Here is Nick Pineault’s description of popular pseudo-science: “Science is not a thing, or a person. If it were a real person, it would be the weirdest bipolar guy I’ve ever met—someone who’s clearly unstable, unpredictable, probably dangerous and who seems to change his mind every other day.” This book is about the technology that generates electromagnetic fields (EMFs). This includes cell phones, Wi-Fi, power lines and just about any electronic device. The popular thinking is that all these toys make life better. How did we ever get along without them?
Pineault examines the devices’ social, psychological and physical impact. As one example, a lot of people are so busy playing “Angry Birds” on their smartphone that they don’t have time to talk to you. They don’t even have time to look where they are going, and they walk into things like walls, traffic or open manholes. The more connected they are to electronic devices, the less connected they are to real people.
The telecom industry rigs its studies to show that its products are perfectly safe. Good thing we have government to oversee the industry, right? Unfortunately, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 says companies cannot be held liable for any negative health effects from their towers and antennas. To me, that means the industry can do whatever it wants; if people get hurt, our government does not care.
Industry carried out cell phone safety testing decades ago on a dummy that simulated a two-hundred-and-twenty-pound man. This approach seemed to assume that large men are the most vulnerable to EMFs—so if these men are OK, we all are OK. Many “experts” like to claim that because these devices emit non-ionizing radiation, they do not cause cancer. That sounds great until you start looking at all the studies showing that non-ionizing radiation does cause cancer.
Some new products are hard to believe. Apparently, toilets just aren’t smart enough, so companies have designed the iPotty. I found a link on Amazon, where I learned that “Parents can give children a comfortable and fun place to learn to use the potty.” Wow, that sounds better than a magazine rack in the bathroom! However, Amazon says the iPotty is not currently available. One potential customer couldn’t resist asking, “Does it include a gift card to download ’Angry Turds’ from the App Store?” Someone else asked: “Can I get one in adult size? With wheels and a motor to run errands around town?” Let’s get one for each workstation at the office. We would never have to budge from our desks. Productivity will hit an all-time high.
If you think we’ve hit bottom now, oh no, not yet. Now we also have Bluetooth diapers that will send an alert to your smartphone when they need to be changed. These are available on Amazon and will set you back fifty-five dollars. This is why we need 5G. The Internet of Things will connect everything down to our underwear.
You may want to rethink installing a “smart” TV in the bedroom (or next to that magazine rack). Samsung recommends that customers not discuss personal matters around their “smart” TV even when turned off, because it is listening and will sell the information to a third party.
How do we protect ourselves? First, when buying a device, ask yourself whether you really need it. You can be very sure that if it has the word “smart,” it is not smart. If you must buy it, do you need to leave it turned on all the time? Does it need to be by your head when you sleep? Do you need to carry it around in your underwear? If the answer to any of these is “yes,” you will probably need help from experts in electronics or psychiatry to lower the risk.