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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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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