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Cell Phone Group Sues San Francisco Over Radiation Law 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-a-toomah dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "The wireless industry wants to put San Francisco's cell phone radiation law on hold. An industry trade group filed a lawsuit Friday trying to stop the law, which requires cell phone stores to display how much radio energy each phone emits. The group says the law, which is the first of its kind in the country, supersedes the authority of the Federal Communications Commission, and will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another."
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Cell Phone Group Sues San Francisco Over Radiation Law

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  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:27AM (#33013248)

    At some point you stop and realize that some of these people are out after a power trip and have no interest the public welfare. I consider myself pretty pro-consumer, usually support class actions and that kind of thing, but I look at this and have to ask 'what science is behind this?'

    Seriously, I want these cell phone fearing Luddites to fail in a public way, to be exposed to the world for the scam artists that they are. Why? Because Luddites like these make normal pro-consumer people look like nut-cases by association. Just like Greenpeace has done more environmental harm than any company in history with their self righteous and reckless actions.

    Makes me wish the judge could pass the following sentence in court "Luddites be gone, back to your cave and never to see civilization again"

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:32AM (#33013280) Homepage Journal

      Just like Greenpeace has done more environmental harm than any company in history with their self righteous and reckless actions.

      Citation needed. If you can make me believe that they've done more damage than Monsanto, Union Carbide, or BP, then you can probably make me believe anything. I'm willing to believe they're a bunch of idiots for the most part, but that doesn't make them more damaging. Mostly they want people to not do stuff.

      • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:44AM (#33013366)

        I don't have time to find a citation at the moment, but I'll lay out the math for you. Take the pre-nuclear scare rate of building nuclear power plants. That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

        Now realize that instead of everyone singing kumbyah and living in caves they decided to be part of civilization instead. Now realize that their power came from coal burning power plants instead of the nuclear power plants that would have built in their place.

        Realize that the average coal plant releases more radiation into the atmosphere every year than three mile island did in it's meltdown. Take the radiation, the sulfur and all the other pollutants that were put into our environment by coal power plants. Add those numbers up, add up the number of injuries, add up the wanton devastation caused by things like mountain top mining and the reclassification of streams to no longer be wetlands. The coal industry today would be dead and buried if it wasn't for Greenpeace.

        Run the numbers for the last several decades, let the math speak for itself. Do the same for places like Germany where Greenpeace has done even more damage to the environment. I then challenge you to find any company anywhere in history that comes anywhere near that.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:52AM (#33013418) Homepage Journal

          I don't have time to find a citation at the moment, but I'll lay out the math for you. Take the pre-nuclear scare rate of building nuclear power plants. That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

          False dichotomy. PV solar panels were known to repay the energy cost of their production in eight years or less in the 1970s, and vertical-axis wind turbines were used by ancient Romans to pump water uphill (with an Archimedes screw.) Meanwhile, the plants that they were railing against probably should NOT be built; they're all extremely antiquated designs which unnecessarily produce large amounts of waste. I am against building any plants that don't involve fuel reprocessing, myself. That doesn't mean I'm pro-coal. You're saying that since the evil fuckers who run the power monopolies will only consider building shitty nuke plants that it's Greenpeace's fault that we don't put any genuinely cleaner power production online and I just can't agree with you.

          Run the numbers for the last several decades, let the math speak for itself.

          Since your entire argument is based on a bogus premise, math isn't really the problem here.

          • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:01AM (#33013476)

            The only false dichotomy here is the one you just presented. Solar panels were not viable for any widespread usage back in the 70's. They are only now starting to become viable, and even then only with significant government subsidies. Look at the public subsidies for solar power in places like Germany and Spain and you'll see that their solar panels have come at a very expensive cost. I say this as someone who likely put solar panels on my own house in the next couple of years.

            Solar power in most environments only supplies spot power, much like wind power. They typically do very little when the sun is down (molten salt solutions that allow for night time use are just now coming into use). In case you haven't noticed society needs power outside of those times it is sunny or windy.

            Certainly nuclear power plants should reprocess fuel. Your point about plants is moot though as greenpeace has consistently managed to kill funding for new and improved designs across different nations for decades. Greenpeace has never invested a single dollar into renewable energies, (you know trying to solve these problems) instead choosing that they prefer 'direct action' and political influence. You still haven't run the math, I think your afraid of the answers you'll get.

            • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:03PM (#33013896)

              Solar panels were not viable for any widespread usage back in the 70's (sic). They are only now starting to become viable, and even then only with significant government subsidies

              Photovoltaic solar panels for power generation? Sure... Solar panels to heat/cool your home and your water? That science has been around for hundreds of years...

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dgatwood (11270)

              Greenpeace has never invested a single dollar into renewable energies, (you know trying to solve these problems) instead choosing that they prefer 'direct action' and political influence.

              That's because Greenpeace is all about attention whoring instead of actually improving anything. I watched a few years ago as they bashed Apple constantly for their environmental policies. For as long as I can remember, Apple has been several years ahead of pretty much everybody in the industry in terms of reduction of ha

        • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:06AM (#33013512) Homepage Journal
          Run the numbers for the last several decades of building, running and decommissioning the nuclear power plants too. As France found they are not 'free' or 'cheap'. As a state backed project they are a very neat national bragging right, but they are expensive.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's."

          Greenpeace? You're giving them way too much credit.

          Greenpeace didn't kill nuclear plants in the 1970s, Three Mile Island did and Chernobyl after that. Yes, I'm well aware that Three Mile Island didn't release much radioactive material (the containment structure worked) and Chernobyl was an inherently unsafe design (and had precious little c

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by molnarcs (675885)

          I don't have time to find a citation at the moment, but I'll lay out the math for you.

          [...]

          Now realize that instead [...] Now realize that their power [...]

          Realize that the average [...]

          Sir, your post is simply WILD SPECULATION, nothing else. Now realize that Greenpace has been traditionally quite strong in France for example (and still is). And look how they destroyed the nuclear industry in France...

          Now lets look at Germany, that started investing in green technologies decades ago. They were one of the few countries with a long term vision of becoming world leaders in these technologies as demand for them grows. Today, along with Japan, they are there, and already started to reap the be

          • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:34PM (#33015090)
            I shouldn't respond to a troll but a few seconds of Google found some sample numbers
            1. Coal plants emitted 44.7 tons of mercury [mcclatchydc.com] in 2008.
            2. Coal causes 30,000 deaths [ecomall.com] every year
            3. Coal shortens another 24,000 lives [msn.com] a year.
            4. Coal pollution has increased 16% [healthandenergy.com] since 1992.
            5. Coal emits 25% [coal-is-dirty.com] of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

            Google, it is your friend. Logic, you can learn it. Math, it has power, doesn't follow politics and can free your mind. Quit being a tool and open your damn mind already.

        • "if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's"

          I'm no friend of greenpeace but pre-Chernobal the movie China syndrome [wikipedia.org] did more to kill nukes than GP, TMI, or anything else. For most of the seventies GP were fighting atmospheric testing (a GoodThingTM). Somewhere in the 80's the luddites staged a coup, by the mid 90's the original (scientificly minded) members had resigned, totally disgusted by the anti-science claptrap spewing forth from the organisation they had helped to created.

          BTW: The
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by jmrives (1019046)
          I think you give Greenpeace far too much credit here. The Greenpeace organization was one of many voices that spoke out against nuclear power plants in the 70s. I would hardly credit them with killing the construction of the plants. If anything, they were one of the least effective voices of the time. A far more significant voice against nuclear proliferation back then was the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Other significant voices include the Clamshell Alliance [wikipedia.org] and the Abalone Alliance [wikipedia.org]. The list of
        • by winwar (114053)

          "Run the numbers for the last several decades, let the math speak for itself."

          Yes, why don't we. Ever hear of WPPS? AKA Whoops? (http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=5482). They started construction of five nuclear power plants in Washington State in 1971. They managed to complete one reactor in 1984. They defaulted on 2.25 billion in bonds in 1982. The court case was settled in 1995. From the link:

          "Several factors combined to ruin construction schedules and to driv

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) *
        Agreed they haven't done as much physical harm as the companies you mention but since the psuedo-scientific ludites took over in the 80's they have helped promote the green movement like Stalin and Mao helped promote socialisim.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DJRumpy (1345787)

      I agree wholeheartedly. These folks are exposed to electromagnetic radiation on all sides, every day of their lives. They get it from the power lines, their appliances, and every other powered device on the planet. Unless they live in a cave (cage), these folks are deluding themselves. Of course video's like these don't help the stupidity...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQr6SbYpTYM&feature=related [youtube.com]

      These guys were even too dumb to use a hotplate. Looks like they used a lighter instead ;)

    • by locallyunscene (1000523) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:41AM (#33013342)
      Science of the original law notwithstanding, the two arguments against are interesting. Having a state have more detailed regulations than the FCC is bad? Umm, that's how most laws/regulations should work.

      I think it's true that it may cause people to choose one phone over another, but it's just a simple fact about the phone. The "hypocritical luddites" can have a phone that has less "radio radiation" and anyone that knows better can still buy whatever phone they like. It's the same argument used against putting GMO labels on food. If it's something the consumer wants to know about, even if misguided, who are we to tell them "it's not important". Yes it can be used to spread FUD and yes it has adverse effects, but in general giving the consumer more information about a product is a good thing for the market.
      • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:48AM (#33013400)
        You raise an interesting point about making information available to the public to make their own choices. In general I have to concede that you have a good point. The only problem is where do you draw the line, how much science does there need to be to justify having it at all? I don't think I'll ever forget the warning label on a can of pure oxygen that stated the 'contents are known to be a possible cause of cancer in the state of California'.
        • by Hope Thelps (322083) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:11AM (#33013558)

          The only problem is where do you draw the line, how much science does there need to be to justify having it at all?

          None. If there's reason to believe that people would like to be able to discriminate between products containing or not containing ground up spiders then it's legitimate to require labels to let them make the choice, regardless of the health benefits or lack of health problems associated with ground up spiders. Same goes for any other aspect of a product. When there's enough interest to act is a political decision, not a scientific one.

          • by ildon (413912) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:58PM (#33014326)

            Think about your statement. If you have to list not only all the real, but additionally all the imagined hazards, or not just the contents, but the imagined non-contents, of a product, the packaging/labeling will have to be more mass than the product itself. At what point is this an unfair onus on the producer? Equal protection under the law implies that producers should have rights, too.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Hope Thelps (322083)

              Think about your statement.

              Thanks for the suggestion but I actually thought about it before (and while) making it. (And yet I didn't reach the same conclusion as you - how could such a thing happen unless I wasn't thinking???)

              If you have to list not only all the real, but additionally all the imagined hazards, or not just the contents, but the imagined non-contents, of a product, the packaging/labeling will have to be more mass than the product itself.

              You don't have to list all the real or imagined hazards or contents and imagined non-contents. You have to list the particular qualities that the regulators / legislators have identified as having to be identified. As far as I can tell that's not a particularly extensive list. The real issue is what you have aga

              • by ildon (413912)

                This SAR value is a completely imagined hazard. Listing it only serves to confuse consumers who do not have a technical understanding of what the value means. It sets a poor precedence that it's OK to force companies to list imagined hazards on their products in addition to real hazards. The list of imagined hazards is infinite. I really don't need my new phone to have a label on it stating that 99.9999% of phones do not contain a deadly cobra.

                • by Rockoon (1252108)
                  But think about that one lucky fucker that got a cell phone with a deadly cobra in it!! Don't you want to be that lucky son of a bitch? You can increase your odds by buying TWO phones!!
          • by khallow (566160)

            None. If there's reason to believe that people would like to be able to discriminate between products containing or not containing ground up spiders then it's legitimate to require labels to let them make the choice

            Nonsense. If a potential customer wants to know if there are ground up spiders in a product, they can: a) write the manufacturer and ask, or b) run their own tests. If they aren't willing to do that, then they don't care enough. Requirements on labeling should only be for compelling safety needs, like warnings that special training is required to use the product in question.

        • I think you point out where the science comes in, at least as a minimum. Saying that pure oxygen is a possible cause of cancer is an interpretation, and a questionable one at that, of science. Saying that cellphone Y emits a specific amount of radio energy is a scientific fact. If this label states something about the affects of the radio energy, then it quite likely will go over the line (since no studies currently have shown any solid evidence of negative affects of cellphone radio energy).
        • If it's just facts about a product, why NOT give the information and let the consumer decide? If the facts can be used against one product over another, well that's what a company's PR and marketing department is for, no?
        • by CrkHead (27176)
          That's exactly how a republic works. If we were to allow federal law to override state and local laws like this we may as well toss out the constitution, form a parliament, and join the commonwealth.

          There's not enough evidence of harm to warrant a ban, but some people will have concern.

          To touch on the related GMO food issue. I avoid where possible get buy GMO food because I think it leads to a healthier food ecosystem, not because I'm afraid that I'll turn into a mutant.
      • This is not a regulation that puts a limit or changes the market in any way, it just requires disclosure of the energy levels of telephones, and there isn't any reason a society cannot require disclosure.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Yes it can be used to spread FUD and yes it has adverse effects, but in general giving the consumer more information about a product is a good thing for the market.

        So, you're suggesting we should have labels specifying the number of ponies killed in the manufacture of anything, eh? After all, more information is a good thing for the market.

        Face it, the RF emissions of a cell phone aren't "more information", but rather just more FUD to herd the idiots...

      • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:01AM (#33013474)

        This isn't more detailed, it's just more strict, but unlike the recent pollution spat in California, there is no proof that radiation from a cell phone is harmful (as opposed to auto emissions). There is a reason that the FCC has jurisdiction here. It would make things nearly impossible for a company to sell a product at a national level if every state had different standards. Imagine if USB devices had different standards for 50 states. It would be an absolute nightmare, and not only for the vendor.

        If the radiation level is far below the 'dangerous' level, then how is it even relevant unless they are measuring every bit of EM they are receiving from every electronic device they are exposed to? If the science behind a municipal decision isn't sound, but it gives the impression that it is, it can create FUD just by it's existence. In some cases, it is necessary to have standards at a federal level.

        http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/8047/ [ca.gov]

        In the case of auto/pollution standards stink (no pun intended) raised in California, there is an obvious public benefit to stricter standards, which California felt wasn't being met at the federal level. There are obvious health risks to exposure to those emissions, and countless studies proving that. Cell phones, on the contrary, have zero proof that they are dangerous to the public health.

      • by Vellmont (569020) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:18AM (#33013606) Homepage


        It's the same argument used against putting GMO labels on food. If it's something the consumer wants to know about, even if misguided, who are we to tell them "it's not important". Yes it can be used to spread FUD and yes it has adverse effects, but in general giving the consumer more information about a product is a good thing for the market.

        Only if the information is not misleading, or misrepresenting the facts. In this case it seems very clear to me that putting labels on cell phones that tell people the emissions levels of the phone is extremely misleading. It conveys the idea that radio emissions are somehow harmful, which they aren't. Consumers in general are very poorly informed, and DON'T know anything about the actual studies which have shown no even correlation between cell phones and disease. So this idea that's out their that people can "make their own decision!" is just plain wrong, since the vast vast majority of consumers don't have the required knowledge or background to start making those informed decisions.

        Remember, information and labels exist in a context, not an information vacuum. How many products tell you about how they have "more fiber" or "less sodium" or simply the required nutrition labels? All those labels are regulated by the FDA and have to have some scientific backing for health effects. The point being, people have come to expect that labeling the product itself has backing, ESPECIALLY if it's a government mandate like in SF.

        • Bullocks! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pizzach (1011925)

          Bullocks! Customers do have a right to this information! Companies can use the label to educate by just showing a comparison of how much radiation a person gets from:

          • Being outside in the sun for 30 minutes
          • Doing a 5 minute phone call
          • A 1 hour trip on a plane
          • Getting an x-ray.

          If Companies cannot spin this, it is their own damn fault. Not the consumers. Information wants to be FREEEEEEE and this is an excellent way to *start* educating the public. With the precedent that Phillip-Morris set of hiding infor

          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            Information wants to be FREEEEEEE and this is an excellent way to *start* educating the public.

            ..by making the private companies of a specific targeted tech industry foot the bill? Really? Thats an excellent way?

            Its like making the automobile manufacturers foot the bill to educate the public on the real and imaginary dangers of smoking (they have that lighter!)

      • by Surt (22457) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:20AM (#33013620) Homepage Journal

        Even worse, this is an area where there is a significant faction convinced that the truth is being covered up, much like the tobacco companies successfully did for years with the relationship between smoking and cancer. The prior success of this strategy by powerful corporate interests means that people have a justifiable lack of faith in the published science.

        So give people the information, let them make their own decisions, and if they don't get cancer while the rest of us do, they can say I told you so, and the rest of us can feel like the idiot smokers with lung cancer did. Or not. Whichever outcome happens, the labeling seems like a minimally intrusive requirement.

        • by dbcad7 (771464)
          Better yet.. ban the sale of cell phones in that city altogether.. zero radiation from cell phones is best for them.. In fact I think there should be a ban on using cell phones in restaurants and bars, because I don't want any second had radiation either.. And lets collect a tax from cell phone users, so we can make TV commercials showing babies using cell phones and twitching from brain cancer.. yeah that's best for them.. those mindless idiots should not get away with this drain on society, with all their
        • by kurokame (1764228)

          Except that it really is a bunch of FUD. The problem is that people latch on to the word "radiation," decide that they know everything, and then stop listening. Paranoid visions of Chernobyl have nothing to do with cell phones. If we can reasonably assume that the general public isn't sufficiently educated to understand the difference, then we wouldn't be responsible to start putting radiation labels on things when we know it will be misinterpreted over and over.

          This keeps cropping up in a legal context for

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        An educated consumer might even use the amount of radiation output by a cell phone to buy one with higher output, because a stronger transmitter may mean fewer dropped calls.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Actually an educated consumer is bad for the market as it functions today. Just like it's bad for today's politician who depends on deceit and FUD to win the election. There's a reason they're making all those cutbacks in education.

      • A few years ago there was the scare about monosodium glutamate (MSG). In my country some food companies started writing on the packaging "does not contain MSG!". A few consumer advocacy groups made them stop it because it misled the public. This message made people think that other brands has MSG and that MSG is harmful, when in fact there was no evidence to that affect.
        The problem with warnings like that is that people tend to use them as facts to support their false beliefs. It is already hard enough to c

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Greenpeace was against underground nuclear weapon tests in the late 1960's and the French gov blow up their ship in 1985.
      When a gov sends out agents with limpet mines and then the US and UK say very little to condemn the act ... Greenpeace has earned its place in history.
      As for the SAR numbers, they are usually in the fine print or website, booklets ect.
      If its a safe product and the numbers are in the open why not just allow consumers to select a phone after seeing a SAR value?
      What other data could be a
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by onyxruby (118189)
        They've earned their place in history all right, the coal industry would be dead and buried as a relic of history like whale oil if it weren't for Greenpeace. I have long wondered if the coal industry discreetly financially supports Greenpeace, much like some republicans spent a great deal of money on Ralph Naders 2004 campaign.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vellmont (569020)

      There's really no science behind it at all. This isn't about science, it's about ignorance and fear. It's nothing new, really.

      In a very real sense all these crazy "OMG CELL PHONES! POWER LINES! VACCINE!" hysterics reflects the high rate of change in our society and peoples inability to keep up with it all. The average person has NO idea what the electro-magnetic spectrum is or about the nature of knowledge. The cliche's tossed about are along the lines of "well.. they just don't know everything about t

    • When the cell phone radiation turns your family and neighbors into flesh-eating zombies, those Luddites will be laughing their asses off in your face. Until you eat THEIR faces.

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Funny)

    by noidentity (188756) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:30AM (#33013264)
    Given that everything causes cancer in the state of California, it's natural that they are required to do this. I'm glad I live in a state where not everything causes cancer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rockoon (1252108)
      The complete list of things that give you cancer: [numberwatch.co.uk]

      Acetaldehyde, acrylamide, acrylonitril, abortion, agent orange, alar, alcohol, air pollution, aldrin, alfatoxin, arsenic, arsine, asbestos, asphalt fumes, atrazine, AZT, baby food, barbequed meat, benzene, benzidine, benzopyrene, beryllium, beta-carotene, betel nuts, birth control pills, bottled water, bracken, bread, breasts, brooms, bus stations, calcium channel blockers, cadmium, candles, captan, carbon black, carbon tetrachloride, careers for women, ca
  • They are trying to say the phones have to have a label about how much energy they radiate? What, are the stores supposed to have some magical ability to integrate over all time including the future the amount of POWER the phone puts out?

    OR, can the phone sellers say the phone emits zero energy, arguing that at the time the sticker was applied, the phone was off and thus integrating over the time to apply the sticker the phone emitted no RF.

    And are they defining the bandwidth over which this is being reporte

    • I'll answer in the form of three abbreviations.
      FFS, RTFA: SAR [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ntdesign (1229504)
      They want to label the phones with their specific absorption rate, which is average power absorbed per kg of tissue. It's a measurement the FCC already takes, and they mandate a SAR of less than 1.6 W/kg. Of course, the effects of that amount of haven't been shown to be harmful.
    • by noidentity (188756) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:01PM (#33013874)

      Folks, if RF scares you - DON'T USE A CELLPHONE!

      Exactly what I do. I carry around one of those demo units from the store that has no electronics in it. I can open it in public and look cool and hip, and never have to recharge it or get exposed to artificial unnatural radiation (the natural kind can't hurt me, or so I've read on many reputable internet sites, for example that timecube one).

  • ...and will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another...

    Then demand that the sentence "...levels of radiation indicated do not necessarily mean one phone is safer than the other" be placed somewhere in the shop.

    I usually see something similar on TV where some statement to the effect that "the opinions expressed during the program are not necessarily the opinions of the broadcaster" feature prominently after each commercial break.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daveime (1253762)

      Yes, like the "no verified therapeutic claims" you see on quack-medicine advertisements.

      You know the one written in dark gray on a black background in a 6 point font at the very bottom of the screen that flashes up for like 0.25 seconds ?

  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:41AM (#33013346)

    I was at the Home Depot today and saw you can buy a device which emits TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY WATTS of ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION! Oooga boooga! The radiation is gonna git ya!

    Link to the monstrosity in question: Home Depot Death Ray [homedepot.com]

    • That monster emits "High Energy Photons". (Ok, higher energy photons than any cell phone.) Ban it Ban it Ban it :)
    • by couchslug (175151)

      OT:
      Those HDDRs are pretty decent worklights. The body is made of aluminum (not some zinc-ish smegalloy), as we found out when we TIG welded a cracked one.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:43AM (#33013364)
    Where someone tries to explain the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and specific absorption rate to the city council. Probably a lot like trying to explain the internets in my phone to my 88 year old grandmother.
    • by ColaMan (37550) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @07:26PM (#33017276) Homepage Journal

      Where someone tries to explain the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and specific absorption rate

      Fire a gun at a tree. What happens to the tree? Your bullet chips a little bit off. If you just do it once, well, the tree can deal with it. Do it quickly enough and you'll start to leave bullets wedged in the tree and the tree will wind up all knotted and twisted in that area. Get out the machine gun and you'll cut the tree in half and kill the tree. This is similar to your body and ionising radiation.

      Now replace the gun with a tennis racquet and lay your best serve on that tree. What happens to the tree? Nothing. Get your best auto-ball-server-machine and pummel that tree for a week. It might end up a little bruised, but if you stop, it'll be as good as new in a week and that's about it. This is similar to your body and non-ionising radiation.

  • by aapold (753705) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:47AM (#33013388) Homepage Journal
    Geiger Counter app... measures cumulative REM, reminds you to switch ears to minimize overexposure of one ear, etc... it can pay for itself with built-in advertisement for treatment clinics...
  • cellphone laws (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rossdee (243626) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:50AM (#33013412)

    A law requiring all cellphones to have a warning label:

      "use of this device while driving a motor vehicle is dangerous, and against the law in most states"

    Or something, since cellphones have killed more people that way than by the radiation they emit.

    • Not most.

      Only SEVEN states have a primary cell phone driving ban for licensed adult drivers, and only ONE has a secondary ban.

      You might not be aware of it, but life does exist outside California. There are cities and towns and people live in them. Many of us even drive cars. Something new every day, eh?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      cellphones have killed more people that way than by the radiation they emit

      Why? Because if you use it while you're driving, it might explode or something? Otherwise, the cell phones don't kill anybody. The drivers are the ones that kill other people.
  • Sounds as if this might have a good correlation with transmitter power (yeah, yeah, assuming similar antennas and distance to skin etc). In that case, wouldn't there be some benefit to choosing a phone with a *higher* number, with the idea that the one with the lower number probably uses less transmit power (and could potentially drop more calls in marginal areas)?
  • bring it on (Score:5, Funny)

    by liquidsin (398151) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:40AM (#33013744) Homepage

    i'm eager to hear hipsters arguing over who has fewer bars.

  • The cell phone radiation scare reminds me so much of the AC power line scare of 15 years ago, which got to the point where people were seriously questioning whether electric blankets would give them cancer. Back at the height of that scare, my friends and I half-jokingly came up with the idea of marketing an electric blanket AC-to-DC rectifier. We had the TV commercial all figured out; the late night TV salesman would pass a field strength meter tuned to 60 Hz over a blanket, and show how the evil cancer-

  • > ...will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another.

    No, it will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is more dangerous than another when there is, in fact, no danger at all from any of them.

  • Why the lawsuit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:37PM (#33014158)

    Why exactly is telling people MORE about the product they are buying a bad thing?

    Sure just writing how many watts each phone emits might not reveal the whole picture, but the manufacturer can always include the frequency of the emissions and any other relevant information in the product description. It's not like the law prevents you from revealing anything except the power.

    The manufacturer could also try to *gasp* educate the public - You have a study that shows the frequency of your phones emissions is not harmful while another phone will cause you to grow an extra ear within the next 2 years? Publish it, include it in your add campaign,... It might actually give you a bigger market share.

    I don't see why any court should limit the amount of information customers have about products they are buying.

    • by khallow (566160)

      The manufacturer could also try to *gasp* educate the public - You have a study that shows the frequency of your phones emissions is not harmful while another phone will cause you to grow an extra ear within the next 2 years? Publish it, include it in your add campaign,... It might actually give you a bigger market share.

      Because it's irrelevant. Keep in mind that we have neither a threat to health nor a public interested in the issue. I see no potential to increase market share nor further some other interest of the cell phone company and IMHO it provides an avenue for lawsuits (could be misinterpreted as proof that the cell phone maker knew EM radiation was a potential danger). In such circumstances, we're just increasing the cost of cell phones.

    • They know people will see "Radiation" and say "Oh shit it is going to kill me!" As the city council well demonstrated, people do not have a good understanding of different kinds of radiation. It will lead to consumer paranoia, perhaps lower sales, and worst of all bogus lawsuits. The hypochondriac types will feel sick, and blame the phones (this happens all the time with WiFi) and they'll want to sue.

      Also there's a good possibility the label will be required to be done in a scary manner. So not something li

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      well will they have to pass a test to buy a phone then :-)

      You can imagine the scene

      Apple store flunky "Sorry Mr Fry you icorrectly answered the question on the inverse square law, Security please escort Mr. Fry out he is leaving”
  • Why fight it? People just might seek out the phones with the strongest transmission numbers in effort to get better connections. :)

  • Unfortunately, I have read [mercola.com] that the SAR rating indeed can be quite misleading. Maybe we need a new rating.
  • It should not be hard for the cell phone companies to come up with a method similar to the nutrition info you find on all food products. It's broken down in easy to understand terms. We all know junk-food is junk-food, but like anything else, there is a gradient which represents the degree of "bad". You can comparison shop and find out which can of tomato soup is going to be better for your health. Seems to me we should be able to compare products in the same way.

    Sounds to me like the phone companies ar

  • Why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:08PM (#33017934) Homepage Journal

    Honestly, I want to know the power output of my phone - and the selectivity and sensitivity of the receiver as well.

    At least with this law, consumers will have some indication of which phones are the most likely to drop calls. By measuring the emitted radiation (as opposed to the power put into the antenna), you get a better idea of how far from a cell tower you can be and still make calls.

    Sure, maybe it does cause cancer; too bad there isn't any good scientific study showing such. If there was, Californians would have a lot bigger problems than warning labels.

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