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Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School 294

Posted by timothy
from the it's-all-part-of-cointelpro dept.
drmofe writes "Two parents in New Zealand have orchestrated the removal of a school's Wi-Fi system. They have expressed the concerns that Wi-Fi causes cancer and other health issues. The child of one of these parents died recently from brain cancer. This appears to be an emotional area and one where decisions appear to be being made without evidence. The NZ Ministry of Education provides guidelines for the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools and the school itself was operating within those guidelines."
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Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School

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  • Oh gosh. This is not a very good precedent. I hope the children are taught that: -The radiation from WIFI is the same type as what comes from the Sun, which is essential for all life on earth. -We all emit radiation.

    Thankfully, New Zealand isn't as 'backwater' and 'stupid' as the summary makes out.

    From TFA:

    Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

    Mr Griffin notes there is no evidence anywhere in peer-reviewed literature to suggest wi-fi signals pose an elevated risk of developing brain cancers.

    And also:

    In a statement, the Te Horo School board said it would take wi-fi out of junior classes and replace it with ethernet cable. However, wi-fi will not be removed from the senior school due to the wishes of parents who were surveyed on the issue.

    The board says it shares the government's view that wi-fi is safe.

    "We have sourced information from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and other submissions," the board's statement says.

    "Based on this information the board believes that Wi-Fi does not pose a health risk to staff or students."

    So it really is just a couple of dumb people putting pressure on the school and not indicative of the school's or Ministry of Education's thoughts at all.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:07AM (#45816761) Homepage

    Anything with potassium in it is radioactive.

    "Naturally occurring potassium is composed of three isotopes, one of which, 40K, is radioactive. Traces (0.012%) of this isotope is found in all potassium making it the most common radioactive element in the human body and in many biological materials, as well as in common building materials such as concrete."

    (Wikipedia)

    Gee, I hope the "parents" never find out. This is real radioactivity, not the wussy WiFi sort.

    OTOH a banana panic would lower the price of one of my favorite fruits, so .... maybe somebody should warn them - they might be feeding their kids cancer-causing bananas right now in their ignorance!

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:12AM (#45816771) Homepage

    Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

    Mr Griffin notes there is no evidence anywhere in peer-reviewed literature to suggest wi-fi signals pose an elevated risk of developing brain cancers.

    Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

    You'd think that as a "scientist" Mr. Peter Griffin would have heard of the Stark-Einstein of photochemical equivalence, which tells you why WiFi is harmless. It was only one of the most studied pieces of science of the 20th century. Simply saying "we have no evidence" is a bit feeble.

  • Re:Garden cress (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:25AM (#45816821)

    http://www.pepijnvanerp.nl/2013/05/danish-school-experiment-with-wifi-routers-and-garden-cress-good-example-of-bad-science/

  • Re:Garden cress (Score:5, Informative)

    by HappyClown (668699) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:26AM (#45816823)

    I hadn't heard of this experiment until now, interesting. The mainstream media reports I saw about it all seemed rather heavy on sensationalism and light on facts. I dug a little deeper and found this, which does a good job of pointing out the many flaws in the experiment: Does wifi stunt cress growth? [stackexchange.com].

    This one [exploreb2b.com] also provides a summary of the points in the original.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:28AM (#45816831)

    You got it the wrong way ...
    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/new-zealand-migration-to-australia-soars-40-per-cent/story-fnixwvgh-1226790754690 [news.com.au]

    The article talks about dole bludgers heading across to Australia.

    And the numbers ...
    "648,200 New Zealand citizens are living in Australia" ...
    "About 64,000 Australian citizens are living in New Zealand."

    I know you meant it as a joke, but it sort of makes you look like the fool

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:43AM (#45816875) Homepage

    I wonder how much of the occasional health panic that springs up around wifi - and indeed other technologies - can actually be attributed to the high pitched hums that can be emitted by badly manufactured devices.

    Most of it can be attributed to Mr. Paul Brodeur: http://fumento.com/cancer/emf.html [fumento.com]

  • by Chuckstar (799005) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:45AM (#45816883)

    For the record, the sun's heating and radio wave heating would work differently. The sun heats the surface. The sun wouldn't do a particularly good job of heating the brain. The scalp would heat up, but then blood does a pretty good job of distributing that heat around, and the skull would be a decent insulator. Radio waves would penetrate into the brain and heat it directly.

    Furthermore, there is at least one study showing that glucose metabolism in the brain increases in the presence of cell phone radiation.

    Having said all of that, there's pretty much no way that either cell phones or WiFi are causing brain cancer. We've been engaged in a natural experiment of the effect of these forms of radiation. Both WiFi and cell phone usage have gone from "doesn't exist" to "ubiquitous" in the course of the last couple decades. We're not seeing an increase in any cancer rate that would show a correlation (let alone causation) with the rather dramatic increase in exposure to such radiation.

    These parents want someone/something to blame for their child's death. It's very much that simple.

  • by SumDog (466607) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:46AM (#45816885) Homepage Journal

    Fun fact: Kiwi student loans never gain interest and have no late fees. There's almost no point in paying them back...except if you want to leave the country. If you move to Australia, the US or any other country to work, you have to start paying off those loans and they gain interest.

    There are only 4 million people here. The entire population of Melbourne (or Sydney) is this entire country.

  • by SteveTheNewbie (1171139) on Monday December 30, 2013 @05:50AM (#45816899)

    You should really try coming up with something original..

    http://thinkexist.com/quotation/new-zealanders-who-emigrate-to-australia-raise/411291.html [thinkexist.com]

    Who knows, maybe these parents are prime material for emigration to Australia. ;-)

  • by mpe (36238) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:52AM (#45817069)
    Brazil nuts are also slightly radioactive. It is said that the complex root system of the plant generates the radioactivity.

    It's unlikely that a plants root system, however complex, would be capable to nuclear reactions :) More likely the plant is concentrating naturally occuring radioactive elements. Biochemical systems can even be capable of selecting specific isotopes in some circumstances.
  • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Monday December 30, 2013 @09:37AM (#45817749)

    Radio waves don't just get absorbed when passing by some matter, they have to be of the right energy.

    Water will absorb an extremely wide band. Contrary to popular belief, 2.5GHz is NOT a special resonant frequency for the water molecule, pretty much any cell phone band would work fine for microwave ovens. 2.5GHz was picked for engineering reasons, not out of physical necessity.

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