Keeping The Sanity

I’m not sure if this will help or not but if you need it then there’s plenty of internet radio to help you out. This is one of my favourites:

EM Warnings

You know how it is. You are having a short break on a motorway drive and pop into the service station for a drink and a comfort break. It is the adverts directly above the urinals which seem to show the worst of mankind. I’ve written about this before in a communication about shaming farts. This time I was at Southwaite Services just south of Carlisle. I saw this advert above the urinals:

5G Bullshit
5G Bullshit

You are very welcome to go and read the stuff from the following links if you wish:

I have some things to say about all this. Let’s start off with some science about electro-magnetic radiation. This is a form of energy that extends from long wave radio waves to gamma radiation. It is a very large spectrum and our visible light takes up part of it.

Long wavelengths can travel a long distance and through lots of stuff. We use them for communicating with submarines and ships a long way away. Radio waves we are familiar with and they carry information like TV or audio signals. Infrared we feel as heat radiated from objects. Visible light humans can see, some animals can see higher frequencies but not us. All of the wavelengths/frequencies mentioned so far are called NON-IONISING RADIATION. Each photon doesn’t have enough energy to knock an electron out of its orbit in an atom and so up to violet light can’t caused any molecular changes, they, by definition, can’t cause cancer. They might warm you up a little but that is all.

All the stuff in the ultra-violet and beyond is the nasty stuff. It can cause cancer because each photon contains enough energy to knock electrons out of their orbit and therefore could cause molecular changes. This could cause a DNA change in your cells and, if it happens right/wrong, then could cause cancer. Here’s the easy bit:

UV Rays cause cancer. UV is BAD for you.

When you get an X-Ray at the dentist or hospital the radiographer or dentist will leave the room when the photograph is taken. Why do they do that? Because being exposed to X-Rays is bad for you. Each X-Ray you have increases your chances of cancer by a little. But, the information gathered from the X-Ray can do far more good than the increase in risk of cancer and so we elect to have them done. It’s similar to going somewhere by car – you know you will get there in a short time and in comfort but we balance that with the risk of being involved in an accident, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Right. Point number One. Radio and Micro waves can’t cause cancer. The worst they might do is cause a very slight heating which is less than what you get by exercising and is easily carried away by your blood.

Next, the slightly tougher issue. EM sensitivity. This is the situation where people are convinced that their health is detrimentally affected by EM radiation enough for them to notice. I have to be quite specific in the language I use here because the illness that people feel from this is real. The cause of it is not. I do not want to be dismissive of their illness, they feel what they feel and they blame it on all the EM in their surroundings. People with EM Sensitivity do feel what they report and so the illness is real. It’s just not caused by electro-magnetic radiation.

There have been studies completed where patients who claim EMS have been put in a shrouded room and then told when a wi-fi transmitter is turned on and off. They then report their symptoms in line with when they know the transmitter is on. Here’s the thing: they report symptoms even when the wi-fi transmitter is NOT turned on but they are told it is. Their symptoms are psychosomatic. This is not to belittle their illness but to point out that the cause is not what they think it is. Read this over at Science Based Medicine.

The people who claim that 5G will ruin lives are wrong. They are scaremongering and therefore adding to a problem that doesn’t exist. They are pushing ideas out to people who are sensitive to suggestion and causing more problems than they can fix.

I am still quite convinced that the amount of EM radiation humans absorb is mostly from natural sources, the sun and radio waves from stellar sources. Being in the home means that you will absorb a certain amount but go outside and this home-based absorption is insignificant. See this page from the World Health Organisation.

If mobile phones and wi-fi caused lots of issues with human health then where is the epidemic? Mobiles phones and wi-fi is everywhere and I don’t see the epidemic anywhere. For around thirty years these technologies have existed and we aren’t getting ill.

5G will be safe.


Over the last two years the news has become increasingly depressing. I think that is because everything I hear goes against my views of what our society should be. All the politics since the EU referendum and election of May and Trump has been frustrating. I have often switched off from one of my twitter accounts because I find it depresses me, makes me worried for the future and makes me feel helpless.

I have tried to cut down the amount of news I consider. Recently I have found that listening to BBC Radio 4 a lot hasn’t helped my mood. The presenters don’t seem to approach the discussions in the way I think they should and they seem to miss all the important issues facing this country at the moment.

I went through a phase of listening to music in the mornings and evenings while in the kitchen and I am now at the point where I miss the voices. I like the music but I miss the discussion of talk radio.

So, I spent a little time last night trying to get a radio station from New Orleans play over my Sonos system. I am pretty sure that this station, WWL, broadcasts only to the USA and the website I get directed to doesn’t work properly in my browser. I don’t do any VPN type thing yet, although that might happen at some point.

So, I spent a little while trying to find the URL I could use to add WWL to my Sonos system. Sonos uses TuneIn Radio to connect to streaming services and WWL doesn’t broadcast over that network. However, you can add stations manually if you can get a streaming URL.

It took a little clever Googling around to find a source that would work but eventually I did it. I have now added WWL to my sound system. I am looking forward to, once again, learning about the weather in Louisiana and how the traffic is near the big lake.

A previous communication in 2016 covered this media switch also.

Why New Orleans? Because I follow their American football team, that’s why.

Local Radio

I have taken, again, to listening to local radio. Not local for Kent but local to New Orleans. Yep, that New Orleans. I have a bit of a thing for the New Orleans Saints NFL team and am looking forward to seeing them play next year versus my number two team the Dolphins.

About two years ago I spent time listening to WWL radio station because they broadcast commentary of the Saints’ games. I don’t think they broadcast the games any more but I do find it interesting listening to the other programmes.

I get information about local weather, the quality of the waterways and where the best fishing is. One day I ought to visit the place to get a proper appreciation of what I listen to.

WWL doesn’t broadcast to the UK via TuneIn, but you can find it and get Sonos systems to play it.

Descent into Metal

Having already covered my descent into skepticism in a previous communication I thought I should cover what I regard as my journey to the correct side of music. I was about 15 when I found my way. It was a gradual dawning, that slow awakening, the discovery of sounds and noises that made me feel. A friend suggests that emotional response to music is a basic measure of personality and psychological construction. I would agree. I don’t think that the shiver down the spine can be manipulated. It is a basic fact of your identity. Anyway, here’s my own story of metal with some embarrassment along the way.

Before 1982 my main exposure to music was listening to ABBA cassette tapes that my mum owned and Oxygene by Jean Michel Jarre that my dad had. Not a good start it must be said. For some reason the punk explosion of the 70s was completely missed on me, being only six years old at the time. I can remember a couple of Dr Hook songs and that’s about it. Remember that at this time in (un)civilisation there were exactly three tv channels and about four legal radio stations.

At some point the music in the charts began to make its way into my consciousness. Previously I have indicated my first single and album purchases. I don’t count these as having any particular musical taste because I was buying what was popular. I did listen to those songs a lot though. My first real taste of excitement came with a particular guitar solo in a particular song.

Together in electric dreams

This single by Georgio Moroder and Philip Oakley was the main track from a film soundtrack but the guitar solo was something else. It really made me think about guitars and the sounds they make. This was late 1984.

My next music references occur during 1986. I had joined the Air Cadets (a communication about this will definitely follow) and was now mixing with older teenagers and listening to their music and conversations. The following is a list of music events during 1986 and may not be in correct chronological order but given that it was 26 years ago that’s not a great surprise.

  • Europe released “The Final Countdown” and I really liked it.
  • Bon Jovi released some songs from the “Slippery When Wet” album and I really likes those.
  • Status Quo released “In The Army Now” which I liked.
  • Top Gun came out and the soundtrack was ace, especially the tile track and its gentle  guitar riff.

In 1987 Def Leppard released “Hysteria” and I think my path was realised. I distinctly remember being at RAF Brize Norton for ATC annual camp and we listened to “Hysteria” and “Slippery When Wet” all the time. I was 15. During the summer Guns ‘n’ Roses released “Appetite for Destruction” and I saved my pennies and bought the album. I managed to get a copy of the record with the dodgy robot-rape cover that got changed (I didn’t think much of it at the time). I can remember being in the car driving home from Bishop’s Stortford and reading the lyrics from the inner sleave and being amazed that they had printed the swear words. Towards the end of the year I had discovered Iron Maiden and their album “The Number of the Beast”. At some point in that year “Animal” by WASP was discovered along with the song “DB Blues” and the bad language and music was really starting to work. Now I’m not quite at heavy-rock-bottom yet but I have pretty much followed my path of destiny.

1988 was the start of my concert going and the release of “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” by Iron Maiden. My mum bought the album for me and it made me very happy. I was meant to attend the Def Leppard concert at the Royal Albert Hall over the Easter break but was called upon to attend the ATC Cyprus Camp for about 12 days so elected to head overseas. This meant that my first concert was Iron Maiden on the 10 December 1988.

At some point over the next year or so I got into Metallica and AC/DC. In the mean time there was a documentary on BBC2 called Heavy Metal. I watched it and there was a clip of a band called Megadeth playing “Peace Sells” at a concert. I didn’t really think much of it but for weeks I had the opening riff bouncing around in my head and I decided to buy the album. Initially I was slightly disappointed but over time the whole album sunk in and stayed. It’s brilliant along with the next one called “So Far, So Good, So What”. It’s all lovely stuff.

Fast forward to 2012 and I am just about finished buying up CD versions of all my albums and putting them onto my iPhone. There’s a couple of albums I still need to get and I’m always on the search for new stuff that affects me but I’m starting to reach the point where a lot of music is old hat and just a particular fashion coming around again to be unleashed on the next generation.

The Radar Fallacy

So, I mentioned The Octonauts in a previous post and I still think it is brilliant however there is another scientific flaw I have noticed. The Octopod’s Radar system seems to have the tv / film fallacy (it’s not a real fallacy, I made it up).
When a radar turns it discovers the position, as a distance and direction, from the radar. There are many types but they all work roughly the same. For a radar system to update the position of an object it must turn through the space where that object is. The radar sweep line on the Octonauts display turns at about 30 rpm meaning that the position of the decorator crab would jump every 2 seconds as it gets scanned. However, the position of the crab as marked by the blip on the screen moves smoothly even while the radar sweep is well away from the crab. This could, of course, be because of an auxiliary system that is not mentioned in the show.
I am sure there are films and tv shows where the radar has a finite refresh time but the movement of planes are smooth. Time to start looking at radar shots more closely!

Material World 23/06/11

Quentin Cooper discussed health reporting in UK newspapers with Dr William Lee, King’s College London and Roger Highfield, Editor of New Scientist. Material World.
Roger Highfield made the argument that newspapers are for entertainment and that the fact that around 70% of the claims made in their health articles were not backed up with evidence was justifiable. His reasoning was that journalists often have short deadlines and that the readership was able to tell the difference between what was true and what was not. He is quite wrong.
Newspapers are expected to tell the truth and to have evidence to back up what they report. The fact that people fail to trust newspaper science reporting is mostly due to newspapers reporting either poor research or researching poorly. The general public have lost faith in the trust of reporters to report what they know.
If the tabloids are generally read by the not so educated then those newspapers have a lot of responsibility for their readers’ health. People aren’t clever enough to judge the science and evidence for claims made in papers. Half of the population has below average intelligence and probably doesn’t understand the sceptical process of critical thinking about scientific claims. I await the time that a tabloid is sued for causing the death of someone who took their broccoli health plan seriously. The readers of the Daily Mail deserve whatever they get given the excrement they read.
The responsibility for the understanding of health articles relies with those writing the articles, not those who read them.