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9th Grade Science Experiment: Garden Cress Won't Germinate Near Routers

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the are-the-routers-in-the-freezer dept.

Networking 327

New submitter SessionExpired writes "Five 9th graders from Denmark have shown that garden cress won't germinate when placed near a router (Google Translation of Danish original). Article text is in Danish, but the pictures illustrate their results. The exact mechanism is still unknown (Danish original), but experts have shown interest in reproducing the experiment."

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No reproduction (5, Funny)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | about a year ago | (#43756537)

experts have shown interest in reproducing the experiment

Or not reproducing, as the case may be.

Re:No reproduction (0)

jpschaaf (313847) | about a year ago | (#43756613)

as the case may be

Don't you mean "as the case will be"?

Re:No reproduction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756685)

as the case may be

Don't you mean "as the case will be"?

Don't you mean "as the cress wil be"?

Re:No reproduction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756989)

Don't you mean "as the cress wil be"?

May the cress be with you.

Re:No reproduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756627)

Or not reproducing, as the case may be.

reproducing the experiment, not necessarily the results

Re:No reproduction (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43756733)

Yes, I do believe that was his sarcastic point.

Re:No reproduction (5, Insightful)

ankhank (756164) | about a year ago | (#43756795)

Outgassing from the plastic and electronics, I'll bet.
Nice new routers, I'll bet. Loaded with stuff that's volatile.

Did they try a Faraday Cage to rule out the radio waves?

Re:No reproduction (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#43756853)

Easy enough to test experimentally.
Just disable the Wifi on one of two routers (or disconnect the transmitter on hardware) and see if it makes a difference.

Re:No reproduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757015)

If you disable the radio, wouldn't there be a difference in the heat variable? I would imagine a router with its radio off would be less hot, and therefore probably offgas less.

Re:No reproduction (5, Insightful)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#43757023)

There are so many combinations:

Does the router need to be switched on?
What if there is just a transformer and cable, but not a router?
Does the router need wi-fi enabled? In the 2.5GHz band? In the 5Ghz band?
Does the router need to be in line-of-sight, or can it be hermetically sealed in a container?

Surströmming (-1, Troll)

Jimbookis (517778) | about a year ago | (#43757117)

Did they try NOT eating surströmming at lunch in the vicinity of the experiment?

Re:No reproduction (2)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about a year ago | (#43757159)

Or the ninth graders just forgot to water one side of the tray.

Duplicate the experiment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756543)

And shut the fuck up.

Nothing more.

Re:Duplicate the experiment (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756611)

Well, your Mom is in heat so I'll try the germination experiment right now. (And yes, while humans lost oestrus, your Mom is such a dirty slut that she got it back.)

Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756563)

That means the garden cress is doomed to join the ranks of species like the dodo that couldn't cut it in the modern world, amarite?

Re:Evolution (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about a year ago | (#43756803)

Yep. The plant can feel the steamroller crush of nearby technology running amok, so, it simply gives up in disgust.

A perfect weedkiller! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756567)

A perfect weedkiller!

Re:A perfect weedkiller! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756689)

Shhh... Montsanto is listening

Re: A perfect weedkiller! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757253)

And they have a patent, and will begin to sue the Wolfman as soon as he gets back from Mexico.

Neither will... (5, Funny)

dlingman (1757250) | about a year ago | (#43756583)

Your typical slashdotter probably sits closer to their router than the plants. And is about as likely to germinate.

Re:Neither will... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756755)

My 4 would tend to be a disproof by counter-example. I'd be inclined to think that the emitted radiation gives the embryos impetus to split into twins...

Re:Neither will... (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year ago | (#43756819)

...Wonder Twins.

Re:Neither will... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756981)

I work surrounded by computers and wireless equipment, and next to a radio tower. It took years and fertility treatments to get my wife knocked up.

Re:Neither will... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757029)

I never worked around any of that and it only took me a few hours to get your wife knocked up.

Re:Neither will... (3, Funny)

spasm (79260) | about a year ago | (#43757039)

More info would be nice - How old were you? How old was your wife? How old was your milkman?

Re:Neither will... (1)

intertrode (1564753) | about a year ago | (#43757231)

Zing!

Need a control. (5, Interesting)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about a year ago | (#43756597)

They should have used a control, and put cress near a lamp bulb that gives off the same amount of heat.

Simplest explanation is the additional heat which was nearby but not enough to alter room temperature affected them.

Freshmen in high school, come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756665)

This is interesting, especially coming from freshmen in high school, but don't expect too much out of them. I agree, that residual heat could play a part, but, more interestingly, what if it was the proximity to radio signals? That would be very, very, very intriguing, and unlike first poster on the page, I think this will definitely see follow-up from somebody in academia, if nothing else but to disprove their rudimentary study.

Sadly posting as A/C so my mod point above wouldn't be undone.

Re:Freshmen in high school, come on. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756765)

"but, more interestingly, what if it was the proximity to radio signals?"

I know! What if we were all rich, or what if aliens visited tomorrow!?

What-ifs are always interesting, except for this one: what if we wait for real data (or just examine the mountains of existing data) before embarking on imaginative journeys.

Counterfactuals are what drive studies. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756889)

Without investigating what-ifs, there would be no studies. This is their primary purpose.

Don't worry about your psychosis medication, that tin foil hat seems to be working wonders.

Re:Freshmen in high school, come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756871)

I wonder what mechanism could explain intensity of radio signals causing this? 2.4GHz is the frequency many routers operate at, and at that frequency I'm pretty sure the main interaction the EM waves would have is to heat the water in the plant- although much more slowly than a typical microwave. If I were them, I would find a way to measure the internal temperature of the cress.

Re:Freshmen in high school, come on. (1, Informative)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#43756973)

If I were them, I would find a way to measure the internal temperature of the cress.

At least read TFS.

..garden cress won't germinate when placed near a router

So, you see, there is actually no cress for them to measure. It never germinated.

Re:Freshmen in high school, come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757043)

Apologies, I meant the seeds of the cress. I have no idea of the feasibility of what I suggested, but there you are.

Re:Need a control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756741)

But how would that pander to people's fears of "radiation"?

Re:Need a control. (4, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#43756761)

They should have used a control, and put cress near a lamp bulb that gives off the same amount of heat.

Simplest explanation is the additional heat which was nearby but not enough to alter room temperature affected them.

Typical routers (i presume they are talking about an 802.11 router here) will emit 150 to 250 mW per radio. Even in a 3 radio version the total power is still less than 1W (depending on how high the bandwidth utilization was), and it's certainly spread beyond just the plate of seeds sitting next to it. That 1W of heat energy would have an amazingly small change in overall temperature on the subject, probably not even enough to measure with conventional instruments.

Re:Need a control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756865)

I don't think he's talking about the radio emissions. The router may only emit 250 mW in the radio spectrum, but it produces a lot more heat than that. Judging by how hot mine gets, I would guess 100 W.

Re:Need a control. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757011)

Judging by how hot mine gets, I would guess 100 W.

Judging by the power supply rating on mine, I would guess 12W or less. Judging by the Kill-a-watt I used to measure, around 3W usually.

Re:Need a control. (4, Insightful)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#43756867)

The router itself generates heat, and the point of the root post was that it was the radiated heat that cause the result, not some puny low-power microwaves. I've had quite a few DSL modems "fail to germinate" because they overheated themselves. Right now at home I'm running one with the cover removed and a small heat sink (the only one I have small enough to fit between the capacitors, etc.) on the main chip.

If they can get warm enough to burn themselves up, they can also get warm enough to prevent a seed from growing, if through no other means than making the seed think that it's the wrong time of the year.

Re:Need a control. (4, Insightful)

lpevey (115393) | about a year ago | (#43757251)

This comment is not really insightful. A lot of people even use electric heating pads underneath seed trays specifically to generate heat. I agree the experiment would have been even more impressive with controls wrt certain variables (including heat--why not), but it is extremely, extremely unlikely that, as the poster put it, "they can also get warm enough to prevent a seed grom growing."

Re:Need a control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756899)

The sum total of power used by the router will be greater than the radio waves coming off the antenna. The electronics inside the router and the transformer both give off heat. They places the seeds right next to the routers.

Counter point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756911)

My wifi router is very warm to the touch the stuff around it is slightly warm to the touch. Plant biology being as it is and very dependent on hydration adn warmth, the point on the heat from GP still stand.

Re:Need a control. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#43757063)

I doubt it was the direct heat itself. I am not terribly familiar with garden cress specifically, but I would assume it likes things warm and damp for germination. Assuming the dampness was adequate, I can't imagine the heat would be significant enough to prevent germination.

I would look closer at what is happening to the localized humidity near the router. The heat may instead be drying things outs, and if the router has any kind of active cooling, that may exacerbate things.

Re:Need a control. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43757079)

They should have used a control, and put cress near a lamp bulb that gives off the same amount of heat.

Simplest explanation is the additional heat which was nearby but not enough to alter room temperature affected them.

The control would have to be a router that's powered on but not transmitting to account for the possibility of outgassing or some other effect from the router (magnetic field from the power supply? Flashing Light from the router disrupting the plant's growing cycle?). Maybe replacing the antennas with terminators to eliminate (mostly) transmissions while leaving the transmitter active would be a better control.

I have one above my head at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756599)

now maybe the wife will stop complaining about missing a day's worth of birth control!!

Re:I have one above my head at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756621)

I sit under one at work too... Two kids later I can confirm that for a sample size of 1, it is 100% ineffective at preventing reproduction.

Re:I have one above my head at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756977)

Good thing the bottom of your chair isn't metallic, it would make a great parabolic reflector

We would have noticed the dangers before now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756643)

This seems...unlikely. Why do I have the feeling that one of their parents held strong opinions about the dangers of wifi even before the experiment?

Oh great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756649)

This is just like the climate deniers and gun nuts. I suppose these stupid kids are claiming that the wifi is the cause. I suspect they are falsifying their results because they are climate deniers.

Not controlled for other factors (5, Interesting)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about a year ago | (#43756667)

The experiment was setup to validate a foregone conclusion. The (probable, as I can't read the Danish complete report) untested control factor was the impact the different rooms had in the absence of the routers. Retesting both samples without the presence of the routers could fix this issue.

Anyway, it is good science (it is testable and verifiable) but bad journalism.

Unless it can be reproduced or its mechanism explained, it is nothing but fuel to add to the "communication radiation exposure is bad" hysteria.

Re:Not controlled for other factors (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#43756917)

Retesting both samples without the presence of the routers could fix this issue.

Even that isn't enough. Retesting with routers that had their radio modules disabled/removed would help prove that the radio signals were causing the problem.

Re:Not controlled for other factors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757141)

Nah, just unplug them. No need to do hardware modifications, because those aren't reproducible.

Re:Not controlled for other factors (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43757005)

I agree. The 9th graders certainly did an interesting experiment that deserves the attention. But they must now continue to develop a more thorough test environment to see what actually might be causing the radical difference in the growth of the crass crops. Their test methodology is not accurate enough yet to make any real conclusions.

Re:Not controlled for other factors (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43757017)

D'oh! Cress, not crass. Goes to sit in the corner with a stupid hat...

Re:Not controlled for other factors (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about a year ago | (#43757233)

The experiment was setup to validate a foregone conclusion.

isn't that basically the definition of a hypothesis?

Re:Not controlled for other factors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757245)

...the "communication radiation exposure is bad" hysteria.

Can I interest you in an all metal, fully, completely, absolutely radiation shielded codpiece?

Now do it again (3, Interesting)

Clueless Moron (548336) | about a year ago | (#43756699)

but this time move the routers to the other room. As it stands, they still don't know if it was the routers causing the problem or something else in that particular room (temperature, draft, amount of sunlight, etc).

Re:Now do it again (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43756785)

I for one keep my router in a closed closet. I would expect that it will have less plants growing there than in a room with a window.

Re:Now do it again (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756863)

Holy shit, I need to get my router out of my grow room.

Re:Now do it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757139)

I grow some plants in a foil lined closet with a grow light.....

Bit misleading (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43756709)

So it would seem it doesn't matter that the device had routing capability, as they were using it as an AP. They should call it a wireless AP then, not a router, as the routing bit is irrelevant.

Re:Bit misleading (4, Funny)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#43756909)

Yea, because we were obviously going to blame IP for the result.

Re:Bit misleading (4, Funny)

clarkn0va (807617) | about a year ago | (#43757041)

Not until we can rule out NAT acceleration.

Re:Bit misleading (3, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | about a year ago | (#43757113)

The point is that they are using confusing and inconsistent terminology to report on the parameters of a scientific study. Using imprecise language muddies the results and makes them hard to reproduce, or even to draw a conclusion of your own.

Re:Bit misleading (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43757057)

I'm also not sure if they are talking about a WiFi or cellular router. The transmit powers are very different.

The translated version says: The school was not equipped to test the effect of mobile phone radiation on them, but it was enough in fact very well. Therefore, the girls had to find an alternative. And the answer was karsefrø. Six trays seeds were put into a room without radiation, and six trays were put into another room next to two routers. Such a broadcast about the same type of radiation as an ordinary mobile.

Incomplete science... (3, Interesting)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about a year ago | (#43756717)

Some local newspaper has grabbed hold of the story and the implication is that the result is solid science, where in fact it is either a preliminary discovery, or an aberration of some sort. Things like this happen all the time, which is why there is a need for reproducing the results, which has not yet been done. However, the story is already circling the globe and no doubt this will add more fuel to the fire of people claiming this type of radiation is harmful. It's irresponsible journalism on Slashdot's part by posting this story and over-hyping something that could be nothing. Next thing we know, every lab error will be either heralded as cold fusion, the discovery of dark matter, or space aliens, if we go by the standard of proof in this article. When this most likely goes sour, I hope it doesn't turn off those hard working kids from science altogether.

That being said, I would be interested if this experiment was reproduced by several respectable researchers, but the skeptic in me says that this will likely not happen. This story is really jumping the gun, and doesn't belong in anything but a small town Danish newspaper, let alone Slashdot.

Re:Incomplete science... (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43756857)

I would be interested if this experiment was reproduced by several respectable researchers, but the skeptic in me says that this will likely not happen.

You can always try the experiment yourself. Your local Home Depot (or equivalent) has a good selection of seeds, and the seeds don't require much attention. You can even buy exactly those seeds at Amazon for a princely sum of $1.89 [amazon.com] .

Re:Incomplete science... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#43757131)

Your local Home Depot (or equivalent) has a good selection of seeds

Do yourself a favor and never buy plants from Home Depot. They are grown by cut-rate farmers who (depending on the variety of tree) sometimes simply collect these plants from the wild. These trees are destined to fail. Of course, not all of their stock is this way, but the stuff that isn't is still poorly cared for by people who know little about plants.

I get that you're only talking about a pack of seeds, but the premise stands. Besides, buying from a local garden center is so much more of an enjoyable experience.

Re:Incomplete science... (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#43757065)

Reading the /. summary does not at all sound alarming or sensational. They are merely reporting a story that in all likeliness has been sensationalized and over hyped in the general media. Droves of average joes are going to freak out at declare that wifi and cell phones make your sterile, give you cancer or turns your children into autistic ironic hipsters. Sadly the general populace will not be smart enough to realize these students could have made a simple mistake in the experiment or not have been thorough enough.

I read the article but the translation leaves a lot to be desired. Here are my questions:
-Wifi and GSM are on different bands so why speculate cell phones could also have the same effect?
-Did they repeat the experiment using the same plant seed type more than once?
-Did they note the temperature, humidity and sunlight available in each room at regular intervals or used any data logging equipment?
-What kind of rooms, and were they in the same home? Were they the students bedrooms or what?
-Were both testbeds receiving the same amount of sunlight for the same amount of time?
-Did they try other plant seeds? Or buy the same plant seeds but from different vendors to compare?
-Did they try to repeat the experiment with the router off to isolate the possibility the rooms environments played a role?
-What kind of routers were they? What make, model, transmit power, antenna configuration, a/b/g/n etc.

this paragraph, copied verbatim from the dutch translation, blows me away:
"The five aspiring researchers would examine mobilsignalers effect on them, but had not equipped for it. Therefore, they used instead 12 trays with a total of 400 karsefrÃ. They were divided into two compartments with the same temperature and the water with the same amount of water over a period of 12 days. The six trays in one room were located next to the two routers that should emit more or less the same type of radiation as cell phones."
More or less! What the fuck, really?

This is newsworthy... (3, Insightful)

dacut (243842) | about a year ago | (#43757129)

... but not due to the results; this is an example of good, solid science coming out of a secondary school with limited resources. Given what I could read of the translation, I don't think this is irresponsible journalism at all -- think of it more as journalism on the state of education, not science.

It is, of course, an extraordinary result, and will require extraordinary proof. I suspect the claims will not be reproduced; at the same time, I hope these kid-researchers keep their interest level in this experiment up regardless of outcome. From this, they'll learn about experimental errors, uncontrolled factors, and -- most importantly -- to divorce their ego from their results. That last bit is perhaps the hardest for most scientists to achieve.

I'm pretty sure I'm already sterile (4, Funny)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#43756791)

When I was 16 or so, I was working on my uncle's boat in Alaska. It was a slow day, so we were painting railings and such. I heard my uncle call my name, wondering where I was. I called back that I was on top of the wheelhouse. He went ahead and shut off the radar, but I'd already been standing next to it for and hour or more. I honestly don't mind since pulling out seems so unnatural. I guess if I ever want to have kids I'll just have to try harder and think fertile thoughts.

Re:I'm pretty sure I'm already sterile (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year ago | (#43756993)

I guess if I ever want to have kids I'll just have to try harder and think fertile thoughts.

First you'll need to quit doing Slashdot (the great invention in the long line after condom and the pill)

Re:I'm pretty sure I'm already sterile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757045)

I'm certain the health concerns about marine radar involve longer regular exposure. I (and many thousands of others in the industry) get blasted by radars once in a while, doesn't seem to bother any one. If I had to work next to a radar all day, damn right I'd turn it off. In the past I've seen people turn them off not because of the EM rad, but so that it doesn't hit you in the head and/or knock you off the mast... What was I saying? Oh yes, I'm sure you're fine. Don't worry about it. Wait, do worry about it: You still need birth control unless you want kids! (And pulling out doesn't work very well (unless you want kids!))

Don't...just don't (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43756793)

Have they ruled out dogs peeing, kids peeing, asses with an axe to grind peeing, copper or other poisons in the pot, or other assholery? More likely than experimental error or bias in dirt or planting or seed selection.

Does the router bloe hot air?

I misspelled blow, but I think I stumbled across a funnier spelling, so I'm leaving it.

Re:Don't...just don't (1)

GNious (953874) | about a year ago | (#43756951)

Having once attended 9th grade in Denmark, I expect they are aware of basic scientific principles ... like control samples, reproducible setups etc..

Re:Don't...just don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757109)

It would be funny if the router was simply heating the grow medium and causing it to dry completely. Yay, science.

MS Grow (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43756813)

Simple cause: Plants don't run Linux ;-)

near a WIRELESS router (5, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#43756845)

Thanks, Editor-dot, for not reviewing TFS. This was an experiment to test EM radition, its nothing to do with 'routers'. Believe it or not, there are things which are 'routers' that are not supplied by your ISP when you sign up for home broadband.

Re:near a WIRELESS router (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756991)

Test setup 2: "IP in the flower bed" performed very badly.

Well.. (2)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year ago | (#43756855)

Another interesting experiment would be to keep an eye on these kids and see what they will become later. This might be very interesting.

Re:Well.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757095)

Adults, most likely. That's one experiment that's been repeated a lot.

Mobile phones...routers...? (1)

spamchang (302052) | about a year ago | (#43756879)

First, the frequencies used by mobile phones are fairly different from those used by wifi routers. Second, I wonder what the total power output of the routers (and the received power at the watercress) was during the experiment. Third, I'm wondering how the kids will duplicate this experiment around a cell tower...very interesting.

(There is much anecdotal evidence about the bad health effects of cellphone radiation out there--I will not be surprised if the evidence proves a mechanism one day.)

Re:Mobile phones...routers...? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43757067)

oh really? my cell phone uses channels in the 2.4GHz space where I live. My wifi router does also.

Re:Mobile phones...routers...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757107)

First, the frequencies used by mobile phones are fairly different from those used by wifi routers. Second, I wonder what the total power output of the routers (and the received power at the watercress) was during the experiment. Third, I'm wondering how the kids will duplicate this experiment around a cell tower...very interesting.

(There is much anecdotal evidence about the bad health effects of cellphone radiation out there--I will not be surprised if the evidence proves a mechanism one day.)

Phones aren't that far off from routers... Many phone frequencies are in the 1800-2100MHz range, Your typical home router is 2400MHz. In the radio spectrum, they are both considered UHF because they behave so similarly.

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756881)

When I was in fourth grade the teacher did a plant growth experiment with one batch of plants getting water and the other getting water + Miracle Grow. The plants without Miracle Grow seemed to grow a little better.... conclusion: There really isn't one!

Question: Was the router even turned on?

Use the routers for torrents (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756885)

and make sure you have plenty of seeders.

well done kids! (4, Insightful)

thephydes (727739) | about a year ago | (#43756891)

This is exactly what we should be encouraging kids to do. Regardless of lack of control or other "missing" experimental methods, this is a significant scientific result for a bunch of 9th graders. Good on them and good on their teacher for encouraging them to do the experiment and having the balls to publish it.

Re:well done kids! (1)

heteromonomer (698504) | about a year ago | (#43757053)

Someone mod up please.

Re:well done kids! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757121)

To the contrary, teaching kids that ignoring controls to seek a desired result encourages the type of junk science so common today. The teacher should instead explain how heat caused the germination to suffer and to determine the true impact, heat would have to be controlled for.

Obvious flaw in setup (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756923)

It said two different *rooms*. The room with the router could be a very different environment for a lot of other reasons.

Re-run the experiment in the same room so there are fewer variables to control. Place the sprouting trays in a line leading from the router, and see if sprouting and/or growth is always suppressed closer. Alternatively, same room but with a Faraday cage around some of the sprouting trays.

possible explanation for increased effect on seeds (3, Interesting)

MaxToTheMax (1389399) | about a year ago | (#43756943)

Wifi routers operate on microwave frequencies. It's possible that the harmful effects on the seeds were culinary rather than carcinogenic; that is, the seeds' internal temperatures were raised slightly, cooking them to death, instead of genetic damage. On the other hand, a human body has a giant active cooling system (the bloodstream and skin,) so minute temperature variations are less harmful. Alternate explanation: Based on my understanding of botany, I believe plant seeds usually consist of relatively few unusually large cells. This means there are fewer copies of each chromosome to go around, so damage to one chromosome is much more catastrophic than it would be in an adult human body, where mutations happen all the time and it's really no big deal. Finally, consider the inverse square law. The amount of radiation, say, two inches from a router, is vastly less than the amount of radiation a foot and a half away.

Radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756945)

Radiation, coming from the sun as light or from routers or cellphones, carries energy. The more energy in one particular spot, the more likely it is that some complex molecule will either unfold (happens when frying eggs) or just dissemble (as happens with long exposure to UV light). If this particular molecule happens to be part of the DNA it might render the seed unusable.

Maybe it was an old router (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756947)

and the flowers have already switched to IPv6.

This has been done many times before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43756969)

And we, (that's the selective 'we') know the answers and the mechanisms, the whole bit.

But instead we're debating high school science fair results.

What does that tell you?

Truth is, anybody who wants to (really *wants*) to know the answer to this question can go do some research. The material is not hard to find. You can order the relevant titles at your local library.

But the reality is, nobody really *wants* to know. It's so much more difficult to enjoy your dumb techno-toys if you *know* they're messing up your brain.

Have a nice denial.

wi-fi is not good (1, Flamebait)

ObjectiveSubjective (2828749) | about a year ago | (#43756979)

All you fucking idiots who claimed wifi sickness was made up by technophobes can fuck yourself.

Re:wi-fi is not good (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43757055)

I'll happily go fuck myself when this result is repeated by experienced scientists with all proper controls. If this result is unreproducible, you can go fuck yourself instead.

Teaching in progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757013)

This is great way to educate children even if it turns out in the end that conclusions were incorrect.

"Wireless Access Points" are "Routers" now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757025)

I was picturing a giant 7513 towering over the puny seeds.

Is it too much to ask we get basic terms corre...

Oh dear science, I've become one of *those* people.

Re:"Wireless Access Points" are "Routers" now? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#43757119)

A consumer router is about the same size as an access point and often contains access point functionality. You're being pedantic without a cause.

nice study (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43757185)

I nominate this experiment for the prestigious Journal of Irreducible Results.

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