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The Courts Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court 217

McGruber writes "Arthur Firstenberg, the Santa Fe, New Mexico man who sued his neighbors, claiming their Wi-Fi made him sick, has lost what might have been his final round in court. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, state District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health. While he lost the lawsuit, he did score a victory: the neighbors he sued have moved out of Santa Fe."
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Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court

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  • by firex726 ( 1188453 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:36AM (#41399105)

    Or take the Darwin approach; selection of ten wires, nine are hot and you're grounded.
    If you're electrosensitive it should be no issue to figure out which one's cold and not electrocute yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:39AM (#41399159)

    Dude. Don't jump, okay?

  • Re:yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:53AM (#41399349)

    We are constantly bombarded with radiation across the EM spectrum, from visible light to infra red (which we, ourselves, emit) to ultraviolet to radio. I think its fair for the judge to say "show me proof that we're all slowly getting cancer from radio waves".

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:40AM (#41400157)

    If you are bothering or disturbing your neighbors, it is understood that you will undertake reasonable efforts to rectify the situation. For instance, if you were playing your music extremely loudly, the proper response would not be to have your neighbor spend thousands of dollars installing soundproofing throughout their house in order to "deal with it themselves". The proper response would be to ask you to turn it down, and, if you refused, to call the police and have them issue you a citation for violating local noise ordinances. Similarly, if your water hose was left running for an extended period of time and had begun to flood your neighbor's garden, the proper response is not for your neighbor to go out and buy sandbags to obstruct the flow of water. Instead, they should just ask you to turn off the hose.

    Essentially, your rights end as soon as they step on mine, so if you're causing harm to me or my property, or else causing a disturbance, I am well within my rights to ask that you cease doing so. And should you fail to respond, local ordinances will likely back me up.

    The difference in this case is that we're talking about something that causes no demonstrable harm or disturbance.

  • Re:yay (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:11PM (#41400651)
    This is the dumbest comment I've read all week
  • Re:yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:00PM (#41401401)

    That is like saying poisons are not poisonous because they are chemicals, but because they chemically interact.

    Which is completely true and a great point to make.

  • Re:yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:13PM (#41401595)

    Which is actually correct. What makes a poison poisonous isn't the inherent nature of being a chemical; it is the interaction that it has with an organism's chemistry. That's why chocolate is safe for humans, and poison to dogs. It's the same component (theobromine) in chocolate that stimulates humans and poisons dogs; the nature of that chemical interaction is what is different, and thus makes all the different.

    In this case, however, there's a difference in types of electromagnetic stimulus. X-rays are nothing like radio signals emanated from consumer electronics. Not at all similar. So, what mcgrew was really saying was more like "that's a whole other kind of chemical than the one that the OP is talking about. Just because warfarin is lethal at relatively small doses doesn't mean that table salt is, even though they are both technically chemicals."

  • by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:51PM (#41402171)

    I don't have to bend over backwards to satisfy my neighbor's needs.

    Where do you live? Because I want to move there.
    Where I live (Vancouver Canada) we regularly get people complaining about the noise and inconvenience caused by the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition), not what these people completely ignore if the fact that the PNE has been going on for 100 years! So they knew the score when they moved to the area. The worst part, from my perspective, is that people listen to these whack jobs. The response should be "The PNE was here first. Here is a $250 fine for wasting my time."

    I feel the same way about these "WiFi makes me sick" idiots.

  • by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:56PM (#41402247)
    Cell phone radio waves are used for carrying voice. This means that they are analog in nature and are therefore sine waves. Now sine waves are by their very nature are curved. This means they are easily able to flow over and around DNA and other molecular structures such as proteins. This is not the case for digital computer WiFi EM radiation. The data computer WiFi radiation carries is digital in nature and therefore only has two values 1 and 0. This means that it is transmitted as a square wave with a flat instead of a curved leading edge. As a result it is not able to easily flow over and around a cell's DNA but rather slams into it at several hundred thousand times a second. This is like a hammer hitting a string of pearls over and over and over. Eventually the pearls and the string will break.
  • Re:yay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@got . n et> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @02:01PM (#41402311) Journal

    I see that physics isn't your strong suit. Here are the electromagnetic wave types that our science is familiar with;
    Radio waves
    Far - Near Infrared waves
    Visible light
    Ultraviolet - Hard Ultraviolet
    Gamma rays
    Any light from mid visible through gamma rays can cause fluorescence, that is excite and electron to a higher state than well it drops have it emit a photon at a different wavelength. Ionization usually requires higher energies and demands light with wavelength from Ulraviolet to Gamma rays. The only difference between these forms of light are their wave length/frequency/source temperature. For instance we can now see the echo of the big bang as a microwave afterglow across the entire sky, and the static you see between channels on your TV or hear on your radio is part of the same phenomenon.

    There are a number of EM waves that can harm or kill you. Microwaves tuned to the frequency of water can cook you, they are also known to cause cataracts and sterility. UV can damage your skin and cause sun burn and melanoma. X-rays can cause lethal radiation sickness and cancer as can gamma rays. Just being in the fields of such things as radio and microwaves below a certain threshold have not been proven to cause illness, though there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of possible cancer caused by radar emissions, and energy fields around high tension power lines. Sadly, anecdotal evidence is not proof, and we've built entire industries on these forms of radiation (every time you make a cell phone call you microwave your brain) so without hard evidence its very hard to justify costly industrial standards that might hurt cultural progress and innovation. That said, its seems very possible that there are human being with a prediliction to EM sensitivity, just as there are rare folks who can hear well about the normal 20 Khz. cut-off for most healthy, young people. Rather than demonizing them we need to study them and see if in fact that are canaries in the mine and may point to threat against the general public. As well, we have folks whose sensitivity lies more in the realm of hypochondria and irrational fear, for those folks we can show compassion (their suffering is real even if the cause isn't), but we need to enlighten them, that their fear is not based in any physical phenomenon and is more properly placed in the realm of the psychological.

  • Re:yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @03:38PM (#41403569) Journal

    just because A==B does not mean B==A

    Well, that's some interesting axioms you must be working with. I guess you could devise a system where == does not commute. I like equality to be commutative and transaitive (*cough* PHP *cough*).

    all dogs may be mammals but not all mammals are dogs

    You mean subset of not equal to. The dog species is not equal to a mammal, it is a subset of mammals.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva