Radio Wave Scare Redux

This BBC News report, Wi-fi? Why worry?, talks about school (in Canada and in Chicago) banning Wi-fi because of fears of "the health impact of the 2.4Ghz radio waves used by wireless networks." BBC News rightly reported that there is no heath concern and pointed out the obvious: "If the journalists were really concerned about the dangers of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on the sensitive brains of the young, they should be calling for the closure of TV and radio transmission towers rather than asking us to turn off our wi-fi laptops."

I had to laugh. It reminded me of something humorist and monologist Jean Shepherd said in a 1965 radio broadcast. Shep said, "Do you know that in the early days of radio, everybody blamed everything that happened on radio. In other words, in 1923 or something—it's a historical fact—when KDKA when on the air or the early radio stations, of course this was like magic to every body, it was fantastic, they could hear stuff right out of the air. And then they began to worry about what was in the air! 'What are these guys sending out?' And people were beginning to say all these words that were in the air were beginning to be—were rotting their brains."

Technology is scary. People are scarier.

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