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Wireless Networking Hardware

Group Wants Wi-Fi Banned, Citing Allergy 525

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
54mc writes "A small group in Santa Fe, New Mexico is claiming that the city is discriminating against them by having wireless networks in public buildings. How are these buildings discriminatory? Simple. These people are allergic to Wi-Fi. And they're suing the city." I've been trying to sue people for the streetlights that I'm allergic to as well.
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Group Wants Wi-Fi Banned, Citing Allergy

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  • Three words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:51AM (#23527278)
    "double blind test."

    Allergic?, yeah sure you are.
    • by Dr. Cody (554864) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:42AM (#23527622)
      Arthur Firstenberg, a known Mathematics major, looks to have some previous experience with electromagnetic conspiracy, mostly with cellphones and x-rays. He's also the author of Microwaving our Planet [amazon.com], published by his Cellular Phone Taskforce. Every once in a while he'll publish an article in non-scientific environmental periodicals.

      Also, check out, Electromagnetic Fields (EMF): The Killing Fields [mindfully.org], it's full of lol:

      Today I am homeless. My money does not provide me shelter. My good health does not ensure my survival. My friends are unable to help me. I am being killed, but the law offers me no protection.
      ...
      Having stumbled upon an obviously well-kept secret, I researched the world literature on bioelectromagnetics, (or the biological effects of electromagnetism), and made myself an expert. I learned that electro-cautery machines, used in every modern surgical operation to cut through tissue and to stop bleeding, expose surgeons to much higher levels of radio frequency radiation than is permitted for workers in any industry. I learned that there was a disease thoroughly described in the Russian and Eastern European medical literature called radiowave sickness, the existence of which was usually denied by western authorities. This description made me remember my `unknown illness', the one that had derailed my medical career. Bradycardia, or a slow heart rate, was said, in these texts, to be a grave sign.

      Because there are virtually no workplaces without computers any more, I have not held a job since 1990. I had resigned myself to living on Social Security Disability, and learned, together with other members of a support group I had found, how best to live with my disability. This mostly meant learning to avoid exposure to electromagnetic fields. But in July 1996, to my dismay, I learned that an innovation was coming to my city, which threatened to make it impossible to avoid exposure any more.
      ...
      The California Department of Health Services has concluded that, on the basis of a telephone survey, 120,000 Californians - and by implication one million Americans - have left their jobs because of electromagnetic pollution in the workplace. The people who have left their homes for such a reason are not being counted by anyone.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SEWilco (27983)

        on the basis of a telephone survey ... have left their jobs because of electromagnetic pollution in the workplace.

        But they're still able to answer an electromagnetic telephone, hold the electromagnetic speaker next to their head, and answer a telephone survey.

        Shouldn't this information be on my favorite 50,000 watt radio station or TV station?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Baloo Ursidae (29355)
        The California Department of Health Services has concluded that, on the basis of a telephone survey, 120,000 Californians - and by implication one million Americans - have left their jobs because of electromagnetic pollution in the workplace. The people who have left their homes for such a reason are not being counted by anyone. That wrongly assumes the rest of America is as fucked up and retarded as California and it's people (if you can really call Californians people).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Of course they are allergic. They're allergic to all frequencies in the 2.4 - 5GHz range, 800 - 900 and 1800 - 1900 MHz, and excluding all others (ie, the aren't allergic to satellite radio, UHF TV, or GPS signals. Only cellphones and wi-fi. Also, they are miraculously not affected by the 2.45 GHz given off by their microwaves.
    • Re:Three words... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lc_overlord (563906) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @01:38PM (#23529456) Homepage
      It's been done already a few times in Sweden (being it's usual overly sensitive, rational and anal retentive self) against this and other various electric fields, even ones at several magnitudes above recommended safe levels.
      You know what they found, nada, nothing, zilch, apparently they only have the reaction if they know about it.

      I recommend putting a sticker on all wifi products that says "new allergy free design".
      There is nothing quite like an ineffective solution to an nonexistant problem.
  • by eneville (745111) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:52AM (#23527282) Homepage
    I'm alergic to car emissions but I can't sue every driver.
  • by sxpert (139117) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:53AM (#23527292)
    send them to live in some remote caves in the mountains. as for me, I'm allergic to idiots
    • by tristian_was_here (865394) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:03AM (#23527362)
      I hope I haven't set off your allergies
  • Allergy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bazman (4849) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:56AM (#23527302) Journal
    I'm allergic to stupidity. Can we ban these people?

    Are they allergic? Let's not let data get in the way of a good argument: No [badscience.net] they're [wellingtongrey.net] not. [wikipedia.org]

    Wow, even Wikipedia agrees.

  • by AtomicDevice (926814) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:56AM (#23527306)
    They're spacin me out with all their "electro-waves" I wonder if they know they've been bombarded with electro-waves their whole life. Or maybe they haven't heard of the sun.
  • Insightfulness (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pacroon (846604) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:57AM (#23527314)
    I'm desperately trying to find something meaningful to say to this issue, that would rate me insightful. So I'm gonna go ahead and ponder over the fact, that their allergic reactions are probably an effect of solar gamma-radiation than it is your local Starbucks.
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:57AM (#23527318)
    They can't ban WiFi because I'm allergic to stupid.

    Now how will we decide whose needs trump whose?
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @09:57AM (#23527322) Journal
    Phone mast allergy 'in the mind' [bbc.co.uk]

    However, when tests were carried out in which neither the experimenter or participant knew if the mast was on or off, the number of symptoms reported was not related to whether a signal was being emitted or not.
    Two of the 44 sensitive individuals correctly judged if it was on or off in all six tests, as did five out of 114 control participants.
    So, perhaps a few double blind tests are in order.
    • Uh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917)
      2 (on/off) ^6 (tests) = 64, so 1/64 would be expected to be correct with purely random guesses. I'm sure someone who knows statistics better than I will jump in, but 2/44 or 5/114 "correct" (even though better than chance) no doubt has little significance, given the small sample size.
      • Re:Uh.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @11:35AM (#23528114)

        I'm sure someone who knows statistics better than I will jump in, but 2/44 or 5/114 "correct" (even though better than chance) no doubt has little significance, given the small sample size.


        Well the key there is that the "5 out of 144" were the control group for the experiment.

        In other words of the people who claimed to be sensitive, only 4.5% correctly identified when the mast was on in all 6 tries. Meanwhile in the control group - the group of people who do not claim to be sensitive - 4.3% correctly identified when the mast was on in all 6 tries.

        Draw from that what you will, but the only logical conclusion is that a group of people who claimed to be extremely sensitive to EM signals are no more sensitive than a random group drawn from the general population. It's like taking a group of people who claim to be NBA all stars and pitting them against a team of randomly selected people, and then having the game end in a tie.
        • Re:Uh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday May 24, 2008 @01:04PM (#23529084) Homepage Journal

          In other words of the people who claimed to be sensitive, only 4.5% correctly identified when the mast was on in all 6 tries. Meanwhile in the control group - the group of people who do not claim to be sensitive - 4.3% correctly identified when the mast was on in all 6 tries.

          Furthermore, there are only 64 possibly outcomes of a series of 6 binary events. I'm not a stats guy (as my college prof will vouch), but it seems like pure dumb luck will get you 1:64 people picking all six correctly (and the same ratio picking all six incorrectly) without even trying. 2:44 and 5:144 are just about twice the "dumb luck" number. Isn't that within the error bar for such a small sample?

  • by infonography (566403) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:03AM (#23527360) Homepage
    I have some designs for tin foil hats, I just could never find the proper market.

    Looks like I am gonna be rich!!!!
  • Cage 'em (Score:5, Funny)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:12AM (#23527408) Journal
    I say we quarantine them all in a nice Faraday Cage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)

      I say we quarantine them all in a nice Faraday Cage.

      Except that they probably don't know it blocks radio waves, so they'll still get their allergy while inside it with a WiFi transmitter visibly nearby and on (or at leasty as far as the sufferer can tell).

  • by Avian visitor (257765) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:13AM (#23527414) Homepage
    Everyone wants to have a mobile phone that works everywhere, broadband internet, cheap electricity in their homes and produce tons of garbage but they will go to streets with pitchforks if you want to build a cell tower, Wi-Fi access point, nuclear powerplant or waste disposal facility in their neighborhood.

    People got so used to having all the modern technology available to them that they simply forgot what makes such things possible.

    Allergic to Wi-Fi? Fine! I can understand that. I'll turn off my access point as soon as you get rid of your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled computer, cell phone and your microwave oven.
  • by pla (258480) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:15AM (#23527426) Journal
    FTA: Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones. "I get chest pain and it doesn't go away right away," he said

    Well then, looks like you'd better move to the middle of nowhere, rather than trying to live in a fairly large city.

    Even If:
    1) A physiological basis existed for having an autoimmune response to RF,
    2) Only the 2.4GHz range of frequencies triggers it (since we literally live in a sea of RF, including from natural sources),
    3) The 9th circuit accepts "electrosensitivity" as a valid "disability", and
    4) The city backs down on this...

    Well, given all that - What do you plan to do about the 50,000 nonmunicipal WAPs in your area? The FAA, NOAA, and military radar installations scattered around the country? Or for that matter, the microwave ovens found in every home and restauraunt in the country?


    And even if you have a legitimate complaint - Welcome to the real world, where no one cares about your pitiful psychosomatic response to spoooooooky radio waves. Get a shrink, get used to chest pain, or move to Afghanistan.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kaos07 (1113443)
      "move to Afghanistan." Afghanistan - Where people go to stay healthy and safe.
  • easy fix (Score:5, Funny)

    by machine of god (569301) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:26AM (#23527506)
    Lets just glue some crystals and magnets together, hand them out, and say the block the harmful energy.
    • Re:easy fix (Score:5, Funny)

      by conureman (748753) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @11:06AM (#23527822)
      Did you think that you were joking? I've seen those for sale.
    • It's called Quantum Biofeedback.

      I have a friend (actually, I can't call her a friend anymore, she's just too damn stupid), who has spent over $20,000 on courses and hardware to become a Quantum Biofeedback practitioner. Her mom won't stop her ... her mom has done the same!

      She has a bag full of glass objects that contain bits of metal and crystal that supposedly block EM radiation, especially from microwaves, electronic devices, and overhead powerlines.

      Oddly, she's never noticed that her cell phone and radi
  • by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:29AM (#23527528) Homepage
    I'm going to side with them and say wifi should definitely be banned in public buildings. Not because of the allergy, but because wifi is a huge security hole if it isn't handled properly, and one shouldn't assume public institutions are capable of handling ANYTHING properly.
  • by Hankapobe (1290722) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:47AM (#23527658)
    An allergen is a nonparasitic antigen capable of stimulating a type-I hypersensitivity reaction in atopic individuals. From: Allergen [wikipedia.org]
  • Radiation! (Score:4, Funny)

    by dalmiroy2k (768278) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:48AM (#23527666)
    Maybe they are also allergic to the greatest source of radiation: THE SUN!
    We should ban it like Mr Burns wanted.
  • Of course, (Score:4, Funny)

    by kirbysuperstar (1198939) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:54AM (#23527714) Homepage
    The easiest way to fix this would be for this group to start wearing tin-foil hats. And if they already are, they need thicker ones.
  • by sarysa (1089739) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @10:57AM (#23527740)
    First they came for the bees, and I did not speak out because I was not a bee.
    Then they came for the electro-sensitive, and I did not speak out because I was not electro-sensitive.
    Then they came for the ethernet cables, and I did not speak out because I stopped using ethernet cables.
    Then they came for me, and I enjoyed worldwide wireless coverage on my laptop. Woohoo!
  • by pipingguy (566974) * on Saturday May 24, 2008 @11:11AM (#23527862) Homepage
    I've had allergies all my life, ranging from skin conditions to breathing problems to third arms growing out of my back (OK, so that last one was a bit of an exaggeration - could have been handy, though).

    I resent people that purport to "help everyone" because of the health problems of a few. Screw you! I can either survive in a "normal" environment or I cannot, let's see what happens. It really, really pisses me off when crusaders take it upon themselves to speak or legislate on my behalf.

    I suppose it's pretty obvious that said "crusaders" almost invariably are employed by an organization whose mandate is to interfere with normal people's lives just to "help" us cripples.

    Fuck off already!
  • by Theovon (109752) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @12:10PM (#23528466)
    There are people who really do have allergies and food sensitivities and such. Those people need to be careful about what they eat and expose themselves to. But when crackpots like this enter the fray, they make trouble for us, because they makes us all look like crackpots. It's no different from over-diagnosing ADHD. There are people who really have it (although I understand, interestingly enough, that some cases are helped by dietary adjustments). But then there are the countless more who just have discipline problems; they need a smack in the butt, not Ritalin.

    That all being said, there are some hypotheses that humans can be affected by EM radiation. And maybe it's not good for us. I mean, being exposed to high levels of microwaves can cook you, so I'm sure low-levels aren't entirely risk free. Then there are the proposed links between power lines and leucemia. It's all worth investigating... with a critical scientific eye. But calling it an ALLERGY is just stupid and betrays a total lack of understanding what an allergic reaction is (an immune reaction to a foreign protein).

  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @01:02PM (#23529074)
    Can I get my city to ban them as well?

    *Note: I do not live in, around, or anywhere near Santa Fe

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near

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