Monday, October 12, 2009

Them 'Phones WILL Fry Your Brain

Studies have shown that using a mobile phone close to your head for ten years will double your chances of brain tumours. This is borne out by the fact that the chance of the tumour occurring is greater on the side which you normally use the phone. So far so good. At this point, the key thing we want to know is: what is the chance of a person getting a brain tumour after using a cellphone for the NEXT ten years?

You see, there is one BIG flaw in all these studies. I am 100% certain that nobody has used the SAME phone at the SAME distance from the centre of the the tumour that was found for the SAME amount of time over the SAME ten years in the SAME environment. I am willing to concede that you can control for at least one of these conditions, perhaps two, but not three or more or anywhere near all (which would include all the other things a good scientist can imagine).

In fact, since such phones use less radiation these days (the US limit is 1.6 watts/kg, the European limit is 2.0 watts/kg) and more users are resorting to hands-free connections which move the phone some distance away from the head, the risk is dropping faster than it is increasing.

So why is the title of this post so alarmist?

Well, I was just thinking about the other kinds of radiation. Radio waves are actually very low-frequency emissions that take forever to do anything to your body. At the other end of the spectrum are things like cosmic rays and gamma rays, that are even more high-energy than x-rays, and will KILL you (I was going to say KILL you DEAD, but most people get that point quite easily). You will get literally thousands of times more deadly radiation from climbing ONE mountain at high altitude or flying ONCE from New York to Singapore, than by using a mobile phone for ten years.

Actually, I cheated there. We know that cosmic radiation is deadly, but we don't know that radio waves are. We know that humans have been exposed to radio signals for decades without suffering directly-related damage from them. We know that people have turned into green superheroes died from gamma-ray exposure, and we can even watch it happening if we want.

So those phones will fry your brain, I guess, but only if you think so hard about them that you forget to shield your head from the sun, that obvious fusion-powered source of lethal radiation.

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