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Friday miscellany – Liz, cowboys, Arsenal and a cottage

1. Elizabeth May’s sudden crusade against Wi-Fi has disappointed me. I had thought she would latch on to an environmental issue that was beyond reproach. The tar sands. GHGs. Volatile organic compounds. Food safety. She had a lot to choose from.

But no. She picks an issue which may or may not actually be an “issue”.  The studies that are out there that associate Wi-Fi electromagnetics and carcinogens are  inconclusive, IMHO.

Writing on her Twitter account (@ElizabethMay), the Green Party Leader said she was glad not to have WiFi at home, and joined ranks with parents who are concerned about the increased access to wireless Internet hookups in schools across Canada.

“It is very disturbing how quickly WiFi has moved into schools as it is children who are the most vulnerable,” said Ms. May.

Faced with critical reactions from some of her 28,700 followers, Ms. May said the World Health Organization lists electromagnetic frequencies as a “possible human carcinogen.”

“I do not act without scientific info,” she said, as she called on Canadian authorities to adopt stronger controls on WiFi that are in place in Europe.

The jury is still out, as far as I am concerned. And Liz should know this rather than playing on the fears of those who have not done their own research into the issue.

2. The Baseline Cowboys are a bunch of guys who haul their couch out to the edge of baseline Road in Ottawa every Wednesday. They drink beer, wave to traffic and generally just have a good ol’ time. This past week, they held a vote on Facebook to determine to which charity they should donate their (and anyone else’s) empty beer bottles. The Christie Lake kids camp won out.

So, on Wednesday collect your empty beer, wine,  and your loose change and pony up at the Beer Store  parking lot of College Square shopping centre (at Baseline and Woodroffe).  The Cowboys will be there all afternoon (2-6) to accept your donations for Christie Lake Kids.

Good guys. And a good cause.

3. Only a couple of weeks until Arsenal’s first fixture against Newcastle! Here’s hoping for some silverware this year! Picking up Gervinho might be a good move, but what we really need is help in the centre backfield. C’mon Wenger! I don’t think we fans can forgive yet another year without a trophy!

4. In case I haven’t been clear enough, Rob Ford, and his brother, are DOOFUSES (sp?)!

5. Off camping this weekend and then back here to do some laundry before heading out to P Sound for the week! Many thanks to my bro and sis-in-law for inviting our motley crew to their cottage! Gonna be a blast! I’ll try to post an entry or two while there (think fishing tales), but no guarantees.

6. Good luck, Mr. Layton…


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  1. trashee says:

    Thanks, Squid-dude! I figgered you’d know a little of the science…

  2. Elizabeth May’s head is so far up her arse on this one. She is not basing anything on science.

    Here is some science.

    A typical wifi router is less than 1/4 watt, but for the sake of round numbers, we’ll assume a gawdawful 1 watt transmitter. AND, to make it worse, we’ll assume that they have an uber 9 dB gain antenna on the thing, that points its main lobe right at the kids, for an effective radiated power of 8 watts at the antenna.

    Now, RF is a r^2 emission… that is, the power falls off proportionally to the square of the distance.

    So the power density (the amount of energy hitting an area) at 1 meter from the antenna will be about 8 W / (4 * pi * (1m)^2) = 0.64 W / m^2

    At 4m from the transmitter, the power density is 16 times less than that (0.04 W/m^2). That would be about where the closest students would sit.

    The power density of radiation coming from the sun at typical Canadian latitudes… say 45 degrees, like here in Ottawa where Elizabeth May lives, is 956 W/m^2 at the equinoxes. ( multiply those numbers by sin(45) to account for our latitude)

    In other words, you’d have to spend 6.6 hours basking in the radiation of wifi to be exposed to the equivalent of 1 second of sunlight on a nice spring day. And that’s using my assumptions to make wifi as bad as possible. Realistically, it would take days of wifi exposure to equal seconds of regular solar exposure.

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