News Briefs 20-08-2010

"Why should things be easy to understand?"

Thanks Greg!

Quote of the Day:

“The general public has long been divided into two parts; those who think that science can do anything and those who are afraid it will."

T. Pynchon


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Greg H.'s picture
Member since:
12 June 2009
Last activity:
3 weeks 2 days

Regarding parents concerns over wifi safety in schools: It is soooo easy to automatically denigrate the parents of these children for their concerns. The burden should be on the schools to provide a safe and time tested environment for the children temporarily in their care. To assume wifi is automatically safe because supposed experts say so is naive. So called experts have told us many things subsequently known to have been wrong such as: hydrogenated oils are healthy, women should do estrogen replacement, we all should eat more carbs, etc... All these and more have caused irreparable damage to many people's health - just look at the number of recalls and class action lawsuits over pharmaceutical drugs as another example. The point is - new discoveries are embraced well before long term analysis and studies have been completed, basically using the human population as guinea pigs in a massive experiment. Genetically modified foods are another example of untested technology currently being tested on a global scale with no knowledge of the long term effects. WiFi should continue to be available for adults to use at their discretion. Parents should be able to selectively decide what is available in their home their children are exposed to. However public entities taking temporary custody of children during school hours should be held to a higher standard and not expose those children to unproven technology until long term studies are complete with a consensus in its safety - and at this time there is no consensus as many legitimate researches are finding concerns in the safety of the technology - especially as it pertains to young children and their developing brains.

Greg H.

Salamandra's picture
Member since:
17 February 2010
Last activity:
2 years 48 weeks

It certainly seems like people have either forgotten, or are willfully ignoring the old adage: Look before you leap. Or perhaps, to some people, the general population is expendable in the name of scientific progress, and we -are- the long-term study. I don't like the idea of being a guinea pig when there are so many unknowns. We are still learning the basics of how DNA functions and yet genetically modified foods are regularly consumed, even running rampant in the wild now, apparently. And it seems only logical that any device emitting EM radiation would interfere with the body's own EM field. Considering that cities are practically blanketed in wi-fi networks, I wonder how much damage will be done before we discover precisely how they interfere with us.

The only problem with this hypothetical "study" is the question of how to determine which of the many competing candidates is causing our rapid disintegration as a species; there seems to be no shortage of effects.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
2 days 6 hours

We are still learning the basics of how DNA functions and yet genetically modified foods are regularly consumed, even running rampant in the wild now, apparently.

Well, using that logic, we are still learning the basics on how EVERYTHING functions! Hasn't stopped us from trying things.

Imagine for example, the first time our ancestors decided to try the milk of another animal. Do you reckon someone in the tribe shouted "UNG! (Wait!) We don't know the possible side effects this stuff could have in our children's children?" ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie

Salamandra's picture
Member since:
17 February 2010
Last activity:
2 years 48 weeks

I do see where you are going with that, but I think there is a fundamental difference between sucking milk out of an animal's tit and tampering with the basic building blocks of life. One could intuit the possible effects of cow's milk based on the emotional and physical elements of mother's milk. You don't have to "know" how your body works to learn how to use it.

DNA is the operating system, if you will. I remember how easy Windows XP was to customize, but if you didn't know exactly what you were doing (and I often didn't, it's more fun that way) you could wreak all sorts of havoc. Until we began decoding the human genome and altering DNA we were operating within that system's parameters. At this point we are knee deep in the system registry adding and modifying entries. Just because we know the English language and numeral system doesn't mean we can intuit the function of each entry.

Not to nitpick this one example of innovation, I'm not arguing against exploration of the unknown, just a modicum of caution and common sense, which I am hesitant to simply take on faith where the basic building blocks of life as we know it are concerned. Here's a good example I came across recently, regarding the recall of GM modified StarLink corn:

Two salient quotes:

"The Cry9C protein is effective against caterpillars because it binds to different sites of the insect gut and destroys the stomach cells. This protein has no effect on other living creatures. StarLink corn was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for animal feed but not for human food until additional testing was completed."

"The protein was slow to digest, suggesting a possible concern, however the protein’s amino acid sequence was not similar to known allergens therefore the likelihood of allergencity is low."

So when I start rotting from the inside out, I'll be consoled by the fact that my allergies aren't likely to flare up. I'm being dramatic, but the point stands.

It wasn't even approved for human consumption, but (surprise, surprise) it wound up on the grocery store shelves. I won't even go into the whole "profit vs. human health" issue, suffice to say I don't place trust and good faith lightly where human health and life are concerned.

earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
Last activity:
3 days 17 hours

While some parents are busy being scared by wifi and other things because they involve "radiation", and they consider "radiation" to be a bad thing without knowing what it is, let us also consider other negative effects on the health of the children.

Ever-present music players. Children listen to music on their earphones a lot. This can have negative effects on their health:

- Bad hearing. This affects learning and all kinds of mental development.

- They get run over by slow moving freight trains. This really happens, kids walk on railroad tracks and don't notice that there is a slow freight train coming. People for miles around notice the train, but not the kids listening to music. This is not a joke, this actually happens.

- Heavy books. I know this is a time-tested method, but it can hurt a child's body, affecting stature and result in spinal problems. Bad stature can result in problems for heart and lungs.

- Bad lighting. Especially when reading from computer screens, bad lighting can result in glare, which over the longer term results in eye strain. Headaches, vision problems, nausea and the like. The vision problems can persist.

- Noise. Loud music, loud traffic, constant hums from TVs and computers. This gives people hearing problems. Tinnitus can lead to significant distraction.

- Bad teachers. Teachers who don't know the subject they are teaching, and/or teachers who can't teach. This can lead to serious learning deficits. Probably the teachers who don't know their subject area are worse, because they spread bad information. Some kids will learn from teachers who can't really teach, if the kids are actually interested in the first place.

- Disinterested parents. Parents who don't care about their childrens' learning, or who think that learning is useless, or even bad.

Parents should be aware of potential health problems and learning problems of their children, and find out what is wrong. As opposed to looking for an easy excuse in some new stuff being installed in school buildings.

Parenting is your responsibility. You have to work on it.

We are the cat.

Salamandra's picture
Member since:
17 February 2010
Last activity:
2 years 48 weeks

I suppose the known evils should take priority. Believe me, I know how irritating tinnitus can be. I have little to no hearing loss and still have problems with tinnitus. The problem is that the only permanent solution to some of these problems would be to completely dismantle our way of life. Not that that would be an entirely negative process, but it poses obvious difficulties... Now, bad teachers, and most of all, disinterested parents, those are way more frightening than radioactive machines and killer tomatoes. It certainly puts the issue into perspective.