Friday, October 4, 2002
1. CELL-PHONE LAWSUIT: THE LAWS OF PHYSICS ARE UPHELD.
judge dismissed an $800M lawsuit filed by a Maryland neurologist
who claimed his brain cancer was caused by cell phone use. There
is, of course, no claim so preposterous that an expert cannot be
found to vouch for it. This case rested on research by Swedish
oncologist Lennart Hardell, who published a study in this month's
European Journal of Cancer Prevention that found long-term users
of analog cell phones were at least 30 percent more likely than
nonusers to develop brain tumors. His claim was widely reported
by the media. However, a review of epidemiological research on
cell phone use, commissioned by the Swedish Radiation Protection
Authority, described Hardell's study as "non-informative" and
concluded that "there is no scientific evidence for a causal
association between the use of cellular phones and cancer."
2. EMF AND CANCER: GETTING THE WRONG ANSWER THE HARD WAY.
the beginning, it was clear that the Hardell study got the wrong
answer. All known cancer-inducing agents, including radiation,
certain chemicals and a few viruses, act by breaking chemical
bonds to produce mutant strands of DNA. Photons with wavelengths
longer than the near ultraviolet do not have enough energy to
break a chemical bond in DNA. Case closed. If epidemiology
comes up with a different answer, the study is simply wrong.
3. FREE ELECTRICITY: JUDGE RULES AGAINST DENNIS LEE.
As part of his 50-state tour (WN 7 Sep
01), the notorious con man made his pitch in Spokane, WA on August
28, 2001. It was one state too many. The Washington Attorney General charged
Lee with violating the state's consumer protection laws by making claims
that are deceptive and misleading. In particular, Lee claims to have the
world's most efficient motor, the "Hummingbird Motor," that produces five
times as much energy as it takes to run it. Combined with the "Sundance
Generator" that is 100% efficient, this could power your home, with plenty
of electricity left over to sell. Armed with an affidavit by a physicist
familiar with Lee's free energy scams, the State sought a summary judgement.
Lee made no attempt to counter the scientific arguments, objecting to
the State's motion only on procedural grounds. Last Friday, the judge
granted the summary judgement against Lee, denying Lee a chance to bamboozle
scientifically innocent jurors.
4. MISSILE DEFENSE: IT BECOMES AN ISSUE IN THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS.
Democratic Senator Tim Johnson is urging voters to elect him to
help hold the Democratic majority in the Senate, thus keeping the
states's senior senator, Tom Daschle, as majority leader. But
Johnson's opponent, John Thune has unexpectedly made missile
defense a major issue in his campaign, running ads that accuse
Johnson of voting against Bush's missile defense plan 29 times.