17
Mai
2007

Drowning in a Sea of Microwaves: The Wi-Fi Explosion

ISIS Press Release 17/05/07

Wireless communication takes over in homes, offices, and public places, as evidence of microwave health hazards multiply for humans and species across the living world Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members’ website.


To be or not to be wireless

To be “wireless” has replaced “wired-up” for being connected and cool. Wi-fi is now in hotels, airport departure lounges, universities, schools, homes, and entire cities. You cannot get away from it. We shall all be submerged in a sea of microwaves, whether we choose to go wireless or not. Soon, all one can do is to lock oneself away in a shielded room, an electro-smog-proof yellow submarine. And for the estimated 1.5 – 3 percent of populations worldwide that are “electromagnetic hypersensitive” [1], that may well be the only option open. Unlike cigarette smoke, passive involuntary exposure to electromagnetic radiation cannot be avoided easily.

Box 1

What is wi-fi?

Wi-fi (Wireless-fidelity) was originally developed to be embedded in local area network (wLAN), and used for mobile computing devices such as laptops, but is now increasingly used for more services including the internet and connection to consumer electronics such as TV, DVD player and digital camera [2]. A user can connect to the internet via an enabled device, such as a personal computer, when in range of an ‘access point' (AP). A region covered by one or more APs is called a ‘hotspot'. Hotspots can range from a single room to many square miles of overlapping hotspots. Wi-fi can also be used to create a mesh network, and allow devices to connect directly with each other in peer-to-peer ( ad-hoc network) mode, as in consumer electronics and gaming applications.

A typical wi-fi consists of one or more APs and one or more clients. An AP broadcasts its SSID (Service Set Identifier, or network name) in small (short-duration) packets, called beacons, every 100 ms. Wi-fi networks operate in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 G Hz microwave bands, with an 11 Mbps (Megabytes per second) or 54 Mbps data transmission rate, or both (dual band), and clients can choose which service to use.

Wi-fi has the advantage that it operates without cables, and is built into most modern laptops, and rapidly expanding into other devices as prices continue to drop. It operates on a global set of standards, so it can work in different countries. However, the operational limitations are not consistent around the world and power consumption is fairly high. Wi-fi is not secure, and worries about health risks of microwaves from mobile phones are growing (see main text).


Wireless explosion out of control

There are now more than 250 000 public hotspots for wi-fi worldwide [2]. Wi-fi is available in millions of homes, corporations, and university campuses. According to one estimate, wi-fi use has increased 74 percent in Europe and 75 percent in the UK between the first and second half of 2006 [3]. Birmingham is to have Britain's first city wide wireless communication by early 2007, and Manchester is planning the largest European wi-fi zone covering 400 square miles. Norwich and Milton Keynes already have wi-fi, and Brighton is set to follow [4]. Most worrying of all, wi-fi has been installed in up to 80 percent of secondary schools in the UK and more than half of the primary schools [5] , exposing the most vulnerable populations to microwave irradiation.

The increasing popularity of wi-fi comes on the heels of the explosive growth in wireless mobile telephones, and amid heightened concerns over the health hazards of saturating levels of electromagnetic radiation [6] ( Cancer Risks from Microwaves Confirmed , SiS 34). Microwaves at current exposure levels are linked to brain damage, DNA damage, brain tumours, cancers, microwave sickness, impairment of cognitive functions, impairment of reproduction and fertility, affecting humans, rodents, birds, and bees (Box 2).


Box 2

Health hazards of microwave radiation

Rats exposed to microwave radiation from mobile phones for two hours showed signs of brain damage due to leakage of the blood brain barrier that persisted 50 days later [7] ( Mobile Phones & Brain Damage , SiS 24).

DNA breaks and chromosomal abnormalities were found in animal and human cells exposed to low levels of microwaves [8] ( Confirmed: Mobile Phones Break DNA & Scramble Genomes , SiS 25)

Risk of cancers – breast, prostate, bowel, skin (melanoma), lung and blood - trebled with microwave exposure in the Southern German town of Naila 5 to 10 years after the mobile phone transmitter was installed [6].

Risk of cancers quadrupled in area exposed to microwave radiation in Netanya, an female cancers 10.5 fold compared with the general population in Israel [6].

Risk of acoustic neuroma and glioma increased 2 to 3 fold on
10 years or more of mobile phone use [6].

Mobile phone use correlates strongly with chronic illnesses [9]; Sweden has had a seven-fold increase in the long-term ill since 1981.

Men who used mobile phones more than 4 hours a day had lower sperm count and poorer quality sperm compared to those who did not use mobile phones [10].

A study in Greece showed that mice exposed to mobile phone microwaves at 1.68 m W/m 2 became completely sterile after five generations, while those exposed to 10.53 mW/m 2 became completely sterile after three generations [11]

Reproduction and breeding success of sparrows and white storks are reduced near mobile phone transmitters, and exposure to microwaves in the laboratory caused high mortality rates in chick embryos [12] ( Mobile Phones and Vanishing Birds , SiS 34).

Bees fail to return to their hives when cordless phone base- stations were installed, raising strong suspicion that microwave radiation may be responsible for the colony collapse disorder now devastating beekeepers and farmers in the United States and Europe [13] ( Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees , SiS 34).

Up to 3.5 percent of people suffer a range of symptoms including headache, nausea, lack of concentration, depression and allergy, known collectively as microwave sickness syndrome when in proximity of mobile phone transmitters (see Box 3).


Sir William Stewart, Chair of the Health Protection Agency and former chief scientific adviser to the Government, has issued the most authoritative warning on mobile phones in successive reports and public statements to the press [7], which have been ignored by the government. He is becoming worried about the rapid spread of wi-fi, and is privately pressing for an official investigation into the risks. He is not alone among government scientists to be concerned. Dr. Ian Gibson, former Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, called on the Department of Health to conduct an enquiry into potential health risks of wireless computer networks [14]. Gibson is an honorary Professor and former Dean of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

Read the rest of this article here //www.i-sis.org.uk/DSOM.php



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The psychology of self-deception when talking about the dangers of electropollution

"To belong to a group of any sort, the tacit price of membership is to agree not to notice one's own feelings of uneasiness and misgiving, and certainly not to question anything that challenges the group's way of doing things. The price for the group in this arrangement is that dissent, even healthy dissent, is stifled."

- Daniel Goleman, Vital Lies, Simple Truths, 1985


"Called 'groupthink,' this psychological dynamic can develop within a decision-making organization in which loyalty to the group or the need to reach a consensus becomes more important than solving the problem at hand. It can be a subtle phenomenon, which participating individuals often fail to recognize, but its byproduct is the suppression, elimination, dismissal, or reinterpretation of dissenting information. Groupthink requires several forms of lying to maintain the status quo, including the ignoring or omission of facts, selective memory, and denial. The subject of electromagnetic fields has collided with organizational denial and groupthink more often than not, and continues to do so."

-B. Blake Levitt, Electromagnetic Fields, 1995


In the preface of Daniel Goleman's first book Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception he writes:

We live at a particularly perilous moment, one in which self-deception is a subject of increasing urgency. The planet itself faces a threat unknown in other times: its utter destruction. Whether that death be the quick one, from nuclear war and the catastrophic changes that would follow, or the slow ecological one, from the inexorable destruction of forests, arable land and usable water, the human capacity for self-deception will have played its part.

Consider the rapidly growing ecological deficit - soil erosion, shrinking forests, grasslands turning to desert, depletion of the atmosphere's protective ozone layer, and the poisoning and drying up of water tables.

Our habits of consumption, on a worldwide scale, are destroying the planet's resources at a rate unparalleled in history. In effect, we are destroying the planet for our own grandchildren, simply by our heedlessness of the links between how we live and the effects on the planet.

The virgin rain forests of the Amazon, for example, are being destroyed at an incredible rate, to make room for cattle to graze. Those cattle are raised, in the main, to feed the world's hunger for beef.

How many hamburgers does the destruction of an acre of virgin Amazon jungle yield? We do not know: the answer could be determined, but that bit of homework has not been done. And that is the point: we live our lives oblivious to the consequences for the planet, for our own descendants, of just how we live. We do not know the connections between the decisions we make daily - for instance to buy this item rather than that - and the toll those decisions have on the planet.

It is feasible to weigh, more or less accurately, the specific ecological damage involved in a given act of manufacturing. And having done so, to generate a standard unit that would summarize how much ecological damage has gone into the making of a car, say, or a box of aluminium foil.

Knowing that, we would be able to take more responsibility for the impact on the planet of how we choose to live on it. But there is no such information available, and even the most ecologically concerned among us do not really know the net effect on the planet of how we live. And, for most of us, being oblivious to that relationship allows us to slip into the grand deception, that the small and large decisions in our material lives are of no great consequence.

The question, then, is what can we do to break out of these self-deceptions, and the others that have us in their web. The answer this book proposes is to understand, first, how it is that we are caught at all. For self-deception, by its very nature, is the most elusive of mental facts. We do not see what it is that we do not see.

Self-deception operates both at the level of the individual mind, and in the collective awareness of the group. To belong to a group of any sort, the tacit price of membership is to agree not to notice one's own feelings of uneasiness and misgiving, and certainly not to question anything that challenges the group's way of doing things. The price for the group in this arrangement is that dissent, even healthy dissent, is stifled.

Take the case of the shuttle explosion. The night before the launch two engineers strongly objected, saying that the seals on the propulsion rocket were not designed to bear up in cold weather. Their objections were never passed along to those at higher levels, many of whom already knew of the danger, but had chosen to discount its import. There had been several delays already, and people were questioning whether NASA could ever make the shuttle work well enough to pay its own way.

In the inquiry after the disaster, when the same two engineers testified about what had happened, they were demoted. And yet what they had done was in the highest interests of the entire mission. Had they been heard, the tragedy would not have occurred. Only after public outcry were the engineers reinstated.

Therein lies the lesson for those who want to break through the cocoons of silence that keep vital truths from the collective awareness. It is the courage to seek the truth and to speak it that can save us from the narcotic of self-deception. And each of us has some access to some bit of truth that needs to be spoken.

It is a paradox of our time that those with power are too comfortable to notice the pain of those who suffer, and those who suffer have no power.

To break out of this trap requires, as Elie Wiesel has put it, the courage to speak truth to power."

In her book Electromagnetic Fields, (1995), B. Blake Levitt also talks about the psychology of denial:

The Dynamics of Denial

When we think of denial what comes to mind is someone knowing the "truth" but pretending otherwise. But in fact, the process of denial is a complex psychological dynamic in which a person is actually not experiencing his or her experience.

Denial has a useful healthy purpose for the human ego structure. When a loved one dies for instance it is a way o keep overwhelming fear and grief at bay until one can come to terms with the loss. A less healthy example of denial is the alcoholic who rationalizes continued drinking in various delusional ways.

Those who study the process of lying have observed that whole communities, organizations, and various official bodies can manifest group denial, which seems to occur most often when the subject under discussion is complex or has important implications for the status quo. Organizational denial is closely linked to another unproductive process that leads to group paralysis. Called 'groupthink,' this psychological dynamic can develop within a decision-making organization in which loyalty to the group or the need to reach a consensus becomes more important than solving the problem at hand. It can be a subtle phenomenon, which participating individuals often fail to recognize, but its byproduct is the suppression, elimination, dismissal, or reinterpretation of dissenting information. Groupthink requires several forms of lying to maintain the status quo, including the ignoring or omission of facts, selective memory, and denial. The subject of electromagnetic fields has collided with organizational denial and groupthink more often than not, and continues to do so.

When talking about the dangers of electropollution, very often the reaction of many people is that of denial, skepticism, and self-deception. Some people work for the military where the use of this technology is not to be questioned and a whole paradigmatic mindset has been created to counter such questions, others work for the cell phone industry where the money to be made is astronomical, others own profitable stock in these companies, whereas others are just addicted to the convenience of owning one of these mini weapons of mass destruction. Most people have been conditioned to "play" what Peter Elbow (1973) has called the "doubting game":

Describing yet another continuum, Elbow noted that most scholarly traditions are too myopically involved in what he called the "doubting game" of truth seeking. "The doubting game seeks truth ... by seeking error ... You must assume [an assertion] is untrue.... You make special effort to extricate yourself from the assertions in question.... You must hold off to one side the self, its wishes, preconceptions, experiences, and commitments" (1973:148). Elbow felt that the doubting game has gained a monopoly on legitimacy in Western culture: "...To almost anyone in the academic or intellectual world, it seems as though when he plays the doubting game he is being rigorous, disciplined, rational, and tough-minded. And if for any reason he refrains from playing the doubting game, he feels he is being unintellectual, irrational, and sloppy" (p. 151)

Elbow proposes that we counter the mentality of the doubting game with that of the "Believing Game":

Elbow contended that we need to turn such conceptions upside-down, to look at the other end of the continuum and recognize the importance of what he called the "believing game." In the believing game you refrain from doubting the assertions.... You try to find truths, not errors; you make acts of self-insertion and self-involvement, not self-extrication.

In Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, H.D. Brown (1993).

So in presenting our the argument, it is important to make people aware of and ask them to participate in the Believing Game.


Denial, Self-deception, the Doubting Game
//homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Swann/docu/brooks-swann.pdf


Art Kab

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"



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