that while Nuclear can work for the baseline load on the grid, current designs simply aren't nimble enough to meet the peaks and valleys they would face in normal day to day operation. They need to be complimented with some other power source that is more nimble.

Re:Someone should do this coal power (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183921)

I suggest someone spread around the idea that coal power plants endager the health those nearby. A bonus is that this might actually be true.

Before scrubbers and such, one of the deadly elements thrown into the air from burning coal was Mercury.

But that's nothing. Really.

You've no doubt seen how hazardous Asbestos is to the lungs. People were tearing apart buildings, because floor tiling, ventillation and insulation was loaded with it. BUT ... Never mind that, all cars were whizzing around for decades with Asbestos brake linings, filling cities with the fine dust of from these as motorists slowed down or stopped here and there by the tens of millions.

Just like Fracking! (-1, Troll)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183369)

Oh wait... the collective has decided that windmills == good and fracking == bad so anyone claiming windmill sickness is lying while anyone claiming that fracking sets your Everclear.. uh I mean "water" on fire in a youtube video is right!

Re:Just like Fracking! (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183419)

Or maybe one has nothing to do with the other.

Windmills good. Fracking good when done right.

Windmill sickness is no different than cell phone sickness or I saw a fracking rig nearby sickness.

Stop trying to score stupid political points.

Re:Just like Fracking! (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183589)

Or "I've got secret crap in my drinking water" sickness.

Re:Just like Fracking! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183791)

Notably and tellingly, the biggest cluster of autistic children is in Hollywood. How much is real, how much is better detection, and how much is bizarre wishful thinking of the same anti-placebo effect?

Re:Just like Fracking! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183599)

Does windmill construction require pumping undisclosed "trade secret" chemicals into the ground water?

Re:Just like Fracking! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183695)

If by "collective" you mean the collected knowledge built up by logic and experimentation, then yes.

"I feel sick, someone told me it was the windmills so it must be them" despite no medically known process that would cause this with several studies conducted that found no link is not comparable to the fact that pumping chemicals into the ground contaminates the groundwater.

These people do feel sick, I'm sure. The cause isn't the windmills - it's the placebo affect in reverse. Most people don't feel sick until someone tells them the windmills are making them sick. The ones who felt sick before are from some other cause, there is exactly the same amount of evidence that the sickness could be caused by houses, roads, or mailboxes as there is that it's caused by windmills, that is to say, none. They felt sick, and point to a random object and blame it. Not rational or logical, but a lot of people do it.

Why are these people taken seriously? (4, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183375)

I wish that, when people are frickin' stupid like this, folks would just roll their eyes at them rather than take them seriously.

People seem to come up with the dumbest reasons they think they're ill. I know it can be frustrating to feel badly and not know why, but come on. Use some science.

Re:Why are these people taken seriously? (3, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183443)

We have to make this stuff up, so we can use our sick pay, which doesn't accumulate. It's use it or lose it.

Look Around You (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183465)

I wish that, when people are frickin' stupid like this, folks would just roll their eyes at them rather than take them seriously.

People seem to come up with the dumbest reasons they think they're ill. I know it can be frustrating to feel badly and not know why, but come on. Use some science.

Well for as stupid as it sounds, it gets modded up on Slashdot [slashdot.org] (disclaimer: I am the submitter).

Re:Look Around You (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183657)

And your complaint is that a post from someone who works in the wind farm business remarked that the low-frequency throbbing from giant turbines is problematic for people getting their guts and sinus cavities pulsated all day, every day might just be a health issue? You're grousing that that got modded up as interesting?

Re:Look Around You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183873)

And your complaint is that a post from someone who works in the wind farm business remarked that the low-frequency throbbing from giant turbines is problematic for people getting their guts and sinus cavities pulsated all day, every day might just be a health issue? You're grousing that that got modded up as interesting?

So the astroturfing actual works, proof right there in your post.

Re:Why are these people taken seriously? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183545)

Just blame it on a virus. With biology, that's probably right half the time.

"...hatred of seeing windmills on the horizon..." (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183449)

Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!
If you travel much, you'll notice that folks tend to be happier in areas with beautiful scenery, much less so elsewhere.

Another thing, most people tend to be very mild mannered. Quite a large number of people will accept a burnt pizza with a smile, only a small minoroty will complain. Perhaps these people were bothered all along and just didn't say anything to avoid rocking the boat...until it was pointed out to them that they had the right to speak up and demand a pizza that wasn't burnt to a crisp.

Supposition vs. science (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183539)

Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!

Maybe it could. If it did you'd expect studying the incidence of the supposed symptoms that it causes would show that they had a correlation with the presence of windfarms independent of propaganda campaigns targeting the local area and attempting to convince people that windfarms are bad for health.

Science was created so that we didn't have to answer question be anecdote and supposition.

Re:Supposition vs. science (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183653)

Or you could argue that the populace was experiencing negative symptoms from the windmills being nearby, but up until they were made aware that they could cause negative health effects, they attributed the decline to other things. The effect of the information, then, served to give them a list of symptoms that they could validate against, and come to their own conclusions.

Re:"...hatred of seeing windmills on the horizon.. (1)

ballpoint (192660) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183737)

Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!
If you travel much, you'll notice that folks tend to be happier in areas with beautiful scenery, much less so elsewhere.

Another thing, most people tend to be very mild mannered. Quite a large number of people will accept a burnt pizza with a smile, only a small minoroty will complain. Perhaps these people were bothered all along and just didn't say anything to avoid rocking the boat...until it was pointed out to them that they had the right to speak up and demand a pizza that wasn't burnt to a crisp.

This. Of course there may be some hypochondria involved, but people living close enough to hear whoosh-whoosh all day long, have their house invaded by shadow effects or their formerly rustic countryside tarnished have all reasons to complain.

Re:"...hatred of seeing windmills on the horizon.. (1, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43184027)

Having a beautiful, natural view obscured by ugly windmills couldn't possibly cause stress and induce real physical sickness in folks, now could it?!

Most people I know thnk that the windmills look kind of cool. Your declaring both that they are ugly, and that they cause people stress because of that ugliness is conjecture.

until it was pointed out to them that they had the right to speak up and demand a pizza that wasn't burnt to a crisp.

A pizza analogy - Awesome!

Your mind (3, Informative)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183457)

Can actually make you sick. Fear, paranoia, stress can all affect the mind to think there's something wrong with the body, until it manifests. That's why attitude is such an important part of recovering from sickness... if you think you're not going to get better, you may not, but it's guaranteed that it will take longer for you to get better as a consequence.

Then again I'd sooner listen a politician than an anti-windmill activist, you've gotta be f'in stupid to think windfarms are bad for your health.

Re:Your mind (1, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183635)

Yes, it's real. It's what the general impact of the TMI meltdown was. Very little attributable to actual radiation, but lots of panic and stress related health affects.

In the long run I imagine we will see the same with Fukushima.

Re:Your mind (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183885)

Don't forget to subtract the stress attributable to the earthquake and tsunami -- you can't blame it all on the meltdown!

Re:Your mind (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183687)

Can actually make you sick.

Yes, but it can't make you die. Otherwise the Windfarm Sickness problem would take care of itself.

It isn't the windfarms making you ill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183841)

It's the alarminst NIMBYs who want it removed are making you ill.

The answer, therefore, is not to remove the wind turbines but those who complain.

More socialist bullshit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183469)

you windfarm fags will let nothing including facts stand in the way of distributing crap power sources.

Re:More socialist bullshit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183597)

What do cigarettes have to do with it?

They make me sick (0, Flamebait)

gewalker (57809) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183495)

Windfarms make me sick when I think about how much money was wasted subsidizing power that is inherently unreliable and atleast somewhat unpredictable

Re:They make me sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183713)

Windfarms make me sick when I think about how much money was wasted subsidizing power that is inherently unreliable and atleast somewhat unpredictable

Wind power is great at augmenting hydroelectric capacity, but that's about it. Basically, hydro+wind produces more baseload than hydro alone could, mostly due to reduced average flow through the turbine (hydro bit). Think about it - hydro rarely runs at 100% capacity due to fluctuating flow upstream (drought years, wet years, etc). And if hydro always runs at 100%, then it is underdeveloped.

Wind is less efficient with gas turbines, and even less efficient with coal. Nuclear is kind of like coal when it comes to rapid load following. Making it rapid load following is not possible with most reactors in service.

So in summary, wind is not bad if you pair it with matchable baseload (hydro, or gas to lesser extent). Otherwise it is not very efficient and can't really be relied upon for baseload capability.

Re:They make me sick (1)

DCstewieG (824956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183773)

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Federal_coal_subsidies#External_Costs_of_Coal_Plants [sourcewatch.org]

The study concluded: "Our comprehensive review finds that the best estimate for the total economically quantifiable costs, based on a conservative weighting of many of the study findings, amount to some $345.3 billion, adding close to 17.8/kWh of electricity generated from coal. The low estimate is $175 billion, or over 9/kWh, while the true monetizable costs could be as much as the upper bounds of $523.3 billion, adding close to 26.89/kWh. These and the more difficult to quantify externalities are borne by the general public." The average residential price of electricity at the time of the report is 12/kWh.

A bit biased? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183501)

That seems a bit biased of an article, but I guess that's par for the course these days. While I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea of "wind farm sickness", I am not a fan of wind energy as it's expensive and I actually do not like the aesthetics. Having just stayed in Palm Springs this past weekend, I find the massive utility scale wind farm there to be not a pleasurable experience; they are loud (although only nearby, if you're at a hotel some distance off you can't hear them) and I personally feel it's damaged the spectacular mountain landscapes you experience when there. As this is an entirely subjective opinion, it's not invalid at all in teh debate over wind farms, and denigrating that perspective by lumping it with "greed" or by suggesting that someone is "lying about how they feel".

The giants (5, Funny)

Captain Spam (66120) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183519)

"Windfarm Sickness"? Lame.

"Don Quixote Syndrome"? Much better.

Re:The giants (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183679)

Oblig. xkcd: http://xkcd.com/556/ [xkcd.com]

Or Giant Fan Death? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183933)

"Windfarm Sickness"? Lame.

"Don Quixote Syndrome"? Much better.

I like it! But I was thinking something more like "Giant Fan Death [wikipedia.org] " ...

Just because you can't hear it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183523)

It's because the low frequency sound from the blades is the same frequency as the Brown Note

Re:Just because you can't hear it. (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183853)

It's because the low frequency sound from the blades is the same frequency as the Brown Note[.]

Although I haven't read any analyses of wind turbine sound, I think you're referring to infrasound; [wikipedia.org] "brown note" (not to be confused with brown noise) refers to a phenomenon generally regarded to be fictitious.

But when it's RADIATION it's REAL (3, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183525)

That's what you call double standards.

The psychosomatic consequences of windpower are nothing that should stop anybody from building windfarms. But when people in Japan, who have barely been exposed to any significant radiation at all, start complaining about imaginary symptoms of their exposure to radiation (as well as very real symptoms of unchecked overdosing on iodine) this is just yet another reason to do away with nuclear power.

Re:But when it's RADIATION it's REAL (0)

Kurast (1662819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183815)

Where are my modpoints when I need them?

Re:But when it's RADIATION it's REAL (5, Informative)

Technician (215283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183849)

I can't find a reference to it at the moment, but a community was opposed to cell towers due to radiation. This caused much problems for anyone trying to build infrastructure in the area. One provider put up some towers and the residents complained that the towers radiation made them ill and the improvement on reception was only marginal.

In a review with the community leaders, they invited them to tour the facilities while they measured the field strength. The tour revealied that there was no equipment installed. The towers were installed early to measure the baseline illness so when the equipment was installed, that illness that was attribuitable to the radiation can be measured.

I wonder how much the baseline changed when the equipment arrived.

Re:But when it's RADIATION it's REAL (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183951)

The improvement of reception is just as noteworthy!

Vibrations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183563)

Yes, blah blah etc. We all know sound CAN have an affect on people, but the effect needs to be very targeted and it seriously can't do damage unless it is very powerful.

Windmills emit very low power vibrations, like absolutely stupidly tiny.
The things they can remotely do to people, at the absolute MOST, is cause a sense of eeriness. (this has also been linked to people seeing things in their peripheral vision when they are next to huge fans like in kitchens, happens all the time)
And then there is monaural and binaural beats, but a windmill group in any configuration is seriously unlikely to produce anything of any significance that it could cause anything to happen in the brain. A dry-cleaners would cause more energetic vibrations than a windmill could, most of the energy from a windmill is dissipated in the air before it even reaches you most times.

Washing your hair does more damn damage than a windmill could!
Never mind playing high-contact and even head-contact sports. (such as football, we have heard of that a lot in the past few years, tragic)
Windmills are only a danger to birds. That is one that needs to be watched.

Live near one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183573)

and put up with the sound for a year, and then tell me you're not sick of it.

lol, my captcha to post this was 'quieted'.

Out Come the Astroturfers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183669)

and put up with the sound for a year, and then tell me you're not sick of it.

lol, my captcha to post this was 'quieted'.

Do you know what the power law is [wikipedia.org] ? Get a decibel meter go stand next to it, then back away ten feet, take a reading, then back away ten feet and take a reading, etc. Now measure how far that is from your house and do some basic math to fit it to a curve ... Hint: it's probably a flat line all the way to your house from background noise.

Re:Out Come the Astroturfers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183711)

How well does a typical dB meter work at subsonic frequencies?

Re:Out Come the Astroturfers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183823)

How well does a typical dB meter work at subsonic frequencies?

Then get a fucking seismograph! The GP said "put up with the sound for a year, and then tell me you're not sick of it." So what is it that bothers you? And why can't you use the power law and a few sample points to build a case against those with deep pockets? "I feel sick" is clearly just horseshit so man up and take some readings and post them online with video evidence if you believe what you're saying!

Who said that it had to be "typical"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183909)

That's like saying to someone working at a smelting plant that their job is impossible because a normal room thermometer on;y goes up to 60C or so, and the glass or plastic would melt in a furnace.

Seems familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183575)

Windsmills. Not in my backyard!

"Wellness" is easily influenced. (1)

Covalent (1001277) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183587)

This is just another example of the placebo (or I guess the "nocebo") effect. If you tell people something will make them fell bad, particularly if they are inclined to dislike the thing in question (for whatever reason), they will almost magically start to feel bad. You can do this for fun and excitement at parties: Tell people you have an upset stomach from the salad (or soup or chicken or whatever). You'll pretty quickly find one other person who tells you they don't feel well either. And now there are two people spreading the "sickness".

This was mentioned above, but the reality is that a nearby coal power plant can actually make you sick, whereas a nearby windmill is almost certainly benign. And yet for many people, the power of suggestion is greater than people's "belief" in evidence.

Re:"Wellness" is easily influenced. (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183619)

Great!
And now someone decided to spread it on slashdot... Thanks.
Now I have an upset stomach from that salad at that party the other night. :(

The Wind is Evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183675)

My favorite 3 words from this..." anti-wind groups"

The wind is evil and must be stopped!!

Re:The Wind is Evil (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183835)

Most people run around, oblivious to their role spreading memes, doing their bidding in the exact same way chemicals in your cells do the bidding of DNA.

Intelligence involved developing such mechanism, which evolves much more quickly than DNA, scouring the meme, not gene, survival gradient descent space in real-time, not evolutionary time.

Windfarm Sickness Spreads By Word of Mouth (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183709)

In a fashion so does the flu... All mouths should be permanently sealed shut.

Cell phone guys already know this (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183751)

The cell phone guys already know this - people report symptoms even when the tower isn't powered on. [dailytech.com]

Lack of... (5, Funny)

Codifex Maximus (639) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183819)

It's probably Carbon Monoxide and Soot withdrawal that is causing these wind farm health episodes.

A story about a cellphone tower (3, Informative)

zaibazu (976612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183851)

So in an Village the T-Mobile sets up a tower. Suddenly people started complaining and pointed at the tower for the reason. The Telekom guys were baffled, imagining what would happen if they actually powered it up.

Capitalize (1)

Spentshell (2627479) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183871)

I have a new pill that will heal all of those wind ills, others may claim it's a placebo pill but rest assured it will heal any illness caused by these wind farms.

I wonder if there is a correlation between (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183937)

people experiencing wind-turbine related illnesses and whether or not they own a Dyson "bladeless" fan.
If a normal electric fan produces "annoying buffeting", imagine what those super-sized wind turbines must do!

UNfortunately?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43183993)

Don't know about you, but personally I find it very FORTUNATE that there's no way to tell if somebody is lying about their feelings. Although I'm sure the frickin' transhumanist idiots will find a way to rob people of the dignity of having their own thoughts to themselves, too, eventually.

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