Cell Phones and Brain Tumors

Posted on July 27, 2014. Filed under: Journalism, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

There is an old  saw about preoccupation and tunnel vision.  I think it goes, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.”  For this article, I think I will use that in this manner:

  • You can’t see the microwave forest for the cell-phone tree.

Speaking of trees, once upon a time that was the only source of reliable heat.  Right off it was noted that the side effect — smoke — was bad to breathe.  The coughing, choking, burning eyes and such were the tip-off.  So, it was used outside until the overhead smoke draft was thought up to give indoor smoke a way to the outside.

It has been pretty much the same story with all of our other energy sources:

  • Fossil fuels had pretty much the same problem as wood — black soot and sulfur all over everything; black lung wasn’t a good selling point, either.
  • Nuclear energy seemed to be a clean, abundant alternative — except for the tissue-destroying radiation effect.
  • Electricity is clean enough, but you gotta use fossil or nuclear fuels to generate it.

Communication methods have had a lighter impact on the environment than energy extraction.  Sign language, body language, and talking had little impact on environment.  With the advent of smoke signals, parchment, paper, quills and ink,  trees and birds bore the brunt of any negative ecological impact.

The telegraph and telephone caused a lot of wire to be strung all over the place.  Other than being an eyesore, not much environmental impact.

Then along came Jones…   Marconi…   Guglielmo Marconi and his invisible radio waves — and wireless transmission (except for the power cord to fire up the transmitter) strutted onto the human scene.  Homo smart sapiens followed that with microwave transmission and cell phones.  Result:  the everyday person now has the world at its fingertips, conveniently tucked into a belt, pocket, purse or inside its ear.  Clean, portable, efficient…   except that

Some years ago, this guy got himself a brain tumor.  He must have had a cell phone and kept it glued to the side of his head where the tumor showed up  ’cause he screamed, “THE CELL PHONE CAUSED IT!”  Cause and effect, or coincidence?  We know that microwaves can be harmful (check with that lump of charcoal in you microwave oven that just went in to become a warm biscuit), but I lean toward “coincidence” because:

  • Brain tumors have been around a lot longer than cell phones, and, heretofore, have not required that input.
  • Throughout the general population, over a span of time, there will be numerous incidents of brain tumors.  It is historical.
  • The cell phone has a broad appeal to the general public, some of whom will undoubtedly experience brain tumors in their lifetimes (and kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, Parkinson’s…   you get the picture).  Owning the latest version of the iPhone or Oprah Winfrey’s recent entry in the magazine business will not change that inevitability.
  • Other than one unfortunate victim of tumor-ism, there was nothing to suggest that tumors appeared concurrently with the advent of cell-phone-ism.

But the media picked up on the allegation and gave it press time.  “Researchers” looked into it, manufacturers installed microwave blocks on cell phones, and the government established a “safe maximum microwave output” for cell phones.  The public and the media went back to their routines (involving the constant use of cell-phones?) quietly satisfied.

I saw this video on the Yahoo! home page a couple of weeks ago in which the narrator listed the top 5 cell phones that come closest to the government-established safe limit for microwave radiation.  And I got a good laugh.

Since all of the phones listed were within the established safe limits, the story accomplished only 3 things:

  1. Smirched the reputations of manufacturers and their products that were in compliance with established standards.
  2. Gave a video “journalist” a hot button to entice site visitors who would be exposed to embedded advertising.
  3. Allowed the aforementioned “journalist” to prove once again that The Big Pee* will miss the THE BIG STORY because they are focused on hot-button-sensitive audiences…   to make a buck.

The BIG story our videographer missed:

  • The Universe is naturally full of microwave radiation.  We are immersed in it constantly.
  • Cell phones spend most of their time in pockets, purses, and on belts.  At home and office, they are often on a desk.
  • It is that cool-looking blue-tooth device plugged into the ear emitting microwaves that is right up against that brain.
  • Microwave transmission towers that comprise the cell-grid making the cell phone possible emit much stronger impulses than that puny little cell phone.  Everyone in the cell coverage area spends all of their time in range of two or more of these mega-emitters.
  • Inside your home, which is bathed liberally in microwave tower emissions, you have added wireless broadband, wireless printers, wireless television, and maybe even a wireless security system.  (For the slow-minded among us, wireless transmission means microwave transmission.)  All of that together is a lot more than the government-mandated limit for your little cell phone emissions.

And don’t forget that when you are a member of a large gathering of people, 95% of everyone there has a cell phone.  Are they keeping their tumor-causing emissions to themselves, or are they sharing with you?

The cell phone is just one tree in the microwave forest, but, the Media, perpetual complainers, and obliging bureaucrats just can’t see the forest that surrounds it.

And if litigators can ever get something to latch onto, they will count on the “tunnel vision**” of the jury panels to line their pockets with filthy lucre…   that would be “ill-gotten gains“…   by suing the hapless manufacturers of an insignificant source of microwaves.

____________________________________

* As in “press” with a capital “P”

** Ignorance is another good word

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It Must Be A Duck

Posted on February 19, 2013. Filed under: Journalism, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

3rd in the series The Manipulators

Your old saw for the day:

  • If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…  it must be a duck

Your words for the day (definitions according to Dean):

  • reporting = observing and retelling an event as factually as possible without inserting personal opinion or conclusions
  • commentary = using an occurrence or news item to showcase personal prejudices, opinions, judgments, et cetera
  • journalism = winging it; making it up as you go; use of facts optional
  • story = that mix of reporting, commentary, and journalism that The Big P pours over our mindsets on a daily basis.  And they call it “news.”

Well, we got your STORY right here:  The Houston Chronicle, January 16, 2013, Section A, page 1, title:  US unmoved by plight of dying daughterAuthor:  Jenny Stonebottom.*  (I made that name up; it might be considered bad form to openly criticize a writer for The Big Pee.)

What Stonebottom shared with us:

The article opens under the topic  I M M I G R A T I O N  on the front page.  A dying illegal immigrant (Mexican) cannot see her parents (in Mexico) because the US government says, “Uh uh!  No way.”  Parents (legally in Mexico) haven’t seen her in 9 years.  She is 20 years old, has a husband but her last name is not his, and she has a daughter about 6 years old from “husband” with a different name; he is also from Mexico, but, is in the US legally with a green card.

The US bureaucratic reasoning for denial is covered in-depth, apparently to illustrate their remorse for being the unfeeling, callous, and unmoved bastards that they are — albeit legal in their obstinate denial of a sanctioned entry.

A local Catholic official chimes in with his 2-bits of criticism:  the bureaucracy is out of touch and US immigration law needs to be overhauled.

When her illegal status was revealed, the sick woman was booted out of one hospital which was named in the article, apparently to instill shame in them for their heartlessness.  She did no better with the backup plan because the freebie government hospital would not do surgery since “the tumor was inoperable.”

The “husband” cannot afford to get her back home before she dies, a Plan B, so to speak, for dealing with cold-hearted bureaucratic obstinacy.  He says he will pay for a post-mortem trip back home.

Stonebottom did give a little bit of fill-in of facts:  Those distraught parents can’t get the furlough because a decade ago they flouted US immigration law and lived in the US illegally until caught and deported.  Even though it has been 9 years since the parents last saw their daughter, they are still being denied one last look.

The tone of the article is clearly designed to (1) wring from the reader empathy for an unfortunate fellow-soul caught in circumstance and bureaucratic coldness, and (2) to give the writer a leg up in the journalistic “we-are-so-much-better-than-that” achievement competition.

I would wager that most readers identified with the empathy angle of Stonebottom’s article.  After all, it was on page one of the local major, so all the facts must have merit.  But, that’s…

…NOT WHAT I READ.  I read about a hotbed of criminal activity being whitewashed by a Pulitzer-seeking graduate of PAU.**   Note the following points:

  • Mom and Dad (in Mexico…   now) have a history of circumventing US immigration law.  That makes them UNDESIRABLE ALIENS.
  • Mom and Dad have not seen their “beloved little girl” in nine years.  The concerned, bereaved parents, then, sent (or left) their 11-year old daughter alone into a foreign land for what purposes, only God knows.  HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
  • That 11-year old girl was transported across the US-Mexico border under dangerous conditions (exposure to elements AND illegal smuggling operations).  Sounds like CHILD ENDANGERMENT.
  • The 20-year old illegal alien has a child, apparently about 6-years old.  That means that someone had sex with her at least once when she was about 13 years old.  No way around this one:  SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A MINOR, which reinforces the HUMAN TRAFFICKING observation.

Clearly, the 20-year old dying woman is a victim of many injustices, but none of them committed by the US bureaucracy or US immigration law, as writer Stonebottom is alluding.  At first glance, one might think she was fortunate to have found someone to look out for her, say…   her “husband” who entered the US legally and has a green card.  She is lucky;  the US is not:

  • Husband who has a different last name and a legal green card is apparently the father of her child.  IF THIS IS SO, he would be the RAPIST who SEXUALLY ASSAULTED A MINOR.  As “husband,” it is likely an ongoing criminal act.
  • Husband who has a legal green card has been HARBORING A FUGITIVE FROM US IMMIGRATION LAW ENFORCEMENT for years.
  • If husband with legal green card was instrumental in TRANSPORTING an ll-year old minor illegally across the US-Mexico border, how many other laws besides CHILD ENDANGERMENT did he violate?
  • Has husband with the legal green card demonstrated RESPECT FOR and COMPLIANCE WITH US laws and customs, which would be a condition of his continued LEGAL residence in the country of the United States of America?  Or is he, like his purported in-laws, an UNDESIRABLE ALIEN who should be deported immediately?

And how ’bout that Catholic Church Official for Migration (not immigration, mind you…   MIGRATION…)?  He unflinchingly casts rocks at US immigration law — and the bureaucrats charged with implementing them — from behind the walls of the institution that has become infamous for shielding pedophiles (a form of CRIMINALITY) from public accountability.  Instead of self-righteously wasting time — time the dying daughter does not have — reviling the United States government and getting his name in the papers, why hasn’t he petitioned his Church (which surely has more money than God) to foot the bill for taking the dying woman back to her parents for her passing?  Caesar gets his due, the God-fearing, hapless 20-year old gets reunited with her parents, and Stonebottom gets her Pulitzer for some other story (or at least a shot at the finals) without irritating the likes of me.  Win-win-win-win, am I right?

_________________________

* May I have the envelope, please?  er-r-r-i-i-p…  And the winner for BEST JOURNALISTIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR DECEIVING THE PUBLIC isHARVEY RICE and AURORA LOSADA of The Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas, for “U.S. not moved by plight of dying daughter,” January 16, 2013, Section A, page 1.  C’mon, give it up, folks —  clap-clap-clap-clap-clap…   (Please, someone get me a bag.)

** Piss Ant University

_________________________

Next up:  Stroking the hot buttons of public perception

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Smoke and Mirrors

Posted on February 18, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

2nd in the series The Manipulators

Your old saw for the day:

  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

Your words for the day (definitions my way):

  • migrate = the tendency of life forms to follow a repeating pattern of movement
  • immigrate = the regulated movement of life forms from one area to another
  • invade = the unregulated movement of life forms from one area to another
  • bias = to display partiality toward one thing over another
  • favoritism = obvious bias
  • The Big Pee = The Press (all news media)

Now, we gotta play catch up.  Last post, I left you skulking at the border trying to catch a break.  To draw a clear parallel between the treatment of US citizen criminals and non-citizen criminals, here is a list of the crimes illegal entrants are willing to commit:

  1. Violate United States immigration law.
  2. Violate United States customs law.
  3. Falsify official identity documents.
  4. Falsify government documents whenever necessary to look legal.
  5. Engage in criminal conspiracies to evade US authorities at the point of entry and in the ongoing tenure of illegal occupancy.
  6. Endanger minors (children) by transporting them through dangerous terrain and situations in this illicit search for a better life.
  7. Criminally trespass onto the private property of bona fide US citizens, using it as though it were theirs, vandalizing and stealing the unattended personal property of the land owner.
  8. Falsify United States federal and state documents to acquire government benefits illegally.
  9. Criminally conspire with friends or relatives to assist in their efforts to evade detection and ejection and to acquire benefits that they are not entitled to have.  Those friends or relatives are co-conspirators in the criminal lifestyle of the illegal entrant, whether US citizen or previous legal immigrant or illegal entrant.

This list is very similar to that for which US citizens get excoriated (previous post).

But, it’s alright, Brazen Criminal.  Your advocate has your back.  The Big Pee will cover (up) your criminal acts as though they are simply incidental occurrences in your quest for a better quality of life.  It will gloss over your persistent, daily acts of criminal conspiracy to defraud the US government, and your criminal falsification of government documents in your quest for a better quality of life (that phrase has a humanitarian and oh-we-do-so-understand-you ring to it).  It will focus on the cruelty “to undocumented immigrants” by human smugglers who pack 30 adults and 10 children into a locked cargo container, but fail to call attention to the illegal 30 adults’ disregard for the safety of children while dragging them across hundreds of miles of dangerous terrain in the presence of dangerous criminals.  It will categorize your tendency to grab 13-year olds for sex (you call it “marriage”) as excusable on the grounds that “it is a custom prevalent where you came from.”

Conversely, The Pee rains vehemence on US citizens for unavoidable child endangerment, marginal statutory rape, shading the truth to get government benefits, alleged sexual assault of a minor, then perfunctorily signs off on the resultant PRISON TERMS for these heinous US citizens…   they had it coming!

Can anyone out there define “double standard?”  If you need refreshment on that, it is a lot like “speaking with fork-ed tongue.”   (Hmmmm…   How about “sleight of tine?”  Sorry.  Just wandering a little.)  Why would The Big Pee practice that?   …just simply playing to the audience (that be us)…   and the panel of judges overseeing the in-house self-lauding Pulitzer committee.  And, let’s not leave out the watchful eyes of judges in a slew of local and national media “ain’t we the living end” contests.  Out here in the land of irrelevance, we all fancy ourselves as possessing moral superiority over our neighbor.  We just have to have a cause to rally around, either mentally or actively.  The Big Pee‘s got causes down to a science.

Do you need an example of my assertions?  No problem.  Let’s look at Jenny Stonebottom’s story (The Houston Chronicle, January 16, 2013) of a callous bureaucracy and a victimized illegal occupant.

Next up:  If it looks like a duck…

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The Big “P” Does English

Posted on January 21, 2013. Filed under: Journalism, Nezza at Hella | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • risqué = sexually suggestive; indecent.
  • condescending = superior, disdainful, supercilious, pompous

The day after the day after the day of is Thursday, December 27, 2012…  that is one of those inane bits of information that actually started out as a thought-train for my next article.  It got derailed.  Regardless, bad poetry is bad poetry.  Best I could do on short notice.  Maybe Tim Burton could turn it into an enduring Christmas classic…   like Nightmare Before Christmas.

There are several reasons for my enjoyment of Nezza’s posts: 

  • really cool pics,
  • skewed take on life,
  • and, that special brand of risqué and irreverent impertinence that does not shy away from self-deprecation for a good story line.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, she does it all in pleasing, flowing English.  I would say “perfect English,” but that would imply that I consider myself to be perfect also.  I am half-way decent at English, and, I find that reading her site is a smooth, seamless experience from start to finish.  There are no linguistic pot-holes to jar the flow of information.  This is the primary reason I return often to her site…   that, and her sideways picture.

Incongruities in sentence construction have the same jarring effect as a pot-hole in a road surface;  hitting one causes the reader to lose focus, forcing a re-read of the sentence to find the correct bridge over the gap.  Several of those in a single article can take all the fun out of reading.  Nezza (hella@sydney), however, is all fun in perfect English (said it anyway, didn’t I?)  No pot-holes.

There is one construction that is quite often incorrectly expressed — the gerund phrase.  I have searched for that one in Nezza’s articles, fully expecting to see it properly presented.  To date, my grazings on her luscious tidbits…   uh…   luscious literary tidbits…   has not revealed even one.  Apparently, when it comes to being a user (of gerunds), she just says, “No!

Now, bloggers, for the most part, are not professionally trained wordsmiths;  skimming just a few sites makes that pretty obvious.  When I hit the inevitable pot-hole, I continue past it without agitation.  These writers are largely just pouring out their impressions of the rapids-infested River of Life in which they find themselves unwittingly immersed.  We are being given a view of restless waters and transient shore-lines as revealed from their individual — and painfully fragile — rafts of existence.

This appraisal is not an instance of condescendingly “cutting them some slack” for their perceived “lesser” linguistic skills.  Languages are built by usage, and the Great Learned, who observed this, created rules based on that natural evolution.  Then, the Great Learned, assuming their “rightful” places as experts-entitled-to-adulation, take credit for giving order to the structure and expect the masses to adhere to their edicts — or be subject to public snickering and finger-pointing.

I snicker not, nor do I point.  (Any intellectual high ground from which I may be speaking is along the order of a soap-box;  the Great Learned will not allow me on their dais.)  These soul-pouring bloggers are, to me, like another group of entities cast with us onto the raging River of Existence, individuals who have met the tragedy called Life and have created their own societies to deal with it and commiserate about it.  I refer to canis lupus, the gray wolf, whose soulful songs linger long and often in Nature’s wilderness air.  In that wilderness called cyber-space, bloggers raise their voices — often alone, sometimes in unison — to rail at Nature or to voice their pain, bewilderment, pleasures and triumphs, all, like the wolf, for the sake of simply expressing.  I celebrate that chorus and do apologize for my socially tone-deaf ear and possibly off-key ululations.

It’s that OTHER group that pulls snickers and finger-pointing from me.  Experts, and their caduceus-carrying heralds, The Media, hereinafter (and, hopefully, unflatteringly) referred to as “The Press (with the big P)” or, simply, “The Big Pee.”  They KNOW EVERYTHING and assume that we, the people, do not.  And, we need to be indoctrinated educated according to their insight — ON EVERYTHING.

That irks me.  It is always a delight to find they are either ignorant of what those other Great Learned have decreed, or they do not proof-read their work…   deadlines, you know.  Gotta get something out there to get a buck from the Great Unwashed.  (That be us, the general public).  We will buy anything that is broadcast, printed, or posted to the internet.  That is common knowledge among experts, you know.

Ergo, this vessel, The Queen Mary, charts a new heading;  all ahead full to giving the raspberry to the elite among us, the EXPERT KNOW-IT-ALLS (professional and free-lancing).

Next up:  To be announced.

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