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Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the it's-all-part-of-cointelpro dept.

Networking 294

drmofe writes "Two parents in New Zealand have orchestrated the removal of a school's Wi-Fi system. They have expressed the concerns that Wi-Fi causes cancer and other health issues. The child of one of these parents died recently from brain cancer. This appears to be an emotional area and one where decisions appear to be being made without evidence. The NZ Ministry of Education provides guidelines for the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools and the school itself was operating within those guidelines."

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There's a question about that at Skeptics (5, Insightful)

satuon (1822492) | about 10 months ago | (#45816633)

There's a question about that are Skeptics stack exchange - http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1178/are-wifi-waves-harmful [stackexchange.com]

This is the answer:

===============

WIFi is non-ionising radiation and so has similar issues to other radiation using similar frequencies such as mobile telephones and microwave ovens. These produce heating effects. WiFi is not focused, so any impact should be very small and perhaps not measurable.

I am not aware of any health studies specifically on WiFi. There have been studies on mobile phones which has shown that while the phone is in use and held next to the head, there is small but measurable heating effect on human tissue. My guess is that it has less impact than standing at right angles to the Sun so one side of the head gets warmer faster than the other. Even then, these studies have produced no evidence that this has any health impact, positive or negative:

A large body of research exists, both epidemiological and experimental, in non-human animals and in humans, of which the majority shows no definite causative relationship between exposure to mobile phones and harmful biological effects in humans.
And per Dr. Michael Clark of the HPA, WiFi is a fraction of the energy of a cell phone:

“When we have conducted measurements in schools, typical exposures from wi-fi are around 20 millionths of the international guideline levels of exposure to radiation. As a comparison, a child on a mobile phone receives up to 50 per cent of guideline levels. So a year sitting in a classroom near a wireless network is roughly equivalent to 20 minutes on a mobile. If wi-fi should be taken out of schools, then the mobile phone network should be shut down, too — and FM radio and TV, as the strength of their signals is similar to that from wi-fi in classrooms.”
The Sun does emit ionising radiation (ultra violet) and that has significant health effects such as sunburn, pigmentation changes and Vitamin D production. WiFi's impact, if anything, is nothing like this.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816653)

You expect us to believe a page on the Internet?

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (2)

Lisias (447563) | about 10 months ago | (#45816669)

You expect us to believe a page on the Internet?

It's not worst than papers, television and even radio - there's humans behind it, afterall.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 10 months ago | (#45816759)

We Australians exported all of the people like this to New Zealand. It raised the average IQ in both countries.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816831)

You got it the wrong way ...
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/new-zealand-migration-to-australia-soars-40-per-cent/story-fnixwvgh-1226790754690 [news.com.au]

The article talks about dole bludgers heading across to Australia.

And the numbers ...
"648,200 New Zealand citizens are living in Australia" ...
"About 64,000 Australian citizens are living in New Zealand."

I know you meant it as a joke, but it sort of makes you look like the fool

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (4, Informative)

SumDog (466607) | about 10 months ago | (#45816885)

Fun fact: Kiwi student loans never gain interest and have no late fees. There's almost no point in paying them back...except if you want to leave the country. If you move to Australia, the US or any other country to work, you have to start paying off those loans and they gain interest.

There are only 4 million people here. The entire population of Melbourne (or Sydney) is this entire country.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (3, Informative)

SteveTheNewbie (1171139) | about 10 months ago | (#45816899)

You should really try coming up with something original..

http://thinkexist.com/quotation/new-zealanders-who-emigrate-to-australia-raise/411291.html [thinkexist.com]

Who knows, maybe these parents are prime material for emigration to Australia. ;-)

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816691)

No, I expect you to die, that's unless you give the internet 1 billion dollars, wahhhh hahahahaha! Wah HAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#45816779)

well believe either that page or the one saying that we all have cancer..

Besides, if they didn't ban mobile phones I really, really don't see the point in banning wifi.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (5, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 10 months ago | (#45816843)

well believe either that page or the one saying that we all have cancer..

Besides, if they didn't ban mobile phones I really, really don't see the point in banning wifi.

Blaming wifi or cell phones is easy. Actually digging around and finding the true cause of the cancer is hard. Besides, you might discover the cause was environmental, say, the coating on some cookware, or contaminants in food, drink, laundry detergent, whatever. And discovering a household product triggered a cancer is actionable. Best blame it on the wifi and shift the attention of the pitchforks and torches brigade.

Hmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816907)

In the early 1970's I worked in a machine shop. I was exposed to hand-soaking kerosene at one station, which was being used as a cheap cutting/ drilling oil. I developed small wart-like bumps. At a medical library I looked up if kerosene was carcinogenic. One book stated as a fact, that all petroleum distillates are. Another book stated as a fact that it was not, and that the whole issue of chemical carcinogenesis was 'iffy,' or unsettled. Guess which book was written by a chemical industry affiliated group?

But, Wifi causing cancer? I will believe if given a pile of proof.

Re:Hmmm (2)

mpe (36238) | about 10 months ago | (#45817017)

In the early 1970's I worked in a machine shop. I was exposed to hand-soaking kerosene at one station, which was being used as a cheap cutting/ drilling oil. I developed small wart-like bumps. At a medical library I looked up if kerosene was carcinogenic. One book stated as a fact, that all petroleum distillates are. Another book stated as a fact that it was not, and that the whole issue of chemical carcinogenesis was 'iffy,' or unsettled. Guess which book was written by a chemical industry affiliated group?

Considering the range of different chemicals present in "petroleum distillates" (also that these can vary depending on both the original oil and the refining process) claims that they are "all X" are likely to be nonsense.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (2)

mpe (36238) | about 10 months ago | (#45816999)

Blaming wifi or cell phones is easy. Actually digging around and finding the true cause of the cancer is hard.

It would be finding the cause of a specific cancer. Since that would be a combination of both how a cell malfunction and how it got missed by the immune system.

Besides, you might discover the cause was environmental, say, the coating on some cookware, or contaminants in food, drink, laundry detergent, whatever. And discovering a household product triggered a cancer is actionable.

Like many other things cancer is probably G by E. Involving the interaction of both genetic and environmental factors. So there is no single "cause" in the first place.
That's before even considering that some of the potential environmental factors might actually be common or even considered "healthy".

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (2)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 10 months ago | (#45817033)

When there's an environmental cause in a place such as a school, generally more than one kid gets it. Example [wikipedia.org]

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817125)

I was totally expecting a link to "Love Canal" to be a goatse style page...

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817109)

And sometimes it'll just be a chance mutation in a single cell division with absolutely no external contributing factor at all.

There are a million and one causes of cancer. You're exposed to many (toothpaste can cause cancer, eating fruit can cause cancer). You can't determine which of them was the cause.

But everyone needs something they can blame, since doing otherwise leaves them feeling powerless. It's a coping mechanism.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816835)

How about if it was on Faux?

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 10 months ago | (#45816879)

You realise that faux is pronounced "foe"?

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817159)

We wouldn't be able to post it as "Fucks News" on many sites, however, so the phonetically similar "Faux" is acceptable.

Coming from people who decided that through and thorough should have a different pronunciation, complaining that the pronounciation of the transcription "faux" is "foe" rather than "fox" seems rather petty, doesn't it?

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816863)

You expect us to believe a page on the Internet?

Stupid bloody parents need to bugger off and go live in a lead house with no doors windows then they will be safe from radio waves (just) ..

Yet another prime example of the return t the caves mentality of the green slimers ...

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817113)

"You expect us to believe a page on the Internet?"

Only if it's from Jenny McCarthy.

Skeptics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816675)

The need to blame, welcome to our society.

Theirs no conclusive evidence that WiFi isn't harmful, so it must kill children, I hear WiFi books also emit radiation so lets all have a good old book burning....

   

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816717)

Good post!! But really no need to post it here you need to fax this (oh wait that may also cause cancer) mail it to the idiots in New Zealand that believe the in magical cancer causing waves!

It surprises me that it wasn't here in the US, but I'm waiting for it after this!!!

By the way (sarcasm) does New Zealand practice witch craft and believe in evil spirits? Because I thought they were beyond this type of voodoo!!!

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816797)

Good post!! But really no need to post it here you need to fax this (oh wait that may also cause cancer)

That thermal FAX paper also contains massive amounts of oestrogen imitators [google.com] that will make you sterile and grow massive moobs. Watch out for those next time you touch a till receipt in a shop...!

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (1)

mpe (36238) | about 10 months ago | (#45817047)

It surprises me that it wasn't here in the US, but I'm waiting for it after this!!!
By the way (sarcasm) does New Zealand practice witch craft and believe in evil spirits? Because I thought they were beyond this type of voodoo!!!


You can find such people anywhere. Probably fewer in NZ than the USA. But only because of the difference in total population.

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816749)

If wi-fi should be taken out of schools, then the mobile phone network should be shut down, too — and FM radio and TV, as the strength of their signals is similar to that from wi-fi in classrooms.

I say limit the ban on any device you can get Facebook, Snapchat, UWantSumFuk.Chat, etc.

Ultimately, the lack of education will influence their quality of life more than some wifi will

Captcha: tragedy (almost spooky sometimes)

Re:There's a question about that at Skeptics (5, Informative)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 10 months ago | (#45816883)

For the record, the sun's heating and radio wave heating would work differently. The sun heats the surface. The sun wouldn't do a particularly good job of heating the brain. The scalp would heat up, but then blood does a pretty good job of distributing that heat around, and the skull would be a decent insulator. Radio waves would penetrate into the brain and heat it directly.

Furthermore, there is at least one study showing that glucose metabolism in the brain increases in the presence of cell phone radiation.

Having said all of that, there's pretty much no way that either cell phones or WiFi are causing brain cancer. We've been engaged in a natural experiment of the effect of these forms of radiation. Both WiFi and cell phone usage have gone from "doesn't exist" to "ubiquitous" in the course of the last couple decades. We're not seeing an increase in any cancer rate that would show a correlation (let alone causation) with the rather dramatic increase in exposure to such radiation.

These parents want someone/something to blame for their child's death. It's very much that simple.

Only if there's an absorption band. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817185)

Radio waves don't just get absorbed when passing by some matter, they have to be of the right energy. It's quantum. So your radio waves will heat the WATER which has the right absorption frequency for WiFi. And your blood? That's a lot of water. So it gets heated and then moves that heat around when irradiated with WiFi radio waves.

Rather similar to your "reasoning" that light and IR is fine from the sun.

PS check the flux of gamma, X and cosmic rays that will pass through your brain and "heat it directly" and compare to the energy flux from a WiFi AP at 100m.

Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

digitaltraveller (167469) | about 10 months ago | (#45816645)

Oh gosh. This is not a very good precedent. I hope the children are taught that:
-The radiation from WIFI is the same type as what comes from the Sun, which is essential for all life on earth.
-We all emit radiation.

A New Privacy Enhancing HTML5 Mobile Browser [google.com] - It's your remote control for the world.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816659)

You think that's bad? I just ate a banana...

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45816705)

Brazil nuts are also slightly radioactive. It is said that the complex root system of the plant generates the radioactivity. Interesting.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816761)

Anything with potassium in it is radioactive.

"Naturally occurring potassium is composed of three isotopes, one of which, 40K, is radioactive. Traces (0.012%) of this isotope is found in all potassium making it the most common radioactive element in the human body and in many biological materials, as well as in common building materials such as concrete."

(Wikipedia)

Gee, I hope the "parents" never find out. This is real radioactivity, not the wussy WiFi sort.

OTOH a banana panic would lower the price of one of my favorite fruits, so .... maybe somebody should warn them - they might be feeding their kids cancer-causing bananas right now in their ignorance!

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 10 months ago | (#45816829)

Imagine when parents do find out and attempt to ban potassium intake, with all the severe health problems such ban would cause.

Now that would be nasty.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816847)

They'll also have to pull down all those cancer-causing concrete buildings...

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816893)

They'll also have to pull down all those cancer-causing concrete buildings...

They started doing that in Auckland, New Zealand [geonet.org.nz] but people complained too much and called it a disaster...

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

mpe (36238) | about 10 months ago | (#45817081)

Imagine when parents do find out and attempt to ban potassium intake, with all the severe health problems such ban would cause.

So long as the "no K" advocates started with themselves there probably wouldn't be too much of a problem :)

Re: Wouldn't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817093)

I'm not so sure.. Beer, Chocolate, Pizza.. All high in potassium. It might improve the diet of some :p

  had to live on a low potassium diet for a year.. There's only so much chicken and rice a man can eat.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (3, Informative)

mpe (36238) | about 10 months ago | (#45817069)

Brazil nuts are also slightly radioactive. It is said that the complex root system of the plant generates the radioactivity.

It's unlikely that a plants root system, however complex, would be capable to nuclear reactions :) More likely the plant is concentrating naturally occuring radioactive elements. Biochemical systems can even be capable of selecting specific isotopes in some circumstances.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (5, Informative)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about 10 months ago | (#45816687)

Oh gosh. This is not a very good precedent. I hope the children are taught that: -The radiation from WIFI is the same type as what comes from the Sun, which is essential for all life on earth. -We all emit radiation.

Thankfully, New Zealand isn't as 'backwater' and 'stupid' as the summary makes out.

From TFA:

Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

Mr Griffin notes there is no evidence anywhere in peer-reviewed literature to suggest wi-fi signals pose an elevated risk of developing brain cancers.

And also:

In a statement, the Te Horo School board said it would take wi-fi out of junior classes and replace it with ethernet cable. However, wi-fi will not be removed from the senior school due to the wishes of parents who were surveyed on the issue.

The board says it shares the government's view that wi-fi is safe.

"We have sourced information from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and other submissions," the board's statement says.

"Based on this information the board believes that Wi-Fi does not pose a health risk to staff or students."

So it really is just a couple of dumb people putting pressure on the school and not indicative of the school's or Ministry of Education's thoughts at all.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816771)

Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

Mr Griffin notes there is no evidence anywhere in peer-reviewed literature to suggest wi-fi signals pose an elevated risk of developing brain cancers.

Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

You'd think that as a "scientist" Mr. Peter Griffin would have heard of the Stark-Einstein of photochemical equivalence, which tells you why WiFi is harmless. It was only one of the most studied pieces of science of the 20th century. Simply saying "we have no evidence" is a bit feeble.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (2)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about 10 months ago | (#45816787)

You'd think that as a "scientist" Mr. Peter Griffin would have heard of the Stark-Einstein of photochemical equivalence, which tells you why WiFi is harmless. It was only one of the most studied pieces of science of the 20th century. Simply saying "we have no evidence" is a bit feeble.

You'd think for a press statement designed to appease worried parents, he doesn't need to talk science that is way about most of their heads - just tell them that it's okay.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816855)

What he really needs to to is to grow a pair and tell them not to be so fucking stupid (or words to that effect).

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (2)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about 10 months ago | (#45816943)

What he really needs to to is to grow a pair and tell them not to be so fucking stupid (or words to that effect).

While tempting to do so in this kind of situation, I believe his approach was probably more effective. If you go around insulting people, they're less likely to take you seriously or listen to your opinion in the future.

Just think of the flamebait posts here on Slashdot. Occasionally they actually make a reasonable point, but they do it in such a way that most people aren't going to actually take the time to consider the point. It's a sorry state of affairs that 'how' we say something is important rather than only 'what' we say, but it is the case for the vast majority of people and if you intend to interact with other people throughout your life, it's an important skill to learn in order to actually get what you want in life.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (2)

N1AK (864906) | about 10 months ago | (#45816983)

It's a sorry state of affairs that 'how' we say something is important rather than only 'what' we say

Not really. The fact that it benefits an argument for it to be delivered clearly and politely isn't a bad thing unless you think a society in which such things are valued at all is a desirable outcome. What's sad is the people who occasionally have something worth sharing but are so completely unable to understand the need to be polite that they can't share it effectively.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about 10 months ago | (#45817027)

What's sad is the people who occasionally have something worth sharing but are so completely unable to understand the need to be polite that they can't share it effectively.

This, I agree with. But only because of the limitations and requirements of the society we're in. I think it's sad that people are unable to effectively get their point across because it means that a potential for sharing information (and therefore increasing overall human knowledge) is lost.

The fact that it benefits an argument for it to be delivered clearly and politely isn't a bad thing unless you think a society in which such things are valued at all is a desirable outcome.

I'm taking a more abstract view here and imagining a world that we don't have. If no-one took offence at the style of how something is said and instead concentrated only on what was said, I believe that it would be a better world than the one we do have. More information would be shared, people would be happier, and misunderstandings would be fewer.

I fully agree though that we don't live in such a world, and therefore politeness is definitely important.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817091)

I disagree. He should be talking about science that is way above their heads. This makes it abundantly clear to them that their heads are unqualified to reason about this issue.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (-1, Flamebait)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 10 months ago | (#45816799)

Those parents who have lost a child must be heartbroken and grasping at anything to give some sort of meaning to their son's death.
Removing WiFi from junior classes may be senseless, but it gives these parents some sort of resolution and justification for what happened.
Just let them have this one; WiFi access isn't really necessary in junior classes anyway and they can switch it back on in a few years if needed.

"Just let them have this one" (5, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 10 months ago | (#45816915)

No.

Because then we eventually wind up with a long, LONG string of idiocies being perpetrated just to make someone "feel better".

No.

HELL FUCKING NO.

As sympathetic as I am to these people, no parent should have to outlive their child, there's no excuse for idiocy. NONE.

Issues like this need to be met with compassion and a firm resolve not to simply sway in the face of someone's excess of emotion. Especially when said excess of emotion leads to fuzzy thinking and unsupportable actions such as this.

If these people want to scream and call you a heartless monster, so be it.

The whole "give in just a little so we can all get along" mentality is part of what's wrong with just about EVERYTHING nowadays.
There's this braindead notion that you can just compromise on EVERYTHING and it'll be okay.
The problem is, it's NOT okay. And the only people who seemingly aren't willing to compromise are the ones who're making these logic-impaired demands on others.

It needs to change.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about 10 months ago | (#45816945)

Those parents who have lost a child must be heartbroken and grasping at anything to give some sort of meaning to their son's death. Removing WiFi from junior classes may be senseless, but it gives these parents some sort of resolution and justification for what happened. Just let them have this one; WiFi access isn't really necessary in junior classes anyway and they can switch it back on in a few years if needed.

I agree. I didn't mean to say the school was doing something 'bad' by taking away the WiFi. The parents are wrong, but they're also heartbroken and it's probably not going to cause any harm to remove the WiFi from these junior classes. I think the school did exactly the right thing - deny that WiFi is harmful (the truth), but take it away anyway in order to appease these people.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 10 months ago | (#45817005)

I think the school did exactly the right thing - deny that WiFi is harmful (the truth), but take it away anyway in order to appease these people.

Unless there were expensive consequences to leaving the WIFI there, for example a very expensive lawsuit, then no I don't think they did the right thing. Removing the WIFI is a tacit admission that concerns about WIFI are valid. All the parents, friends of parents, children etc all know that a school took WIFI out of classrooms because of concerns about cancer. I agree that sometimes very minor (pointless) concessions can be justified on compassionate grounds, however I think this kind of concession isn't as minor as you do.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about 10 months ago | (#45817039)

I think it's a matter of weighing the statement they made vs the action they took. Perhaps it's a cultural difference between us, but as a New Zealander myself, I believe that most other New Zealanders would pay more attention to the fact that they said, "we don't think it's harmful" than the fact that they removed it.

It is fairly clear that they removed it in order to appease the complainers and not out of any perceived harm.

If I thought the risk of false belief was higher (i.e. people paying more attention to the action than the words) then I'd complete agree with you that the action would be too much as it would spread the false belief further, causing additional problems in the future.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (3, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | about 10 months ago | (#45817075)

I lost a grandfather, and he was a prolific reader. So I want to remove the scourge of books from schools because they must have caused his death. I realise this is nonsense and illogical, but just let me have this one. Another parent I know lost a mother to pencils. Let her have this one. And I heard about a guy whose son died from arithmetic. Let him have this one. Our school now doesn't give much education, but at least us parents feel better.

You can have every sympathy in the world for this father's loss. It's terrible for him. But he has no right to enforce what is nothing more than a manifestation of his grief on everyone else's education.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816871)

Good think no-one ever got cancer from the Sun!

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816917)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/3109815261/sizes/l/in/photostream/ says it all

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 10 months ago | (#45817175)

I am all for wired ethernet. Probably get much better speeds that way.
As to WiFi causing cancer? There is as much proof that WiFi causes cancer as their is proof photovoltaic panels and organic kale do.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45816751)

Oh gosh. This is not a very good precedent. I hope the children are taught that: -The radiation from WIFI is the same type as what comes from the Sun, which is essential for all life on earth. -We all emit radiation.

As much as I think that these Kiwis are being a bit cracked (though, by the standards of grieving processes for dead children, I've certainly heard stupider strategies...), those are terrible 'educational' points.

They fall in the horrible zone of being nonfalse; while also eliding virtually all the important distinctions, and providing the poor sucker handed them basically no useful information on which to found decisions.

Is RF in the 2.4 and/or 5GHz band electromagnetic radiation, and thus in the same broad category as (much) of what the Sun emits? Sure. Is that largely meaningless when the flavors of electromagnetic radiation run from extremely longwave RF whose interactions with matter are barely discernable without specialized antennas, all the way to very high energy gamma radiation, with a lot of variety in between, and numerous different uses and effects for various bands? Unfortunately so.

Do we all emit radiation? Sure, in modest quantities. Does that tell us anything useful about radiation safety? Only that the default dose is higher than zero, and that apparently doesn't kill you horribly most of the time. Nothing else.

If you want to talk about safety, arguments from broad classes of things that have some nominal commonality are painfully useless. If you aren't at least introducing concepts related to dosage, population level statistical study, various epidemiological techniques, you are basically just waving your hands from first principles.

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816905)

If you aren't at least introducing concepts related to dosage, population level statistical study, various epidemiological techniques, you are basically just waving your hands from first principles.

You're also willfully ignoring the actual science that's been done regarding electromagnetic radiation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectrochemical_process [wikipedia.org]

(In particular the Stark-Einstein law and the lower bound it places on the photon energy needed to cause a chemical reaction)

Re:Wouldn't someone think of the children? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 10 months ago | (#45817119)

I more hope they'll also ban all other devices that emit radiation in similar wavelengths, such as mobile phones. And that would of course include the phone of the children of the parents that arranged for this ban.

sad (1)

X10 (186866) | about 10 months ago | (#45816647)

It's always sad when superstition prevails upon science.

Re:sad (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816665)

The Ministry of Education is run by people who publish "guidelines for the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools" so what do you expect?

Safe use rules... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 10 months ago | (#45816685)

Well, there are some concerns, such as:
1. Only use UL or similarly listed Wifi equipment.
2. If you must manipulate a ceiling mounted AP, use a ladder to reach it.
3. Do not open mains powered wifi equipment unless you are qualified to do so.
4. Do not attempt to hand anything off the wifi antennas.
5. Do not remove, disassemble, or modify wifi equipment unless you are authorized to do so.

Re:Safe use rules... (1, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816733)

Speaking as a parent, a pamphlet called "Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wi-Fi in Schools" implies that there were schools with *UNSAFE* WiFi.

If WiFi can be unsafe, I don't want it in my school. My snowflake deserves a cancer-free life.

Re:Safe use rules... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 10 months ago | (#45816763)

Who says it'd be a pamphlet, much less one given to parents?

Re:Safe use rules... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 10 months ago | (#45816937)

Speaking as a parent, a pamphlet called "Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wi-Fi in Schools" implies that there were schools with *UNSAFE* WiFi.
If WiFi can be unsafe, I don't want it in my school. My snowflake deserves a cancer-free life.

So if I sent you a pamphlet "Guidelines for the Safe Use of Food and Drink", you would let your snowflake die of hunger and thirst?

Re:Safe use rules... (1)

ranulf (182665) | about 10 months ago | (#45817161)

So if I sent you a pamphlet "Guidelines for the Safe Use of Food and Drink", you would let your snowflake die of hunger and thirst?

Yeah, I bet if I sent him a pamphlet "Guidelines for the Safe Use of Refridgerators, he would let his snowflake die of melting too... :)

Re:Safe use rules... (1)

Bazman (4849) | about 10 months ago | (#45817095)

If WiFi access points aren't properly fitted to walls and ceilings, they could fall off and hit the students. That probably happens more often than someone gets cancer from the radiation.

Provide a tin foil hat instead (5, Funny)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | about 10 months ago | (#45816677)

Maybe instead of removing the wifi, the school should make available a nice conical tin-foil hat, free of charge, to the children of those parents who request it.

And they could also put a prominent 'D' on the front.

Re:Provide a tin foil hat instead (4, Insightful)

FrostedWheat (172733) | about 10 months ago | (#45816941)

It's not the kids fault, why make them suffer for their parents stupidity?

Re:Provide a tin foil hat instead (2)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#45817183)

Because making the parents wear a tin foil hat wouldn't help? Wait, maybe it would. Heck, it's worth a try.

Why wifi anyway? (0)

ranulf (182665) | about 10 months ago | (#45817179)

Why do kids even need wifi at school anyway?

Garden cress (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45816681)

Do you still remember the garden cress [slashdot.org] experiment? Did that one ever get solved? Maybe there is something in the high-frequency radio waves that are detrimental to life, or only plants, or maybe only limited to garden cress. I'm not commenting on the kid's cancer case here, that's likely unrelated.

Re:Garden cress (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 10 months ago | (#45816819)

It's most likely heat related

Re:Garden cress (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45816913)

Nope, they already excluded out many simple factors like that. Heat, light, position, etc. But I don't know if they ever came up with a definitive conclusion.

Re:Garden cress (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816821)

http://www.pepijnvanerp.nl/2013/05/danish-school-experiment-with-wifi-routers-and-garden-cress-good-example-of-bad-science/

Re:Garden cress (4, Informative)

HappyClown (668699) | about 10 months ago | (#45816823)

I hadn't heard of this experiment until now, interesting. The mainstream media reports I saw about it all seemed rather heavy on sensationalism and light on facts. I dug a little deeper and found this, which does a good job of pointing out the many flaws in the experiment: Does wifi stunt cress growth? [stackexchange.com] .

This one [exploreb2b.com] also provides a summary of the points in the original.

Re:Garden cress (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816911)

Do you still remember the garden cress [slashdot.org] experiment?

As evidenced by all the barren wastelands around the multi-megawatt radio transmitters out there?

Or not.

Free wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816683)

Small price to pay for free wifi! Think about it.

no Wi-Fi for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816695)

Get back to shagging the sheep!

Insane (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 10 months ago | (#45816715)

The articles about this keep saying that "recent international research has shown there may be a link" without providing the source of that data! I can't find it anywhere, all the studies I can find show no evidence of a link. What the hell are these assholes talking about?! Why don't these journalists think this is an important piece of information to include with their articles?

I don't care if a bunch of nuts half a world away banned wifi for their elementary students. I but do care if they had a good reason to do it!

Re:Insane (2)

grimJester (890090) | about 10 months ago | (#45816765)

The articles about this keep saying that "recent international research has shown there may be a link" without providing the source of that data! I can't find it anywhere, all the studies I can find show no evidence of a link. What the hell are these assholes talking about?! Why don't these journalists think this is an important piece of information to include with their articles?

I don't care if a bunch of nuts half a world away banned wifi for their elementary students. I but do care if they had a good reason to do it!

Someone has falsely claimed that "recent international research has shown there may be a link", the press keep quoting it, and are of course unable to give a source since there is none.

Parents being rational about their children? (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 10 months ago | (#45816719)

Most world religions call for 'love of the neighbour as yourself'. However all who have children should hear 'love your neighbour as your child', as in practice parents are not good at being rational about when their children are concerned, with the result that we see children locked up in doors in reaction to 'stranger danger' - and thereby, overall, suffering more damage from lack of exercise and social interaction. This is merely an example of this wider irrationality... we can HOPE for reason to prevail...

Re:Parents being rational about their children? (1)

narcc (412956) | about 10 months ago | (#45816897)

we can HOPE for reason to prevail

Reason doesn't even prevail in skeptical and rationalist communities. Be reasonable here.

What if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816721)

What if I complained that stupidity caused cancer, and had the parents removed from school, would that work?

The school would be better off (0)

Lucky_Pierre (175635) | about 10 months ago | (#45816735)

And the students better educated if they ditched all the classroom computers and spent the money on books for the library. Although Bill Gates might not agree.

Re:The school would be better off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816781)

I see tablets as bring great for the classroom, as long as the internet is restricted.

Kids didn't even read book when I was a kid in the 80s with fuck all to do.

Re:The school would be better off (0)

lxs (131946) | about 10 months ago | (#45817189)

Tablets are an awful replacement for books in schools. When you throw them at a distracted student the screen might break.

radiation and cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816755)

To alter DNA wavelengths of much higher energy are required in UV region, wifi not neary enough to cause any harm

Re:radiation and cancer (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816865)

So tell us Mr. Scientist... how does photosynthesis work?

Photosynthesis is a chemical reaction caused by light and it doesn't need UV to work

(red/green light works best)

If light can cause chemical reactions then it can also cause cancer.

Re:radiation and cancer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816985)

You're confusing the difference between knocking an electron loose through sheer force (ionizing radiation) and simply exciting an electron to a higher energy state before passing it on (photosynthesis).

The difference is, if there were nothing for chlorophyll (or insert-pigment-of-choice-here) to donate it's electron to, nothing would happen to it. The excess energy would probably just be absorbed as heat, and you'd still have boring old chlorophyll. But, hit it with enough ionizing radiation and you can damage the molecule enough so that it's no longer boring old chlorophyll. And that's what causes super-powers.

High pitched noises (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#45816827)

I wonder how much of the occasional health panic that springs up around wifi - and indeed other technologies - can actually be attributed to the high pitched hums that can be emitted by badly manufactured devices.

For instance, when I moved home last year, my new ISP - Virgin Media - provided me with a router when I signed up with them. Their "superhub" - basically a rebranded mid-range Netgear home router - shipped with a cheap and nasty plug adapter, which was prone to emitting a high pitched squeal. Google will turn up plenty of forum threads on the issue if you're interested. Anyway, because it was right on the edge of my hearing range, it took me quite a while to work out what was going on. Until I did, I suffered several weeks of sleeping problems, headaches and nausea - pretty much the typical symptoms associated with cries of "wifi is harming my health". Swapped the plug adapter for a better made one and everything was fine.

Now admittedly, I've always been sensitive to these things. When I was a teenager, my dad had a job that meant that there were often medical devices (monitors, defibrilators etc) used in training course in the home. One weekend he had brought home a monitor device that emitted a particularly horrible hum and left it switched on for testing. Nobody else in the family could hear it, but it made me quite violently ill. He refused to believe that I could actually hear anything until I talked him into a blind test where I went into another room and then shouted "on" and "off" as he toggled the power on the device.

So yeah... while schools should be pushing back on the idea that wifi can harm childrens' health, I do think a lot of them might want to check whether any of their electronics are giving out high pitched squeals like that (particularly as childrens' hearing tends to be more sensitive to these ranges).

Re:High pitched noises (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45816875)

I wonder how much of the occasional health panic that springs up around wifi - and indeed other technologies - can actually be attributed to the high pitched hums that can be emitted by badly manufactured devices.

Most of it can be attributed to Mr. Paul Brodeur: http://fumento.com/cancer/emf.html [fumento.com]

Re:High pitched noises (3, Interesting)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 10 months ago | (#45817007)

I've also read that a lot of the power line/cell tower 'cancer clusters' are explained by contractor massively (like 100x) overusing herbicides to prep the construction site; they think that no one will live there, so they dump enough poison to kill the neighborhood, literally.

Keeps the vines off the equipment tho.

Re:High pitched noises (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817131)

Seems plausible. I'm sure many of us have seen people using concentrated product like it was a prepared mixture.

Re:High pitched noises (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817055)

Hmm. The odds are this is psychological in nature - more akin to hypochondria than a direct physical effect. If I put an inert device in a kid's room and said it was a slightly radioactive or a very poisonous insect killer, I'd wouldn't be at all surprised at some sort of physical manifestation of anxiety. Then there's the reinforcement - as you hear certain sounds, you are anticipating symptoms, which inevitably manifest. It's a Pavlovian response. Radio waves and wind farms are just the adult version of this. I wouldn't rule your experience out - there are interesting effects on the brain with binaural beats, etc. - but there's a lot of pseudo-science out there too.

Re:High pitched noises (1)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#45817173)

until I talked him into a blind test

That is exactly what I've been missing from every single story on the subject. There are some fanatics who believe they actually get ill to the amount of feeling it in their bodies within minutes of getting near a signal source.

A TV show once made a 30-minute documentary about one such lunatic. The one thing they didn't do, the first thing I thought of when watching the crap, was to put him into a room shielded from outside influence with a device that has its power-on button disabled, or is hidden, or whatever, and have him tell them whether it's on or off. Repeat 10 times. Might take an hour or two, but they followed him around for at least a day for the rest of the bullshit, so that shouldn't matter.

Summary: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816951)

People are clueless morons.

I wonder if these parents so worried about scary radiation have taken their childrens cellphones away...
Having a radiation source upside your head or in your pocket has got to be DEADLY compared to a wifi point somewhere in the building...

No? They didn't?
Well then my point still stands... People are clueless morons.

Li-Fi - the next threat (LED bulbs) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45816955)

nt

The worst is yet to come (2)

paiute (550198) | about 10 months ago | (#45817035)

Wait until those parents find out that their kids are subject to trillions and trillions of neutrinos blasting into their kid each second as they sit in class. They will be demanding that those neutrinos be turned off, and I will be there to help - by selling them my patented neutrino shield. It works because it is patented.

Why not ban cellphones altogether? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817063)

cellphones, microwaves, radars, satellites, etc. All of them are equally harmful to health!

why the giant golf carts do not have solar panels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817137)

questions never asked as we wait for the results of the kreme of the kode contest in conjunction with momkind's new clear options....

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