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BBC Rules That Wi-Fi Radiation Findings Were Wrong

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the gee-that's-unexpected dept.

Wireless Networking 210

Stony Stevenson writes "A Panorama programme claiming that Wi-Fi creates three times as much radiation as mobile phone masts was 'misleading', an official BBC complaints ruling has found. The team involved in the research came under fire from the school where the 'investigations' were held for scaremongering, but now the BBC has come out with an official ruling. 'The programme included only one contributor (Professor Repacholi) who disagreed with Sir William, compared with three scientists and a number of other speakers (one of whom was introduced as a former cancer specialist) who seconded his concerns.'"

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I still use the old fashioned wired Internet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573411)

You insensitive cloud!

Of course they were wrong. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573455)

Is anybody else suprised by this? To be honest, I think it's just just a farce. Yeah, sure the situation could have been better [snipurl.com] implemented [snipurl.com] but at least we know we're safe!

Re:Of course they were wrong. (2, Informative)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574021)

The target page tried to infect me with a virus.

Don't follow parent's links.

Re:Of course they were wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574349)

I'm on Linux, bitch.

Re:Of course they were wrong. (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574965)

I'm on windows w/ firefox, noscript, and avast!.

Avast! caught it before the page even loaded.

I can't wait! (-1, Offtopic)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573489)

For their clinbdown on global warming/climate change/whatever they call it today.

Re:I can't wait! (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573651)

What is it with the climate change trolls on tech boards lately? I've been seeing a comment, totally off topic, trying to make the case that human-caused climate change (global warming) is bas science, will be proven wrong, makes no sense, and so forth. Is this some sort of bizarre astroturfing campaign, some joke that I missed, or what?

Re:I can't wait! (1, Troll)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574101)

It's just the world's last rational people mounting a vanguard action against enviro-collectivists. Don't trouble yourself about it.

Re:I can't wait!...Trouble is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574953)

If the enviro-collectivists win, this will usher in a decline of your way of life and you wont be sitting in your comfortable cube/office posting on slashsdot, you'll be wondering how to eat.

    Then you will wonder why in the world did you sign up for this and decades will pass, nothing will change, a few warm winters and a few cold ones in your lifes memory bank, as it has been will continue to be, no dire calamties or earht shattering events, man made anyway other than the ones you allow.

    The parent post is correct, the anti-GW troll off topic posts are more frequent and thats because, besides leftists and liberals social policies the biggest threat to our way walk amongst us.

So forgive me for buying into it sometimes but it is a looming threat (GW legislation to subdue our economy) that has not diminished.

Re:I can't wait!...Trouble is (1, Troll)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575025)

I'm actually lying in bed, sucking down nyquil, and watching LOTR.

So, don't taze me, bro!

(Oh, global warming, imagination, figment of, one each...)

Re:I can't wait! (5, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574253)

I like to group them all together into one cathegory I refer to as "morons". It doesn't matter if you are dealing with neo-cons, green peace, ID promoters... It is all the same and it goes:

1)I think A
2)People with better qualifications say A is a bad idea
3)People with better qualifications have been wrong before
4)Therefore they are wrong now.
5)Thus A is a good idea.
6)People who don't want A are opposed to good ideas, so they must be evil.
7)It is all a conspiracy to tax/ruin our morals/benefit coorporations/steal your freedom/eat babies...

Really, from Homeopaths to Inteligent Designers, it is always the same. "Qualified people are sometimes wrong, so you should listen to my wacky idea instead." It is usually commbined with some conspiracy theory or general criticism of the scientific method interspersed with emotional or irrelevant arguments "Al gore is wasteful and just want to STEAL your tax dollars, hence GW isn't real." etc...

Re:I can't wait! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574791)

Human induced climate change is bunk at our current expression of energy.

I believe as do 50% of the scientific community with the credentials to render an opinion on this is that human technological output is dwarfed by natural forces-

volcanism and all the polutants emitted in one eruptive event typically dwarf decades of human industrial output and has historically been proven to have altered the climate

other complex and dynamic earth processes like earth wobble which causes variations in the seasons and average temperatures, weather patterns etc

solar radiation is said to be felt at the far reaches of the solar system where voyager 1 and 2 are approaching (termination shock) but is conveniently denied by the GW enthusiasts as to having any role in Global Warming and this is simply laughable

      Face it, man Made Global warming is the latest attempt by the AWOL, Association of the Worlds Opinionated Leftists seated in the UN, to subdue western economies so they can play catch up at our expense (while using our Foreign Aid against us) as we voluntarily submit to plunging our econmies into deep recessions if not a depression the likes never seen as our economies contract from self imposed regulations to curb industry which ultimately will do nothing for Global Warming if it exists at all.

If you think this information is the result of Trolling, then you hopefully have stock in Kool Aid since you have consumed enough to drive up the price.

Re:I can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574979)

Maybe because as trolling mechanisms go, it's very successful? Just don't reply to any part of a thread that was started with one.

(bugger)

Re:I can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575187)

Yes just ignore it even if it makes sense and challenges your assumptions, thats the way of the left and /. moderation.

    You know why this is really happening, because there is so much love for leftists and their causes here in the absence of real definitive science. /. a place where science supposedly reigns supreme, that the word is out amongst many this is where you can do some pleasure trolling and get some geeks fired up.

Ignoring it wont change the alternative outcome of which the science favors btw, that GW is bunk, it is a geo-political agenda and that the american left are todays Useful Idiots and many of them are represented here on /.

So just ignore it, put your heads under the covers and wait for chicken little to call

P.S. I did not intend to "troll" off topic but when the opportunity presents, its too tempting since the topic in reference GW, is one of the pet topics here on /. especially since its all Bush's fault

Re:I can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575369)

Yes just ignore it even if it makes sense and challenges your assumptions

Except it doesn't make sense.

Oh sure, you can argue that climate change is not caused by man, but anyone who claims that climate change as a whole is a figment of the imagination is delusional. The science does not support the claim.

Basically:

A rise in global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide? Yes.
Is it man made? Er...dunno. Maybe?

At this moment in time that is about the only logical, scientifically supported and honest position anyone can take.

News program found guilty of scaremongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573507)

This, and the shocking secret that most parents don't realize will kill their child! Up at 11. Tune in!

England is so quaint (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573509)

A broadcast station issuing a ruling. Sir William the scientist. I'll think I'll get a pint at the pub, govnr', then to the loo and then pop home on the lorry, chap.

Re:England is so quaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573537)

Cue aggravated Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish in 4,3,2,1...

Re:England is so quaint (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574789)

FREEDOM!!!!!!

Benefits Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573531)

The benefits outweigh the costs whether it's true or not. I am also partial to Diet Coke.

I have a dream! (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573549)

So this article in tandem with this one [slashdot.org] , has given me hope. For I have a dream that one day all of our children will be able to sit down at the radioactive table of brotherhood. They will be able to enjoy the pleasures of uranium chip flavored ice cream and sleep on beds made of the finest plutonium. I welcome the day when all of our children will have the opportunity to be exposed to the now safer than ever blessing of radiation. I have a dream that one day the alarmist fear mongering about radiation poisoning [wikipedia.org] and nuclear fallout [wikipedia.org] will be over and out children can reap the benefits.

Re:I have a dream! (5, Funny)

nekozid (1100169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574009)

A bed made from plutonium would be awesome infact.
Nice warm bed to get into every night? Yes please!

Re:I have a dream! (4, Funny)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574463)

A bed made from plutonium would be awesome infact.
Nice warm bed to get into every night? Yes please!
I'd rather have the warm body of my wife next to me ... oh wait, I must be new here. Never mind.

Re:I have a dream! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574807)

"warm body of my wife next to me"

Your wife so big, she next to you on the right AND the left! Now that's warm!

Sorry, I read that page with the 100 mama jokes yesterday and it corrupted me.

Re:I have a dream! (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574449)

You do know that ionizing radiation (e.g. alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays from nuclear decay) has absolutely nothing to do with non-ionizing (e.g. radio, microwave, etc) EM radiation. Confusing the two, even in jest, doesn't help the situation.

Re:I have a dream! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575041)

Fuck off, loser.

Re:I have a dream! (2, Insightful)

psmears (629712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575109)

You do know that ionizing radiation (e.g. alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays from nuclear decay) has absolutely nothing to do with non-ionizing (e.g. radio, microwave, etc) EM radiation.

Gamma rays [wikipedia.org] are a form of EM radiation... so they are related (though given that they have a much higher energy I agree that it's not that helpful to compare them in this instance).

Re:I have a dream! (5, Funny)

audubon (577473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574739)

Glory be to the Bomb, and to the Holy Fallout. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen. May the Blessings of the Bomb Almighty, and the Fellowship of the Holy Fallout, descend upon us all. This day and forever more. Amen!

The BBC you say... (5, Funny)

da3dAlus (20553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573601)

The programme included only one contributor (Professor Repacholi) who disagreed with Sir William

Peter Griffin: We'll move to England, huh? Worst they got there is, you know, drive-by... arguments...
[Meanwhile, in England]
Englishman: I say, Jeremy, isn't that Reginald B. Stifworth, the young upstart chap who's been touting the merits of a united European commonwealth?
Jeremy: Why yes, I daresay it is.
Englishman: Oh, let's get him.
[They drive up]
Englishman: Oh Reginald... I disagree.
[drives off]

Can't these people do maths?! (5, Insightful)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573611)

I am sick and tired of hearing voodoo science scaremongers. So here we go.

As far as possible interactions with the human body go, the 900 MHz to 1900 MHz spectrum is roughly the same. Both WiFi and cell phones use bursts of transmissions with approximately the same spectral characteristics. So we can simplify the problem and focus only on intensity.

A cell phone that is far from the nearest tower can transmit up to one watt. A typical home router transmits 100 mW (one tenth of a cell phone). A very powerful cell tower transmits 1000 W. However, signal intensity per surface unit decreases as the square of the distance. So if you are 100 meters (300 feet, one-half furlong for our US friends) from a 1-kW cell tower, you get the same exposure as if you are one metter (0.005 furlong, 3 ft) from a wifi router. And of course, all of this is dwarfed by the intensity of signal you get a few centimeters away from a 1-W cell phone.

So test cell phones. If they don't fry your brain, forget about wifi routers and towers, their effect is negligeable next to a cell phone's signal flux. And cell phones were innocented by several studies.

Attention journalists: When you cover technology, either learn the basics of what you're talking about or go back to freelancing for people rags.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573853)

Great! So what about the 2.4 GHz spectrum that is used by WiFi? That's outside the range of .9 GHz to 1.9 GHz that you mentioned, so I wonder if it is fine too?

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (3, Interesting)

SigILL (6475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574077)

So what about the 2.4 GHz spectrum that is used by WiFi?

Generally speaking, the higher the frequency the more is absorbed by air. So higher frequencies are actually _less_ dangerous.

Note that that's also why so many businesses are interested in the 700 MHz spectrum licenses for sale over at your side of the great pond. Less absorption means less base stations, repeaters and transmission power needed.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574285)

Microwave ovens run at a frequency of 2450MHz (2.45GHz) and interact quite well with water, of which the majority of the human body is composed. The lowest power microwave I have seen, however, is 600W, which is a good two orders of magnitude more than the average WiFi adaptor. The energy from a microwave is also much more focussed[1] than a WiFi antenna, which radiates in all directions unless it's being used for point-to-point fixed-topology communication.


[1] For a good demo of this, put a lump of refrigerated butter in the microwave for 30 seconds without the plate spinning. When you take it out, it will be melted (and possibly under quite high pressure) in the middle, but still cold on the outside. Note that this will only work with microwaves where the food is rotated, not those where the magnetron moves.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (2, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574393)

My microwave melts butter at 10s, and that's the outside. I've cut through it and it isn't melted on the inside, though it is soft all the way through.

I used to be scared microwaves were poisoning the food. Then I learned in chemistry what was actually going on (it was causing water molecules to vibrate, which generates friction with other molecules, which turns into heat.)

Laugh? I heard a guy on the radio not a year ago doing scare mongering as to what microwaves were doing to your food (and why you should therefore buy this product.)

If there is a god, he'd be much better off filtering out soulless bastards than filtering out those who refuse to kow-tow to him.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575039)

and interact quite well with water, of which the majority of the human body is composed.

During WWII, both British and American radar operators would get warm by standing in front of their radar beams. They didn't realize they were frying their future kids.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575625)

I would be surprised to find out that the radar operators were made sterile by the radar beams. Radar frequencies are below that of ionizing radiation.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

lorenzino (1130749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573919)

Thank you!

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

JesterXXV (680142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573963)

one-half furlong for our US friends
Could you please convert that to kilobushels per microacre for those of us in the Midwestern U.S.?

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574109)

I'll see your facts and figures and raise you an anecdote.

Many moons ago, in an old programming job, I was chatting with the boss. I'd been working there three weeks, and this was the first time I'd ever seen him; the place was a small tech support company. Anyway, he talked for a while and then eventually pointed to a sizable scar just above his right temple and said "You're probably wondering what this is".

Turns out he was six weeks out of a brain surgery operation to remove a tumour the size of a golf ball from his head. This guy was an onsite type of engineer who had been using mobiles since very early days, and in many poor reception areas, so the mobile seemed the most likely suspect in my mind. He was actually fine, still running the company, but had apparently been disbarred from driving for a year because of the operation. Apparently it counted as brain damage. Go figure.

Anyway, around this time I bought my first mobile. I got it with a wired headset.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (3, Interesting)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574381)

I see your anecdote and raise you another anecdote. My family and I have been huge tech users for a while now, we've all had cell phones for 10 years, our landline phones use the 2.4 GHz spectrum to tranmit to each other wirelessly, and we have a powerful G router, and have had a wireless router for 5+ years now. None of us have ever been diagnosed with any cancer, nor any ailments worse than some bone issues due to running. In fact, the only person in my family who has even been affected by cancer was a bit of an oldtimer, having neither a cellphone nor a wireless router and living far from any sort of tower (didn't get any bars at his house).

So that's 5 anecdotes to your one, take it as you will. Brain tumors have been around for far longer than wireless transmissions, as has almost all types of cancer. Perhaps there is a statistical significance, but anecdotes can't prove that.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575123)

You are correct however older analog cell phones did put out a lot more radiation than modern cell phones. Enough to cause cancer even in the earliest models. I'll agree everything we use now is perfectly harmless though.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574383)

So instead, you'll get cancer in your bojangles. Brilliant!

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574423)

So you were scared until years later, when studies came out showing no statistical anomalies in brain cancer in groups with cellphone exposure and those without? (Or big electrical transmission tower exposure, or not?)

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574825)

That anecdote makes me long for the good old days when people NEVER got tumors.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574983)

A cell phone that is far from the nearest tower can transmit up to one watt.

Hmmm. I remember reading, while non-typical, max output from a cell phone (model dependent, more so on select GSM phones) can be up to 3 watts. Typical usage is far less than one watt.

Re:Can't these people do maths?! (1)

acaila_edhel (1164401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575037)

Very nice post. I wish more people would go through the math before spouting off.

However, as one who lives in the US, I have never used a furlong. You can use feet for us as well. Or better yet, call 300 feet a football field, unless you are a Baltimore Ravens fan, then you would wish it was 294 feet.

your maths is only during conversation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575345)

Your maths seem correct, but one can be exposed only to the phone during convrsation while we can be exposed to wifi and tower 24/7. What about the accumulation?

nappy headed hoes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573633)

salad soup secks in your butt!

dumbed down (1, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573645)

Who in the UK can be surprised by this?

It's been obvious that the BBC's standards have been gradually eroding for about 20 years. It probably hasn't reached bottom yet. Biased tabloid journalism, and product placement to get round the no advertising rules, are the daily norm, not the exception nowadays.

Focus groups lead to mediocrity and bias. A similar thing is happening to the UK in many other areas too. If you have an IQ over 95 you're a statistical outlier, and are no longer catered to by corportations, government or the media in the UK.

Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573703)

If the BBC shows a rerun of Sesame Street that claims that 1 + 1 = 2, do they have to give equal time to mathematicians who claim that it isn't? (Where would they find them?)

If the program was wrong, it wasn't wrong because they had the wrong number of scientists on each side.

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573907)

Head counts are important. The issue is that the head counts didn't represent the community. Are you claiming there's a significant portion of people who believe 1 + 1 != 2?

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574065)

Sry u posted as AC therefore troll modding coming up instead of Insightful like parent

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574063)

Math is funny. Those mathematicians will tell you that you actually can make a system where 2 + 2 = 5, as long as it's internally consistent.

A better example might be some easily measurable fact, like "the air we breathe is about 78% nitrogen".

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574093)

If the BBC shows a rerun of Sesame Street that claims that 1 + 1 = 2, do they have to give equal time to mathematicians who claim that it isn't? (Where would they find them?)

Well, as the slashdot sig goes, There are 10 types of mathematician - those that understand binary and those that don't.

Meanwhile, you're not really suggesting that the media can't make any sort of judgement distinguish between genuine areas of scientific disagreement and fringe quackery, are you? Gosh, that's almost like suggesting that managers and politicians with an Arts/Classics/Legal/Business background who know squat about science can't make informed decisions about scientific and technical issues... and that can't be true!

Anyway, the BBC have a remit to cater for a diverse audience, and portraying people who actually know what they are talking about and can back it up with evidence amounts to unfair discrimination against stupid people - and where would TV be if it alienated stupid people?

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574471)

To sum up: Scary headline on page 1, two weeks later a retraction in the far corner of page 37.

Retraction isn't as profitable as scary headline, so don't give them equal weight, you quality, fair, honest journalists, you!

Nothing new here, folks. Move along, move along.

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574173)

The headcount was wrong. It should've had a few hundred to a thousand scientists elaborating on the theme of "this is bullshit" for every quack who appeared onscreen saying "please buy my expensive anti-EMF hat, from myself, a douchebag who managed to get the idiots at Panorama to give me free advertising".

Re:Is a headcount the best way to decide balance? (2, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575253)

This reminds me of when a reporter of BBC World covered a story about copy-protected "CD"s. On one side there was a Big Label (Universal I think) rep that lied through his teeth saying that the silvery disk is a CD, while on the other side there was a techy guy who explained how these disks don't adhere to the CD standards and have (most of) the loss-correcction rendundant bits removed.

And the BBC journalist, in the conclusion remarks said "as always, the truth is somewhre in between". WTF? Truth is usually NOT somewhere in between, but at one or the other side - like in that story, when it was squarely in the techy guy's hands.

I HATE this sort of journalistic bullshit. Probably spouted because they have no clue about what they're writing about. My father worked as a journalist for 20 years, and he told me the "Journalists are the most ignorant people in the world". His words.

Good, I can finally take all this foil off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573709)

my skin can finally breathe.

attention UK (-1, Flamebait)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573889)

dear UK, Educate your population seriously you rag on Americans being stupid while having an even less educated population yourselves. The only reason the BBC gets away with scaremongering nonsense is because there are many among you that don't know any better. The only way to stop selecting for idiotic deivel is to have a fairly knowledgeable population that understands basic concepts in science like the scientific method for example. That is all

Re:attention UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573933)

Spoken like a true half-wit.

Re:attention UK (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574515)

"Wit" has two t's.

Re:attention UK (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575601)

No, it doesn't.

Re:attention UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574529)

This latest post of yours fits in quite well with your deplorably idiotic posting history.

Re:attention UK (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574795)

I'm not sure what your problem is, although I suspect you're probably just some dweeb who has a grudge against us for seducing your women with our oh-so-sexy accents. Anyway, as I was going to say, the UK has a mechanism for reporting programming like this, which frequently results in broadcasters having to make public apologies (see the global warming denialism show C4 showed earlier this year). The last time I checked North America wasn't so lucky.

Re:attention UK (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575229)

Dear USA,

    Educate your posters to \. Some people in the UK are stupid, just like some people in the US.

    The perception from the outside of the US is that it is the majority of the US that are stupid (but I suspect that is just a perception) and I suspect that the perception of the UK from the outside is that the majority of us are stupid as well ... It's not us it's our media, they all studied "Media" in college and don't know Science (or even common sense it seems) and don't seem to care if they get it wrong as long as it makes a good story ...

    But the point of this is our media is regulated, the BBC got it wrong (they are media people they don't know science), people complained, and someone checked, and they corrected it ...

Re:attention UK (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575515)

Dear poster,
Please use proper sentence structure, punctuation, and number matching. Further, you may be interested that the US is pretty far down towards the bottom of the barrel as far as world standards of education go, leaving some areas of the nation with more than a 33% illiteracy rate. That's pretty pathetic.

OT: Panarama is getting pretty bad (2, Informative)

QX-Mat (460729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573911)

I've noticed a slow decline in panorama's technological and socio-political programs (pretty much everything). Dispatches, and that program on unreported news on More4 (the name of which escapes me) are farbetter and less "pimped". It's not just mistakes I have a problem with, it's the tabloid attitude the show's taken to; frighteningly reminiscent of Fox News.

I love my BBC but when I have to step back and become objective, not because of the topic, but because of the way information is inappropriately portrayed, I'm a little sad inside.

Matt

Speaking of scaremongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21573913)

Speaking of scaremongering, have a look at this MS ad [microsoft.com] that was on Slashdot.

Inverse square (0)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573927)

My WiFi antennas aren't an inch from my head. I don't think there is any doubt that hand held analogue cell phones, when they used often, are associated with tumors. I don't know if this finding is also true for digital phones. In any city people are awash with RF energy from a multitude of sources. Most of the sources are not a couple of inches from the person's brain.

Re:Inverse square (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574249)

I don't think there is any doubt that hand held analogue cell phones, when they used often, are associated with tumors. I don't know if this finding is also true for digital phones.

What's the mechanism that makes them dangerous? Why would digital phones be different from analog phones at similar frequencies?

Re:Inverse square (0)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574651)

Because they require less energy, thus the smaller batteries and the longer life between charges. The mechanism that makes cell phones harmful is that they inject comparatively high amounts of RF energy into cells, which damages the DNA. There are too many cases of tumors on the side of the head where sufferers hold their phone to deny a correspondence.

Re:Inverse square (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575655)

The mechanism that makes cell phones harmful is that they inject comparatively high amounts of RF energy into cells, which damages the DNA.

Ionizing radiation damages DNA. Non-ionizing radiation (which is what cell phones and wifi networks use) can only damage cells by adding heat. Cell phones don't put out enough energy to raise the temperature by even 1o C.

It's possible that a yet-unknown mechanism exists for non-ionizing radiation to cause cancer. However, we've been dealing with energy in these frequencies for a long time, many of them in far more powerful amounts than cell phones (radar, microwave communication towers, etc.). Additionally, many of those sources are staffed by union workers, which are notorious for looking for any minor safety factor to justify a wage increase. If you want to prove a new mechanism in a mature area of physics, you're going to need very good proof.

Anecdotal evidence of "many brain tumors on that side of the head" is no replacement for a good scientific study; after all, 50% of brain tumors would happen on that side of the head, anyway. Actual studies on this matter have more [go.com] than [betanews.com] adaquately [wustl.edu] disproven. Studies in support of a link are often shown to have problems [nydailynews.com] .

Re:Inverse square (1)

agingell (931397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574747)

The analogue cell network had much greater separation between towers which required considerably higher power output from both the phone (several watts) and the tower.
Also with digital you can improve the SNR dramatically therefore reducing the power required.
These 2 factors are what led to digital networks requiring a lower power output from the phone combined with the greatly improved tower technology for ultra low power signal reception which used to require cooling with liquid nitrogen to get a low thermal background noise.
It should be noted that the towers for digital have to be closer together as they tend to use higher frequencies which require line of sight whereas the older 900MHz networks would go through things much better, this is one of the advantages of the 700MHz network that Google is bidding for.

Re:Inverse square (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575047)

Signal to Noise Ratio.

The better the SNR is on analogue, the better the sound, the easier it is to understand somebody. The old analogue phones freqently transmitted on maximum power all the time, for best quality(and cheaper construction cost).

On digital, the SNR only has to be sufficient to be able to reconstruct the signal*, so you have much more in the way of reducing transmission power when the SNR is good. Most modern digital phones, for example, transmit at a quarter or less of what the old analogue ones did.

*Most digital transmissions have lots of recovery possibilities.

Re: Unscientific bunk (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574467)

No, there is NO statistically significant evidence suggesting a correlation between cell phones and tumors. There has been NO scientific study to suggest that, only idiotic scaremongering, which is what this article is about. Not only is there no empirical evidence, but there is no known basis for it in physics/biology/chemistry since microwaves are NON IONIZING RADIATION. That means that they have NO EFFECT on matter other than to heat it up if you bombard it with enough. It's no different than standing in front of a fireplace and absorbing the longer wavelength infra red spectrum.

Re: Unscientific bunk (3, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575147)

Says you! I can see fire, I can't see cell phone waves. They must be dangerous, they work like magic!

I think that's a lot of the problem... people haven't figured out that cell phones and wireless transmissions AREN'T magic. Hell, I didn't even get into wave physics until my second year in college, and that was at an engineering school... what chance does a liberal arts major or high-school dropout have of understanding it?

Re:Inverse square (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574775)

Actually it depends how close you are to the antenna. Inverse square only applies for point charge/currents. For an infinite wire (which an attenna is approximately if you are close enough to it), the field strength actually goes as 1/r not 1/r^2. Still as you say wifi isn't that close to your head usually, and is about 1/10th the output anyways.

Re:Inverse square (1)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575595)

When you get far enough away from the source, then it is inverse square. If you have a short antenna, then close to it, it is not inverse square, but if the antenna is a couple of inches from your head, then you have a strong field.

Only two people complained? (3, Interesting)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573947)

According to the BBC complaints ruling "two viewers complained". Assuming that one of them was Prof. Repacholi, I must be the other. But then again, I'm probably Spartacus as well.

Since this report was published Panorama was broadcast as usual on Monday night. There was no trailing "we got the wifi program badly wrong" apology, so I've complained again about that - we'll see what happens.

It's worth mentioning that the BBC is going through a sustained period of navel-gazing at the moment, ever since the Hutton Report. Among the items for consideration have been such earth-shattering topics such as the name of the Blue Peter cat http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/2007/09/it_fair_knocks_your_socks.html [guardian.co.uk] and whether two pieces of film about an unelected German woman had been reversed between the programme and the trail http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7079070.stm [bbc.co.uk] . In among this, ensuring basic scientific accuracy in a flagship current-affairs program clearly isn't very important.

Re:Only two people complained? (1)

gigne (990887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574645)

In that case I don't know where my complaint went. I suspect that their complaints stats are plain wrong or their customer service department is just >/dev/null. Two complaints my arse.

Re:Only two people complained? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575483)

I'm Spartacus!

Reminds of an episode of Yes Minister. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21573991)

They where trying to build a chemical factory and some people where scared of it.
Both the MP and his civil servent had no idea if it was safe of not because they didn't know any science.
"Minister I have a classical eduction. I don't know any science."

Re:Reminds of an episode of Yes Minister. (1)

Diamonddavej (851495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575455)

That is exactly why the British media has taken a nose dive in its ability to intelligently discuss science and technology - todays journalists have an Arts and Humanities education in journalism, they have no critical thinking or science education. That abominable Panorama program was an example of just that phenomina, it was made by people who should be producing daytime cooking programs. When TV was young, in the 50-60's, it employed an army of engineers that created TV technology, later on they changed carers and many of them helped produce the unsurpassed science/technology documentaries of the 70s and 80s.

Scaremongering? (1)

bizitch (546406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574029)

Scaremongering? - You mean researchers are capable of this?

Lemme guess - there was an "overwhelming consensus" that WIFI was gonna cook all of our children's brains

That never happens - right?

Scientist and researchers never exaggerate or manipulate results in order to further a hidden agenda - right?

I'm so disillusioned right now ....

Crackpot (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574721)

Idiot. What makes you think scientists were behind this? Reporters were behind this. They have monetary reasons for scaremongering. What hidden agendas can you even think up that might prompt scientists to falsify results?

One sure sign of a crackpot is that he takes every chance he can get to insult and demean the scientific establishment. That shit won't fly here. It does not make you seem smart or wise in anyone's eyes. It just points out to all the smart folks here that you are an anti-intellectual dolt.

Re:Scaremongering? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575329)

Lemme guess - there was an "overwhelming consensus" that WIFI was gonna cook all of our children's brains

Actually, no. Quite the contrary; there's about a half-dozen cranks who say that, yet who get a quite astonishing amount of media attention for their pains. Analogies to other fields of research are left to the reader.

Damnit! (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574061)

How am I supposed to get mutant powers from radioactive wifi if it's harmless! I'd rant more but I have to go swim in the Hudson River's toxic waste.

"Radiation" (5, Insightful)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574125)

Notice how they refer to it as 'radiation', because radiation is clearly a *bad thing*. It killed all those people in Hiroshima didn't it? Nasty.

Well, never mind that 1W of radiation coming out of your phone or Wifi router. There's maybe 100W coming out of your light bulbs (or less if you have Al Gore-compliant lightbulbs). And what's more, that radiation doesn't pass straight through you, a lot of it is intercepted by the body! I think we need a campaign to stop radiation in the 400nm to 700nm wavelength range from infecting our children! Ban it now! That, and Dihydrogen Monoxide...

Bad Science [badscience.net] has lots of info on this and other science quackery.

Re:"Radiation" (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575221)

Notice how they refer to it as 'radiation', because radiation is clearly a *bad thing*. It killed all those people in Hiroshima didn't it? Nasty.
It didn't even necessarily kill all those people [slashdot.org] . Radiation was just set up as a boogeyman because it's invisible and really easy to be scared of. I'm not saying it's not dangerous, I'm saying that policy makers and other people that communicate to the public don't have the requisite experience or knowledge to adequately judge it.

Programme? (0)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574153)

A Panorama programme...
Maybe we ought to see what the Panorama program has to say...

Re:Programme? (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574333)

No it's a programme.

You get a program on a computer, a programme on TV.. english is funny like that.

Microwave (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574549)

I'm sure that, in a not-so-distant future, it will be as dangerous to walk in the streets of a wireless city than it is to put yourself in the microwave for 30 minutes. There will be corpses all over the sidewalks, and homes will be built with a lead insulating layer to protect us from the OH-SO-DANGEROUS WI-FI radiations.

But oh, anyway, isn't lead toxic too? Think I heard about that...

In french, we call them "Peurologues", or "Fear-o-logists" in english...

Re:Microwave (1)

microtubules (1197247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574623)

a microwave uses the same frequency as wifi. also, what about the nanotubes in your brain?

Re:Microwave (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574711)

They're doing pretty well...

Re:Microwave (1)

microtubules (1197247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574963)

Nice to meet you, paranoia is a hobby of mine. I just got an idea for a role playing game where you invent new technology and try to rule the world. cool huh?

3 x 0 = 0 (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574599)

It remains that three times negligible remains negligible.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" applies to all claims, including those that handily advance socialist causes.

Is BBC it for TV in the UK? (1)

stickystyle (799509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574919)

Being an American the only news I ever hear from across the pond is from the BBC, is that all you folks have over there? I know the notion seems kind of silly, but why is that the only 'network' I hear about? From reading wikipedia the network sounds like PBS/NPR we have over here. Could someone please clarify my American ignorance?

Re:Is BBC it for TV in the UK? (3, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575303)

There are around 49 freely availiable digital channels and 5 analog channels in the uk, all of which can be seen if you buy a £20 digibox (or freeview box whatever itsa called) if you get sky theres probably somewhere in the region 200-300 channels. The analog channels are BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. ITV pretty much has GMTV news a painfully dumbed down breakfast news with bad reporting, Pop Idol (or whatever), trisha, and correnation street a soap. Channel 4 tends to have more varied programming but concentrates on stuff like Big Brother (tv reality shows) and american shows (friends, scrubs etc...) The freeview channels don't tend to have much to offer although Dave has recently burst onto the seen and seems to be popular with blokes. We have a Sci-Fi channel which sucks, Sky One which gets all the american tv series first and has done some interesting stuff (brainics for instance) along with UK living, discovery, etc...

The problem is the BBC used to offer alot of quality shows and things like Panorama and Eqinox (channel 4) used to be great for those intereting in technical things. Unfortunatly the BBC seems to be slowly deciding to cater to the lowest common denominator, so shows like Panarama have turned into complete rubbish and it seems every new BBC documentary has to repeat itself every ten minutes with flashy graphics. Its not that people want this. Heck recently the BBC editors blog asked what things he should think about when he went off to meet other TV producers at some conference. The 600/700 replies all asked for the BBC to go back to producing challenging and inteligent shows and to get rid of stupid reality tv shows.

The BBC isn't the only channel we get in the UK but it tends to be the best with the most varied tv and inteligent, when you've got the BBC producing the Planet Earth documentary compared to Channel 4's chantelle's throwing a tantrum in the recent big brother, or some old woman killing someone in corrie on ITV what do you think is going to get reported.

BTW the TV channels over here keep being hit by various scandals (From the Blue Peter people choosing anouther rabbits name and not the one people voted for, to various phone in competitions being rigged.)

Re:Is BBC it for TV in the UK? (2, Informative)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575411)

Taking non-satellite, non-cable first, the basic list's here:
http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/terrestrial/epg/ [digitalspy.co.uk]

The first five of those are available analogue (which is currently being phased out); everything is available on a series of digital multiplexes which may or may not be available depending on where you live. If you follow the website links from the Digitalspy page you should be able to get to "who owns what", but in brief the BBC is publicly owned and licence-fee supported, ITV is a standalone company, ad-supported, Channel 4 is publicly owned, ad-supported and Five is owned by RTL.

The largest satellite operator is Sky TV:
http://www.sky.com/portal/site/skycom/tvguide [sky.com]
(mostly owned by News Corp)

The largest cable operator is Virgin Media
http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=1 [virginmedia.com]
(standalone company)
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