Friday, 20 October 2000
1. UPDATE ON BOB: HE'S BACK, ORNERY AS EVER!
resumed responsibility for What's New. However, I will
still rely heavily on APS staff, since my right side
requires extensive rehabilitation. I am particularly
grateful to Mike Lubell for filling in and I am also
grateful to the hundreds who have taken the trouble to send
me their best wishes, though it's unlikely that they will
receive a personal response. The most, uhhmmmm,
interesting suggestion came from Tom Valone, who was fired
from the Patent Office in the wake of last year's
Conference on Free Energy. He expressed hope that I would
use the quiet time of recovery to reflect on my malicious
conduct. In this "non-local universe," Valone explains,
the tree was simply a messenger. I tried, but my attempt
to access universal knowledge conjured up pictures of
bamboozled investors. What am I doing wrong?
2. THE WEST WING: YOU SAY PSYCHIC, I SAY PHYSICIST.
week's episode of the popular TV drama opened with the
sacred words "It's called the theory of everything." It's
delivered by a guy who is bedridden, recovering from an
accident, and barking orders to his office staff. (Gee,
that sounds familiar.) He tells the White House
spokeswoman to lead with the announcement that physicists
have answered the big question. She strides into the press
room, stares confidently at the bloodthirsty Washington
press corps and says "Psychics at Cal Tech and Fermi
3. CELL PHONE HAZARD: WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?
like the fear-lobby was finally caged. The public scare
over EMFs was dissipating as a result of definitive studies
that showed no link between power lines and cancer
(WN 4 Jul 97).
But, the calm was only temporary. The fear-lobby
is now aggressively scaring the public over the dangers of
cell phones. In response, a panel of experts in Britain
was recently convened to examine the issue. The panel
recognized that there is no compelling evidence that cell
phones cause cancer. And, in fact, the low-levels of
radiation don't even provide any physical mechanism to
induce cancer. Nevertheless, the panel recommended a
"precautionary approach" regarding microwaves. It's deja
mu. Before Paul Brodeur wrote Currents of Death and
started the "prudent avoidance" power line hysteria
(WN 25 Aug 89),
he wrote The Zapping of America, which warned of
the dangers of microwaves. Since World War II, background
radiation levels had risen to 100 million times the
"natural" background, he howled. Yawn. In terms of health
risks, that's still a totally insignificant level. An
industry is now popping up to protect consumers from their
own cell phones. Products include headsets and
speaker-phone attachments "to keep the radiation away".
Fine, but what about all that pesky second-hand radiation?
Maybe someone should encase the phones in a cubicle and put
them on street corners.