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TV Science

Oh dear

I actually watched the BBC's panorama program on WiFi "Science" they called it.

I already knew it was going to be on. Should have know better than to actually watch it. I had several e-mails in the run up to it, I used words like "watts", "electron" and "quantum" in the replies - all essential to the subject I would have thought. If this was a science program how come there was no actual science in it? I really did like the guy wandering around Norwich with a meter (what sort of meter was not mentioned a "bullshit-ometer"?) At one point it suddenly shot up and then dropped back again. Given he was waving it around and it was an analogue meter he could have been just flicking the needle, but most likely the muppet had a mobile in his pocket. Every now and again a mobile transmits to stay in contact with the base station. I'm prepared to bet a large some of money the sudden spike on his Tricorder was his own phone.

For those of you who don't understand radiation (Electro Magnetic). Its not just a matter of quantity. Playing loud music at high frequency and low -who cares doesn't matter. Not so with EM. Normal people, "scientists" or people who actually paid attention to GSCE physics will tell you that the higher frequency the more dangerous the radiation. The damage the BBC bangs on about in its placating store  when using a laptop on the beach doesn't come from "sunlight" just the Ultraviolet bit of it. The dangerous higher frequencies. Broadly speaking its frequencies higher than visible its bad for you. UV bad, X-ray worse Gamma scary etc. Fortunately 2.4Ghz WiFi is miles down the EM spectrum from the hazardous radiation. Seems a shame they forgot the science - I mean solid calculable physics. Not half psychological tech scapegoat and no control experiments blaming one environmental factor without looking for alternative problems. Possible headaches from wearing chain mail helmet and breathing some lead based anti WiFi paint maybe. I note how £69.99 of electronic gizmo can cure this. Its scientifically known as a "placebo", or like the Pipes in star trek marked GNDN it"goes nowhere does nothing". The one bit of controlled experiment science with the Faraday cage room with the electro sensitive types in it, mysteriously had most of its results being analyzed. Given the test was could the subject tell whether the radio was on or off I can't see how the analysis could have taken long. The one bit they did have was 2/3rds of the time. In science its customary to quote findings in to the right number of significant figures. Assuming they followed this basic principal (bet they didn't) then they tried 3 time and she got it right twice. Pure Luck? I'm sure actually there were more reading properly averaged and then dumb ed down, probably so the presenters could understand it. I translate 2/3rds as "above half but not high enough for us to round it to 3/4". In reality I bet its lower than exactly 2/3rd or in realistic language just over half the time well with normal distribution.

Panorama is going to have to do allot more than this to prove to anyone that there not a dumb as a big brother contestant (Jon Tickle excepted). Wave a tricorder, come up with impressive measure. I mean at least in star trek had techobable. A Physics A level student could do, in his head, the calc about a phone mast and a laptop assuming inverse square law applies (you see I mention my assumptions before I shoot off) . Then a 30 watt mobile transmitter at a long range will be weaker than a 0.1 watt transmitter right by the wifi-fo-fumeter/tricorder/tripeometer they were waving with grave abandon.

If the presenters of Panorama seriously believed in this then why aren't they wearing tinfoil helmets and electronic horse manure pendants? I'm sure the presenters are at home googling away on their wifi laptops, with there mobiles alternately clamped to their heads or in their trouser pockets, gently resting against their balls. It almost a pity the microwaves are harmless. It I'd stop 'em breeding.

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Wed 23rd May 2007 | http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6676129.stm

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