Thursday, November 30, 2006

Conf 279: New Distractions

Science lecture at the National Physical Laboratory last night put our minds at rest about mobile phones microwaving our brains. Experiments included microwaving a CD, microwaving a brain, (actually a pyrex jug with a brain amount of water) and microwaving an egg (SPECtacular DON'T do it at home!!I). From previous experiments, like electrocuting gherkins, I now understand that heat is a jiggle jiggle and hotter things jiggle faster than cooler things. We were therefore able to translate the jiggle-relativity of the phone signals and see how low it is. We were shown how mobiles work and given copies of the Stewart Report, the scientists' conclusions. It clears mobiles on the jiggle jiggle front but potential biological effects, i.e. long-term tumours, are what we don't know, and why they advise cautionary approach for children. 'Hasn't anyone done any experiments on tumours?' somebody asked. 'Well, yes,' said our man, 'someone said let's put mobile phones into every house in the country and sit back and wait 40 years and see what happens.'

There's a website, which I can't link to properly as I haven't worked out how to do it yet, but it's www.sitefinder.radio.gov.uk where you dial in your postcode to get the information on masts and what they're giving out. The nearer you are to a base station, the better, because the less radiation your mobile needs to give out to reach it. We were asked if we'd looked at the SAR of our mobiles when we bought them. WHAT? He said when we all looked blank. This is the Specific Energy Absorbtion Rate, the microwaves that go to your brain, and in old phones it was about 2 watts per kilogram, in newer ones it's 1 watt per kilogram (which is, I now understand, TINY). By law they have to be declared in the booklet you buy but never look at after you've worked out the on off buttons. In the mini discussion group we were in, with our own expert to chat to, someone mentioned a famous experiment to do with rats and depression & he told us this one experiment had been replicated over and over, and replication is the scientist's keyword, tens of thousands of experiments, they're looking for these things but nothing's come up yet.

Nearly 10 an no writing done yet. I'm expecting work to come in any moment so not much point in starting. Might as well play with the computer.

A post-browse PS: SKINT (Link to the right. WHERE'S the linking thing on this beta blogger?) has a priceless link to Confessions of a Book Reviewer re the Rachel Cooke bloggers daring to review books article.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

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